How To Turn Your Hobby Into a Business
It sounds like the ultimate dream, doesn't it? To take something fun that you're passionate about, and to actually make money from it.
The truth is that it can be done. Lots of people (including myself!) have been able to turn their fun, creative outlet into a profitable business. But, and this is a big but, it takes more than just passion to be successful. It also takes strategy.
Here are my top 5 practical tips for turning your hobby into a business.
1. Save Your Pennies
As much as you may dream about it, don't quit your day job just yet. Take the time to save your money, and keep working your regular job for as long as possible, until you're really ready to make that leap. You will need the time anyway to plan and strategize the launch of your business (see steps 2 and 3). Avoid getting a business loan too, if possible in your situation. Debt can be crippling, and that is not what you want when you're trying to start a creative business.
2. Find Your Niche
Who is your target audience? How can you make it even more specific? Having a niche is essential in the modern world of marketing, and the more narrow and specific you can make it, the better. Don't try to be everything to everyone.
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3. Know Your Numbers
Please, please, please take the time to calculate how much everything is going to cost you, how much time it will take you, how much net income you will make, etc. etc. If you are not good with numbers, or if the idea of using Excel makes you want to hide under your desk and cry, have an accounting-savvy friend help you with this step, or hire someone to help you (or take an online class on Skillshare!). It is worth the investment to make sure that your business will actually, you know, make money.
4. Be Consistent
Once you have completed step 2 (find your niche), determine the best ways of reaching out to them and be consistent in your approach. Are you going to focus on selling at craft fairs and utilizing a blog to get the word out? Great! Are you planning on having the most amazing Instagram account in your industry? Wonderful! However you decide to market your brand, stick to it!
5. Stand Out
What are most of your competitors doing? It's important to know this, but use that information to tell you what not to do. Make your business stand out by going against the grain, rather than following suit with what your competitors are doing, because if they're already doing it, it's already been done and yours will be second best. I once read an interview with Anna Bond of the iconic stationery brand, Rifle Paper Co. She said that when she started her business, most people were doing bold letterpress designs. She took the opportunity to create more soft, hand illustrated floral designs, and well, we all know how well it worked out for her.
Have you considered turning a hobby of yours into a business? What are your reservations in making it happen? Let me know in the comments! xo