Turning a hobby into a small business | Part 3 – Find your people

An entrepreneur with a strong small business network sits on a table in a co-working space.

Block Advisors by H&R Block is honored to support Small Business Owners during National Small Business Month, and all year round. This May, Jamil Khan, Chief Strategy and Small Business Officer at H&R Block, shares a five-part series that guides future entrepreneurs on what they need to know when transforming their hobby into a small business. Just joining the discussion? Catch up by reading the first article in the series. This week, Jamil reflects on the value of building your entrepreneurial network as a new small business owner and how to decide the right time to begin outsourcing tasks like bookkeeping and payroll.

Finding your people: small business networking

Let’s face it, though being a small business owner can be incredibly rewarding, it can also get lonely. You’ll likely have many long days and even longer nights working to get your company off the ground. Statistically, 8 out of 10 small business owners have no employees – which means they do it ALL. But realistically, we know that no one can do everything forever.

This is why it matters so much that you build a village and surround yourself with a specialized support network. I’m talking about a specific group of fellow entrepreneurs and business professionals who will understand the trials you face daily.

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Friends and family are a part of the equation, but they may struggle to fully comprehend the demands on your time, creativity, and mental space. So, make it a priority to carve out time to go to a weekly coffee chat like 1 Million Cups, treat your workout podcast as sacred time (I’m a big fan of Startup Hustle), or look into local groups and networking events that connect you with other entrepreneurs, like InnovateHerKC.

Another worthwhile investment is to analyze your business activities. Even if you are a solopreneur, that doesn’t mean you have to “do it all” forever. As your company grows and becomes more complex, it is wise to consider the benefits of offloading non-revenue-producing activities. From my experience, many new small business owners’ first outsourcing decision is to hand over bookkeeping and taxes. If your small business grows and you find yourself needing to hire additional staff, you may also choose to offload payroll responsibilities.

I believe outsourcing can help you spend your valuable time and energy on the things you want to do as a small business owner. What could you do with the extra time and mental space? You could focus your energy on revenue-creating activities like making more product inventory or offering more service appointments. You could nurture relationships with others in your industry and expand your skills by attending an educational or industry event. You could even consider treating yourself to an afternoon off… unheard of, I know!

I hear you – hiring an outside professional can feel like an extravagant resource allocation. But keep in mind, it frees up the only thing you can’t make more of – time. The flip side is that DIY-ing everything may not only take longer but might lead to mistakes or missteps that a professional would otherwise catch. These stumbles can set you and your business back. Some errors even have the potential to have legal repercussions. So, is it worth the risk?

The bottom line – it’s ok to ask for help!

Block Advisors offers many services and products that can lighten your load as a new small business owner. Leave your taxes, bookkeeping, and payroll in the care of our experts. Your business is our business, so you can be confident that it is in good hands. Our small business services are offered in person and virtually year-round and are always backed up by our Block Advisors guarantees.

Jamil Khan H&R Block Chief Strategy and Small Business Officer Block Advisors

Jamil Khan is the Chief Strategy and Small Business Officer for H&R Block, including Block Advisors. In this role, Khan is responsible for helping to identify and lead the company’s strategic development and growth opportunities and generate value for stakeholders as it continues to disrupt the tax preparation industry and expand its services.

Khan has more than two decades of experience leading strategy for companies ranging from technology companies to Fortune 100 brands. He has worked on multiple merger and acquisition integrations, defined growth strategies, managed product development and P&Ls, and restructured lagging business units.

He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from University College London.

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