29 Questions to Help You Determine if What You’re Doing is a Business or a Hobby
Are you a true business owner and entrepreneur? Or are you pursuing your business dreams more like a hobby but may not even be aware this is what’s happening?
Years ago I was a Mary Kay beauty consultant. I loved doing what I did and was very passionate about it. I built up a customer base of over 200 women, worked hard at making phone calls, doing classes and facials, and attended all team meetings.
One could perceive my efforts as being serious about my business, but was I really?
I look back now and realize that even though I worked hard and seemed to be busy, there was one cheap commercial truck insurance missing from the equation that prevented me from having my own business – and that was the need to actually earn a living at what I did!
At the time I was married with two young kids. My husband made a decent income and we never lacked funds to pay the bills and go on a yearly family vacation. So anything I did was, for all intents and purposes, a hobby.
Our family was not counting on me to make enough money to pay the mortgage or purchase food for the week. My income was simply a little extra cash to buy a new piece of furniture or to help pay for the Christmas presents in December.
I really didn’t need to be working, so wasn’t serious enough to treat it like a real business and actually make a large income from my efforts.
Now don’t get me wrong. I worked hard at what I did but I never thought of my efforts as a true business. If you had asked me at the time, I would have probably gotten defensive and emphatically insist I was running a business!
I took a lot of time off when I felt like it…,
I worked around the kid’s school schedule and family meals…,
if I didn’t feel like making calls for a few weeks, I didn’t make them…,
when the sun came out, the kids and I headed to the park and work was the last thing on my mind…,
I would fit in a few hours here and there to work on my business… when time allowed around my other commitments….
What about you? Do you let family, friends and other factors take you away from working on your business? Or are you 100% committed and invested in your business success?
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help – you might be surprised with some of the answers if you’re being honest with yourself!
- Are you clear on your business’s focus – have you defined the product or service you provide and have stuck to it or are you continually trying out other things?
- Have you registered your business name with your local government?
- Do you have a business licence with your local community?
- Do you have a dedicated business phone line? A toll free number?
- Do you have business insurance?
- Do you have legal contracts in place dealing with the various aspects of your business?
- Do you have a clearly defined mission statement?
- Do you have a business plan? One that gives you a solid blueprint on how to achieve your business goals and how much it’s going to cost?
- Do you know who your competitors are and what they are doing?
- Is your business scalable in a way that it doesn’t depend on you being hands-on 100% of the time?
- Do you have a marketing plan that provides you with specific steps on how you are going to attract your perfect client and how much it’s going to cost?
- Do you have a set budget for advertising and marketing to build your client base?
- Do you really know who your target market is?
- Do you have a professionally designed logo to establish your brand identity and appeal to your ideal target market?
- Do you have professionally designed business cards, letterhead, promotional materials and other items to market your business?
- Do you have a professionally designed and developed website that represents your business brand effectively, 24 hours a day – 7 days a week?
- Do you continually update and employ SEO tactics to your website to ensure optimal results?
- Are you outsourcing certain tasks to help you with the things that are not your core competency such as bookkeepers, web developers, marketers, virtual assistants and graphic designers?
- Do you have a separate office space where you can shut the door at the end of the day and leave it closed until business hours start again?
- Do you have set business hours where no emails and no phone calls occur after hours?
- Is your office space organized and systemized so that anyone could come in and take over where you left off?
- Do you keep proper books and track all of your business receipts? Or is everything stuffed in a shoe box or file folder until tax time?
- Are you aware of all the tax write-offs that you’re entitled to and use them to the fullest?
- Do you have a dedicated business bank account?
- Does ALL of your business income go into this business account and you pay yourself on a regular basis?
- Do you work all year round with vacation breaks or do you take whole summers off and tell yourself you’ll get busy working again in the Fall?
- Do you diligently work at your to-do list of items that will help achieve your goals or are you telling yourself you’ll kick things into gear after…. (fill in the blank)?
- Are you truly happy and passionate about doing what you do?
- Is your business fulfilling your life’s purpose or are you just going through the motions of trying to make some money?
The questions above do not cover everything when considering what is involved in running a business, by no means, but I hope they got you thinking enough to help you determine whether you are running your business like a hobby or are you seriously running your business to earn a healthy living.
I encourage you to take an honest look at what you are doing and decide today on what your future holds for you – nothing will happen until you make that decision!
Did this article strike a chord with you? Are there areas in your business that you could be improving to get you beyond the hobby mentality?
To your success,
About the Author, Susan Friesen
Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.
As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.
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