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Is that business idea a viable pursuit or simply a hobby?

Friday December 13 2019
FINPIC

Be smart to separate your career from your hobbies. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By BETT KINYATTI

The trap we are falling into as a generation is that we only want to pursue engagements we love.

They are telling us to be happy; to set our souls on fire. They are saying, “Love what you do and do what you love.”

Truth is, not everyone has the privilege to do what they love. Not when you have children to take to school, rent and mortgages to settle, misunderstood siblings in private university and sickly parents back in the village.

When all these financial obligations are lining up every month to knock at your door, you will do whatever you need to to put that money in your pocket. It matters not if you love your career; you will do the job.

A career for most is like an arranged marriage – you don’t go into it head over heels in love; the love instead grows over time.

You look for things to love then focus on those things. Your boss may have the personality of a broomstick but at least you have flexible working hours.

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Your salary is not growing as fast as Sonko’s but you got paid time off to sit your master's exams.

PLAN B

Then there are those who are not satisfied with this ‘arranged marriage’ they found themselves in. Forget seeking love, they want to be happy.

They want to quit their careers for a favourite pastime; they imagine that these activities they engage in after work and over the weekends will make a lucrative career in business.

Wanting to build a career out of a hobby is like wanting to marry the man you had a dalliance with.

A hobby is informed by the novelty and romance of discovery. You have no technical skill but plenty of natural skill – you have talent.

The frustration of your nine to five makes the hobby appear like a viable plan B.

You are gassed up with confidence because... well, because you know your stuff.

You planned such a gorgeous wedding for yourself that you now want to launch an events planning business.

FAILED ATTEMPT

Or folk say ‘Wow’ whenever they walk into your living room; now you want to style interior spaces for the urban woman.

Maybe you had such success breastfeeding your newborn that you desire to become a lactation consultant.

Everyone loved those cakes you have been bringing to the office and dos and such; they tell you between mouthfuls, ‘Why are you doing this for free? Start a bakery business!’

I have several hobbies. I am into handmade crafts and furniture, interior decor, photography and houseplants.

I also have an entrepreneurial mindset, so I am constantly asking myself how I can turn these hobbies into money-minting enterprises.

I actually did that with the handmade crafts: I set up an online brand complete with social media platforms.

I registered a company, opened a bank account and set up a till number for receiving payments. I was ready for business.

Momentum slowed when I could not crack the business model. Thank goodness it remained a side-hustle.

I know several people who have fallen into this generational trap – you quit your lucrative career to pursue a hobby cloaked as a viable business idea.

BE SMART

Everyone congratulates you for taking such a ballsy move. You wave away the adulation as you get on your hands and knees to build your new business.

The early months are romantic. Surely, you love what you are doing and you are doing what you love!

Your business eats into your savings as you struggle to stay afloat. You hang in there.

Nothing gives – no one is willing to pay what you ask for; you don’t know the first thing about knocking on clients doors or running a marketing campaign on social media.

Who knew it would be this difficult to demand a pastime to churn out enough money to live off. You are no longer happy but you are too stubborn to admit failure and return to fulltime employment.

Be smart to separate your career from your hobbies. They are not two sides of the same coin.

You will have multiple hobbies through the seasons of your life, but only one career. Your career feeds your bank accounts; your hobby feeds your soul.

There is an ogre in all of us that is hungry for happiness – be careful not to starve him with your short-sighted choices.

Kinyatti is a certified accountant with ACCA and a former financial auditor.

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