Is it a Business or Hobby?

Really early on in my direct sales business, a leader was asking me about my goals. We had recently used the income from my 8-month-old business to pay off our truck and I had set my sights on being able to quit my full time job to be home more with my kids.

Now remember, I was working full time 40 hours a week with a 2 hour round-trip commute, I had a 1 year old, and I was working my side business in (what felt like) every spare minute. My business was doing well, but it was not yet to the point that I was able to replace the income I needed to quit my job.

The leader sat down with me and went over my business activity and current income and then asked me about my schedule for working my business… *crickets*

I didn’t have a schedule for working my business. I just randomly did what I could when I could. I was having fun, making money, and promoting within my company, but she helped me to realize that I couldn’t live off of charisma and sheer determination forever. If I really wanted to make my business work as a full time income, I had to stop working it as a hobby and start working it like a business.

And honestly, it took me a while to wrap my brain around that. For my entire working life, I had worked for someone else. While I had a lot of leeway in my job, they still essentially told me when to come and when to go, what to do, and how much money I would make for doing so. Making the shift from a traditional job to the world of entrepreneurship was a whole new ball game. I really had to take a look at what I was doing and figure a few things out.

Luke 14:28-30 really stands out to me when I think about this topic. It says, For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’”

You see, when I was working my business like a hobby, I had not taken the time to sit down and county the cost of what I needed to accomplish. I had reached a significant financial goal (paying off 2.5 years of truck payments in 8 months), but I was not creating a sustainable business along the way. The “tower” I needed to build was a full time income and I needed to sit down and create a plan to do that.

That plan included things like:

  • examining the cost of me being at my full time job (gas, childcare, eating out, to name a few);
  • figuring out the financial gap I would need to fill with my business;
  • looking at what expenses we could cut back;
  • figuring out a sustainable schedule for working my business;
  • setting a timeline for what needed to be accomplished before I could quit my job;
  • determining how many people I needed to have in my downline and how many events I needed to have on my calendar…

The list was extensive!

The truth is, you are going to get out of your direct sales business what you put into it, and if you want your business to be successful, you have to set time aside to work it and give yourself strong boundaries.

Can you make money and have fun working your business as a hobby? Sure! Will it be sustainable long term? It’s highly unlikely.

For me, the key was creating a daily, weekly, and monthly routine, including office hours and a checklist of what needed to get done each day, week, and month. I had to work as if I were really my own boss and be super intentional with my time.

I think we do people a disservice when we sell our business as if it is something easy to do. While the business model may be simple, building a business of any kind takes time, effort, and perseverance. A hobby mentality is not going to get you where you need to go (unless you just want to have fun), but let me tell you, working by business like a business has been well worth it!

Selena Garrison is a direct sales entrepreneur, financial coach and COO of Catch Your Money! She can be reached at admin@CatchYourMoney.com.

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