Business or Hobby?

Business or Hobby? (Video)

“Businesses are in business to make money.  If it does not make money, it is not a business.  It is a hobby.”

This was the most valuable piece of information I learned when I went to the University of Louisville for an MBA.  (If I could remember the professor’s name, I would give him the credit.  Unfortunately, I do not even remember the name of the class.)  This forced me to take a very critical look at my business at the time.  I have used it to assess my business many times since.

If you are self-employed, do you treat your business as a business?  Or do you treat it as a hobby?  Do you invest as much time into your business as you would if you were punching a time clock?  Or do you fit in time where you can between personal pursuits?

I know people who run their businesses as a business.  They put in the time and effort needed to achieve the success they want.  I know others who consistently let everything else come first.  It can be easy to do, especially if you work from home.  There are many potential distractions.

This may be hard to believe, but the ones who are most successful are those who treat it as a business!  They work extremely long, hard hours.  If you want a business, that is the price to pay.

If what you really want is a hobby, that is fine as long as you have another way to support yourself.  But at least be honest with yourself.  A simple question to ask yourself is whether or not you would pay someone else to do what you do throughout the day.

Do you have a business or a hobby?  Which do you want?  Do you need to make changes?


Bits and Pieces

Bits and Pieces (Video)

An old management adage is: “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”  All this refers to is that you take something large and complex, such as a project, and break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces.  Broken down into smaller pieces, it is not as formidable and is easier to accomplish.

I have done this successfully for years for business.  I rarely have enough time to complete a project all at once.  However, by working on one section at a time, I complete the project.  In addition, it is completed more quickly than if I waited until I had enough time to do it all at once.

Another example is education.  Few adults have the luxury of going back to school full time.  I did not.  However, by taking one class per semester, in a few years I completed my MBA.  Had I waited until I could devote full time to it, I would still be waiting.

I have discovered that this philosophy works just as well for personal projects.  For example, I have wanted to clean out and rearrange the kitchen cupboards and pantry for a couple of years.  Finally, I just started doing one cupboard or shelf when I had 15-20 minutes.  This usually occurred while cooking dinner.  Within a few weeks, I had accomplished more than in the previous two years.

These are just a few examples of how strategies that help us meet our goals in one area of our lives can be used to achieve success in others.

Big Dreams, Small Dreams

Big Dreams, Small Dreams (Video)

What do you think are more important, big dreams or little dreams?

I think what is most important are those dreams that become reality.  Small dreams accomplished are better than big dreams never realized.

It is important to our professional and personal success to dream, and to dream big.  If we do not, we will never get what we want.

There are many who say that we should never, ever, give up on our dreams.  I am too pragmatic to buy that. 

There comes a time when we have to look at our dreams and determine whether they are achievable.  We may not have, nor can we obtain, the abilities, skills, or knowledge to achieve our big dreams.  We may not have the time, money, or dedication to achieve our big dreams, or at least do not want to put those resources toward it.  We may not be willing to pay the price to achieve our dreams.

As long as we continue to pursue a dream, that is time, money, and energy that we do not have to pursue other things.

For example, I would love to be a science fiction writer like Anne McCaffrey.  I am in awe of the worlds she created and the inspiration she was to others, especially women. After many attempts, I know that I do not have the ability to write entertaining, engaging fiction.  That does not mean, however, that I cannot be an author.  I am!  One of my most satisfying accomplishments was writing and self-publishing Don’t Act Like Prey! A Guide to Personal Leadership for Women.  And there are more books in the works.

I may not have accomplished a big dream of being a world-renowned science fiction author, but I have accomplished a small dream of being an author and helping people.

Look at your dreams and the length of time you have spent on them.  Are you any closer to achieving them than you were 5 years ago? 10? 20?  If not, it may be time to honestly evaluate your dreams and the real reasons you have not achieved them. 

Perhaps you have not worked hard enough or smart enough to achieve them.  Or perhaps it is time to redefine them.

Be Your Best

Be Your Best (Video)

To succeed in our professional and personal lives it is important to strive to be our best every day.  Realistically, some days we will do better than other days.  As long as we continue to strive to do our best, however, we will continue to improve.  This means that our “best” will continue to move upward.

The key is to strive to do our best, not someone else’s best.  There will always be someone who is smarter than we are, more successful than we are, and has more than we have.  That does not matter.  What matters is that we improve and be the best we can.

Sometimes we may find ourselves in the opposite situation, however.  Maybe we are the best in our group.  Our true friends will be happy for us and support us in becoming even better.

Others, though, may be jealous and try to bring us down to their level. Some people can build themselves up only by tearing others down.  Do not let them do this to you.

Always strive to be your best, even if it makes you much more successful than the others around you.  Always try to improve.

When we can see improvement in ourselves, it gives us more confidence.  With additional confidence we can do even better.  Always work to be your best.