One of the most level-headed things I've ever heard came from my wife, years ago. She was into photography and taking some beautiful photos. People were even buying them from her. We framed about ten prints and planned to start putting them in coffee shops.
And then she came to a grinding halt. I bugged her for weeks about the coffee shop. I asked her if she was going to start a business.
She sighed. “I don’t think this a good idea. I want it to remain a passion and now it's starting to feel like a job. I think I want to stop before it gets away from me."
Of course, it is possible to be passionate about your work. But I knew what she meant: Not everything you're passionate about makes for a good job. Something changes once you’re obligated to others – in a sense, it’s no longer just yours anymore. Once people start paying you, there are expectations and demands. It's easy to lose control of your dream.
Choosing to make your hobby into a business is a big commitment: And like getting married, having children, or even getting a puppy, things are going to change forever. If you're not up to the task, it could really ruin your life.
Wine Living is a small business, really more of a side job for me now. But it’s been growing steadily and I’ve actually had to push back on a few of those, “big opportunities,” as they came my way. In the all-business, all-the-time culture of America, that probably seems counter-intuitive to making a success of yourself: But those so-called opportunities would have rerouted me and put me onto a much different path than I wanted to be on.
People often ask me what my plans are. It’s actually pretty simple: I don’t ever want this to become a prison of my own making. The day I stop enjoying what I do, and the day I’m not free to make my own choices/decisions about my destiny, is the day I am no longer where I want to be.
Sure, there will be compromise, and yes there will be people to work with. But the deal is, I pick and choose the compromises and the people now.
I'll take this slow and steady, one step at a time. I'll keep working, keep innovating. I'll try new things. I'll maintain a level of passion and fire for what I do; and I'll share that with others. That's my plan for 2015 and perhaps, 2016 and beyond.
I’ll see where that takes me. Happy New Year!