Imagine if that thing you love most, that idea you are most passionate about, could be the way you make a living? When it comes to transforming our hobbies into careers, some may fear that turning an activity, idea, skill or topic that we love – and may even turn to for relaxation – into work, could take the joy out of it. Others may find the idea of quitting their day job to pursue a passion incredibly daunting.
The bottom line is, if you want to turn a hobby into a business, it requires dedication and commitment. In this article, we’ll break down seven steps you can take to make this idea a reality.
How to turn your hobby into a business?
1. Choose to Commit
A hobby is something you may partake in to relax or entertain yourself during your free time, but a business is your livelihood and it requires the commitment of your time, attention, energy and focus. If you are going to pursue a business from a hobby, you must first assess if that hobby – or which of your hobbies, should you have multiple – is something you are able and willing to dedicate yourself to.
You will need to be consistent. Even if you start out testing the waters with a side hustle. Create a schedule that helps you map out when during the week you’ll work on the business and stick to it. If you’re only working on it when you feel like it or when you “get around to it,” than it’s going to continue to feel like a hobby vs. a potentially profitable business. Take it seriously.
2. Make a plan
If you are going to start a business, you should have a business plan in place to serve as a roadmap for your vision. Especially as you are just starting out on this journey, creating a more formal document will help to make it feel real. If the idea of a business plan is completely foreign to you, think about any friends or contacts you may have in business whom you could ask for help. You can also look online to find templates that can serve as a guide.
Creating this type of document, even if it’s just for you, will force you to think about what your business is about, why you want to bring it to life and how you plan to make money. It should be a living document that can be amended and updated as you go.
Another tool to think about is a budget. Based on what you outline in your plan, what will you need to purchase in order to get the business going? This may take some trial and error at first so keep track of all your expenses as you go.
3. Start as a side hustle
You’ve chosen to commit and you’ve even got a business plan in the works. We can imagine the excitement is palpablebut don’t jump the gun and quit your day job just yet. Especially as you are starting out and finding your footing, you won’t want to be without income. Starting a business is going to cost money so think of your current job as a source of funding for the future endeavor.
Even if you’re sure this idea is going to work (and we hope you are!), think about testing it out as a side hustle first. Offer your products or services to friends and family and get their honest feedback as to what they liked and what they feel could be improved. Work out the kinks before you take the plunge.
Think of your side hustle as a proof of concept. If you see there is a real demand and interest in your product, and you are making a profit, that’s a good indication it’s something that can be scaled up and pursued full-time.
4. Maximize your time
Don’t be flippant with your extra time. Create a schedule, working around your full-time job, to allocate the days and times you are able to work on the new business.
This means giving yourself enough time to rest. It is important that you take time to recharge so you don’t burn out and lose track of your progress. Listen to your body and do your best to find a balance that works for you.
Maximizing your time also means finding ways to do things efficiently. It means using tools or apps that help you plan your next move.
For example, if your business is into propagating plants, you can use a snow day calculator to predict how long the snow is going to fall. Also, this will help you prepare in preventing them from dying during extreme weather conditions.
You could also equip your business with automation tools like accounting software or inventory management solutions. The goal is for you to simplify repetitive tasks that consume time.
When you’re just starting out, you’re the only one to hold yourself accountable. Set clear goals for yourself and find how you can work more efficiently.
5. Start with an online store
The beauty of eCommerce platforms is that you can start a business from the comfort of your own home. You don’t have to rent an office or storefront to get started, simply set up an online store and review some marketing plan examples and start marketing it.
Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are a great way to build an audience and promote your business to your target demographic for free. You should link your eCommerce store to these platforms so followers and those who discover your pages can easily jump to the store with a click and begin shopping. As you grow, you should also consider making a professional website.
6. Build your network
Building a network is key to any business. Start with your local community. Are there other likeminded businesses you can collaborate with in some capacity? Maybe a local store is interested in selling your product?
Find ways you can get involved with community events and happenings. If your business is food-focused, is there a farmer’s market you can be a part of? Get creative in the ways you get in front of new audiences.
You should also look to join local Facebook or LinkedIn groups within your same niche to engage with people, spread the word about your business and stay up to date on activities taking place near you that you can be a part of.
7. Find yourself a mentor
It pays to learn from someone who has been there and done that. As you build your network, try to seek advice from others who have built a business – especially those who did so from a hobby.
Work to connect with event organizers and speakers who can provide insights into what it takes to build a successful business. If you can’t find a physical mentor, read books, watch online interviews and panels – whatever you can find to envelop yourself in the business mindset.
Just as you are looking for someone to guide you through this venture, you could also use your skills to inspire others. Give back to the community by joining Facebook groups that discuss your niche, or get podcast hosting services to share your insights and promote your brand.
Do what you love and earn from it. It’s possible to turn a hobby into a business as long as you take that leap of faith despite the doubts and fears. Remember to take it one step at a time while listening to feedback and lessons from those who have done it and succeeded. We hope what we shared has empowered you to stop procrastinating and take action on turning your hobby into something profitable.