I asked my client who was a management consultant working with me on her money mindset for business growth.  A deep intake of breath followed, slight shock on her face.  How dare I suggest that her business was a hobby!

But when you consistently strip your business to pay yourself, never reinvesting or leaving capital in it, using the business bank card for “networking”, Business entertainment, training, etc…and taking summers off before the business has the systems in place to keep going without you….I’m afraid that’s a hobby business!

Or, you might have spent countless hours of energy, time & money converting your real hobby into a business, when the joy of the actual doing of the hobby in the first place turns into a major headache.

Either way, Frustration sets in, shame and anxiety quickly follow because how can that business (perhaps a competitor) make it work but you are feeling like you can’t?

The truth is that the perception that your business is “only” a hobby, despite the amount of time and energy that you are putting in comes directly from you.

It is up to you to decide it’s a business and adjust your mindset accordingly.  That shift alone ie the decision is what closes the back door and you become committed to using your business a vehicle for your prosperity.

You hear this a lot in Network Marketing but it’s equally true for any business.  The point of departure from a hobby into a profit seeking entity is initiated by your mindset to commit to the end result and take the “income generating” actions required to succeed.

One way to shift this perception is to accept responsibility for the current narrative.

What you and other people think, and express to you about your business is a reflection of your narrative and, possibly behaviour.  And I get that this might be a hard pill to swallow.  Rather than dismiss it though, try it on as if it’s true so that you really can discount it logically.

First, let’s start to pay attention to your narrative:

  1. How are you positioning your business and its activities – how do you speak about your business? Who knows you are in business?
  2. Does it convey your WHY (What Has You)? What’s your energy like discussing your business?
  3. Notice your stance, your tone and your choice of words around discussing your business
  4. Pretend that your business is a person who is your business partner. How would you describe the partnership?

Next, reframe your story – record yourself speaking about your business.  Pretend you are being interviewed.  How is it (and you) motivated towards profit?  If it’s not and it truly is a hobby then own it as a hobby and move on.

Usually, it’s our mindset shift and the decision to operate as a business that makes all the difference.

The Hobby “Trap”

A hobby style business is where you do get paid (sometimes) for what you do.  Yet, your headspace is not in seeking profits. Maybe you don’t like the word profit, it sounds greedy to get paid for something you love doing.  Perhaps you love your time freedom so much that the word business makes you think you will be shackled to restrictive time bound responsibilities. And maybe it’s something else.

One way to convert your headspace so it’s motivated towards building a profitable business is to develop systems and processes, being clear and intentional about actually solving a problem that clients want or need to be solved, and are willing to pay for it.
If this last paragraph scares you, do not worry – business systems and processes can be fun and creative!

When you review your various activities within your business, you might find that there are some that you’re quite happy to keep them hobby style. For example, I had a massage therapy practice.  However, the way I was running it was not profit motivated.  I tweaked it so that now, holistic massage forms a service that is available on my retreats as well as for my coaching clients.  I have positioned it as part of a luxury/mini-retreat package for local coaching clients.  They come for a coaching session, followed by a massage treatment to remove the toxins, old beliefs, etc… It also means that some of my massage and aromatherapy supplies can still be partially included in my business expenses (minus a percentage for personal use).

Another example is that I own a rental property where the income and the costs used to flow in/out of my personal bank account.  I decided to treat it as a business and opened a separate account, switched all the direct debits to that account and now it does run as a business.  The extra income is used for repairs and maintenance as well as building up a deposit for another rental property. The intention is not to strip the profits for personal use, which is what used to happen.  Now there’s a scaling and growth strategy.

Often, a solopreneur gets all fired up about a new service, and launches without conducting a proper viability assessment.  I suggest you look at any new services you are developing as projects to see if it’s worth adding into your business.  This will assist in your narrative control as well.

In the previous post, you explored your WHY (What Has You) and your business narrative.  I suggest you create your WHY in a circle in the centre of a page and from that, surround the circle with your services.  Then evaluate each one – if you have it already, provide the profit from each segment.  Then look at how you are running the service/entity, ie describe the client journey/flow.

Task Master vs. Productive Systematisation

When you run a business, if you haven’t systematize your operations then you are likely to be running your business as if it’s a hobby and risking burnout with an overwhelming to do list!  Your adrenal glands and Cortisol production will be in overdrive!  Cortisol is a stress hormone and the higher the levels the more at risk you are for health-related issues.  I’m all about flow in your business – smooth running and calm not choppy and frenetic.

Productive systematisation is when you are clear and consistent with your business’ flow.  Your client’s journey is well planned and mapped out with as much automation as possible.  The day to day business administration is organised and either outsourced or done by you in such a way that it’s not causing you to operate inside of your business outside of your zone of genius.  When you are in that zone, you are in flow.  The energy emitted is attractive to your clients.  When everything in your business is held within an organised “container”, it’s scale able and therefore able to grow and develop into a business, rather than a DI(A)Y (Do it all yourself) hobby.

Write a list of at least 10 reasons why clients should choose you and your services.  Would you buy from you?  If not, then devise a plan to develop yourself into the person that you would buy from.

Daily Method of Operating (D.M.O.)

Consistency in activity is key.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to build consistent activity into  your working schedule.

Your DMO will be unique to you and your businesses but they usually consist of:

  1. Income producing activity such as meetings with prospective clients, sending out invitations for people to meet with you/take a look at your product/services
  2. Growth activity such as adding to your email list or contact list
  3. Engagement activity to deepen your connection to your business network such as following up with people who attended a network event with you recently or genuinely keeping in touch with a contact
  4. Value Add/opportunity to serve activity to employ giver’s gain
  5. Follow up activity on client deliverables, prospective clients that you’ve met and need to move along to the next outcome, etc…
  6. Mindset Activity such as listening to an Audio book, soundcloud, podcast, etc…

Then, have a monthly priorities sheet for your business so you know exactly what technical work needs to be done.  Then use your calendar as well as time blocking  to schedule the tasks (or delegate).

What systems and processes do you have in each of your business/work activities?  How do you run your business so that you know what needs to be done by when and what DMOs do you have?

Commit vs. Dabble 

A hobby is something that you pick up and put down when you feel like it.  It’s recreational in nature, therefore, when events and situations pop up, it’s the first to be sacrificed.

Dabbling is defined as taking part in an activity in a casual or superficial way.

Review your services and determine if there is a customer base with a need for that service and the ability to pay for it.  Start by selecting your core service and design your signature system within that.  A signature system is your way of delivering your service or products to your clients.  It’s styled by you.  You can have other services as peripheral.  For example, my mindful money meditations are peripheral.

Position yourself as a Subject Matter expert, thought leader or contributor.  You’re not trying to serve everyone.  You don’t have to even be an expert.  It’s perfectly acceptable to contribute to the conversation.  Most people today are looking for curated information.  They can easily get the information themselves but you deliver it in a way that saves them time and you work with them in a way that gets results.

It boils down to your energy is what people actually want access to – go out and serve, serve, serve as best you can!

If committing to turning your hobby into a business feels daunting, then consider your superpowers and what you enjoy doing.

List your talents/superpowers along with the problem you specifically solve for your core service (and each of your services if you have more than one).  Do they fall into your superpowers?

Are these offerings linked to what your client wants/needs or what you’d like to be offered?  I once created a whole offering that once developed and ready to launch, I realised it was something I wanted delivered to me.  It was not my area and not for my target market!

How are you able to commit – what does this look like for you?  It may just be 1 hour a day.  That’s Okay – some businesses are so passive that they only require 1 hour a day.  And if you are newly starting out, then maybe all you have is 1 hour.  Business growth requires consistency.  There is no magic number of hours worked before it grows.

It works on consistency, energy and commitment.

The key to commitment is decision, choice and inspiration.  When you are inspired it’s natural to commit to serving your clients in a way that is not casual or superficial.

Instead of using the term Marketing, think Visibility

It can be really hard to market when you’ve got a hobby business.  Simply because you’ve not committed so your energy falls flat on prospective clients or influencers that can put you in touch with prospects.

All marketing is about is visibility; showing/telling people how you can help them.  Therefore you have to be clear about how you can help them.

You don’t need business cards, a website, or anything fancy.   “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relationships, stories and magic”. Seth Godin

When you took over control of the narrative (that’s your story) and are sharing your vision (that’s your magic) that is threaded through all of your services.

You are clear that your business is profit-motivated or reconciled with those that are hobbies and are removed from your business portfolio.

You are clear on describing your signature system.  You have processes and systematization in place.  You are clear where you exchange time for money and where you can think about outsourcing.

Get clear on who, what, when, where and why.  This enables you to have clear and deliberate conversations with people about how you help your markets.  Your DMO should give you lots of opportunities to grow, engage, serve and develop your network which is crucial to marketing.

Once you have visibility the natural progression is engagement which results in sales.  Now your hobby business has been transformed into a profit seeking entity!

© 2024 Money Detox Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Recommended Articles