Being an entrepreneur feels excellent. You took a chance, opened your business, and are ready to go out and take on the world. It’ll continue to feel fantastic if you’re growing and realizing profitability.
“Profitability is the most crucial component of a business; without it, you have an expensive hobby,” says Sarah Mae Ives, founder of Sarah Mae Ives Mentor & Facebook Ads Strategist. “Business owners don’t start a business thinking, ‘Losing money sounds like a fun and relaxing way to spend my time, and this is a great way to replace my reading time and art projects,’ Starting and continuing a business requires critical considerations and actions to ensure your business isn’t a hobby.”
Let’s talk about what you absolutely must do to ensure you don’t end up with a new hobby.
Start With a Purpose and a Plan
Before all else, determine the purpose of your business. The best intentions in the world will result in a hobby without certain parts of the plan, including profitability and an exit. Do you intend to turn this to be a full-time job and eventually sell the business or pass it to family? If not, you might be planning to have a hobby.
Certain statements or aspects of your thinking will ensure you end up with a hobby, not a business. These are statements such as:
- “I want to make a difference; money doesn’t matter.”
- “I never want to be pushy. Customers will approach me.”
- “I want to work with everyone, even if they don’t have the money to pay me.”
- “My prices will be very low so people can afford what I offer.”
- “I am not expecting to earn what I did working for someone else.”
Your business plan requires crucial components; without them, you’ll always have a hobby. If you don’t have these, your endeavor will never become a business. The plan needs to include the following:
- Have a concept of your ideal clients and the need you fulfill for them.
- Pricing that covers your costs and provides you with a high income.
- A plan to develop sales leads or attract people who can afford your product or services.
- How you intend to grow the business and an exit plan.
- Time and money to start on the right foot.
- The business skills you need to invest in learning to run the company properly.
- A financial plan which includes monthly benchmarks to compare against your results.
- An ability to meet customer demands as the business grows and minimize the dramatic costs that can come with business growth.
- The time, money, and equipment needed to invest in starting the company.
A business starting with a true purpose and planning also indicates you have one of the essential traits to run and build it; a serious commitment.
A Willingness to Sell
Ask yourself, “Can I sell?” Sales and marketing are the very heart of every business. You must be willing to get out there, network, ask people for the sale, and market yourself and the company. You’ll always have an expensive hobby if you can’t do that.
“No business is created using social media to tell people you are doing something new,” says Sarah Mae Ives. “Unless you’re a successful influencer with a million followers, your audience is too small, most won’t see what you’re up to, and many won’t care. It’s on you to be out there telling people you solve their problems or fulfill their desires and how you’re different from everyone else.”
Once others are convinced your company has what they need or want, closing the deal is the most essential sales component.
Suppose you have no willingness to sell, no ability to close the deal, and no desire to overcome your fears or change your approach; find an employee who does. Customers aren’t going to show up at the door and throw their money at you on their own. Go sell or stay in your current job.
Dedicate the Necessary Time
Even if your new company is an endeavor you intend to start while still working, working a few hours a week isn’t going to grow it. A profitable and growing business takes work and dedication to the time commitment needed to realize success.
Seek Out and Accept Advice
Others out there have started and know small businesses very well. No matter what you intend to offer, you’re not an exception to traditional business practices. There are amazing people and resources out there, and they want to celebrate your success with you.
Even as you start realizing more and more success, always be open to ongoing learning and advice. Seek it out constantly and never dismiss any thoughts from other successful businesspeople.
The single biggest destroyer of companies is ego. You’re never so good that the advice and thoughts of other experts shouldn’t be considered. Business owners must be lifelong students.
If you don’t wish to be humble and keep learning, ensure your hobby business is enjoyable and you can afford it because it’ll never be anything but a hobby.
It All Comes Down to Three Things
Having a business instead of a hobby might seem challenging, but it’s only when you exercise those four crucial traits. Those are a serious commitment to making it work, a willingness to be out there selling, the dedication to putting in the time and work, and the humility required to seek out and accept guidance from others.
Start each day with a dedication to those traits, and you’ll develop a successful business, not an expensive hobby.
About Sarah Mae Ives:
Entrepreneur Sarah Mae Ives is a Facebook™ Ads expert and coach helping women entrepreneurs create social media ads strategy to scale their businesses. In 2006, she graduated from Carleton University with her M.A. in sociology and anthropology.
She is a devoted mom who lives in the Greater Ottawa Metro Area in Ontario, Canada. Sarah’s clients have been featured in publications such as Forbes and Entrepreneur as well as on The Today Show.