Business versus Hobby. It seems that there would be a clear enough distinction between the two right? Not necessarily. I have run into many ‘budding entrepreneurs’ that indicated they were ‘building’ there business yet in fact they were supporting their hobby. So what separates the two categories?
First, let me preface this with there is no right or wrong. The choice of business or hobby and which path to follow lies within you and only you can decide. Both have their merits and outcomes. It centers on what outcome do you want? So, you have a passion to share your skills, knowledge or product with the world. Many businesses started out as a hobby. What are the elements that cross the line to be firming planted on the business side of the spectrum?
- How you view yourself and your business.
- How you present yourself and your business to others.
- How others perceive you and your business.
It is the mindset you bring to the process. Are you serious about making a profit?
Moving from hobby to business.
So how do you shift that perception from one of hobbyist to one of business owner? Many struggle with the perception of what you do as a glorified hobby. So what do you need to do to go from hobby to business?
You need to get serious.
And I don’t mean serious and never have fun. I believe an entrepreneur’s business is grounded in passion so the enjoyment is ingrained in the process. I want you to enjoy what you’re doing. What I mean by get serious is that you need to make a commitment to doing those things that make your business into – a business.
- You need to get serious about the numbers.
- You need to get serious about your time.
- You need to get serious about the realities of running a business.
Get serious about the numbers
If you truly want to run a successful business, get serious about the numbers. Numbers give you so much information – your income versus expenses tells you profit, sales data tells you what’s working and cash flow projections tell you if you’re going to have any money in the bank next month. If you are not tracking your numbers or paying attention to the number of sales or the number in your bank account, it’s probably for one of two reasons:
The first is that you legitimately don’t know how. That’s an easy fix. Check out Quick Books or services like outright.com
The second reason, you think ignorance is bliss. While you may be able to get away with this in the short term, especially if you have a ‘pillow’ – income from another job or partner. This lack of strategy will eventually be the downfall of your business. Declaring independence from external support, will impact how you delegate your time and energy.
Businesses track their profits and at least a few other numbers. Until you do, you really aren’t running a business.
Get serious about your time.
Adopt this mantra. Stop saying “I didn’t have time for something,” and switch to “I didn’t make it a priority.” Because often, lack of time is really lack of prioritization. To run a successful business, you need to carve out time to run your business. And if that means you need to set a schedule for business hours, then by all means do so.
Running a successful business takes either time or money. If you have one, you can make do without the other. But you can’t run a successful business without investing significant amounts of one of those two things.
The next time you find yourself bemoaning your lack of time to run your business, ask yourself how you can reorder priorities to have time for your business. If you never carve out some serious time for your business, you’ll find it hard to convince others (and eventually yourself) that you’re actually running a business.
Get serious about the realities of running a business.
Running a business is hard. Sometimes you lose money. Sometimes clients don’t pay on time. Sometimes you want to bang your head against the wall. Sometimes you’re filled with an overwhelming sense of panic about how you’ll pay your bills this month. Sometimes you’ll stress over whether or not you’re making the right choices or heading in the right direction.
And in order to run a business, you have to understand and accept that some days it might not be fun or you’ll have to do tasks you don’t really want to do. Yes, it would be great to pretend all that stuff doesn’t exist. To just try and sell your products. But ignoring the fact that running a business is hard doesn’t make that reality go away. It just means that you aren’t really running a business.
Wait, there is an upside to all this. Once you accept the realities of running a business and that is not the same as a pursuing a hobby, you open up to the possibility to something really, really great. You have a chance to create something bigger than yourself. Something that can provide a great life for you and your family.
Dr. Victoria Boyd, author of The Wealthy Teacher: Answering the question, What’s next?
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