When A Hobby Becomes A Business

By Anthony Kuipers
Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Moscow, Idaho

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) It’s not a new phenomenon, and it involves more than model airplanes and fishing. Some “hobby entrepreneurs” have become the wealthiest people in the world by monetizing the thing they enjoy the most.

Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Moscow, Idaho

Everyone has a hobby they are passionate about, and most fantasize about what it would be like to get paid for doing it. For some, this fantasy becomes a reality.

It seems like the dream job, but one Washington State University professor warns there are pitfalls that come with such ventures.

Ben Warnick, assistant professor of entrepreneurship and strategic management in the Carson College of Business, has studied this type of career, called hobby entrepreneurship.

“It’s people who take a leisure activity, something that doesn’t involve money, and try to monetize it,” he said.

In other words, they choose to go into business doing something they would normally do for free.

It’s not a new phenomenon, and it involves more than model airplanes and fishing. Some hobby entrepreneurs have become the wealthiest people in the world by monetizing the thing they enjoy the most.

Bill Gates has enjoyed computer programming since he was a teenager, well before Microsoft became a business behemoth. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniack were part of a hobbyist group called Homebrew Computer Club before they started Apple.

He said younger generations are following that lead.

“This upcoming generation has a desire to do not just a job, but something meaningful, something that they love,” he said.

While researching a database of new businesses called the Panel Study of Entrepreneurship Dynamics, Warnick found more than one in four startup entrepreneurs started a business that began as a hobby. That was a surprise to Warnick.

“I didn’t think it would be that high,” he said.

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *