3 Lessons I Learned from Turning My Passion into a Business

November 28, 2023

By Te’Jal Cartwright, Founder, What’s The Biz

The last episode of What’s the Biz premieres tomorrow, and I can’t help but reflect on the journey of building a show from my passion.

What’s the Biz with TJ started as a hobby. I moved back home when I was 24 and discovered so many Black-owned businesses that I loved. I wanted to build community through sharing the stories of Black entrepreneurs, so I grabbed a friend’s camera and created my own talk show.

It was fun. I knew just enough to be dangerous when it came to the camera and video editing. In the first season, I got my point across and connected with the community and Black business owners all over Dayton.

Fast forward four seasons later, and I feel so much more pressure than I did when it was simply a hobby of mine. I sometimes miss the days where I would go to interviews just for fun. Although I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities that What’s the Biz has brought my team and I, I’m not sure if I’ll ever turn a hobby into a business again. And here are my three reasons why:

1. It’s Ok to do something and not make money from it.

Sometimes it’s best to leave your passion as that — a passion. Enjoying your passion without stress of making income from it is priceless. There is no amount of money that can replace the joy that you feel when you do something you love. Don’t let capitalism force you to turn your hobby into a business. Listen to your gut. How do you feel?

2. The more business you introduce, the more un-fun stuff comes to the surface.

When WTB was just a hobby, I didn’t have to worry about deadlines, tax forms, community input, or over-committing. Once WTB became a business, I started to drown in responsibilities rather than the joy that I got from meeting new people and getting their stories out to the community. I always rave about a team and collaboration, but there are some management experiences that aren’t so fun. Saddling my passion with these responsibilities decreased my joy for production and media over time. 

3. There’s a difference between building a business on your skill, rather than your passion.

There is a huge difference between skill and passion. I am naturally skilled at connecting with strangers and sharing stories because I am genuinely interested in other people and get excited about different perspectives. When I became a story coach and co-owner of Lore Storytelling, I never felt pressure. It feels like an easy party when I’m doing workshops, and I don’t feel completely stressed when I have to handle the back-end work of Lore. I am passionate about production and media, but it doesn’t come easy to me, and I like that. I just enjoy the opportunity to take the things that live in my brain and translate them to the screen. My passion has the opportunity to breathe and grow when money isn’t tied to it. I truly feel the difference when I pull from skill to provide for my family than when I pull from my passion.

There are so many great things that came from What’s the Biz. I built a strong foundation in entrepreneurship, got to connect with amazing people, and have a platform that so many people recognize as a contributing factor to the growth in Dayton’s Black economy. I don’t take that for granted. I just want to be transparent, because I don’t think we talk about this stuff enough. I’ve discovered that production is an art for me. I’d rather create visuals solely for fun and let financials come second to my joy. Is that something that you can relate to?

Launch Dayton is thrilled to partner with Te’Jal and her team to produce the final season of What’s the Biz. Check out Ep. 1 and Ep. 2, and stay tuned to socials and our newsletter as episodes drop!