Can You Really Turn a Hobby into a Business? part 2 of 3

Business Is Both Fun and Dull All The Time

Fun is a small word with a huge impact on our lives, so it makes sense that we’d prioritize injecting fun into our business lives whenever possible. And, if you’re thinking about becoming your own boss, the ability to capitalize on fun is definitely one of the advantages: you can wear whatever you want, play music while you work, control the tone and presentation of your product—you’ll be in control of a lot of fun, new components of your business.

However, even the most fun business is still just that – a business. There are a lot of decidedly un-fun and dull responsibilities that your business requires to remain successful and profitable. Finance, administration, inventory – these are all things most small businesses owners do not go into business to learn how to do. That being said, there are ways to help minimize the impact of these dull tasks so you can focus on the fun stuff:

  • Get a bookkeeper or an accountant from day one. Explain that you are a very small business on a shoestring budget, and that you don’t need corporate advice – you just want to get the basics right.
  • You’re going to want mobile and online offerings first, so find a bookkeeper who does the same. You’ll get the advice and help you need without spending time and money travelling to meet them in person.
  • Use an accounting app that your bookkeeper recommends. Every dollar you spend on your business counts towards your success.
  • Learn the basics of accounting, invoicing, expense management, tax returns, and cash flow. Accept that your success depends on it. You don’t have to be an expert but you will fail without mastering the basics of accounting.

For everything else you need help with, use sites like www.upwork.com and www.peopleperhour.com to get freelance help. These sites offer experts on demand and at an affordable price.

Do The Math and Get More Help

Fundamentally, every business needs to answer this simple equation to find success: revenue minus cost. To make sure your business is financially stable, start by figuring out how much income you need along with how much product you need to sell, and what your costs are. Then you’ll need to calculate how to manage the cash flow (the money you need to make the business work) as you ramp up. Keep going over these numbers.

If you are useless at numbers, don’t give up—get help! It’s a given that you will be weak in some areas of your business – after all, your passion for your hobby is not enough to keep a business up and running smoothly. The good news is that anyone in marketing, finance commercial management, product management, or your bookkeeper can help you. And don’t forget your friends and neighbours: your community includes people who will do things pro bono, provided that you can help them back. Be open to this. The social-first generation is all about mutual support (and that’s what makes it awesome!).


About the Author
Nick Goode is the Global Commercial Director of Sage One, Sage’s cloud accounting and payroll solution for start-ups and small businesses. He is accountable for the commercial, channel, product and marketing strategy for Sage One worldwide. Nick was previously Head of Sage One for Sage UK, and prior to that, Head of Marketing for the Accountants Division at Sage.

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