In case you missed part one of Choosing a Sideline Business, you can find it here. Part one was about you – your interests, goals, and values. Now we turn to your talents, skills, and abilities.
The resources you bring to your potential business fall into three categories – time, talent, and treasure. If you aren’t honest with yourself about these, you are setting yourself up for failure from the start.
How much time do you really have to devote to your sideline business? You may think you have all the time between when you get home from your day job and when you go to bed, but once you factor in making dinner, eating dinner, cleaning up dinner, etc. there may not be as much left as you think. Besides that, you probably don’t want to spend every waking moment working.
Here are some questions to get you started:
- How much time do you have available for your business? How much of that do you actually want to spend working?
- Do you want a year-round business or would you prefer something seasonal or intermittent?
- Is the time you have available regular and predictable or does your schedule change from week to week or even day to day?
Be realistic about how well your available time meshes with the time demands of the business you are considering.
In the first part of this process, you looked at what you are interested in. Now it’s time to get serious about what you are good at. What skills do you have that you could base a business on? Are you strong in worker skills (production) or management skills? Very few people are strong in both. Michael Gerber wrote a whole book about the difference between working in your business and working on your business – The E-myth Revisited – you can get it at Amazon for a penny (that’s an affiliate link, which means if you click it and buy something, I’ll make some money). It’s well worth the read.
Just because you lack a skill doesn’t mean your business can survive without it. You can fill in the gaps by hiring employees, outsourcing, taking on a partner, or choosing a business model that requires less of that skill. Some business models (we’ll get to those in Part 3) require fewer management skills than others. You can outsource many skills. In fact, it’s probably fair to say you can outsource most things your business needs if your budget will support it.
This is the limiting factor for most sideline businesses. If you had unlimited money to spend on your sideline business, you probably wouldn’t be thinking of starting one, right?
Be sure to include ongoing costs when you evaluate the financial side of the business. Every business has startup costs and ongoing costs. Think in terms of phone bills, internet service, email services, web hosting, and other support services your business will need. These can add up fairly quickly.
In conclusion, when choosing a sideline business, think of paraphrasing John F. Kennedy’s famous quote and ask not what your business can do for you; ask what you can do for your business.