Thursday, April 26, 2012

Savvy Entrepreneur: Hobby vs. Business

found on Pinterest via shopperelias

I work with a number of clients whose goal is to take their business from something they do part-time or on the side to a level of steady, reliable income. This doesn’t necessarily mean a full-time 40-50 hour a week job that’s supporting the family, but they do want their efforts to have a level of value and they want to feel pride in saying this is my business.

They come to me because they think they need marketing and sales help and usually they do. However, the first issue I see in many of these clients is not that they haven’t embraced social media or don’t know how to approach retail accounts, but they still don’t treat their business as a business. It’s very hard to put forth an image you don’t fully embrace yourself.

How you view your business and treat the time that you spend on it makes all the difference in jumping to the next level. It’s a matter of doing things right, taking it all seriously, and giving it the respect you both deserve.

Talking About What You Do

This is often the first place this lack of faith can be seen. Clients will talk about what they do in an offhand manner, diminishing its worth. They use wishy-washy language or beat around the bush when asked what they do. Or the worst offense they don’t actually tell anyone what they’re doing, friends and family included.

Embrace this business you’re creating, tell people how excited you are, how much you love what you’re doing. It’s ok to say you’re just starting out or you’re still small, but then share where you’re going, what big plans you have. Put it all out there, let it shine.

Working In Your Business

If you don’t take your business seriously it’s often hard to find time to get things done because everything else seems more important. You need to set aside uninterrupted blocks of time to work in and on your business. It’s ok if you only have time from 8-10 in evening or Saturday afternoons, but you need to commit and let anyone know who might interrupt you that you need to do this. If you take it seriously they will too.

Hobbyists do their work in short bursts of time on the bus or in front of the TV. Not to say you can’t do that also, but as someone running a successful business you also need to have work hours, a time when things get done on a regular basis.

Giving It Space

You also need a designated work area that is yours alone. You should not be spending valuable time each day setting up and breaking down the materials you need to work. Not only should you be able to leave projects that you’re in the middle of, but you should also be able to create an area that inspires you and helps you focus on what you do.

I’m not saying you can’t work from the comfort of your bed or kitchen table, I do it at least once a week. But you also need to have an area with everything you need to run your business - materials, tools, computer, good lighting and a comfortable chair. You should want to go to this space everyday. You can’t build a successful business if you hate going to the only place you have to work on it.

These shifts in attitude take effort and time, but practice each day thinking of your business as you want it to be. Take it seriously, give it the space and dedication it deserves, and I promise it will grow into something beautiful you can be proud of.

Genevieve not only writes The Savvy Entrepreneur she is the Co-Founder of Lightbox SF where she empowers creatives to take over the world. Check out the blog or how to work with her.

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Katy or Steph about joining SFEtsy!


Claire said...

Great article! This is the transition I'm making at the moment and you've hit the nail on the head - if you don't believe in it as a business, no one else will.

Setting aside working hours was a huge factor in changing my mindset and those of my friends.
One other thing that I've found to be a big deal is your attitude towards money. Shifting into a business mindset it's often hard to let go of the feeling that you should bootstrap everything. It's important to recognise that if it's going to be a business it's ok, even important, to spend money on the things you could do without/do yourself (like website design, business advice, better packaging etc.)

Anonymous said...

I totally agree about the money Claire. Learning that investing in your business often pays more than keeping it in the bank is a tough one for many of us. I still struggle with hiring people to do things for my business.

malar said...

That's really cool buddy.....Obviously the lady was logical.

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