By Michael Jjingo
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”- Oprah Winfrey. What is your powerful or compelling desire? Well, is there a viable way to turn your passion into a successful business? In as much as many employees quit their jobs to start business, it has been easier for some retirees moving into ready side hustles, contrary to startups. With Covid 19, employees losing their jobs have increased.
Let’s appreciate that most farm owners or tree planters cannot do it on a full-time basis, but remote. Rogers, an IT professional, with a deep passion in cars, runs a garage as a side hustle. Kate, a seasoned lawyer, with a compelling desire to cook, runs a cake making business at the side. A good number of people test the entrepreneurial waters with one foot, by engaging in business activities at the side, while maintaining their day jobs.
Mary, a day time Economist, whose childhood passion was farming, runs a lean urban vegetable farm at their marital home in Kira. She has been able to grow it to another remote farm in the village. As the dividing lines between work and leisure become blurred, part-time entrepreneurship becomes attractive for people seeking to transform their passions into profitable enterprises.
Going by the stories of apt entrepreneurs, not everyone takes a traditional path by quitting the job, writing a business plan, hiring employees, and then the investment. Aspiring entrepreneurs should be cognizant of the fact that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to founding an enterprise. There are many other paths to business ownership, some more haphazard,than intentional. Many times, people are onto something else when passionate dreams emerge and over time, they assume the identity of an entrepreneur.
Many times, the side hustles collapse due to lapses in controls and supervision, that the employees use to defraud the business owner. Remember some employees are looking at quicker actualization. Better for the aspiring entrepreneur to have an experienced mentor to guide this journey to avoid the early collapse, not forgetting that over 70% of the business startups never see their second birthday. Well, if a passion-basedbusiness collapses, all is not lost, especially the learnings that can be drawn from the stint.
True, most of the business owners insist that for the business to thrive the owner has to physically run it, otherwise it collapses. Let me draw your attention to resilient entrepreneurs who run over 20 enterprises, or even other known business owners with over 5 businesses or branches. They cannot physically run all of them at the same time. Business controls, automation and safeguards come in handy to significantly mitigate the business risks, especially the financial risks.
Online platforms have enabled the rise of the part-time but passionate entrepreneurs. Take for instance the popularity of the online retail outlets. Similarly, blogs, online platforms allow people in various fields to access audiences straight from their homes. Doing “what you love” has become easier than ever with these advances in technology. Better to avoid replicating your employer’s business!
Take the example of Patrick, a Physics teacher by day, passionate about catering, turned his part-time cooking into an established dining restaurant. It all started as a “just for fun” for the first 5 years, as he used to carry eatery products to the school canteen. After about 3 years of preparing dinners on the weekend at the school, with the nutrition teachers, diners challenged him to open a restaurant, and some even offered investment for his future project. Today, he runs a popular restaurant in a busy area.
“When you believe in something, the force of your convictions will spark other people’s interest and motivate them to help you achieve your goals.”- Richard Branson. The power of partnerships with successful persons and enterprises will do the magic, as you build your prowess. Most of our hobbies are supported by the talents we hone.
Being a part-time entrepreneur gives the passionate individuals the opportunity to try on the aspirational role of a business-owner safely and slowly, but surely. The real businesses could transition when they feel it is the right moment, with the requisite experience and resources built up over time.
Overall, having an enterprise “on the side” enables amateurs to gradually gain entry and acknowledgement with other businesses in that field, attaining the acceptability to others. Many times, acceptance by the peers is critical. And, freelancing as an entrepreneur can actually increase the odds of business survival once one transitions to a full-time venture.
The writer is the General Manager Commercial Banking at Centenary Bank