More and more, we see a phenomenon expanding in the economy: skilled workers opting to stay at home and choosing to do contractual jobs over the internet. They take on employers based on task-specific contracts, going through several employees one after another. Sometimes, they even juggle several employees at once. They hand in excellent work, the arrangement expires, and they go on to the next contract.
This is the gig economy.
If making, hacking, and creating on the side isn’t enough for you, you may be thinking of taking your hobby legit. However, turning a hobby into a business isn’t just a matter of scaling up. Whether you’re selling creations, ideas, or services, here are three things you need to cut it in the business world.
It doesn’t matter how awesome your products or services are if you don’t have a way to sell them. To monetize your hobby, you need a way to get the word out.
One option is selling through established marketplaces, including Etsy and Tindie. These platforms offer the benefit of already existing, so all you have to do is upload your information and list your items. However, with so many makers, crafters and DIYers using these marketplaces, it can be hard to stand out and find customers.
If you’re serious about your business, create an e-commerce website to list your wares. You can drive traffic and gain customers by marketing your business through social media, attending Maker Faires, and networking with your local maker community. Traditional marketing channels not doing it for you? Read Neil Patel’s guide to growth hacking for creative ways to expand your business.
Working from home has its limits. While a home office is great for focusing and cranking out work, it’s not the most creative environment. For exposure to new technologies and fresh ideas, seek a workspace you share with other makers.
Not only does co-working offices and maker spaces provide a place to work, but also these collaborative workspaces host events where you can learn, socialize and hear from leaders in the field. Make the right connection at a networking event and you can land yourself a partner for your newest project or an investor with a passion for your work. Collaborative workspaces expand your social capital and provide access to tools and technology that you might not be able to afford on your own.
To find a maker space in your area, check out the directory at Make.
The difference between a hobby and a business isn’t in how much time you commit to the pursuit. Rather, it’s all about how you handle the finances.
If you’re considered a business by the IRS, your business expenses are fully deductible. However, businesses have to check a few boxes, such as keeping financial records, paying estimated taxes and generating profit. You can learn more about the business-hobby distinction at The Simple Dollar.
You’ll need to keep financial records such as business expenses and income, receipts, invoices and inventory logs. How you maintain these records is up to you. While many small-business owners turn to software solutions like QuickBooks, when you’re first starting out, basic spreadsheets may be sufficient. However, some tech solutions are worth the effort.
Two apps that every new freelancer, side-gigger, or small-business owner should have in their pocket are a receipt-tracking app, and an invoicing app. A receipt app collects receipts in one place using pictures, so you’re not sorting through stacks of faded, crumpled receipts at tax time. An invoice app lets you send invoices right from your phone, so you can keep your business running on the go. More importantly, it makes it easy to see which invoices are outstanding so you don’t forget to get paid!
Turning a hobby into a successful enterprise is every maker’s dream. However, running a successful business requires more than passion and a great idea. If you want to see your dreams come to fruition, you need to pay just as much attention to these behind-the-scenes details as you do to the main attraction.
Article by Lucy Reed, firstname.lastname@example.org>The Gig Mine, http://gigmine.co/.
We really are a society, of ‘I want what I want now.’ I spent most of my younger life wanting something. One year it was a new car or another car, and then it was more clothes and a different color hair. At one point, I had four cars in various states of restoration.
Yes, I wanted something but I never knew what it was. I was attracted to ‘bright shiny objects’ and wanted everything. It never stopped; I had to have every color lipstick and shoe.
At this point, I can own up to the facts—I was trying to be more desirable. One day, I realized that I was being taken on a ‘proverbial ride.’ Not only that, but my credit card bills were mounting, and my bank accounts weren’t growing. I was adding to everyone’s success but my own! I was being seduced by marketing geniuses and my own need to cover up my insecurities.
I was looking outside myself for the answers to my life. It has taken me many years to realize that what’s important to me not anyone else. Why do I care what others’ think about me?
The point is I believe you can get what you want if you know what it is. As I listen to people talk about their next new car, when there’s a perfectly good one in the garage, I ponder whether they’re wondering why they need a new one. Think about the millions spent on advertising that tries to make us feel like a new soft drink will make us smarter and a new car will make us sexier. (One of my friends told me he felt sexy in his new car. This is a sad commentary on how he views himself.)
So what’s the solution?
Before you run out of money and need a second or third job, stop and think about what you’re trying to accomplish with your buying. Take a good look in the mirror and do a self-inventory. Ask yourself, who am I looking at?
Stop being afraid of who you are. Eckhart Tolle tells his own story of depression and discontent in his first spiritual teaching, The Power of Now. He could no longer live with himself. And in his repetition, he then asked, “Who the ‘I’ is and who is ‘myself’?” These are powerful questions.
Bring your conversations to reality. How many times have you thought you would like to do change careers but are afraid of what your spouse might think? Maybe you’re worried that it doesn’t’ pay as well as the job you have now.
I’m starting to realize I’m passed the point of trying to please everyone in my life. Of course there are still those I love and want to please but I don’t think a new car will do it.
Lisbeth has been helping businesses for over 25 years get what they really want’—more customers. To schedule a call or have her speak at your business, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.
Today I attended a Weight Watchers meeting. What started out as a “fact-finding mission,” has turned into a lifetime membership. I’ve been attending for a year; weighing in weekly and often staying for the meetings. I never thought I would stay, but I find the people and the meeting inspiring. Today we discussed things in the environment that we can’t change.
I went out to eat the other night and noticed that everyone was taking home more than I was eating. There were mounds and mounds of food on everyone’s plate. I kept thinking, if I ate all that food I would just continue to gain weight, but the food looked so appetizing. I heard a little voice say in my head, “It’s not for me.” I guess that’s what going to Weight Watchers for a year will do for you.
Is your environment unhealthy? Here are some tips for staying on top of it.
1. Remember stress of some form will always be in your life. You may choose to see it as stress or change it to excitement. We may not be able to change the stress but we can change how we react to it.
2. Have an escape plan. If things get too much for you, get out. One of the men said he was so overwhelmed by the food at an open house; he just left via the back door. Occupy your mind with something different. I have a friend who “worries it forward.” Instead of waiting for the “think to happen, “ in her mind, a “possibility that it might” means it has. According to a poll on the health site, for example, roughly 70% of readers find themselves ruminating quite often, and only around 5% find that they are able to let things go almost immediately. To ruminate is one way to think or exercise the mind or one’s power of reason in order to make inferences, decisions or arrive at a solution. Instead of getting done with it, you think about it over and over. Do you think you’re prone to “ruminating?” Take this test and find some helpful tips to get you away from this habit.
3. Distract yourself from the uncomfortable thing. This will help you forget about it and put together a new plan. You can read a book, turn on the television or take your dog for a walk. Be a good friend and look for positive people.
4. Be mindful of your situation. Instead of going off into the “what if,” become grounded in reality. Reality might not feel like the safest place to be, but you will have more options there.
5. If you’re stressed, make sure you get enough sleep. Without the proper amount of sleep, things look a lot worse. Consider a short nap to perk up your stress coping abilities.
6. The best way to lessen your stress is to go for a run or exercise. Exercise raises your endorphins and will give you energy. The environment continually changes giving us more things to deal with. The better we are with coping the more pleasant our lives.
Lisbeth helps businesses improve their customer service and the customer experience. To have her talk to your team or schedule a call, reach her at 518.495.5380.
So do I get it?
Yes I do – having lived in downtown Albany for 20 plus years and having to park on the street. What I’m wondering is, why the rant? I don’t believe I hit his/her bumper, I always check and I know I didn’t hit the side of his/her car. Sure we all get angry, but suppose I just turn out to be your boss or your mom’s best friend or your father’s new girlfriend!
Consider this lovely note written by Dan Gilbert, Majority Owner, Cleveland Cavaliers, about Lebron James' “defection” to Miami.
“This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his "decision" unlike anything ever "witnessed" in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.”
And then this morning:
COBLESKILL, NY — A racial controversy in the Town of Cobleskill came to a head Monday night, as roughly 130 people showed up at a town meeting demanding answers. (The mayor has been recorded as using racial slurs.)
And then there’s Mel Gibson. Could he get himself in anymore trouble?
From presidents to presidents, words have managed to destroy many careers.
“I did not have sex with that woman.” One of the most famous lines.
What happens to us in the heat of emotion? Do our real feelings come out? Do we feel we have the right to say “what we really think?” I think not.
Anger is just as much violence as if one took a baseball bat to the victim; we think it doesn’t cause as much hurt as it does.
My thoughts: words can bring you down.
Remember when you were a kid, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never harm me?” I don’t think it’s true, words are just as harmful, words often lead to “sticks and stones.” Children start of the playground with harmless words and then graduate into sticks and stones. I was walking behind a group of tykes and they were cursing like the big boys!
You never know who is listening, or judging.
Why would you want to air opinions in anger that you would never air if you were in your right mind?
As a business owner, you are always in the public light, anything you say will be used for or against you.