For about a decade I’ve been working as a franchise consultant. I.e. I match people with great brands whose business models meet their individual goals and expectations. So far I’ve helped over one thousand people, and have had a lot of conversations where people tell me about what they are looking for/not looking for, what kinds of businesses they’re attracted to/not attracted to, etc. In these conversations people are often surprised to hear me recommend they to get into brands that don’t align with their hobbies and interests. It’s counter-intuitive to what a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs hear these days, I know. BUT, I have two really good reasons why you should not turn your passion into a business.
Reason 1: You will miss out on great opportunities
This is one of the common things I’ve heard over and over again:
- “Oh I’m not a fitness nut, so I don’t want to own a fitness brand.”
- “I don’t care about makeup and manicures, so I don’t want to own a beauty brand.”
- Basically, “Because I’m not really passionate about ‘xyz industry,’ I don’t want to own a business in that industry.”
As an active franchise owner and investor, one of the most important lessons that I’ve learned about business is this: you don’t need to be passionate about the widget – you just need to like the business model.
Only a few months ago I sold a portfolio of 12 Sola Salon Studio stores in Orange County. Anybody who knows me knows that I don’t care a lot about haircuts, eyelash extensions, skin treatments, and manicures. I’m a backwoods guy from South Dakota who likes fishing and hiking and snow mobiles.
What attracted me to invest in the Sola Salon Studio brand was not the widget or product itself – even though there are a lot of people out there for whom that would be a selling point. For me, I wanted to get into that franchise because I liked the business model. If I had been focused on the fact that it was in the beauty industry more than on the fundamentals of the business itself, then I would have missed out on an amazing 8-figure exit. (For more details about the sale of my Sola Salon Studio portfolio with my business partners, click here.)
Recently, I have seen more prejudice against the fitness industry than any other industry I work within. Like I mentioned above, many prospective franchisees are turned off by fitness brands simply because they are not “health nuts.” However, what they’re wanting to buy are businesses that have:
- The potential to cash-flow quickly.
- A system designed for recurring revenue.
- Employees who are typically happy and love showing up to work every day
Well guess what… that describes many brands in the fitness space! What you find most attractive in a business might be ignored if you aren’t able to look past the widget itself into the structure of the franchise. Consequently, you might miss out on a great opportunity.
Reason 2: You will start to despise your hobby
“Do what you’re passionate about” sounds great. And I’m not going to pretend like many people haven’t found success and fulfillment doing something that they’re passionate about. BUT, for every 1 person that makes a career out of their hobby, there are probably 100 others who tried it and ended up:
- Starting a flawed business
- Losing their money (and maybe their friends’ and family’s money too)
- Hating their hobby after a short-time because their hobby became work instead of their passion.
Who else has intentionally not played their favorite song too many times for fear that they might stop liking the song? Or who has gone to their “favorite restaurant” too often, to the extent that they never go anymore? It’s way too easy for us to start despising things we love when we oversaturate our lives with that thing we love.
You might think you’re passionate enough about cooking to own your restaurant. But imagine if all you did was cook, think about cooking, hire cooks, manage waitstaff, update menus, clean kitchens, do dishes, so-on and so-forth, every single day for years. I’m not saying it’s guaranteed, but I’m just saying there is a good chance that you might start to hate even being near a kitchen.
Not to be a dream crusher, but sometimes it’s best to let your hobbies stay hobbies, and let your work stay work. The very first franchise I bought was a tax business. 25 year-old Erik Van Horn was no more passionate about taxes back then than he is today. Being able to work in an industry I didn’t care about on an emotional level allowed me the ability to have laser-like focus when I was working on my business, and to totally decompress when I was spending time on a hobby. Incidentally, that balance is part of the reason why I was one of the company’s top franchisees in only my first year.
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Open your mind to the possibility that you don’t need to own a franchise in an industry that you’re passionate about. For some in fact, you definitely should not own a franchise in an industry you’re passionate about. Segregating my hobbies from work has been one of the keys to my own success the last two decades, and could be one of the keys for you.