Someone once said to me “Treat it like a business and it will pay you like a business, treat it like a hobby and it will pay you like a hobby.” My only problem…I had no clue what that actually meant. I had worked for several very large companies but I had never owned or run one, I hadn’t even taken a business course. I had no right to even think I had the first clue to know what that meant. So I pretended for a very long time and actually thought I was doing a pretty good job at my direct sales business.
I really only started in the direct sales industry in an effort to get something I wanted at a discount, it made sense to me then and still does. As a little time passed and people found out I was a distributor enjoying the benefits of a great discount they wanted in. Still seemed pretty simple, except…what little money I earned I spent on more product and materials to promote my business because I was excited about having customers and team members. I wasn’t just spending my money I was also spending more and more of my time. And when that first company was bought out and closed their direct sales division I moved on to another company. Again friends found me out and wanted in, pretty soon I was spending my earnings and giving away my discount and never really seeing a profit, but “It was fun!”
Then someone very wise told me I needed to do two things in order to be profitable. First was to know what I was making, which meant keeping a better track of my income and expenses daily. He said, “If I couldn’t answer the question about my current earnings at any given time, it wasn’t a business at all.” The second was to keep my inventory to a minimum and stop giving away the store. Boy, did that hit home as I look around and still find remnants of inventory tucked into closets and cabinets.
So what does it mean to “treat it like a business” when you are your own boss, work from your kitchen table, set your own hours, and are in control of your own success? I am still working on that, but I’m starting to get a clearer picture and here are a few things I’ve learned along the way;
First, work your business every day just like any other business and I am not talking about paper pushing here I am talking about focusing on income producing activities, the activities that make you money. Whether you set your schedule to work 2 or 10 hours in a day you need to have an established work schedule in order to produce results.
Second, stay organized. Keep your income and expenses up to date daily. Use a simple software program to help you stay organized, know what inventory you have if you have a product based business and when new products come along clean out the old. Host a spring cleaning party and invite your past customers to the sale.
Third, educate yourself on your company, products and/or services, and invest in you personally. Personal development has had an amazing impact on my professional and personal life and I am so grateful for the leaders who inspired me to start feeding my mind.
To have a business is one thing but to actually treat it like business is very different and produces very gratifying results. Keep learning, keep growing and keep dreaming, become the business owner you deserve to be and remember “Treat it like a business and it will pay you like a business, treat it like a hobby and it will pay you like a hobby.”
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