According to popular wisdom, if you do what you love, then you will never work a day in your life. This sentiment is something that many people take to heart, choosing to turn a creative hobby, such as crafting, amateur photography, or candle making into a business – a situation that sounds absolutely ideal.
While there is no denying the theory behind the idea of capitalizing on an existing hobby to create a business, the reality can be a little more testing. Below, we have looked at three of the most common issues hobbyists-turned-entrepreneurs tend to face, as well as advice on how these can be overcome.
The Problem: Creating for yourself rather than your customers
Hobbies are about personal enjoyment and fulfilment, so you’ll naturally use your hobby to create the things that you like – you will, for example, create fragranced candles that appeal to your personal preferences, or take photographs you wish to display in your home. When your chosen pursuit is a hobby, focusing on your preferences is more than fine, but as a business owner, you have to appeal to an audience of many – and if you don’t, it can be difficult to generate sales.
The Solution: Staying up to date on trends
You should continue to create the things that you love; no one is saying that you have to abandon the things you love to make or do the most in order to turn your hobby into a business. However, you do need to have range, and make sure that you’re also catering to a wider market – and staying on top of trends, and then reflecting those trends in the items you produce, is by far the best way to achieve this goal.
The Problem: Being too much of a perfectionist
Hobbies provide you with time to be a perfectionist. If a candle doesn’t quite have the scent throw you hoped for or a craft piece’s color scheme doesn’t quite work, then you can start over and over again until you get it just right. In business, however, there is no such luxury: you can’t keep starting over when you have customers waiting.
The Solution: Establish firm quality control
Establish rigorous quality control guidelines that will help to objectively decide if an item is suitable for sale. If an item meets your pre-established quality control parameters, then it’s complete, and is ready to make its way to its new home.
The Problem: Relying too heavily on your established processes and methods
If you’re a crafter, you might lean towards your preferred materials, and use techniques that you have relied on for years; if you’re a photographer, you’ll have a preferred camera and angles you enjoy using, and so on. When you turn your hobby into a business, you’ll want to continue to use the same techniques and equipment that you always have – but this can hold your business back. When a hobby becomes a career, being able to offer variety is essential, as is the ability to speed up production by using high-quality tools.
The Solution: A robust investment strategy
A hobby-turned-business is still a business, which means that continuing to innovate and seek products that can improve results and offer variety is still important. This applies to any type of business; if you’re a crafter struggling cutting vinyl and similar materials by hand, then read VinylCuttingMachineGuide’s best vinyl cutting machine guide and choose an upgrade; if you’re a photographer still relying on the standard lens supplied with your camera, then look for new zoom lenses – and so on and so forth. By focusing on the solutions presented above, you should be able to turn your hobby into a viable business that is primed for long-term success.
There are many things to consider within your business.
You need to think about your profit margin and how you are going to increase sales.
You need to take care of the many administrative tasks that fall upon your desk.
And you need to keep one eye on your business rivals to ensure they don’t do anything to out-market you.
Important considerations all, but despite your busy nature as a business owner, there is one other thing that should perhaps take priority over everything else.
The health and overall wellbeing of your employees.
If you overlook their needs, your business will suffer in tandem. Productivity will take a hit if your employees struggle to perform at work because of their health issues, and operations might have to cease for a short time if your employees are forced to stop working because of the way they feel. Your business might also suffer from bad word-of-mouth, not only from your poor employees but also from those people who have seen what your business has done to them.
Therefore, you need to do all you can to support your employees’ mental health and physical health in your workplace. And the first thing you can do is this: Take heed of those factors we will list below that have the potential to affect your employees’ wellbeing.
#1: An unclean workplace
This is a no-brainer, as an unclean workplace is a guaranteed way to fast-track infections and illnesses around your business. You need to take the relevant steps to promote good hygiene, such as setting rules for employees to follow in areas where bacteria is likely to build up (such as kitchen and desk areas) and by hiring a cleaning service to regularly care for this aspect of your business. You might also set up a cleaning rota for staff (and yourself) to follow, especially if the expense of a cleaning service is out of your budget.
#2: An unsafe workplace
Safety isn’t a guarantee in every workspace. Especially if your business uses high-risk pieces of equipment, or if chemicals and other toxic substances are used for work practices, then there will be dangers present to your employees’ wellbeing. In such instances, you need to provide your employees with the relevant safety gear and use such items as the best air scrubbers to decontaminate hazardous environments.
However, an unsafe workplace can be any workplace, as even in an office environment, there might be dangers lying in wait, such as loose wiring on the floor, and malfunctioning pieces of technology. You must risk-assess every aspect of your business, and where dangers can be found, you need to take steps to eliminate them. The safety of your employees depends upon it. Remember too that you are also affecting your employees’ mental health if you are forcing them to work in unsafe conditions, as stress and fear will both take their toll. Let this be another incentive to promote all that is good and right within health and safety guidelines in your business.
#3: A too-busy workplace
Your employees are not mindless worker drones. They don’t run on Duracell batteries. They are human beings and as such, they have an incapacity to work for too long a period. Tiredness and exhaustion will set in if forced to do so, and this might eventually lead to burnout and stress-related illnesses. Therefore, go easy on the overtime, and make sure they have enough rest breaks during the day. You will see an uplift in their productivity if you do, as not only will they work harder after being given the time to refresh their mind and bodies, but they will be happier at work too.
No, we aren’t talking about the pervading toxins of chemicals and any other noxious substances that might be found in the atmosphere of your particular workplace. We are talking about those other harmful irritants that are less physical in nature, such as fear, anger, mistrust, jealousy, and resentment. These are just a few of the aspects that can make up a toxic workplace, and your employees might be surrounded by them. You can’t clean these things away with domestic products. You can’t open your windows to clear the toxic atmosphere. But to ensure your employees don’t fall mentally ill because of the breeding substances of discontent, you can operate an open door policy so your staff can come to you for help. You can set policies to rule out discrimination and any other forms of workplace bullying. And you can take steps to be a good boss, so you aren’t the instigator of the toxins that float around your workplace.
So, consider your workplace and the factors that could affect your employees’ well being. If you have related to any of the above, take the relevant next steps to care for the people in your employ. Not only will you serve them well, but you will also improve the overall well being of your business if you do.
As homeowners we know that we are likely to be living in our greatest asset. Our property is an investment just as it is our home. As such it can be a good idea to think of it these terms before we choose to spend any money on it. It makes sense to ensure that if we are investing, we will be likely to make a good return on it, as we would do with any other type of asset. With this in mind, here are 3 ways to add value to your home, areas that are usually worth spending on.
Renovate and redecorate
Improving the interior appearance and condition of your home tends to be one of the best places to start. This is also the one that tends to make a real difference to how we live in and enjoy our homes on a day to day basis.
You will want to address any more serious concerns first with this one. If your house would benefit from rewiring, damp proofing or plastering, then get that work carried out before moving on. These make your house more comfortable and safer for you, and issues in these areas could put potential buyers off if you were looking to sell at some point.
You can then have more fun with planning decor changes or updating rooms. Kitchens and bathrooms are often the rooms that can help to sell homes or put buyers off them, so they are normally wise investments.
Adding square footage to your house usually adds value. There is a caveat here that most areas and streets do have a ceiling price, no matter the number of bedrooms or reception rooms, so do take care that your spend doesn’t take you through that ceiling.
Assuming that you have taken into account the ceiling price, there are several ways to extend your home. Loft conversions can be stunning additions to a house and people often use them to create an extra bedroom and ensuite. You could also add floor space on the ground floor, using some of your yard space up or demolishing unwanted outbuildings, or you can add another storey or two.
When you are extending, think about the rooms that people find most desirable, as these are the ones you want to either add on or enlarge. Perhaps you will add a utility area and guest WC in a downstairs extension, or an additional bedroom or bathroom upstairs.
Improve the exterior
There are many ways to improve the exterior of your home, so work on them in order of priority according to the most value they will add.
You could hire a paving contractor and get a complete new driveway which is likely to add kerb appeal as well as being a structural improvement. You might want to update your glazing, front door and porch, all of which can make your home more attractive as well as more energy efficient.
You may choose to landscape your back garden, which can often be a matter of personal taste. However, there is no doubt that a well looked after garden is more tempting to potential buyers than an untidy and overgrown yard.
It doesn’t matter whether you play hockey or whether you fancy starting your own synchronised swimming team because there are more amateur sports teams being set up than ever before. If you want to get started, then here are some tips that will get you well on your way.
The first thing that you need to do is arrange to have a meeting with a few diverse people from your local community. It helps to try and include that you represent every age group here, as this will help you to show a level of fairness when decisions are made. It also pays to make sure that you find people who are excited about your project, as well as people who have a certain degree of talent. This will help you to manage the business aspects of your club, so it’s well worth looking into.
Hiring a great coach will help you to motivate players and it will also encourage more people to join too. Strong community connections may also help your team to get sponsorships and it will help you to further the level of support you have. At the end of the day, coaches are the foundation of how successful your club can be, and they can also help you to create a network of connections too.
Your club will most likely be in competition with other clubs in the area. For this reason, you need to try and find a way that you can differentiate yourself. If you are able to connect your team to a local bar or even a restaurant then this will give you somewhere for your team to congregate and it will also help you to build your brand. When choosing a central hub, try and make sure that it relates to your team values.
The last thing that you need when setting up a club is to run out of money during your very first year. You have to also remember that you need to buy a lot of supplies along the way, and if you are not careful then you may end up going over budget. One way for you to stop this from happening would be for you to create a solid business plan. First-aid kits are also required, as they will help to keep your team healthy while also showing that you genuinely care about the people who are part of your organisation. Medals and badges may also be required, and if that’s what you’re looking for then these guys can help.
Code of Conduct
Bad behaviour could get your team ejected from games, so it helps to have a code that your team can follow. This will help you to really stop any issues from happening and it will also help you to prevent arguments. A code will also strengthen your team values and it will make it much easier for them to bond together when it’s really needed. If you want to get some help when writing the code, then make a list of the things that are most important to you as a team leader and go from there.
When it comes to working and creating a thriving business, you often don’t go down the traditional routes. Some businesses start off in shops and business locations, but also so many successful businesses are born from the home, and they progress from there. Having people working for you that are perhaps not in the same room enables you to have skilled people who can work remotely. This might be as part of your team when it comes to sales and visiting customers and clients, or it might be working remotely from a laptop or computer. However, how can manage these people effectively and enable your business to thrive? Here are some of the options to consider.
One of the first things that you need to consider is the communication side of things. You don’t have the benefit of being in the same place, so just popping your head through your office door is not going to cut it. This is when video link up and conferencing can work well. It is a step further than a phone call, allows your to share things and also have the benefit of body language and facial expressions as well as tone of voice. Other things to consider would be instant messenger services, and also sticking with standard forms of communication like email.
Fleet of vehicles and the benefits of that
Sometimes the staff that you have working for you remotely will be out in the field, generating sales and visiting prospects, and to make life easier, you may consider investing in assets such as a fleet of vehicles for them to use. However, there are some considerations to think about. Things like the insurance side of things and also monitoring fuel usage. This is when a great fleet card for small businesses can come in handy to work out costs and also monitor spending. You can also think about having these vehicles tracked. One thing you must do is to do checks on the potential drivers, such as their licenses and also an unspent charges for things like speeding.
Being aware of workload
Working remotely means that you don’t always get to have the general chit chat and communication you might in the office, which means that you might not always be fully aware of an employee or staff member is struggling with things like workload. It is always going to be worth it to manage expectations. Be aware of what you require and communicate this regularly, but also assure people that they can email and contact you directly should there be any issue.
A positive leader
You might want to focus a little bit on your leadership skills and take note if any changes can be made to improve them in any way. A positive leader works well face to face, but this can also be encompassed in your email, telephone and video contact. Ensure that when writing an email that you use positive language, when you are talking to someone on the phone or via video link up try and be exactly how you might be in an office environment. It can make a big change to how someone feels about the work and input they are putting in and can also help you to get the most out of staff you have working remotely. You don’t have the benefit of spontaneity and building people up when they don’t look or feel their best. So it must be auctioned on a more consistent basis.
Pay attention to time zones
If you offer up positions that will enable people to work remotely, then you are likely to attract people all over the world, especially if you have a digital and online business that is viable in different countries. This is when as a leader, you will need to take note of time zones. Not everyone will be on the clock the exact same time as you are, so it is worth ensuring that you do what you can to keep a note of people and where they live so you know when you may be able to contact them. Email is something that can be sent at anytime, but be aware of when you might get a reply back.
Still see the benefit of seeing people in the flesh
Finally, there is still a benefit of arranging meet-ups when it comes to the staff you have working remotely. It may not happen very often, but arranging a meeting at a central location can help people to get the interactiveness and feel part of the team.
Let’s hope these tips help you to manage a team that will be working remotely.