The Honest Truth About Your Business

29 Questions to Help You Determine if What You’re Doing is a Business or a Hobby

Are you a true business owner and entrepreneur? Or are you pursuing your business dreams more like a hobby but may not even be aware this is what’s happening?

In meshing business and personal life in the past…

I took a lot of time off when I felt like it… ,

I worked around the kid’s school schedule and family meals… ,

if I didn’t feel like making calls for a few weeks, I didn’t make them… ,

when the sun came out, the kids and I headed to the park and work was the last thing on my mind… ,

I would fit in a few hours here and there to work on my business… when time allowed around my other commitments…

What about you? Do you let family, friends and other factors take you away from working on your business? Or are you 100% committed and invested in your business success?

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help – you might be surprised with some of the answers if you’re being honest with yourself!

  1. Are you clear on your business’s focus – have you defined the product or service you provide and have stuck to it or are you continually trying out other things?
  2. Have you registered your business name with your local government?
  3. Do you have a business licence with your local community?
  4. Do you have a dedicated business phone line? A toll free number?
  5. Do you have business insurance?
  6. Do you have legal contracts in place dealing with the various aspects of your business?
  7. Do you have a clearly defined mission statement?
  8. Do you have a business plan? One that gives you a solid blueprint on how to achieve your business goals and how much it’s going to cost?
  9. Do you know who your competitors are and what they are doing?
  10. Is your business scalable in a way that it doesn’t depend on you being hands-on 100% of the time?
  11. Do you have a marketing plan that provides you with specific steps on how you are going to attract your perfect client and how much it’s going to cost?
  12. Do you have a set budget for advertising and marketing to build your client base?
  13. Do you really know who your target market is?
  14. Do you have a professionally designed logo to establish your brand identity and appeal to your ideal target market?
  15. Do you have professionally designed business cards, letterhead, promotional materials and other items to market your business?
  16. Do you have a professionally designed and developed website that represents your business brand effectively, 24 hours a day – 7 days a week?
  17. Do you continually update and employ SEO tactics to your website to ensure optimal results?
  18. Are you outsourcing certain tasks to help you with the things that are not your core competency such as bookkeepers, web developers, marketers, virtual assistants and graphic designers?
  19. Do you have a separate office space where you can shut the door at the end of the day and leave it closed until business hours start again?
  20. Do you have set business hours where no emails and no phone calls occur after hours?
  21. Is your office space organized and systemized so that anyone could come in and take over where you left off?
  22. Do you keep proper books and track all of your business receipts? Or is everything stuffed in a shoe box or file folder until tax time?
  23. Are you aware of all the tax write-offs that you’re entitled to and use them to the fullest?
  24. Do you have a dedicated business bank account?
  25. Does ALL of your business income go into this business account and you pay yourself on a regular basis?
  26. Do you work all year round with vacation breaks or do you take whole summers off and tell yourself you’ll get busy working again in the Fall?
  27. Do you diligently work at your to-do list of items that will help achieve your goals or are you telling yourself you’ll kick things into gear after… (fill in the blank)?
  28. Are you truly happy and passionate about doing what you do?
  29. Is your business fulfilling your life’s purpose or are you just going through the motions of trying to make some money?

The questions above do not cover everything when considering what is involved in running a business, by no means, but I hope they got you thinking enough to help you determine whether you are running your business like a hobby or are you seriously running your business to earn a healthy living.

I encourage you to take an honest look at what you are doing and decide today on what your future holds for you – nothing will happen until you make that decision!

Why Business and Law Go Hand in Hand

If you are getting ready to start a new business, or if you have already done so, it is important that you understand the areas where business and law intersect and rely on one another. There are a wide variety of potential legal situations that business owners might find themselves in when starting a business or growing an existing one. Because the average person might not be aware of the minute details of business law, they could end up facing severe financial consequences.

The best way to properly protect yourself from legal liability is by hiring or consulting with a business lawyer. However it is also important that you learn about the general concepts of business and law, so you will be able to know when you need legal protection. If you want to adequately protect yourself and your new business, here are some things you should understand about business and law, and why the two should go hand-in-hand.

Starting a Business

Starting, running or growing a business can be a very exciting venture. Unfortunately many people are so eager to get up and running that they often overlook very important legal aspects of starting their business. And because of the nature of a new business, even if legal issues are known, the business owners might not have enough financial resources to obtain legal assistance.

No business is exempt from the potential of being faced with some common legal problems, including discrimination or harassment claims, dissatisfied customers, patent or copyright issues, disgruntled employees, and many other legal issues. If large and small companies alike do not have the help of experienced business lawyers on their side, they could end up mishandling certain situations and facing disastrous consequences. Even seemingly minor legal issues could quickly spiral out of control if they are not handled properly by someone who is familiar with the ins and outs of corporate law.

Even the most optimistic business owners can find their lives turned upside-down by a single harassment claim by a disgruntled employee or a claim of errors and omissions by a customer. In some situations, business owners may unwittingly admit to something they are not guilty of just to calm down an angry customer or employee.

These risks should not dissuade people from starting businesses, but should instead serve as examples of what could occur if the proper precautions are not taken.

Legal Considerations

When you start a business and are offering goods or services to a particular market, there is always the possibility that a transaction could go wrong, that a customer or employee could feel they have been wronged, or that a contractual agreement may fall apart. In these situations, it is crucial that you and your assets are protected. An important step in running a business is choosing the proper legal entity that it should be. Different entities have different levels of protection, shielding individuals from liability, offering different tax benefits and establishing roles between partners. Another step in protecting yourself is obtaining and implementing the proper type of insurance, that might be relied on if a particular dispute arises.

Other legal considerations of running a business involve the use of clear contracts between you and those you do business with. One of the biggest causes of business disputes is where two parties are involved in a business arrangement, end up disagreeing what that arrangement is, and either have an inadequate contract, or no contract at all that describes each of their obligations. Individuals and businesses can lose large amounts of money simply because they failed to properly define their legal obligations and put a contract in place.

Business Attorneys

At any time during their operation, both small companies and large corporate entities can be faced with unexpected legal issues that they are simply not prepared for. One of the best ways to prevent such dangers, and to protect yourself if a dispute arises, is to hire or consult with a specialized business lawyer.

A lawyer who is experience in the areas of business law will be able to help you avoid potential liability in the future, and can help defend or enforce your business against others if a dispute arises. If you want to make sure that your company is able to reach its full potential without being sidetracked by legal problems, you can significantly increase your chances of success by hiring an experienced lawyer.

As long as businesses continue to exist, there will always be the need for competent legal protection. Make the smart move for the future of your business by hiring a qualified lawyer to make sure your company is always represented and prepared for unexpected legal situations.

Business and Law

The areas of business and law are intrinsically connected and will always go hand in hand. Our legal system has many regulations and laws in place to govern those operating a business, and it is important to have at least a basic understanding of the legal implications of starting a business. With a little research, basic knowledge, and ideally help from specialized business litigation lawyers, you can continue to grow your business while implementing best practice strategies, and protecting yourself, employees and customers at the same time.

Kohler Legal is a San Diego based business law firm, providing legal services for entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses. Our of business attorneys provide personalized services for small and medium sized businesses, including entity formation, contract drafting, intellectual property protection, trademark or copyright registration, and other business transactions and disputes. If you have questions about starting or growing a business, or need representation in a business related dispute.

6 Keys To Home Business Success

The Home Business industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, but unfortunately the vast majority of people (more than 95%) never achieve any level of success with it.


Because they don’t know the 6 keys to home business success, and they give up before they see results.

So many people get started in this industry with the vision of creating massive residual income by telling 5, who tell 5 who tell 5 and they all live happily ever after. Unfortunately, they tell 5, who tell them where to go, and for most people that’s enough rejection to make them throw in the towel and give up all together.

Very few people have the fortitude to hear no as next and keep persisting.

And even the few who do persist still won’t see the kind of results they want because the system they’ve plugged into is missing one or more of the 6 keys to home business success.

What Are The 6 Keys To Home Business Success?
I haven’t been in this industry for decades like many of my mentors have, although I’ve seen enough in a few short years to know what works well and what doesn’t.

My first exposure to the home business industry was at a seminar. A speaker at the front of the room was pitching his program on how to get grants and loans from the government. The program sounded great, but near the end he said “who here would like to learn how I really broke free from my job as a garbage man and became financially free?”

Of course most of the hands in the room shot up, and he proceeded to go into his home business presentation. After more than 30 minutes of hearing about how these revolutionary products would replace most of the everyday cleaning and self care products in your home a few people in the audience finally started muttering “oh, it’s ______”. I won’t mention the name of the company here, but suffice it to say it’s a very well known company in the network marketing industry.

He made an irresistible offer waiving the sign up fees and allowing anyone interested to get started for just $1. He even promised to work with anyone who was serious and to help build our teams for us. Seemed like a great opportunity so my wife and I signed up and bought our starter products. After a few months of paying nearly $100/mo to keep our distributor status and earning a big $2 cheque we bailed.

Now in fairness, we didn’t work on building the business either. What I do know is that the 2 people who’ve done very well in that business speak from the stage, and seem to build their business from the hundreds of people in the audience, not from doing milk and cookie parties like they encourage their team to do.

My next venture into the home business industry was even more eye opening. This was a program with a high ticket core product. It was a vacation travel package that cost over $3,000. The allure was that with just 12 people in your organization you’d earn 4 times that amount!

What should have been a clue though is we were trained to tell people that we invited to see the presentation that “I can’t tell you what it is, you just have to come and see.” if they asked what it was about. What’s interesting is that I saw people make thousands in that company in as little as a couple of weeks. They had people making 6 figures in their first year, but despite my best efforts, I still barely broke even on my initial investment.

Today, I’ve sworn off of doing business the old way, and that’s why I’m excited to share the 6 keys to home business success with you today, to hopefully save you some of the headaches and challenges I faced in the past.

Key #1 To Home Business Success
1) You need a product to sell that pays high commissions.

The first key to success in the home business industry is to find a product that pays high commissions. For the most part, the commissions paid out in the home business industry just aren’t high enough for someone to make a full time income from unless they’re able to recruit a small country into their downline. In fact, a few of my mentors had teams of 5,000-10,000 and were still only making a few thousand dollars a month, all while getting stuck on 3 way calls from dawn to the early morning every day.

Finding a product that pays 30-70% commissions will make a world of difference to your success in the home business industry. Better yet, is that the commissions will be paid out quickly, not weeks or months down the road. People want to see success early or they’ll end up quitting before they truly get started.

Key #2 To Home Business Success
2) Your product needs to be affordable to the masses.

The core product needs to be affordable to the masses. You will have far more success offering your products to people if they’re what my mentor calls “under the radar money”. This is a purchase that’s under about $200 that someone can make without causing a major fight over spending with their spouse. One of the big objections people get in the home business industry is “I have to speak to my wife/husband” which is really just an excuse. If your core product is only $25 to say $197 most people will be able to make that purchase themselves and not have to run it by their significant other.

Once someone makes that initial buying decision then your goal is to upgrade them to the highest level of products that makes sense to them. Notice I said makes sense to them. Your goal is not to sell the most products regardless of their circumstances. Your goal is to help them achieve their goals, and set them up with the level of products that will best help them achieve that.

Key #3 To Home Business Success
3) People need to be able to become profitable in 30 days or less.

One of the major reasons people fail in the home business industry is because they don’t see any wins in their first few weeks. To ensure longevity your home business system must enable people who plug in and apply the system to become profitable in 30 days or less. If people are able to become profitable quickly, they’ll become loyal customers for life. If not, they’ll quit and hop around from opportunity to opportunity looking for something that is.

Of course, not everyone will become profitable, because not everyone will even take the first step. It’s strange. People will sound all fired up and motivated, and then fall off the face of the planet and never even take the first step towards building a successful home business. It’s just human nature, and there’s nothing you can do about. Focus on helping the people who are in action.

Key #4 To Home Business Success
4) Your offering needs to include upsells and higher ticket items to enable someone to make the most amount of money in the least amount of time.

Having an affordable core product is great to enable people to get started, but earning $5 or $10 or even $50 isn’t life changing income. In order to create a truly successful home business you need to be able to earn higher ticket commissions.

Having the ability to sell $500, $1000, and even $3000 products is how you generate full time income with minimal effort. Making one or two sales of these types of products is how you go from making lunch money to making full time income doing part time work.

Key #5 To Home Business Success
5) The corporate videos need to convert on their own.

This is a big problem for much of the home business industry. People are drawn in by a compelling, charismatic presenter who has a way with words that just draws people in. The problem is, most people aren’t able to duplicate what their sponsor does or says, and gets rejected every time they try to “show the plan”.

Many companies have now produced DVD’s and video for their distributors to hand out, but even those don’t effectively convert viewers into buyers.

To be successful in the home business industry you need to have access to corporate videos that can do the telling and selling for you, so that anyone who gets started can just share the video with others and start seeing results. If the corporate videos aren’t effective in converting, then you won’t be successful either.

Key #6 To Home Business Success
6) Your offering needs to include marketing training to show people how to build their business beyond their friends and family.

Most of the home business industry teaches new people to make a list of their friends and family and to start reaching out to them and inviting them to a presentation. For starters, most people either won’t even make a list, or won’t bother contacting the people they put on the list. A small group of people will contact everyone on their list, and even still will only have a handful of the hundred or so they contact take them up on their offer.

Then the question becomes NOW WHAT? How do you continue to grow your business if you’ve already spoken to everyone you know, and only a few of them were interested? Go find new friends by wandering around Walmart asking people if they keep their business options open? I hope that’s not your plan.

You need to learn how to market so that people actually looking for what you have to offer come looking for you. Yes, it’s possible, and it’s called Attraction Marketing. If you’re in the home business industry and you’re not employing attraction marketing strategies as part of your daily actions you’re going to run out of people to talk to fast.

This isn’t the 70’s and 80’s anymore when no-one had heard of home businesses. Today, pretty much everyone has an experience in the industry, or knows someone who has. Sure those old strategies work, but not nearly as well as they once did, and they never worked as well as attraction marketing does.

So there you have the 6 Keys To Home Business Success. I hope you found the information valuable and would appreciate it if you could leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.

On the Formation of a Business

This is not a how-to guide, more a study in the beginnings of a business.

How does a business start? How does it grow? What drives some to succeed and some to fail?

What is a business?

We all understand what a business is, but how is it defined?

A search among different sources will give you a range of different definitions. Chambers dictionary list it as defined below:

business noun 1 the buying and selling of goods and services.

This highlights the common theme among all the definitions, buying and selling. It doesn’t matter what the end product of the company is or what service it is that they supply what matters is that someone wants to buy it.

The aim of any business, no matter how lofty a mission statement they may purport to follow, is to make money. They need to provide something that other businesses or customers will part with money to have access to. It’s important to remember that not all businesses will have the aim of a profit. A charity can be run as a business, they may give away all the money they receive or spend it on helping others, but they still need to be able to have that income stream to be able to operate.

How Does it Start?

I’m not going to get into depth about the formation of a business in a legislative sense, whether a limited company, partnership or group, that information is for another time. I want to focus on the concept of a business itself.

A business always starts in the same place. With an idea.

This idea must have a market value. Without a market value the idea is just that, an idea. The market value is the amount that people would be willing to pay for your idea, whether a physical product or an intangible service, it must have value.

These ideas can come from anything. Many come from people already working in an industry seeing a specific gap in the market that they could fill. Some come from the archetypal inventor, creating in his garden shed something that the world has never seen before. Many of them will leave you with the same reaction, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

From Idea to Business?

The hardest part of the business is this part. How to get your wonder product or idea from your thoughts to existence and profit?

This is the key part that can make all the difference between a successful business and a failure. Research. The successful businesses know that they will make a profit before they even start, it may be several years down the line but they know it will work.

Finding out the target market, the competition, the price points, the costs incurred to provide the service or product, advertising, overheads and working out margins to produce a profit without pricing yourself out of the market. All of these things need to be done and done well before even beginning the process of setting up a functional business.

This is why creditors or investors would require a full business plan before helping a business start up, no matter how good the idea itself is. Getting that idea to a functional point requires an enormous amount of effort and dedication.

Business Formation

The plan is in place. The profits are mapped and there’s even a lovely graph to show exactly when they will occur and how much they are expected to be.

The next step is where your investors come in, it requires an outlay to get a business up and running.

Whether it’s a small outlay, the renting of an office and copyrighting your company name, or whether it’s enormous, building a factory to produce your product while employing and training all the staff to operate it, the crux is the same, you will need some investment.

Many small businesses start with just their founders savings to set up, and this is often enough, while others will turn to banks for business loans.

This is going to be the most expensive period your business will ever see, there is always a period of investment before any return can be made. Once the returns begin coming in then further growth is possible but before any profit comes the initial investment.

Business Operation

The first aim for any new company is stability. Getting the business to a point where it is not losing any money. Obviously every company will be aiming for a profit as quickly as possible, but stability is more important.

A bumper period in a new business can lead to extra growth and outlay that the business cannot support and a quieter period following this can lead directly into financial difficulties.

Reaching a stable point means that there is the time to consider future growth and new strategies, without the pressure of knowing that every moment wasted means money lost. Only from this secure position can the appropriate decisions be made for the future.

From Business to Success

There is a certain mystique around the growth of those enormous corporations, the stories of Apple or Google starting in a garage and Facebook from a student bedroom. It is definite that a certain amount of luck is required but it is just as certain that no business can grow to that scale on luck alone.

There is one defining feature of all successful companies and that is that the right decisions were made. Time and again, those in charge of the company have made the right choice in regard to growth, the right choice in regard to competition and the right choice in regard to investment. Not everything they’ve done has always been a success but due to their structure and planning they are in a place to be able to cope with this.

Anchor and Nooses: Two Big Drains on Your Business

Business is a tough game. Continually we need to operate in three areas to ensure we produce consistent outcomes. The businesses we work with are challenged to:

    • Tend to the business. We operate our business daily, tend to the issues and the pressing needs as they arise.

    • Prune the business. At times we all need to prune. Whether it is a process, a product or a person, this is a needed part of ensuring that you obtain the best result and investment is made in what is best in your business.

  • Grow the business. We continually need to look for ways to grow our business. This can be growing your core business or sowing new seeds.

To work these areas, our owners progress through a process to reflect and review. We take them “out of their business” to work on their business. We acknowledge that we all need to be in the business, but we need to have time ongoing to work on the business.

All businesses are unique, however, we find a few things in common. We find most businesses have anchors and nooses. Let me explain.


Anchors hold businesses (and people) back. They are wide and varied but the common ones are listed here.

    • A business relationship that takes too much resources relative to the level of business.

    • A product line that the business has emotional investment in, but is now not providing the return for it’s current level of investment.

  • A team that is failing to see the link between sustainable business and their positions.

These are the main three, although we do see more. On every occasion we create a strategy to release the anchor and start the business moving again.

The biggest part is to be able to identify the anchor and work through a process to cut the chain.


Nooses are, similarly, an impediment to business growth, but this time the business is impacted by a tightening pressure. Often this is due to the following:

    • Unreasonable supplier or customer terms creating unnecessary pressure on cash flow.

    • Inadequate planning, be it business, financial or marketing which pressure ongoing investment in these areas.

    • Constant complaints from customers on service or product quality.

  • Pro-bono or special consideration business taking resources away from your best customers.

The key, again, is to identify it, and then work to achieve a strategy to reduce the pressure and then eliminate.


We work with clients to build strategy to help them gain control and bring growth back to their business. Once awareness is gained from the business owner, the strategy starts to form. Having a fresh set of eyes helping you through this maze.

Some businesses simply don’t ask for help. Often it’s a lack of awareness of the situation and of a feeling of normality, as they have become comfortable with the situation.

It is important to gauge the situation, once you have become aware of it, with a set of fresh eyes. In the words of Einstein:

“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We do see pride get in the way with some businesses. Don’t be the proudest person in the morgue.