Can I Turn my Hobby into a Business?

Are you spending all of your time in your hobby you barely have time for your job? Have you thought of turning your hobby as your business?

Most people have devoted most of their free time doing their hobby, but they have not realized they can do a business out of it. Or you have been thinking about it, but don’t know if it’s a good idea or not. There are also others who have already tried but were not successful.

If you are one of those who have just been thinking about starting a business with your hobby, one of the things probably stopping you is that you are not sure if you can make it profitable. You are asking yourself if doing that is the right move for you.

For most people, they enjoy their hobby so much because they can freely do them without the pressure of working with a schedule while also trying to meet financial goals. When you make your hobby a business, you might not be able to enjoy it anymore because of all the deadlines and sales quota to keep your business profitable.

Before deciding, ask your self these questions first.

  • Will you enjoy doing your hobby when you have to do it to a deadline? Figure out why you enjoy your hobby so much. For some, it’s because they want to learn to create something beautiful, something close to perfection. Some would take a lot of time finishing one project to attain a piece as close to perfection as possible. If you turn your hobby into a business, would you still enjoy doing it on a deadline? Will you enjoy having to do plenty of items in a day, when it normally takes you days to complete one?
  • Will you enjoy doing it when it means that if you don’t, you probably won’t have a roof over your head? Would it still be fun to do when you know that if you don’t do or sell your hobby, you won’t be able to afford to pay your living expenses?
  • Are you really committed to this hobby? Do you this for fun or as a way to relax? Is this something that distracts you from your actual work? Is this something you want to do permanently? Or is this just a phase and you could be doing something else within a few days or months?
  • Are you inspired by a challenge? Starting a new business is full of challenges. As a start-up, you won’t be able to afford a lot of help. It means you will have to do a lot of roles to make your business work. Think of what it takes to be an entrepreneur, and imagine yourself being one. Can you take on the challenge?
  • Can you sell “yourself” or the things you create? Making your hobby a business is not just about creating things you like. It is also about being able to sell them to make money. Can you sell your skills or your creation to your friends? How about people you do not know, are you willing to convince them to buy?

If after asking these questions you have decided that it is a good idea, then it is time to think how to start. Here are some tips you can use to take a step closer to your business.

1. Find a WAY to turn your hobby into a business

Nancy Collamer, author of Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement, has six suggestions:

  • Teach others to do what you love. Ignite their interest by showing them your passion.
  • Sell, import, invent, or craft a product or accessory for enthusiasts in your hobby. For example, if you are a wine enthusiast, you can sell imported wine glasses, or invent a wine accessory. You can develop a product line base on your hobby.
  • Teach the business of the hobby. If your job was a marketing, and your hobby is cooking, you can teach fellow enthusiast how to market their food. Or even teach them how to market themselves.
  • Speak or write about your hobby. You can write How To guides for your hobby. You can check Amazon for samples on these.
  • Create a tour or performance series around what you love. If you’re a bike enthusiast with a penchant for travel, what about starting up a bike tour company for tourists?
  • Appraise, repair or fix items related to what you love. If you love cars, provide services for cars.

2. Do your research and plan methodically

  • Research. Learn as much as you can about the industry. Take the time to know your possible competitors and how they work.
  • Evaluate. Once you understand, evaluate your idea again if it’s a good business idea. For a detailed steps on how to evaluate your business idea read our article about it here.
  • Develop a business plan. Figure out how to start your company and make it work. How much money do you need as a start up capital, what are the things you need to start, and all other things you will need to consider.
  • Build a team if you need it. With the type if business you have in mind, can you run in on your own or do you need a team? If you need a team, figure out who you need to make the business work. Will you need a partner to run your business or add to your capital? Check if you need to hire full time employees or consultants as well. You can hire consultant for things like legal and accounting papers. Sales people and office staff should be hired as full time employees.
  • Go all in. Start your business with all the hard work you can muster. Without you, it will not work.

3. Advice for product-based businesses

If you are going to sell physical products, then read this useful tips Lauren Fritsch of Let Them Wear Green shared.

  • Understand your cost. Once you turn your hobby into a business, cost of both materials and labor is now taken into consideration. Before you can set a price for your product, make a spreadsheet of all the items needed to make the product and its cost. Include in the spreadsheet how long it takes for you or your team to finish one product, determine your hourly cost for labor and then add that to the total cost of the product. Once you determine the total cost, add your desired percentage of profit and then you will have a price for your product.
  • Never underestimate the power of wholesale. One way of making your product know is giving wholesale discounts to stores in your area to extend your reach to make your product known to more potential customers.
  • Cultivate consumer fans. Selling directly to your consumers are now easier. You do not need to open a physical store. You can just use the internet to market and sell your products. Although quantities of product sold will be lower, you will gain higher profit margin that wholesale.
  • Be prepared for cyclical sales. It’s normal for businesses to have fluctuating sales all throughout the year. Do not be afraid of this. Instead, use your downtime to develop new products, do strategic planning or make branding awareness efforts.

4. Persist despite the challenges.

All businesses – big or small,old or new – will face it’s share of challenges. You have to persist and continue to move forward no matter what type of challenge you are thrown at.

In order to persist, you need to define what you are striving for and why you are doing this. Set a goal for yourself and your business. This will define your successes and will inspire you to continue. Remember, the success you are looking for will take buckets of persistence. But in the end, it will all be worth it.

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