Startups are not a free-time dream. To succeed, you need to work hard.
“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
I’ve heard that phrase more times than I would like.
And it’s because people have the wrong idea that working on what you’re passionate about, whether it’s a hobby or your dream job, means that you won’t have to struggle anymore.
But this belief is far from reality.
We are constantly looking for that love and passion for building our careers and businesses, but most people can’t find it. That’s because what you love to do doesn’t always make sense for your career.
Turning a hobby into a job often requires sacrifices that you might not enjoy making.
It means taking something that you enjoy doing for yourself and using it for someone else to turn a profit. Selling your hobby for profit often comes at the cost of creative control. You make what other people want for those people, or you don’t get paid.
I’m a software programmer. Right now, I’m working for a company creating their own software to sell it to clients. I absolutely love what I do. But, at the end of the day, I’m not programming something for me; I’m helping my client to make their dream.
That’s not something that I’d want to do as a hobbyist.
If I were still programming as a hobby, like when I was in college, I’d still making games and social media pages and doing it for me — not for anyone else.
I wouldn't be trying to make accounting and inventory software for business or speaking to clients on Linkedin and Upwork showing them my portfolio. I’d just develop what I wanted because that’s what makes me happy.
The willingness to pay attention to the technologies on the market and make some sacrifices regarding the technology I like to work on and how I apply my skills to other clients allows me to make a living. But every minute I spend doing this means I no longer program “just for me.”
Here’s an example from a product perspective: Let’s say you make dresses. You can make wedding dresses that sell for $ 1000- $ 5000, but most of your other fashion products are not that popular. You can make shorts, t-shirts, skirts, and swimsuits. But the wedding dresses are the popular ones, and they are the fastest-selling when you put them on your website.
If you are in this for the money, what should you do? Make more wedding dresses because they are popular and you need to replace your product.
It is a sacrifice, and it is necessary the moment your hobby becomes your job.
That’s not a sacrifice everyone is willing to make, and I don’t think they should. I can record videos as a hobby. It will always be a hobby because I want to do it for myself, not for anyone else. And that’s okay too.
Why startups are not a free-time dream
Many people believe that starting a business means not being tied to the 9–5 schedule. However, many times for your business to work, you have to go further.
I always liked writing. I used to do it on notepads or my personal diary when I wanted to get out my feelings or felt inspired.
Although I always dreamed of making a book, my writing focus was only when I had free time and wanted to convey my feelings.
In quarantine, I decided to get more serious about writing. This means stopping writing once in a while to start doing it regularly, looking for marketing strategies, and improving my skills. I even started getting up at 5:00 am to have time to write before my regular work.
I am currently writing 4 figures a month thanks to the fact that I had the discipline and set professional goals. This meant giving up a lot of things to be able to carry two jobs.
If I had continued writing as I did before, I would not be making the money that I do now.
But although startups and entrepreneurship don’t mean free time, it does mean focusing your time on what really matters.
I don’t mind having to get up at 5 in the morning because I’m doing something that I like, although it involves making sacrifices.
Taylor Foreman explained in his article “I Quit My Job Because I Had to Wake Up at 7. Now I Wake Up at 6” what is the difference between doing the minimum for something you don’t like and giving the best of yourself in a personal project:
“ I was acting out the belief that externally imposed discipline was granting me freedom — in the form of (not enough) money and free time. 2 years later, I’m acting out the belief (imperfectly) that my discipline is my freedom. The difference is the underlying motivation. That took years for me to change. Steal what I learned for a shortcut.”
Starting a business may seem easy. But running a business takes time, hard work, and dedication. You will have to wear all the hats until your sales can sustain the hiring of people to help.
You have to be brutally honest with yourself about your willingness to go all the way. Otherwise, you can cause serious financial damage and maybe even end up hating your hobby.
Entrepreneurship and freelancing mean you have to work hard to achieve your goals. You won’t succeed if you keep it treating like a hobby because many things involve making money from it apart from just following your passion.
Sometimes what you love doing and what you’re good at are two very different things. To be successful, you need to find that intersection of what you’re good at, what you love, and what people need.
When you can do the three things, you will reach success.