Do You Have a Business or a Hobby?


There’s been a major increase in the number of people creating their own businesses these days, as independent consultants, service providers, and online affiliate marketers, to name a few. This is fantastic news, because it means more people are taking control of their own destinies, and the Internet is making it easier than ever for us to do just that.

The only problem I see?

A lot of these people aren’t treating their work as a real business.

If you are trying to make more than a couple of bucks on the side, if you are striving (and hopefully succeeding) to create a part or full-time income from your independent operation, than you have a business and you need to treat it as such. Here are 6 things you need to start doing now if you want your business to thrive:


  1. Register your business with the city you live in, and get a tax number. This won’t be necessary for everyone, but if you’re making more than a certain amount per year from your business, you should be paying tax on your business income, and therefore charging your customers tax.
  2. Get an accountant, or at least a great accounting system. Keep all business-related receipts in one spot, track expenses, create realistic budgets and use an invoicing system.
  3. Spend at least 15% of your time promoting your business. Some entrepreneurs spend 25, or even 50% of their time promoting their operations, products, services or websites. Yes, helping clients and customers should be a top priority–but if you aren’t constantly promoting your business, you won’t have a steady stream of clients anyway.
  4. Be clear about your brand. I’ve talked about the importance of this before, and how you should use your values to build an awesome brand you can grow with. It’s an essential key to success, and many solopreneurs don’t bother with it, and wonder why they can’t get any traction in a crowded marketplace.
  5. Get help. The chances of you being really amazing at creating and delivering products and services, doing accounting, admin, customer support, promotion and technical support is pretty slim. You don’t need to juggle all those balls in the air–hire part time, virtual assistants to help you as soon as possible. Or if you can afford it, hire an in-person assistant. Hire out the pieces of your business that you don’t enjoy, and aren’t great at doing. Save your time for the things you do best, where you shine.
  6. Get advice. This may sound self-serving, since I offer my own business coaching service, but I truly believe every business owner could use a regular dose of outside perspective. You’re too close to your biz, which means you often don’t see the areas you need to work on. My coaching service might not be right for you, but there are thousands of other coaches and consultants out there who specialize in helping people like you reach your full entrepreneurial awesomeness.
22 Responses to Do You Have a Business or a Hobby?
  1. Bless
    September 26, 2011 | 8:10 am

    Hello Peace,
    This is Blessing speaking, i find your blog lovely, i appreciate your efforts.
    Bless recently posted..How to Make Money Blogging on Today’s InternetMy Profile

  2. Stacy
    September 26, 2011 | 2:23 pm

    Hi Natalie,

    There is a significant difference between a hobby and a business. I’ve seen far too many people give up because they treat their business as a hobby and get frustrated when their business doesn’t flourish. If they would follow the steps that you outline here they would have seen the growth they desired.
    Stacy recently posted..Afformations: The Secret Code of SuccessMy Profile

    • Avram
      January 31, 2012 | 1:00 pm

      Stacy, I’ve seen many people who gave up because they didn’t like what they were doing. I think it is very important to think your job is one of your hobbies, it is important to like what you’re doing and to feel comfortable waking up every morning for another day of job.

  3. Catarina
    September 27, 2011 | 4:45 am

    Honestly the reason so many people set up businesses is because they simply cannot find a job. 20 million jobs were lost world-wide since Lehman Brothers collapsed.

    Sadly most of them don’t know what they are doing and hence, in Sweden, half of them go bust.

    So for those of you thinking of setting up a business to support yourself take Natalie’s advice and you just might succeed.

  4. business online
    January 7, 2012 | 1:11 am

    You’ve got great insights about business online, keep up the good work!

  5. quiero
    January 31, 2012 | 12:16 pm

    I’m pretty sure many people are interested in this. You are going to help many of them with this advice. Congratulations and keep going with this!

  6. eugene
    January 31, 2012 | 12:50 pm

    In my opinion it is very important to promote your business. Without promoting it, how can it be a success business? Even if you are good in this domain, you cannot succeed without people who know about you, about what you’re doing and about your business.

  7. Romica
    February 1, 2012 | 8:52 am

    Those people who spent 50% of their time to promote their business are the most successful. And they are not necessary the best in that domain. But, they know and care about these marketing strategies which help them.

  8. Tara
    February 1, 2012 | 9:14 am

    Thank you for these tips! I’m going to try following them. They are surely very useful and they can help me to succeed.

  9. Yao
    February 1, 2012 | 10:18 am

    I too think it is important to know how to promote your business. So, this advice is in my opinion the most important. Everyone who own a business must spend as much as he can promoting his business.

  10. Uzzi
    February 1, 2012 | 10:43 am

    All your tips are very good. Thank you for showing us what you know. These things could really help us.

  11. Carrey
    February 1, 2012 | 11:51 am

    You don’t have to get help, you need help. It is more important do to the things you are good at and let other people to do the other things. Exactly as you said, try to do only those things where you shine.

  12. Xania
    February 1, 2012 | 2:18 pm

    I admire you! You’ve done an amazing job so far! I appreciate all your efforts and all this interest you have in helping people!

  13. zebry
    February 1, 2012 | 2:47 pm

    You must definitely treat your work as a real business. Otherwise you will lose all. I saw many cases like this, when people gave up or even lost something they loved to do because they didn’t treat their business with seriousness.

  14. Andreea
    February 1, 2012 | 3:05 pm

    Getting an account is a good advice. It is very important to keep all your business-related receipts in one spot. This way it is easier for you to manage your business.

  15. Danny
    February 2, 2012 | 8:46 am

    Hi! I must say that your work is fantastic. I’ve read all your articles and I think you are very good. I really have to congratulate you!!

  16. Faranume
    February 2, 2012 | 9:38 am

    Being clear about the brand is one of the most important steps. A person who owns a business must be very careful regarding this fact. Otherwise he will not get any traction in a crowded marketplace.

  17. Grecia
    February 2, 2012 | 10:10 am

    I do not think you can have a successful business without any help. You cannot do everything. It is important to have an assistant to help you with less important stuff. This way you will have enough time to handle more important problems.

  18. Hanna
    February 2, 2012 | 11:28 am

    Every business owner can indeed use a regular dose of outside perspective. He should keep in mind what advice he gets and he must try to learn from others. Nobody is born a genius.

  19. Lenna
    February 2, 2012 | 11:50 am

    As far as I am concerned, the most important thing is to like what you’re doing. If you start a business and you do not like doing that, I’m pretty sure your business will not be a successful one. But if you enjoy working for your business, the results are going to be promising.

  20. Olive
    February 2, 2012 | 12:19 pm

    I do not own a business. However, I would love to… I’m really thinking of starting one. I’ll keep coming back for more inspiration from you. :D

  21. Nastase
    February 2, 2012 | 1:21 pm

    Great tips, Natalie – I’ve seen a lot of people make the mistakes you’re talking about. It’s so easy in this day and age to start online businesses especially. And if you don’t take it seriously from the start, you’re kind of doomed.

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