Updated: Apr 1
Have you ever thought of making a living out of something that you love doing? If yes, this article will help you in creating your dream career from scratch with some tips and tricks.
If you’re a geek and want to make a living out of something you love, then maybe it’s time to consider an alternative career path.
Making a successful career out of a fun hobby can be hard to achieve. However, it’s not impossible! If you are passionate about your hobby and willing to put in the time and effort required, you can make a very successful career out of it.
Here are some helpful tips from my conversation with Saumil Majmudar, the CEO and Managing Director of Sportz Village, the world's largest youth sports platform. He shares his own journey of starting a business, how he made a successful career out of a fun hobby and what it takes to build a sustainable business.
In Conversation With Saumil Majmudar , CEO and Managing Director of Sportz Village
"How To Make A Successful Career Out Of A Fun Hobby"
What exactly is a hobby? How can one turn it into a career?
Typically a hobby is something you do because you like it, not necessarily something that earns you a living. A career, in contrast, is what you do to earn a living. And very often, the assumption is that the two can never meet.
This reminds me of the word amateur, which means someone who is not that good but it originates from the word "amour" which means love. An amateur is someone who does it for love even if they are not paid for it. Whereas, a professional works for the money.
And the combination- loving what you do and making a living from that is the best of course!
It’s great only when you can pursue your hobby and make as much money as would have made in a career. Because earning as much money as you can from a career other than your hobby is the real challenge.
What have been your hobbies?
Sports has always been close to my heart. I won’t call it my passion, but sports has been a source of positive energy, a source of going out and solving the problem. I avoid making big decisions late at night and wait until the next morning. Before making the next morning decision, I play and exercise. Then my entire approach to the decision changes.
How to distinguish between a passion and a hobby?
When you say that it’s a passionate venture, the implicit assumption is that this business might not be as good. That it’s not necessarily a great business. But the truth is, it can be and it should be.
If you have the fundamentals, you know the core ideologies, then it must work. But here’s the thing. “After a certain point, the rose-tinted glass of passion wears off, and beyond a point, it’s plain business. It requires effort, time and everything.”
You also have to be aware of the negative side of it as you make a business out of your passion. What used to be your positive source can change if your plan doesn’t work out.
So you have to understand that every choice has a cost as long as you are ready to pay it. The question is, is the pain worth it for your soul or pocket? If you feel it is, then go for it!
What’s the issue most people face when thinking of pursuing their hobby?
The cost that shows up for most people is opportunity cost. Opportunity cost refers to the value a person could have received but passed up in pursuit of another option.Things take time and with every month of making a career out of your hobby, the opportunity cost keeps stacking up. Ironically, most people who have higher opportunity costs also have a very big safety net. They have the credentials to get a job at any point even if things don’t turn out well.
Second thing is, the “why” philosophy is very constraining. “Why” leads to opportunity cost, “why” leads to wondering how to support your family.
Ask instead “why not?” It’s a very liberating question.
How do manage your time as an entrepreneur?
Time is a strategic asset. In any career, specifically in entrepreneurship, we don’t think of time as a strategic asset. We think about network, hard work, credentials, capital, and all the stuff except TIME. Trying to solve the same problem again and again, however, has an exponential compounding effect. That’s a weapon you can use, especially as an entrepreneur.
What advice would you give someone who's thinking of pivoting in their career?
At many times we get accused of either pivoting too early or pivoting too late. What I found working is, think through it and commit, but listen to what the market is saying and respond. And I have realised with my experience that there is a lot of goodwill out there. I have been very fortunate to get people in my network who give constructive feedback on what can be improved. You are likely to get this support as well.
Another key is to remind yourself that none of the decision you are taking is permanent. If you let go of an opportunity 10 years back and get the same today, you can take it! Obviously, that only works over the long run, when you are committed to something for a long time.
Sportz Village has shown 18 years of continuous growth. What would be your advice to young entrepreneurs in the sports industry?
It’s easy to start something in the sports industry but very difficult to sustain it. The process is indeed complex. And it’s difficult because the models are not there. For instance, when IPL happened, I was a 5-year old entrepreneur with a sports business, and since I had some credentials, I thought about how could I play this game or enter this with my business. And then I realised that I could not play unless I became an employee. I didn’t have the huge amount of money required for bidding. So, the only option was to join one of the franchises.
The point is, the structure of the market has to create opportunities for sports entrepreneurs. Sports are mostly businesses that require possession of rights which in turn require money. The whole nature of business is a kind of project-based business. Due to this episodic nature of the sports industry, it becomes very difficult to build a sustainable business. The problem arises when it comes to managing the cost when you don’t even know when the next event is going to come.
So, It’s the combination of finding a sustainable business model, getting capital, and building on it. And once you have support and investment, you must deliver on your promise.