Career Advice

How to Turn Your Hobby Into A Business

Melanie Bacallao
By: Melanie Bacallao
Nov 3, 2020 • 7 min read

How to Turn Your Hobby Into A Business

Do you have a hobby or side hustle that you’re exceptionally good at? Does it give you enough motivation to produce at a frequent rate? Will you hire others, or are you going to be self-employed? You can turn nearly anything you do as a business, but there is much to consider and invest in if you want it to be successful. While you should have a passion for your hobby, you also need time, dedication, and risk to launch your business. As long as you uphold those four things, your entrepreneurship will run smoothly and flourish with time.

hobby into a business

Should you start a business?

It’s important to decipher between having a mild interest or full-blown passion. Though you have a chance of being successful regardless of your level of interest, running a business with thin motivation will wear you out. Many people have other jobs, families, or not enough time to properly run a business. For others, it can make the hobby they love turn into something they despise. While you shouldn’t be afraid to try, you should approach this cautiously. Successful businesses don’t grow overnight; they need time to thrive with enough nurture and care. Therefore, if your interest is short-term, you will burn out a lot faster.

Pros and Cons To Consider

According to the University of Minnesota’s research on Exploring Business, there are pros and cons associated with handling entrepreneurship.

Advantages of a Self-Owned Business:

  • Independence when it comes to decisions.
  • Flexibility in your schedule.
  • Earn more than being employed by another person.
  • Learning opportunities when it comes to handling business.
  • Creative freedom in your products.
  • Self-satisfaction from doing something you enjoy.

Disadvantages of a Self-Owned Business:

  • Financial risk in launching your startup. 
  • Stress from having to be in charge of everything.
  • Time commitment.
  • Undesirable tasks that you must learn to grow your business.

Despite the disadvantages, research conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2014 states that 3-in-10 jobs in the U.S. are self-employed. This means that 14.6 million Americans are self-employed, while 29.4 million workers work under them, constituting 30% of the American workforce. 

hobby into a business

Do Extensive Research

If you want to make a successful startup, you’ll need to conduct your own research on your hobby. Is it a popular hobby? Does it sell well? Does this hobby attract attention? How will you differ from other self-owned businesses? Will you commit to a digital business or on-site location, or both?

Learn From Others Mistakes 

Doing this type of research will let you know what has worked and what has failed in businesses centered around your hobby. You can also pick up tips or tactics early on for your business, rather than learning it during your development process. Having this knowledge will let you commit fewer errors and gives you enough breathing room to snowball your business into reality. You could also take this chance to look for inspiration and avoid plagiarism. It’s possible to have a unique idea that may already exist before you could make it.

Here are some things you can look for when doing research:

  • Search up self-owned businesses within your field to see how they thrive.
  • Look for accounts or interviews with small business owners of the same field to learn tips or tricks in starting your business.
  • Outline your goals and objectives before you research.
  • Keep potential collaborators in mind, especially if they are willing to help smaller businesses.
  • Identify your ideal consumer base, also known as the target market.

While it is easy to get lost in copious amounts of research, remember to give yourself some breaks in between. Too much research can plant doubt in your head. As long as you know, your idea has potential, then you can get started. Research is also something you’ll continue to do for as long as you continue on your entrepreneurship trek. 

hobby into a business

Make A Business Plan

After your initial research, you’ll want to compile everything you’ve learned to produce a business plan. Here is where you can elaborate more on your objectives, funding, and marketing you need to accomplish. It’s also a good time to consider having business advisors to aid this process. If you are having trouble, you can hire or consult with them for their expert opinion.

Your business plan should include the following:

  • Financial planning (funding, investors, etc.)
  • Market research
  • Timeline
  • Company background
  • Product description
  • Marketing plan
  • Mission statement
  • Executive summary

While you’re free to bend the rules or take a more lenient approach depending on the type of business you’re creating, it will save you a headache if you do all this planning beforehand. 

Be Organized From The Start

In an interview hosted by Entrepreneur for small business owners, Alexandra Stapleton Smith, owner of ‘The Hedgehog Hollow’ blog, mentions that she wished she kept track of her numbers from the start. “It made it difficult to know our true growth,” she says. “Knowing your growth can help motivate you when times get difficult.” Alternatively, you can search for sample templates when making your business plan. The U.S. Small Business and Administration (SBA) organization offers a free course and sample templates in creating one.

hobby into a business

Organize Your Finances

This may be the most taxing and exhausting part of the process — your monetary situation. Depending on the type of business you’re making, you may be paying little to none when it comes to launching your startup. However, a financial plan is still necessary regardless of the type of business you’re running. In this part, you’ll have to consider whether you should be self-funding, look for investors, or take out loans. Some or all of those options can overlap. Ensure that you take your personal credit into consideration, as it may contribute to doing a business. Depending on your business’s growth, you’ll also need to make a separate bank account for it. If it’s strictly meant as your side hustle, the income can go directly into your personal account (ex. commissioned work). 

Seek Help When You Need It

You may also need to get a business license and register your business with the state and federal government. According to SBA, if you conduct business with your legal name, you don’t need to register. However, you may miss out on legal and tax benefits. If you have particular trouble with finances, you can always schedule an appointment with your accountant. 

Develop A Marketing Strategy

A crucial step in the business process is developing a marketing ploy to attract your target market. Without it, your business will not get the visibility it deserves. Digital marketing is the more popular format when it comes to reaching a broad audience. It will show you the exact numbers and details on what works and what doesn’t. 

Here are popular ways to advertise your business:

  • Social media
  • Google ads
  • Television ads
  • Email newsletters
  • SEO-driven website

According to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, 90% of Americans are Internet users. This means that you have a greater chance of gaining a wider consumer base through the Internet. 

If you need more information on how to do marketing, you can find guides for beginners here:

hobby into a business

Create Your Brand

Here is where you’ll create your logo, business name, website, and more. You want a logo that’s recognizable and unique only to you. Remember to look for color schemes and fonts when creating your brand’s “personality.” This will be the main way people will recognize you. When making your brand, use the same logo and color scheme in your social media and other platforms to bring visibility. 

Be Loyal To Your Brand

Once you create your brand, try your best to stick with it throughout your journey! Name or logo chances can unsettle consumers and bring confusion. Therefore, try to create the ideal brand that leaves you personally satisfied. If you feel iffy about how you made your brand, you can always consult friends, family, or advisors to see if you’re on the right track. If you need additional help, you can check out SBA’s free resources in helping entrepreneurs start their businesses. Good luck!

 

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