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How Hobbies Can Improve Your Business and Your Life
Published on Nov 5, 2012
Read our article, 'How Hobbies Can Improve Your Business and Your Life' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
By Matthew Toren
How do you schedule your day? Wake up, shower, get to work, maybe find time for the gym, come home and spend some time with your loved ones? Do you reserve any time for a hobby? Something that is only for you. Maybe you play guitar in your spare time. Maybe you surf. Maybe you build and collect model trains. A hobby slows down your mind, in a good way. It calms you and realigns your focus. Not only that, a hobby is often the outgrowth of a successful business idea.
As a small business owner, it’s easy to become overtaken by your work and lose track of your life. You’ve got a vision, and you’ve made a commitment to it. You’ve devoted yourself to accomplishing your goals and you’re taking the steps necessary in order to achieve. You start to eat, drink, and live your work. The distinction blurs between time you’ve put aside for work and time you’ve put aside for yourself and your loved ones. This distinction occurs because it is impossible to separate yourself from your work. Your business is, after all, a reflection of your passion and ideals. It also needs constant attention. How can you truly not make it a top priority?
Remember, your business is part of an overall lifestyle. Your ideals and passion are not simply profit. You have family, friends, and you should have some hobbies. Just as you cannot separate yourself from your work, you cannot separate the success of your business from the contributions of these lifestyle factors. Having a fulfilling life outside of business encourages actual business growth by fueling your overall life strategy.
A hobby or two can provide you with a steady source of passion. Consider the guitar player. She sets goals for herself for her guitar playing just as she does for her business. She promises to learn one song a week and play for an hour a day, every day. She is passionate about playing and usually ends up practicing more. She works from home, and every couple of hours she plays guitar for 15 minutes to clear her head. It’s more refreshing than a cup of coffee.
A hobby can generate alternate perspectives by observing your own interests both subjectively and objectively. Consider the surfer. He sets aside time in the morning three days a week to hit the beach. He remembers why he moved so close to the ocean in the first place. One day while riding a wave he’s struck with an idea to create a logo with a surfboarding duck for his new business. The surfboarding duck, appropriately nicknamed Surf Duck by fans, becomes hugely popular.
A hobby can be the foundation of a hugely successful business. Consider the man who builds model trains. Ever since he was a child, he’s been captivated by machinery. He spent his youth in his attic assembling models and was so engrossed he often forgot to eat. As an adult, he starts a small website in his spare time that offers discourse, photographs, and historical perspective regarding his cherished hobby. The forum section starts to become popular, and soon he is making a small profit from advertisements. Eventually, he begins to create his own products, adds a membership section to his website, and retires from his nine-to-five.
A hobby can benefit your business by rejuvenating you, offering perspective, and creating full-fledged ventures. What’s your hobby? Are you fortunate enough to have made it your work? Let us know with a comment.
Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of the award winning books, Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right. Their latest project is a free classified ads network called: iSell.com.