Is your business a hobby or a real endeavor?

hobbyHas your husband flat out said or joked around that your business is a “just” a hobby? Have you been plagued with doubts whether your business is real or not?  Do you constantly compare yourself with other businesses and/or business owners?  Well, pull up a chair; we’ve all been there.  But, doubt and comparison are a waste of your great brain.  The first thing you have to do is know the truth and the terms so can defend yourself to others, your husband and most importantly, your inner critic.

The first thing you have to do is define the words hobby and business.

HOBBY: an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation.  Money is spent on the hobby, but money is not derived from it.  There is nothing wrong with spending money or time on a hobby unless it is excessive or necessities are being neglected.

BUSINESS: the activity of making, buying, or selling goods or providing services in exchange for money.

Once you’ve identified you have a business, you define what style it is.  There are two main types: lifestyle and growth.

A lifestyle business is defined as one that allows you to maintain a particular lifestyle. It is often thought of as a solo endeavor.  It typically has limited scalability and potential for growth. It can have employees; it can even have big revenue.  But, it’s purpose is to allow you, the business owner, the ability to live your life on your terms while you run your company.   Old school pundits pigeon-holed creatives, photographers, artists, into this category.  Now, bloggers who are enriched by extended and frequent exotic travel with their families and who are blessed to have the flexibility in their day to watch every one of their child’s soccer games are changing the face of business.  With the explosion of technology, even professionals such as CPA’s and lawyers can have a virtual and nomadic lifestyle.   Home party consultants can generate enough income to pay for a child’s first bike, braces, family travel, and tuition. Typically, lifestyle businesses allow the business owner to work out of their home giving the illusion it isn’t a “real” job though that mindset is rapidly changing.

Replying to an unsupportive husband about your lifestyle business takes finesse.  You want to be firm and compassionate. Here’s an example Darcy, a home-party consultant, shared, “Bob, I like providing “(she listed what her income provided)” for the family. Being a (fill in the blank) gives me an outlet to be social and productive while not interfering with the primary responsibilities of being a mom/wife.” Then she added, “What worries you or what are you fearful of me doing this?”

For the blogger who is tired of hearing, “When are you going to get a real job?” you can lightheartedly reply, “Why would I leave behind travel, experiencing my children’s milestones, and the opportunity to enrich my readers, all while paying my bills and funding my retirement?”  Replace the specifics with your own experience(s) and repeat it over and over, in your head till you believe it, and to the naysayers of your (lifestyle business) life.

A growth business is defined as having revenues increase significantly every year, a strategic long-term vision, and an exit strategy for investors.  This business owner is typically your quintessential 80-hour p/week entrepreneur. Understanding the growth business takes an intimate understanding of the life-cycle of business. There are victorious highs and crushing lows.  Only a resilient business owner can navigate those choppy waters. Unsupportive husbands or ill-advised friends will often ask, “When are you going to give up this fantasy?” They don’t recognize the sacrifices you are making and what you need to do to grow and in some cases rescue the business (remember the mention of the life-cycle of business?).   Responding to the unsupportive husband is trickier because it is highly likely you’re consumed with your business and have neglected him.  You may be neglecting other important people in your life, such as your children, friends or your mother, too. OUCH!  Regardless, it is best not to dismiss gripes, but to respond in a compassionate manner. Ask him what he is worried or fearful of. Listen carefully to his response. Perhaps he’s worried you are spending all of the savings on the business (you shouldn’t be, after a point, but that’s another post), or that he’s feeling sidelined.  He may even be worried about your health. Regardless, you need to address the issue and come to a thoughtful, realistic agreement that you can both live with.

Hopefully, this gave you the needed information to practically address your husband’s comments. Bottom line, feel no shame with producing an income, as long as you’re not jeopardizing your primary relationships, your health or your soul.

As always, I welcome family-friendly, helpful comments!  Have you experienced defining or defending your business to your husband?  How did you respond?

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