Are You Enjoying a Hobby or Running a Business?

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A while back I started my first business – Write2Explain because I wanted to occupy my time whilst in-between jobs. It soon became a regular source of income for me and I kept at it for a while. I did not focus on building the business the right way initially because my mindset was in the ‘interim mode’.  I had no set hours, no clear plan or goals to run the business as I should. I was working when I felt like it whilst juggling marriage, parenting and everything else too.

If you are NOT getting the results you want in your business, maybe you just need to tweak a few things and one of them could be changing your mindset from hobby/interim mode to business mode. When I started taking my business seriously, the changes in my clients’ perception was visibly clear.

hobby

My experience helped me highlight some distinct differences between a hobby and a business which I have shared below:

The Structure

A business must have the right structure in place – you can be a sole trader, limited company, in partnership or a social enterprise. It also communicates the right business position to the outside world, that you are to be taken seriously. You should operate legally and abide by the rules and regulations of your jurisdiction as a business owner.  A hobby has no structure as it is not done for leisure which implies there is no gain except pleasure.

Prices and Positioning

You can’t drive a car without fuel just as much as you can’t run a business without generating revenue to run an efficient one.   If you give away your products or services in exchange for a ‘thank you’, you are probably still in hobby mode.   If you feel that people are taking you for granted, then you need to develop a pricing structure and position your business as a business and not something on the side in people’s minds.

Processes and Systems

You do not need processes to enjoy your hobby but you need them for business. Processes are the wheels that help run your business so you can meet your customers’ obligations. It is the catalyst that ensures a complete transaction from idea conception to customer satisfaction. Between these stages are several tasks that need to take place to fulfil the term ‘running a business’.   If you don’t have processes and systems in place, it will be impossible to run a viable business.  Systems are what helps the processes run smoothly and they include your online and offline tools such as website, e-commerce systems, payment platforms, lead generation program, production tools, an office, or customer engagement tools.

Daily Routine

If you run a business, you must follow a daily routine or your workload will soon get out of hand.  You should start work at a predetermined time each day and put in the required hours to make your business work.  If you catch up with what you do whilst watching TV or hanging out up with friends, then you are most likely just enjoying a hobby.  Set time apart for business and make sure it is outside of the time for personal tasks.  Merging the two confuses your mind and it will be difficult to get a lot done.

Boundaries

When you start a business, you must create boundaries around it especially in relation to family and friends. Be clear about your business goals and objectives and communicate the same to your nearest and dearest.  When you respect your business, others will do the same.  If you have no legal structure, no price, no processes and systems and no routine –amongst other important aspects, you will not be taken seriously.

What do you expect from family and friends? Some examples are – no phone calls between 9am and 5 pm, no request to run errands even though you work from home, no impromptu babysitting duties or coffee catch-ups.  You should schedule time for personal tasks but not at the expense of your business.

If you think you are not giving enough time to other areas of your life, revisit your business tasks and create a realistic plan that gives you the right balance.

There is nothing wrong with hobbies and I think we should all have a few. We just have to ensure we do not confuse a hobby with a business so we don’t end up feeling like a tug-of-war rope between two teams.

If you are serious about running a successful and viable business, but are struggling to complete the necessary daily tasks, my Accountability Program could be just what you need.  The Business Building Blocks provides help when you need it and a nudge to ensure you are getting the right things done to build your business.

Check out the details here http://www.businessfirststeps.co.uk/buildingblocks.html

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