August 15, 2022
One of the best parts of running in entrepreneurial circles is hearing other business owners’ passion for their work and hearing why they got started. We love hearing about the larger mission they serve and about their visions for where they’re going.
We also love encouraging would-be entrepreneurs to chase after their dreams! Everyone we meet has something they’re passionate about. When we see people turning that passion into a career, it’s absolutely amazing to us.
Unfortunately, we know not everyone can accomplish such an enormous endeavor. Although the statistics vary depending on certain variables and studies, over 70% of new businesses will close within their first 10 years of business. 20% will close in the first year alone.
Even sadder than that are those businesses that never even get started. Some businesses never even coalesce into anything real because the person behind the great idea doesn’t stop treating their business as a hobby.
We have hobbies primarily to have fun, enjoy ourselves, and develop our skills and talents. We have businesses to serve a purpose beyond ourselves and to make a profit. If we’re treating our business like a hobby, you’re jeopardizing yourself and your success.
In 2021, Katie San Diego (yes that’s actually her name) was a new music teacher. She was excited, nervous, and more than a little overwhelmed when we got a job teaching several classes of elementary-level students a day.
As most teachers do, Katie quickly learned that teaching required WAY more than the 40 hours a week she was being paid for.
She often found herself getting there early and leaving late with no overtime reflected in her paycheck. Since Katie was currently the sole breadwinner (as her husband was in grad school), this quickly became a problem.
That’s where the idea for San Diego Strings was born. Katie decided to shift from teaching in public schools and instead wanted to start her own online music education business. She had a dream to revolutionize music education and make it accessible for everyone.
She began teaching a few private students but quickly realized that if she wanted this to truly take shape, she’d need to give it her all. As she invested more into her business, both financially and with her time, she began to see the fruits pay off as more and more students began discovering her.
Beyond providing her with the physical needs to build her website, this investment gave her the confidence to show up as a legit business owner and take her vision further.
You, like Katie, might need to take a hard look at yourself to see if you’ve been treating your business more like a hobby. If you are, don’t worry! There are a few actions you can take to start taking your business more seriously.
Let’s take a look at how Katie did it.
Sometimes it’s not until after we start acting a certain way that we begin to feel a certain way. In order to start feeling and coming across as a legit business owner, sometimes we need to invest a little more into it. We’ll quickly become more and more convinced that this is something we can do! And our clients will feel it too. They’ll see us as more professional, and will be more ready to buy.
Here are a few things Katie did to invest in herself and her business so she could stop treating her business like a hobby and instead look, feel, and sound more like a true professional.
Starting a business requires you to learn a lot of skills and wear a lot of hats. No matter how good you are, these things simply take time. Schedule some time in your week to work on your business. Do you need to create content? Find clients? Create that online course? How about getting creative and brainstorming new ideas? Mark it on your calendar and don’t let that time get interrupted by other things. When our business isn’t our full-time income yet, it can be easy to deprioritize it. But if we do that, it never will become our full-time income.
Keeping your personal and business money separate is extremely important. Make sure any money you earn from clients goes into a separate account just for your business. Then pay yourself by transferring money into your personal account. This helps build the mindset that your business is more than just a hobby. If you’re lucky, your bank will even have some special promos for opening an account!
When messaging potential clients or other business owners, it helps to have a professional-looking email address. Email is one of the most common forms of communication with potential clients. You want to set a good first impression, and a professional business email does this by establishing your credibility and building trust from the get-go. If you’re looking for a place to find a business domain for your email, we recommend Namecheap! It’s affordable, easy to use, and they walk you through every step of setup.
In today’s world, having an online presence is essential. Every day, more and more consumers go online to search for the products or services they need. We could go into a long monologue about why your small business needs a website… But in short, you need one because:
If you are in need of a professional website, reach out to us! We’ll guide you through the entire process and build you a website that transforms you into the confident and competent business owner you know you can be.
If you aren’t quite ready to invest in a professional designer yet, we’d recommend building your own website in Showit. It’s user-friendly, requires no coding, and is extremely easy to maintain.
Having a professionally designed brand identity solidifies in your client’s mind your expertise and authority. It communicates your value as a service provider. It also creates consistency, builds awareness around your business, and can foster loyalty.
Sometimes, taking your small business to the next level of investment requires something other than a financial or time investment. Oftentimes, it’s a matter of our mindset. Do we believe we can be successful? Do we see ourselves as business owners who reach our goals? Part of putting in the work to run a business includes doing the mental and emotional work to prioritize our business and see ourselves as successful.
Where is San Diego Strings today? Katie is still in the initiation phase of starting her business, but taking these steps has propelled her much further than she ever would have been without them. She’s expanded her business already to include selling resources on Teachers Pay Teachers. She’s grown so much that she’s looking to rebrand in order to encompass her new target market and ideal clients. And now she’s earning enough money to support herself and her husband who’s in grad school.
In order to quit treating your business like a hobby and instead look and feel like a successful business owner, you often need to start by acting and thinking like a successful business owner!