It’s NOT a Hobby: Giving Your Dreams the Value They Deserve

One of the more interesting insights I received when I went into business for myself is“ If you treat your business like a hobby, it will never be a business.” This sentence, while it seems like it came out of some clichéd book on running the rat race of self employment, actually came from my business partner.

She’s right.

Hobbies are things that we make time for if we can spare it. They don’t produce much more than internal satisfaction and self therapy, and if you assign your startup the status of “hobby” you may as well close up shop. Let’s talk about why you should never treat your start-up like a hobby.

Hobbies are second tier time gap fillers.

Hobbies are those things that you do when you are not focusing on vital parts of your life. They are the things you do in your freetime. When you give birth to a startup, or genuinely commit to chasing down your dreams, you cannot afford to give secondary thought to it. You must make room for it in the top tier. Yes, you need to prioitize it right up there with your money maker(day job), your family, and your friends. Your dream cannot cling to life off secondhand energy. For me, that means that for a time, sleep has been moved to a secondary tier, along with social functions. Sure I still get around 5 hours of sleep a night, and spend time with my very best friends, but it means that I have to say no to the snooze button and opt-out of many events. This was a tough adjustment, but a necessary one.

Hobbies don’t pay bills, they buy toys.

If you are doing a hobby that pays a little, it is more than likely contributing to your discretionary fund, and not your vital operating life expenses. When we treat our dreams like hobbies and not like businesses, we give others permission to ask for things that they might otherwise pay for in other circles. We are willing to be so generous because we aren’t relying on this income to make it to the end of the month. When you take the leap and commit to your dreams full time, you can’t afford to give everything away. This may come as a shock to some people that consider you a “good friend” that can hook them up with something free, but only if you first decide that you have a business and not a hobby. If you treat your passion and dreams like a hobby, something second-tier, then you can’t lament when others do that same. This is an adjustment for everyone. If you want people to take your dream seriously, you have to be first in line for that expectation.

Hobbies Are Dispensible

When new challenges arise in life, the first things in the mental garage sale pile are our hobbies. We allow these things to be put on a shelf and revisited at a later time when “life slows down.” This is the quickest and most efficient way to kill your dreams. I have some bad news, your life is only going to get faster, busier, and more insane moving forward. Whether your dream is a part of your life or not, slow is no longer an option. So as you move ahead in your life, don’t let your dream or your startup be the first thing to go when things get tough. It’s worth more than that.

Do yourself a favor, and give your dream the honor an respect it is due. You will thank me later for it. Trust me, you don’t want to be in the business of hobbies… unless you manufacture model airplanes… but you get my point.