Do you have a hobby that people line up for to buy from you? If so, you really could create a profitable business. If you can do something you love and get paid for it, that’s not real work right? But before you go and quit your day job, I want to encourage and caution you at the same time. There is a big difference between making some extra pocket change at holiday time and running a small business full-time. Here are six steps to turn a hobby into a small business.
Do a Self-Assessment. Do you have the energy and stamina to crank out your hobby in volume enough to make it a viable business? Make sure you don’t ruin something that brings you joy. People pursue hobbies to blow off steam. If you add a lot of pressure, you could blow your stack. Do your research to make sure there’s a paying customer before you bet the farm on your hobby. Successful businesses require dedicated work and responsibility. It’s easy to take the fun out of your hobby if you do not plan well.
Start Your Business as a Side Hustle. You need to first test the waters while you are still working to make sure you have a viable revenue model for your small business. Be sure to check out my recent series on the Do’s and Don’ts of Side Hustling Part 1 and Part 2. You don’t mess around and lose your day job before you are ready to leave to pursue your business full-time.
Nurture Your Network. Start networking like it’s a new job. Reach out to all your contacts from college and any business associates to update your contact database. Spend time on at least one social media site to gain insights about your target customer. Use your downtime to do internet research for sourcing vendors and suppliers and to confirm your target market.
Use Low Cost Business Resources. Once you decide that starting a business is for you, there are many books that you can read to develop your plan, including my book, Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months. This book gives a comprehensive look at starting a business. It takes you month-by-month through a planning system to help you transition from having a job to starting a business. You should also make an appointment with your SCORE chapter, which can provide online and face-to-face counseling.
Check Out Your Local Library. You can get plenty of market research data help from the business librarian at your local branch. Also, find out information on legal entities, sales taxes, business insurance and small business accounting systems. There is also opportunity to learn about any business licenses or regulations that you will need to comply with to start your business.
Figure Out How to Stand Out. It is very difficult for small businesses to compete on price. You must clearly identify your niche customer and spend some time developing a signature product or signature services. Anyone will buy something once. How will you get them to buy it over and over again from you?
Turning your hobby into a full-time business is a great way to become your own boss. Why not work at something you love to do? Just do your research before you start your business. Take the time to write business plan. You’ll need a lot more customers than the 30 people that buy your jewelry to replace your full-time salary. Make sure there’s a market for your goods and services, and start saving money. And remember to give yourself 12 months to develop a plan to become your own boss.