Turning Your Hobby Into A Business

Turning Your Hobby Into A Business

When you are not in the middle of your life’s demands, when you have accomplished all of your daily missions, you fill your time and entertain yourself by working on a hobby. It’s more of a hobby for you; it’s an obsession. It’s fun, it’s both relaxing and engaging, and you love the time you spend on that activity.

Whether your hobby is creating a product or providing a service, you have often wondered if there is a way to monetize your efforts. You have always thought to yourself, and perhaps even ventured the topic in conversation, about starting your own business.

Many people before you have done just that. At CSD Marketing, we work with dozens of people who manage their own business that started with a creative passion.

There are technical aspects involved in starting a business, and those steps are easy to uncover through an internet search or by contacting a local Chamber of Commerce. But, beyond the legal and technical moves to conduct, there are other topics you need to consider as you approach the concept of becoming a business owner.

Steps to Becoming a Business Owner

Can you actually turn a profit?

You have sold some of your hand-crafted items in the past. You have charged for your services (tutoring, bookkeeping). You know there is money to be made. The question is whether there is enough money to make up for your time and supplies. You probably already know what it costs you to pursue your hobby. Now you need to determine if you can get a return on that investment through revenue. 

Determine your business model

Are you going to work from home? Do you need an office space? Do you need a partner? Can you handle both the creative side and the accounting side? These are questions to consider before leaping into running your own business.

Where is your market? 

You have a network of friends who know about your hobby and love what you do. But, with a business, you need to sell to more than just friends and neighbors. Identify places where you can display your wares, and make it an exhaustive list. Whether you want your new business to be big or small, you do not want to ignore options for finding new customers. Once you have created the full list, you can decide on your own where you want to show or advertise your products or services.

Can you sell?  

You can create. You can teach. Your product or service has a broad appeal.

But can you sell? 

To turn your hobby into a business, you have to be able to market your product or service to strangers. You are likely to need a website, especially if you are selling an item you want to display, and you need to develop a plan for getting the word out about your product or service. 

This is an area in which you may need to lean on someone else, someone who has website or internet savvy. This topic reaches back to the business model question as to whether you can run the business by yourself. 

The distribution question

Let’s consider those who think they want to transform their crafting hobby into a business. 

If your plan is to only sell your items at craft fairs or through in-person events, then distribution is not a problem If you hope to expand your business to faraway lands, you need to consider the cost of distribution, and how much of that cost needs to be built into your pricing. 

Shipping is a key construct of almost all commerce today, and you are probably going to one to avail yourself of that option. But you need to consider all of the cost and time management required to ship your items.

Examine the competition

There are almost certainly others doing what you are doing. What do they charge? How do they market their product or service? Most importantly, how can you differentiate yourself from the field? How are they marketing their product or service? Its a great time to check out different social media pages of people that are in your industry doing it right. This is a way to model what you should do when its time to launch and promote your business.

Funding your startup

Hobby businesses can be conducted without concerns over funding. However you have funded your hobby, you can probably continue to fund your business.

However, if turning your hobby into a business requires an upgrade in equipment, or conversion of workspace within the home, or if there is an expense that your hobby does not require, you can consider a small business loan for funding purposes. Actually, acquiring a small business loan is an easy and affordable way to get started. An internet search of small business organizations within your area will lead you to sources for loans. Again, the Chamber of Commerce can help, as can any banker you do business with. 

Also, the U.S. government promotes the idea of small business ownership. The Small Business Administration is one of the best-run and most popular federal programs in existence.  A visit to the sba.gov website can provide a great deal of insight into the wisdom and the viability of your business decision.

Do you really want to do this?

You love your hobby. You are good at it, and it takes your mind off of the realities of the rest of your life. You may even make a little extra money to pay for your collectibles habit (or whatever habit you have). 

But do you want that love to be affected by the pressures of running a business? The answer may very well be “no” but then again, you may realize that running your own business is part of your dream. At the beginning, that part is up to you. 

Reach out

CSD Marketing can offer an easy open conversation that will help you decide whether turning your hobby into a business is a good idea. But you also likely know someone who has done what you are thinking of doing. Talk to them. Reach out to the people who have bought your product or hired you for your service and see if they think your business idea is viable. 

You are not in a hurry. You are looking to turn a cute thought into a hard reality. Take the time to think it through before you leap into the world of small business ownership. 

Do you have a new business? Tell us what it is!

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