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Examples of Passion/Hobbies Fueling Your Entrepreneurship

Flybye

Bronze Contributor
Feb 19, 2018
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138
142
Cuba v2.1 (Miami)
There is always talk about how one should never let something such as a hobby or passion for something fuel your spirit for starting a company. And I totally understand how this can be problematic in ways such as either not seeing the necessity of the customer or providing a resolution to a problem the customer has. And also the eventual loss of passion for a hobby you enjoyed since you have now attempted to turn it into a job. Id like to share my three positive experiences with this topic. Two that are successful, and one (mine) which has just started.

I have dreamed of owing a car dealership for many years. Why? Because I love cars, and Im a car guy. Of course, many would warn that just because you have a passion for something doesnt mean you will do well in it as a business. Well, I sold cars for several years, I was successful, and I greatly enjoyed it. I love talking to people and recognizing their needs, and I am equally passionate about showing off a product that they will enjoy for years to come.

When I still had the idea of opening a used car dealership in my head, I needed a car. I drove over 200 miles to purchase a very specific and low mileage model I had in mind. The meeting ended up turning into a 1 on 1 car guy event. Even after I finished purchasing my car, I was there sitting with the owner of the car lot as we talked about cars and more cars. He showed me his Mustang project, his insane speed boats, and other toys. And he has been in business for about 10 years. I spent maybe an hour more than I needed to just talking to the owner about car guy stuff. Car guy owning a successful used car dealership. Im here thinking this could totally be me.

In the process of starting up my business, I needed to sell one of my cars I had a huge passion for. Thankfully, I was able to sell it to a car guy that owns his own speed shop he has had over 15 years. He bought the car for his son who grew up loving cars as well. When they picked up the car we also chatted and chatted about cars.

So I finally got my DMV car dealership license. :clench: Ive been like a kid in a candy store at the car auctions looking for inventory. Of course, no car is perfect. Ive had to do a few minor repairs on my cars. Silly things that I have the tools for and dont mind doing myself like replacing shocks, hood struts, missing bolts on latches, reprogramming the radios to delete old user bluetooth connections, buying alarm remotes and programming them, etc. One of my cars I had to take to a shop to have the oil pan resealed since it had a leak.

I found a mechanic who comes greatly recommended. He had one of his mechanics fix my issue, but in the mean time....oh boy did I have a talk with him. He has had his shop for over 30 years and looked like he had about 5 mechanics working there while he now mostly mans the front desk, and this guy is also a car guy. We started talking about muscle cars, his beauties, and so much more. He showed me his mint condition mid 60s Mustang GT 350 he bought for $500 and he fully restored himself. He has a 2000 Mustang GT Cobra with only 13k miles on it. He owns an insane sleeper GMC pickup pushing something around 700hp that he built up himself, and other toys. Another car guy who loves cars, started a business revolving around cars, and has been successful with it for over 3 decades.

Opening a business partially or fully based on passion can most certainly be a recipe for disaster. It can cloud your judgement and not allow you to see what the needs of the customer are or how to be able to properly solve a particular problem for them. But I have come across several examples where this passion was used as a fuel to be successful for decades. Perhaps a car guy is a different breed whos fuel continues to burn? I don't know. What I do know is meeting these three successful business owners with the same passion I have has given me amazing hope for my business.
 

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WestCoast

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As someone who turned their hobby into a business right out of college... it can surely be done.

My experience, though, is that the passion for the hobby only gets you to the starting line.

You need to have a deep passion for business (learning and growing, making mistakes and adapting) and providing something of value for customers.

--
I see people say 'OMG, I want to be in the ski business because I LOOOOVE skiing', and I just want to cringe.
It's the same reason airlines don't hire Flight Attendants that say 'I love to travel!'


The reality of business is that YOUR passion, YOUR love of an activity does NOT equal what someone is willing to give you money for.
ie: I'm not going to pay you, simply because you happen to like cars.

Now, if you help me source a rare car that no one else can?
If you repair my special car, or help me find parts, or provide a community where I can discuss said car...? That is of value to me.

But, if you go in thinking your passion for something automatically translates into a solid business... you're starting off on the wrong foot.

--
Finally, I would add, that what I found, was my passion for my hobby, over the last 13 years, has gone to almost zero. It's business. I focus on the numbers, management, growth and marketing and sales....

I'm not out working on my hobby after hours, or traveling all weekend to do that hobby still.
Some people in our industry *do* still care a lot about the hobby.... but they are also generally the small stores that struggle to make payroll every two weeks.

In short - yes, it's possible.
But, if you go in with selfish reasons, I imagine you'll be sorely disappointed.
Go in thinking about providing value to other enthusiasts and yes, you could have a path forward.

--
Figure out how to help other car people get what they want.
Then they might buy stuff from you and help you get what you want.
(last two sentences adapted from the amazing advice of the great Zig Ziglar)
 
OP
OP
Flybye

Flybye

Bronze Contributor
Feb 19, 2018
119
138
142
Cuba v2.1 (Miami)
.....Go in thinking about providing value to other enthusiasts and yes, you could have a path forward.....
Exactly. And the one feature I have noticed of these others that I met is their very forward but friendly personalities. Exactly how I am. I think of how this has helped them maintain a loyal customer base. It truly is a shame when one losses the passion for their hobby, but my mechanic is a great example of who that did not happen to. His shop has lasted for over 30 years, and the guy is 57yrs old. Even at his age and the number of years he has been in business, he was talking to me about his toys like how an 8yr old talks about his Hot Wheels. He still had that great passion in him for his hobby outside of work hours.
 

Tanu1234

Contributor
Aug 4, 2018
70
59
56
As someone who turned their hobby into a business right out of college... it can surely be done.

My experience, though, is that the passion for the hobby only gets you to the starting line.

You need to have a deep passion for business (learning and growing, making mistakes and adapting) and providing something of value for customers.

--
I see people say 'OMG, I want to be in the ski business because I LOOOOVE skiing', and I just want to cringe.
It's the same reason airlines don't hire Flight Attendants that say 'I love to travel!'


The reality of business is that YOUR passion, YOUR love of an activity does NOT equal what someone is willing to give you money for.
ie: I'm not going to pay you, simply because you happen to like cars.

Now, if you help me source a rare car that no one else can?
If you repair my special car, or help me find parts, or provide a community where I can discuss said car...? That is of value to me.

But, if you go in thinking your passion for something automatically translates into a solid business... you're starting off on the wrong foot.

--
Finally, I would add, that what I found, was my passion for my hobby, over the last 13 years, has gone to almost zero. It's business. I focus on the numbers, management, growth and marketing and sales....

I'm not out working on my hobby after hours, or traveling all weekend to do that hobby still.
Some people in our industry *do* still care a lot about the hobby.... but they are also generally the small stores that struggle to make payroll every two weeks.

In short - yes, it's possible.
But, if you go in with selfish reasons, I imagine you'll be sorely disappointed.
Go in thinking about providing value to other enthusiasts and yes, you could have a path forward.

--
Figure out how to help other car people get what they want.
Then they might buy stuff from you and help you get what you want.
(last two sentences adapted from the amazing advice of the great Zig Ziglar)
Adding value to others life is the biggest factor in any business success.
 

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