Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What is the difference between a hobby and a business?

Not much as far as I can tell...

Another never-ending opportunity for snark on Etsy is the age-old comparison of hobbyists to "real" business people. I really hate to break it to the more opinionated business folks but unless you're deriving a significant part of your income from this then you're just a hobbyist too but with aspirations to become more than that. That somewhat obnoxious posing in the forums makes one look a bit silly when anyone with a calculator can tell that the numbers don't line up with the arrogant attitude. (Yeah, I'm kind of annoyed but at least I didn't blast the latest smug brat.)

On the other hand, calling what we do a hobby doesn't mean that we're off the hook and that we don't have to do all of the things to operate a business as anyone else does. Business plans and budgets have to be made, legalities have to be covered, taxes have to be paid when due, marketing and advertising has to be done, SEO has to be mastered, social signals and backlinks have to be created and then (when we have time after all of that work) we have to make stuff so that we actually have something to sell.

Maybe in the end it comes down to how realistic our business plans and expectations are. I know that I want to design and create and not go into mass production, patterns or having other people make my designs so I know that I'll never get the economy of scale that it would take to bring in a full time income but I don't need one. If that means that I'm a hobbyist then that's OK with me. Now if I could only stop with the 12 hours days...

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