Are You Treating Your Business Like a Hobby?

You may think you have a professional business, but sometimes entrepreneurs will treat their business more like a hobby. That's usually due to FEAR! You just don't want to look too closely at what's happening in your company because deep down you really know you're not doing all that you should be. And if money is coming in, then you think you must be successful, right?!? Getting paid for what you do is only ONE step towards having a real business. So here are signs that you're treating your business like a hobby - and they need to stop TODAY.

No Idea If You're Actually Profitable

Getting paid is just ONE step toward profitability. You actually need to work those numbers and understand what they mean, just like any major CEO. I once worked with a designer who had millions - literally millions of dollars - coming in. So she was convinced that she was running a hot business. But she'd never checked her profit margins to understand how the income looked after she accounted for her expenses. And the answer was NOT good. You are never going to actually make money unless you understand your financials and the monetary health of your company! Know your cash flow. Understand your ROI. Be serious about your business accounting.

Flying by the Seat of Your Pants

Even designers who have been in business for decades can be guilty of this. You just get. it. done. - like the saying about building the plane while you're flying it. But that only works for so long. At SOME point, you've got to start putting processes and systems in place. That helps avoid mistakes, makes your business more efficient, makes your team more productive, and actually makes more money! If you're still just operating by memory and crossed fingers, you are not running a professional business. Get organized, get systemized, and get more done in less time!

You're Using Your Personal Bank Account

There are too many small businesses still doing this and it can create some SERIOUS confusion and issues. It takes very little time and effort to open a business banking account, so if you haven't done this, make it your goal to do ASAP. Keeping your money separate is another way to REALLY understand how your business is doing. And it keeps things clean and clear when it comes to your clients' money vs. your own money. I even suggest to many designers that they have several business accounts - one for income, one for taxes, and one for client product purchases. That helps you avoid mistakes in your accounting or business practices. 

You're Not Paying Yourself

I would say this is the #1 way that most designers are not being professional. They just pay themselves out of whatever is leftover at the end of the month or year. Do you know any other company president or CEO who would do that?? NO! If you don't pay yourself a salary you are hurting your business in 2 ways. First, you aren't actually accounting for every expense in a REAL business. Employees get paid, even the owner. By not paying yourself, you're actually manipulating the numbers to try to look more profitable. Second, who is motivated by NOT being paid? Exactly no one. It's demoralizing to work so hard and not get a real salary for what you do. Start paying yourself SOMETHING or you are still running a hobby and not a real business.

You Don't Have a Professional Presence

You might have a website and social media channels, but are they professional looking? Or did you put them together late one Saturday night? Is your portfolio full of your best work, or do you still have older and dated photos on that page? Do you have a cohesive brand? The only way that you can attract bigger and better clients is by having a gorgeous and professional presence online. Your website shouldn't be an afterthought. You should invest in hiring people who can deliver a fantastic brand that will represent your company the way you want it to.

To help you professionalize your business, download my FREE Guide to the 5 Essential Business Practices. They'll help you move away from that hobby mentality! 


Check out more design business tips and tricks

4 Tips for Attracting (and Keeping!) Great Clients

Why Customer Service Is More Important Than Ever

Wrapping It Up: The Final Touches

Ready to Get Some Processes in Place - and Get Back Time to Work on Your Business?

Organize and automate your interior design business by implementing a few business processes. Each process helps designers show up prepared and professional at every step.

Download this FREE GUIDE and start automating your business today!