I'm hoping this information will be especially useful to entrepreneurs working on a challenged budget, home-based businesses, affiliate marketers, virtual business owners and yes, the "hobbyist" who has decided to start a business.
And why am I singling out these poor souls? Because they are the most likely to disregard some very important practices that distinguish a business from a hobby. Over looking some key points can hinder or even halt the progress in taking your business to the next level.
Let me start out by saying, these tips are in no way intended to rewrite or clarify the IRS guidelines for whether an activity is a business or a hobby. Indeed your venture may well qualify as a legitimate business. But are you indifferent to some of the valuable practices that create a foundation for running a successful, long lasting business? Come along and find out! You may well pass or exceed the recommendations and if you agree with the value, why not then share this information with an "up-comer" who may need it!
One of the "joys" of being self-employed is being able to “set-your-own-hours”. That freedom can turn into a blessing or a bane of your business. Setting business hours can be challenging, but it is a critical element to displaying professionalism and it's one of the 9 tests the IRS looks for in distinguishing a business from a hobby.
Keeping regular hours does not necessarily mean 9am to 5pm, nor does it mean having a “We're Open” sign on the shop door, or even a little bell that tinkles each time a patron enters the establishment. Brick and mortar owners are sort of "forced" to keep business hours, but for some folks it's a matter of discipline and planning.
If you are serious about doing business, then showing your availability will not only help build the KLT (Know, Like and Trust) factor, it can also demonstrate that you are not just a hobbyist. And even more:
- Setting appointments (can help you know and grow your numbers)
- Keeping appointments (can help you build business relationships)
- Being sure people know your availability (can help cement the KLT Factor)
- Making it easy for people to make appointments with you (shows respect for their time)
- Following up with appointments (strengthens reality... growing takes time)
- Being consistent with your availability ( shows you are committed)
Fortunately, there are many options available to help you set up your hours, manage your time and show your commitment. The best part is, no matter how unique your business model is, your ability to set solid hours need not be hindered.
If you’re juggling with your schedule or struggling with keeping consistent hours, let’s talk about a solution. A short strategy session with me will reveal some great options. You can find extra time in your day and maybe even reduce the stress! Looking forward to speaking with you soon.