How tIs it possible to run more than one businesses successfully

This week, I’ve been rushing around trying to catch up with few last minute jobs before a long weekend and I’ve been really looking forward to have a break.

‘having a break’ is not a phrase I use very often. I know that unlike most normal people (that’s what my husband says not me…) I don’t have as many breaks as I should.

Tons of reasons for that, but one of them is that I love my work!

And I also have a bad habit of coming up with new ideas and then turning them into new businesses. Or wanting to turn them into new businesses or worse – spending time in thinking about turning them into new businesses.

You get the idea…

Over the last 5 years, most of my hobbies have somehow materialised into a fully fledged business. I say, most hobbies, because I’ve not found a feasible business model for walking on a dismantled railways. Not yet….

And because I now run several business I get to ask quite often whether is it possible to run more than one business and whether it’s possible to run them successfully.

And I usually say, yes and it depends….

I think it depends on what your current business is and whether the new business compliments it or not. It doesn’t have to, but if your first business is about selling shoes and the second one is about developing industrial cleaning products, you need to know a lot about both subjects to make it successful.  You can always hire people who are the experts in the field, but of course that means high expense straight from the beginning.

My neighbour is a singer who also loves dogs and has one of the biggest (and the calmest!) dog I’ve ever seen. She has recently started a dog sitting service during day, as it fits perfectly with her singing gigs, which are usually in the evening.

Although seemingly unrelated businesses, they work well together and mean that she gets a regular income from her dog sitting business when the singing gigs are less frequent or seasonal.

Once you decide what your next business is going to be, I think you should make sure that your first business is working well first before focusing on the new business.

I’ve started my first business Cocoa & Heart selling handmade chocolates and offering baking courses back in 2011 and built it to a profitable business in it’s own right. I started to look for something else to do, because I was missing the buzz of working in the business environment.

I could have carry on building that business into a brick & mortar cookery school or go wholesale with my chocolates, but  I didn’t felt like I wanted to employ people, have the worry of looking after an actual building or supply lots of shops with wast quantities of chocolate. All of this would mean renting food premises, investing into industrial equipment and not doing anything else.

For something that started as a hobby and lifestyle business, this didn’t sounded much like fun and way I wanted to spend the next few years. In my previous job I used to manage over 500 staff and company with over 6 mil turnover, so I really didn’t want to get back back. Although managing a chocolate company sounds much more fun then social care…

My business coaching developed very naturally. After two years of my ‘hands on business’ I was missing flexing my brain muscle, plus a lot of people were asking me to help with their businesses. It fitted well with my other work and I really enjoyed getting out of the kitchen again, meeting new people and having a different dimension to my working week.

Then in summer 2015 an opportunity came along, that was both exiting and could run alongside my current business. I bought already established business – an online marketplace supporting UK based artisans, crafts people and designers.

This was a huge undertaking and if my other business already didn’t provide me with a regular income, it would be very difficult to take this project on. I’ve always been creative person and enjoyed making clothes, jewellery and painting, when I was growing up. I had my own chocolate shop on the website already and I even knew some of the sellers in person.

Not everything always runs smoothly even when it’s established and the more you take on the more time and resources it takes to run the various businesses.

It might look like a lot of work and yes, sometimes it is, but I also think that having different strands to my self-employment is a good thing. If I learn about a new tool for SEO in my capacity as a business coach, I can test it on my 9 year old website with over 15 k pages. I can see how it works directly and then recommend it (or not!) to my business clients. If I didn’t have a hands on experience in running my business first I don’t think I would be particularly good as a business coach.  In fact, I’m proud that I still run my businesses alongside my business coaching and my clients appreciate it as well.

So back to our question. Yes, I think, it is possible to run more than one business successfully, but be prepared to work hard, make tough decisions and be open to learn.

And of course as ever, I’d love to know what you think? Do you or have you ever run two businesses together? How did you get on?

Leave me a comment below and I’ll look forward to reading them all!