September 28, 2009
Are you a true business owner and entrepreneur? Or are you just having fun at what you do and are treating your efforts more like a hobby?
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.
For all intense purposes, 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 critical element missing from the equation that prevented me from truly being serious – 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 intense 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.
Sound familiar? Is your business more of a casual attempt at earning extra income or are you truly running your business like a serious professional, ready to earn a substantial income and reap the rewards of your efforts?
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 with the various aspects of your business?
- Do you have a clearly defined mission statement?
- Do you have a business plan? A plan 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 know who your target market is?
- Do you have a professionally designed logo to establish your brand and appeal to your 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 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 or 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 take whole summers off and tell yourself you’ll get busy working again in the Fall?
- 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!
About the Author: Susan Friesen uses her heart-centered principles in running a successful service-centric website development and eMarketing firm in Canada. Her passion is helping entrepreneurs and business owners build a successful on-line presence and enjoys being a part of their on-ongoing support team. Find the key to a successful and abundant business by using the power you currently have in your hand – get it here: www.evisionmedia.ca/resources/enewsletter