Monday, July 06, 2015

When leisure becomes livelihood

I recently read a fascinating study about why hobbies make for successful businesses. 

Turns out, the differences in progress and viability between conventional entrepreneurs and hobby based founders aren’t as stark as we might assume. According to the research, leisure based founders may be slower to make progress initially, but after a certain time threshold, their progress is no different than other types of founders. 

They’re tortoises, not hares. Which doesn’t suggest they’re dragging their feet or that they’re aimless or unmotivated, it’s just that these people are driven by a different set of motives. They operate in a context favoring slow and steady commitment to the venture, as opposed to the rapid progress favored by other entrepreneurs. 

Think about it. There’s an implicit commitment in cultivating leisure interests. When you’re doing what you do because you dream about it when you’re not doing it, fostering deep commitment is a nonissue. That’s why hobby based founders were actually more likely to deepen their commitment to their ventures over time. Because the work is around the love of the activity, not just exploiting an opportunity in the market and cashing out. 

And, when your motivations aren’t based around profit and growth, the reasons for giving up are not necessarily the same as they might be for conventional entrepreneurs. 

Perhaps the ultimate job perk is the opportunity to get paid for doing what fulfills you. 

The challenge, of course, is making sure the tortoise actually finishes the race. That you don’t labor in vain. Otherwise you don’t really have a business, you have an expensive hobby. 

And so, if it’s been nine years and you still aren’t making at least some money, you don’t have to give it up. But perhaps your hobby should remain as a nonvocational pursuit.

Do you have the commitment to convert leisure into livelihood?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
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