Monthly Archives: March 2017

Hobby v. Real Businesses

I’ve learned the hard way that it’s possible to think you’re running a real business when you’re actually running a hobby business. Here are some differences so that you can tell them apart:

Activity Hobby Business Real Business
I make … whatever I want whatever customers want
I do .. whatever I want whatever it takes to learn what customers will pay for and then deliver it to them
I buy … whatever equipment, tools and software (a.k.a. ‘toys’) that I want only what will enable me to deliver what customers will pay for (otherwise I save my money)
I focus on … my business (i.e. my hobby) whatever it takes to make the business work (including getting a job if necessary)
I know … what customers want (they want whatever I decide to make!) that I don’t know what customers want – I must visit potential customers and learn from them.
I want … positive feedback (what if people don’t like what I make?!?) real feedback (because I’m committed to making whatever customers want)
I celebrate … low value sales (this is working! all of my dreams are validated! I should go all in!) every sale but recognise that there’s a long, long way to go before this business will generate real income
I spend my time … making things working out what will help me understand and learn from customers, and spend my time doing that.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that you can’t turn your hobby into a real business. What it means is that you must no longer approach it as a hobby or you’ll cost yourself the opportunity to run a real business (and you’ll take the joy out of your hobby).