How to Translate a Passion Into a Business

I love riding bicycles. Yet I live in a place (Boston) that's terrible for cycling, with roads that look like archaeological digs, legions of cranky drivers, and awful weather. What drives all this aberrant behavior (you should see my winter riding outfit - an Eskimo would look underdressed) is something we all share, whatever our individual interests: passion.
A few days ago, I bought a new bicycle. It's beautiful, ridiculously expensive, and completely impractical for anything but expressing a passion. I bought it from a man named Craig Gaulzetti, who in his role as a bicycle shop manager, was friendly and spent a lot of time helping me order the bike from an Italian brand I have long admired.

When a Passion Becomes a Living
Turns out, however, that when Gaulzetti leaves the bike shop where he sells bikes, he goes to a place where be builds them, passionately.

But mixing business and passion is hard. Making hand-built bicycles is labor intensive, competition is intense from other equally passionate builders, and margins are driven down by large, industrial manufacturers capable of making very good products that, to the dispassionate eye, don't look or work much differently from the ones Gaulzetti makes.

Revenues Do Not a Business Make
Gaulzetti told me that he currently has orders for all the bikes he can possibly make. It's a testament to his abilities as a builder. But as he pointed out, there's a chasm separating the small custom shop from the rest of the bicycle business.

Source: | Christopher Koch
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