“Love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.”
We have all heard this adage time and time again. How many of us, when taking time for our favorite hobbies—be it painting murals or stamp-collecting—wish we could get paid to do what we are passionate about? The dream is almost too far-fetched. Yet, there are business owners all across the world doing just that—turning their hobbies into successful businesses.
Where should you start? Here are eight ways to help you go from hobbyist to dream-job business owner.
Be Honest with Yourself
Before you begin this adventure, you must ask yourself a hard question. Will making your hobby your job make it less fulfilling and joyful for you?
For many, a hobby is an escape—something outside of the regular course of everyday that allows for fun, creativity, or relaxation. Realize that turning that activity into a job may make it just that—a job—despite what the old adage says.
Doing what you are passionate about could be an incredibly invigorating and fulfilling lifestyle. If you truly love what you do, then it won’t feel like a mundane job. However, the risk must be considered, especially if you are going to keep up enough momentum to create a truly successful business.
What is Special About Your Hobby?
Before doing anything, you must do your research. Examine what it is that you like to do and find what it is that makes it special. Next, research what people like. You might have to make a few modifications based on what consumers are interested in. You might love knitting periwinkle sweaters, but if consumers want magenta sweaters, then you will want to adjust your product accordingly.
Look at what other business owners are doing and see what they have found to be successful. Expound on what has already been proven to work and then put your own unique spin on it. This will help your business draw in new interest without being redundant to what is already on the market.
Make sure to also research demand, demographics, and how much is usually charged for similar services and products. This will help you to determine just how profitable your business might be. Is the amount of time your put into the product worth what people are willing to spend? Can this sustain you? Or will you have to work part-time on the side? These are all important questions that you need to ask yourself before you get too serious about this.
Through the research process, you might find that your hobby does not do well as a business. If this is the case then go back to the drawing board. Is there another angle that you could take? How can you modify your hobby to make it more enticing?
Select Your Business Model
There are two basic business models to choose from if you are selling products:
Retail Model: this involves one-time purchases and relies on building loyalty with customers, so they return again and again.
Subscription Model: charges your customers on a scheduled basis. This could be weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, etc. You then send out products on that same schedule, be it shampoo, condition, sourdough bread, or whatever else you are selling.
There are also service-based models for those selling services such as building and carpentry. These would be more locally based and dependent on the demand for such services in your area.
Do not limit your business to only one of these models. You may have a few different options available. For example, some cosmetic brands sell their products on their websites using the retail model while also offering a subscription for a slightly reduced price. You can start with one and then move to another further later.
No matter what your hobby is, there are almost certainly other businesses that sell the product or service you intend to provide. If you are making hand-made items, there are likely larger retail stores selling factory-made versions. If you are offering subscription boxes, these larger stores are probably supplying the exact products you are putting in your boxes. So why would a customer choose to buy from you when they can run to the nearest supermarket or farmer’s market and buy nearly the same item?
Decide how you want to come across to your customers and go after that in every way you present yourself. Your value must be reflected in your business’s name, logo, color palette, etc. Your business must present itself as distinct and unique. This will help your customers to set your business apart from other brands and choose you over others.
Create a Business Plan
Just because you are converting your hobby to a business doesn’t mean it’s all fun and games. If you want your business to be successful, you’ll have to do the hard things too, such as laying out a business plan.
A business plan will include a description of your business and what it aims to achieve. It will also include the research you have done to show that your business can be profitable in the industry. Business structure, products and/or services, and the targeted customer base are all important details. Your business plan should also include your marketing and operations plans as well as financial planning.
While your business may start as a small self-funded venture, if it starts to grow faster than expected, you may want to consider alternate funding. Research to find out whether a bank loan, government grant, crowdfunding, or other forms of funding is best for you and your business.
Before you launch your business, it is important for your potential customers to already know who you are. This can be achieved in a few ways.
Set up your website (complete with multiple channels of communication and payment options).
Set up business accounts on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
Create and send out email campaigns.
Offer discounts and special offers for completing a survey.
Get your name out to the public via as many channels as possible. This is a vitally important step. If your potential customers know who you are before you launch your website, you are more likely to receive sales right from the start. Try to get people hyped up and excited about your product before it’s available.
Now that you have your business plan, financial processes, website, etc., there is only one thing left to do. Launch your business.
Everything is in place and it is time for your hobby to start turning a profit. Launch your website, and make sure people know. Tell your social media followers about it and send out another email campaign. Make sure you’re not leaving anyone out. If you advertised before the launch, advertise there again after the launch.
How Can I Streamline the Business?
Once your business takes off, it may gain speed faster than you expected. In this case, you will need to scale your business, especially if you have started very small. If you have not already, it is time to hire some employees to help with the load.
However, as the workload increases and your business expands, it may not be possible or financially feasible to deal with all the work in-house. This especially applies to businesses selling products rather than services. This is because the extra work of fulfillment, shipping, etc. will take away from your employee’s time.
This is when third-party logistics companies (3PL) such as Smart Parcel 24/7 come in handy. A 3PL will store, fulfill, and ship your products.
Smart Parcel 24/7 in particular will give you the best possible shipping solution at the best price. This is because we have an entire global network of carriers to choose from. Our experts will help you from package design to fulfillment, to selecting the best route for each of your products.
Let us take on the burden, so your hobby can stay a hobby.