When I turned my passion into a job, I started to "work too much"... according to others. I run NOTCOT, a network of websites covering design, technology, and trends, which takes me all over the world and introduces me to so many designers and products! Everyone said I needed a hobby, something I love to do that will take me away from work. But I love design, technology, and exploring the world. I turned the things I love into my job. Sure, if too many exciting opportunities come up, my sleep starts to dwindle to a few mere hours on some nights—but I built my company around the things I love, and in the core of NOTCOT is the encouragement to constantly find new and inspiring experiences and products to share. Everyone was wrong. I don't need a hobby; I just need balance. Running NOTCOT IS my hobby. After all, the ideal job should be just as pleasurable as any hobby! And just because a hobby makes enough money to be considered a job, doesn't mean you should always treat it like one. However, when your business is a lifestyle business that sprung from passion, it's easy to let work/life balance slip.
Here are a few key rules to finding the work/life balance for a hobby turned job:
1. Choose carefully and wisely. Yes, sacrifices must be made. Perhaps you need to turn down some business opportunities to maintain the pleasure in your job... or even your own health and sanity.
2. Pick people/businesses like you would a boyfriend/girlfriend. It's not just about efficiency and getting the job done. You're going to be dealing with these people/companies day in and day out. They will be a part of setting the tone for your life. That's a pretty intimate relationship... you may even see them more than your spouse!
3. Surround yourself with inspiring people you admire and respect... and who feel the same! It will make the world of difference in how excited you feel about what you do every day. (And who wants a buzzkill that brings you down around anyhow?)
4. Don't forget why you're doing it. It's easy to lose sight of this: if you're really trying to run a business that makes you happy and makes enough for what you need, find ways to remind yourself when in doubt. (For example, don't let money dictate all your decision making. Maybe some things are worth pursuing because for other reasons—like it's something you've always wanted to do with the company or it benefits your long-term success and happiness.)
5. Live the life you WANT and have FUN. Hey, lets not kid ourselves here. We don't want to lose the magic that made it so exciting in the first place! If you ever fully give up the happy, fun parts, perhaps it's time to give up doing a lifestyle business... and either grow into a different kind of company, sell, or go work for someone else!
Keep in mind a business may (and probably will) evolve. For example, I currently have a small lifestyle business, and for the moment, it keeps me so happy and busy. I love what I do every day! But who knows, tomorrow or five years from now, the goals may change and scaling and growing will take priority. But, if you can, why not enjoy life in the present? And, if you can, embrace the luxury of having work that evolved from something you love so much and maintain that balance as long as possible.