You’re about to take a big step in your career: taking your former passion project and turning it into a legitimate business. It’s an exciting notion. After all, you’ve probably been hearing people tell you, “if you do what you love for work, then you won’t work a day in your life.” It’s a romantic idea, to be sure, but turning your passion into a stable business can actually be very difficult to do.
Before you quit your day job, you might want to consider these 5 factors before you turn your passion into a business.
1. Is the Market Viable?
This is arguably the most important thing to consider before you launch your new career. You’re going to have to study the market carefully and ascertain whether or not there’s really money to be made in your line of work.
Be honest with yourself. Just because you love your particular passion, doesn’t mean there are lots of people out there who are willing to pay for your product or service—or maybe not enough to provide you with a comfortable living. It’s not a bad idea to start your passion project as a side business first so that you can better evaluate its financial viability.
It’s great that you’re gunning for your dream career, but it might not be worth quitting your day job if you’re going to go hungry or become house poor. And you might want to be making enough money to adequately prepare for retirement.
Now how exactly can you evaluate the market? Easy: look at local businesses (or online businesses, if you’re going into ecommerce) and see how they’re faring. Take note of how many employees they seem to have and how much they charge for their product/service.
2. Managing Employees is Hard
When you initially worked on your passion project, before you took to the private sector, you probably didn’t have to worry about managing employees. You were probably just working for yourself. But if your company is going to grow, or if you’re going to produce enough work to be profitable, you might need to hire an employee or two, or ten.
Hiring and managing employees is difficult, and the latter is a day-to-day job in and of itself. Before you hire a new job candidate, be sure you run a background or credit check for employment purposes. A credit check is especially important if you’re going to be hiring an accountant—you don’t want to hire a financial advisor who has bad credit. On that note, be sure you carefully budget your business before you start hiring—there are lots of businesses that hire too many employees too quickly and are forced to lay people off.
There are some great tools you can use to help manage your employees. If you have part-time workers, use a scheduling app like Sling. If you have office-based workers, use a project management program like Asana to assign tasks and due dates for those tasks. And for inter-office communication, use any kind of messaging app, like Slack or GroupMe.
3. You’ll Have to Worry About Legal Stuff
When you enter the business world, you expose yourself to all kinds of lawsuits. Some of these lawsuits might come from disgruntled employees or angry customers. Other times, you might get pestered by the IRS or by your local tax jurisdiction for late or inaccurate tax filings, or late sales tax remittance. It’s important that you find a reliable lawyer you can regularly consult with. A lawyer may be able to help you out of a legal crisis, or they could help you avoid one in the first place. A lawyer might sound very expensive, but there are several ways you can save money on legal fees.
4. It Could Kill Your Passion
The worst thing about turning your passion project into a business is that it could possibly kill your passion outright. When you’re exposed to all the stress that comes with running a business—financial management, hiring, scheduling, legal fees, business development, and regulations, you might find that it spoils your pure, youthful love for whatever it is you do.
5. You Could Live Your Best Life
But there’s also a chance that you make yourself far happier and more fulfilled than you ever were at your day job. Maybe you build a company that’s a massive success, or maybe you create a smaller company that brings you a little extra pocket cash. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is if you’re happy. And if you’re able to get away from that job that leaves you bored to tears from nine to five and do something that you’re truly passionate about, you’ll be all the better for it.