When you're building a business as a side hustle, sometimes, people will look at it more like a hobby, and that can be frustrating, right? I've seen people question if someone was building a business or a hobby and claims that you had to earn a certain amount of money to make the determination. And I think that's wrong. We need to think about where people are in their journey. Sometimes, especially in the early days, people are working hard but not making much yet.
I remember reading an article in the early days of my business, and it made me mad. This person said if you weren't making at least $1,000 a month, your "business" was a hobby, not a real business. While I appreciate that you do need to earn money to have a business thrive, in the early days, you don't always make that much money. I was in the early stages of building my business, and I didn't have clients yet, so I wasn't making money. However, I was working hard every day, and in my heart, I knew I was building a business, not playing at a hobby.
So, I don't like to say you have to make X amount to be a business instead of a hobby. I think a better way to look at it is the intention behind your behaviors that determines if you're building a business or a hobby.
When you're building a business, you spend time learning how to manage and grow that business. When you're working on a hobby, you spend your time learning how to improve in that particular area.
When you're building a business, you want to learn how to manage inventory, finances, build an audience, and more. With a hobby, you're not likely spending your time learning about the business/operations side of things. You're spending more time improving your skills, creating new designs, or having fun doing something you enjoy. You're probably also not focused on earning an income from what you're doing for fun. Hobbies are something we do to relax, not something we do to pay the bills.
What do you think is the difference between building a business in the early stages and having a hobby? Would you be bothered if someone equated your business to a hobby? I know I was. I felt that the article was looking at it from too narrow of a perspective. To me, there's much more to growing a business than the income you're earning. I think it's the intention behind your actions that speaks more to whether it's a business or a hobby. If you're spending time creating goals, plans, and learning about how to grow something, in my opinion, that's building a business.
Are there businesses that grow out of hobbies? Absolutely. I think sometimes people start with a hobby and find they love it and want to learn how to make it grow into a business. I also think they consciously decide to turn it into a business. When this happens, they often start thinking about a name for their business, researching how to set up a business, learning about types of businesses, and finding out if they need to complete paperwork for a legal entity, and more. Building a business takes time and specific focus.
Do you believe you're building a business or a hobby right now? Even if you have no clients today, are you laying the foundation for a business? Are you creating goals, learning about finances, setting up your business entity, working on a website, etc. or are you doing something for fun and maybe a little mad money? Neither answer is right or wrong. I'm curious what's in your heart. How do you feel? Is it a business or a hobby?