If you have ever taken a look at Pinterest recently, or browsed the online craft selling giant Etsy, then you probably know that many people are easily able to turn a hobby into a business. However, you probably also know that success is not usually just handed to the people who choose to move from hobby to side-hustle, and it certainly is not given overnight.
Whether you are building a one-of-a-kind jewelry, baking cookies for nursing moms, or even selling fresh fish caught from your new boat, turning a hobby into a business is a huge deal which can go either way. Not every hobby is going to instantly be a business success or, conversely, a failure. Further, not every hobby is able to sell on Etsy, so in many cases, you will need to find and sell to your customers off your own back.
In this article, we are going to discuss ten tips for turning your current hobby into a successful business. These tips will not guarantee you success right from the start, however they are a great place to start when thinking of how to build your new business.
1. Understand Your Goal
When you do something as a hobby, it is easy to just slowly accomplish small goals along the way. However, once you turn your hobby into a business, the success of that business will be driven by your goals. You probably need to make a clear business plan if you want to meet success along the way. A business plan is essential if ever you have to apply for a bank loan.
2. Brainstorm Money-Making Schemes
More often than not, small businesses are built on one concept, but they grow to include plenty of other concepts along the way. You might want to consider not only the products that you can produce, but also what classes might you be able to teach? You should also consider all the different means through which you can sell your product. A blog? A storefront? Social Media? Amazon?
3. Consider Your Feelings about Making It a Business
Hobbies are fun, they are something that many of us do to relieve our stress, to end our work day. However, if you decide to turn your hobby into a business, then you need to consider how you will feel about being forced to do your hobby. You might find that the hobby is no longer fun once it turns into a constant source of work and stress.
4. Do Not Quit Your Day Job
More often than not, small businesses wind up losing money or barely breaking even in the first year of their life. This means that you probably cannot plan on quitting your main source of income anytime soon. In fact, you may wind up needing to borrow money. Check out this Smartbiz review if you need more information on a small business loan. Either way, make sure that you still have a steady source of income before you turn your hobby into your main source of income.
5. Write a Formal Business Plan
When you are thinking about turning a hobby into a business, you should treat the plan for transitioning like a real business. Writing a business plan helps you to understand the parameters of your business as well as visualizing the goals of the business in a very real way. This also helps you to know what you need to research before you get started on your new business.
6. Adopt the CEO Mindset
Your company probably does not work out of a corporate building, and you are probably not leading vision meetings on Mondays at nine with all of the employees. However, if you adopt the attitude that you might someday be doing those things, you are more likely to take your new business seriously. Your hobby has suddenly become a second job, an important source of income, and it should be a part of your list of priorities.
7. Figure Out Marketing
Even if you are quite literally a prodigy in your field, without a grand marketing scheme, you are not likely to ever make a single sale. As a new business owner, you will need to read a good bit about marketing and learn how to market yourself to the people who may be interested in purchasing your project. You probably also want to learn about setting up a website and learning how to promote yourself and your website on social media.
8. Build the Brand
Once you have come up with the identity behind the product, or your brand, you have to really embrace it. In addition to a name, you are going to need to get a business logo designed, consider hiring a graphic designer to help you. You will also need to think about color schemes and fonts. Be sure that you like what you decide on, this is how your customers will recognize your brand when they see it.
9. Work for Free If you Have To
The power of the word of mouth is a power that has been proven time and time again. Once you have gotten your first customer, you can hope that their review will help you to slowly build a customer base over time.
10. Do Not Make a Mess of Your Finances
Be sure that you have crossed all of the legal T’s and dotted all of the l”s once you start your business. Remember, you need to pay quarterly taxes, collect a sales tax for your state, and in general keep up with the money that you make in your side business. You might want to meet with an accountant for advice before you get too far into the endeavor.
Starting a business is a fun and exciting adventure, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming. The most important part of this adventure is being sure that you give it your best shot from day one, otherwise you can never be sure how successful you might have been. Best of luck turning your hobby into a source of income.