Should you turn your hobby into a business?

Should you turn your hobby into a business?

…continued from previous edition

This question isn’t always a straightforward one. Although there’s a lot to be said for doing what you love, turning your hobby into a career means a lot of hard work and sacrifice. Here are some questions to ask yourself while you’re deciding:

Do I have the time to dedicate to starting a business?

Going from a hobby to a profession is often going to take some work. As we explore in our open step on making your hobby your job, it takes time, planning, and a fair slice of luck to get your venture off the ground. You need to determine whether or not you can dedicate enough time to starting a business.

Do I have the skills and know-how to make a living?

If your plan is to transition from pastime to profession, at least some of your income will need to come from your new business. You’ll need to be honest with yourself when assessing your abilities. Will customers pay for your product or service? And are you good enough to bring in a consistent source of income?

Can I balance a job and transitioning to a new career?

Often, a hobby becomes a side-hustle before it becomes a career. However, trying to balance the two can often be tiring. As well as working full-time, you’ll also need to plan your business, find potential clients, and practise your craft.

Am I prepared to lose a pastime?

Ultimately, turning your hobby into a business means that you might lose your hobby as a pastime. Instead, you’ll have to spend time doing it to make a profit. Although this can still be enjoyable for many, it can take the shine of it.

If you are going to monetise your hobby, you should make sure that you have other pursuits in your life that you do purely for pleasure and relaxation. Sometimes, by turning everything into a side hustle, you can end up burning out.

Tips for turning your hobby into a career

So, if you’re committed to making your pastime a professional endeavour and prepared for all that entails, you might be wondering where to get started. Of course, there are various ways you could go about it, and the below is just one such method:

  • Start with a business plan

One of the best places to start if you’re trying to convert your hobby into a career is to come up with a solid business plan for your idea. We’ve got a detailed guide on writing a business plan, so we won’t go into too much detail here.

Your plan should give you the vision, structure, and strategy for how you’re going to make your hobby into a money-making venture. It will help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of what you offer, as well as analyse the market you’ll be entering. You can check out our guide on how to start a business for more information.

  • Decide on your structure

One important decision to make fairly early on is what kind of structure your company will take. If you’re planning on being a freelancer and want the flexibility to make choices, you might consider registering as a sole trader. However, if you want to add credibility to your business and minimise your legal liability, a limited company could be a good option.

We’ve written in detail about business structure and registration, so it’s worth familiarising yourself with the various options available when you’re starting a business. And, of course, you can always start as a sole trader and build your way up to a corporate entity as time passes.

  • Start building your brand

If you’re thinking about hobbies that make money, you’ve probably already got an idea of brands that you might aspire to. Thinking about your own branding is, therefore, a crucial step in making the leap to being self-employed.

You can learn more about market analysis and reaching your target customers in our full guide. You can take our course on strategic brand management to find out how to build your brand identity and strategy.

  • Develop an online presence

Digital marketing will likely play a significant role in helping you shape your new business. Being able to access an online audience means you can advertise and sell your product or service.

Whether it’s through techniques such as SEO and Google Ads or creating a strong brand presence on social media sites such as Instagram, there are many ways you can get your name out there. 

  • Create a marketing strategy

This point really ties together the previous ones. To ensure that you’re making a concerted effort across your branding and marketing activities, creating a marketing strategy is essential.

This article can give you the direction you need when it comes to getting your brand established in your niche. It will outline your approach to advertising and sales, ensuring you spend your money in the right places.

  • Reach new customers

One of the hardest things when transitioning from a hobby to a business is to find people willing to buy into your idea. Of course, branding, marketing and an online presence will all help with this. However, you’ll also need to think about other ways of reaching people.  

Whether it’s networking events, getting involved in local projects, or asking for referrals from your existing customers, there are various ways you can expand your user base and build business relationships. If you’re trying to turn a profitable hobby into a profitable business, you’ll need to reach lots of people.

  • Monitor your progress

When it comes to hobbies that make money and eventually become a business, there’s no defined timeline to work towards. You might start off having your hobby as a side hustle, gradually building towards a fully-fledged business.  Or you might take the plunge all at once. However, keeping tabs on your progress is essential.

As part of your business plan, you’ll set goals for your business. You can then measure your progress towards these aims, analysing what’s working well and what needs improvement. In doing so, you can figure out how you want your business to grow or whether you want it to be just a hobby once again.

Final thoughts

Profitable hobbies certainly exist, and it’s possible to turn them into something more than a side-project. However, hobbies that make money often require a lot of time and dedication. Turning your hobby into a business involves risk and hard work, but it’s certainly an achievable goal.

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