Many of us have reached a point in our lives where we wish we knew how to turn something we enjoy into something that earns us money. Rest assured that you can turn your hobby into a business, one that does more than make you happy, one that can line your pockets with some dough.
- Hack it like a business owner
When you’re about to turn something you love into something that can also bring in some money, start by doing what literally every single business does at the beginning: look at your target market. It doesn’t matter if you paint seashells or 3D print the wonders of the ancient world; if your enthusiasm for your hobby doesn’t tickle someone else’s fancy, then it’s a bad idea to try to turn it into a business. So try to see if other people are willing to pay for the thing you love. You can whip up a DIY survey and float it around in relevant online communities.
- Think of your timelines, materials, and more
Let us tell you about someone who also once asked the question: how can you turn your hobby into a business. Her name is Payne, and Payne started creating feminist cross-stitch pieces as a way to keep herself occupied during her commute. What began as an interesting and fun hobby soon began grabbing people’s interest, but Payne never thought about the cost of one piece, just as she never really thought of how long it took for her to make one. Despite having a great idea, her execution ultimately led to her downfall, and she closed shop soon after she began. On the other hand, if she had really done a little more research into her own processes, she would’ve been able to come up with clear costs, genuine profits, and accurate timelines for her customers. Know the product or service inside out before you begin offering it to others.
- Quality control is key
Mass-produced products are easy because they have an entire industrial complex behind them. Most people who are thinking to turn their hobby into a business start much much smaller. This means that you need to have your own SOPs in place for how to execute the perfect product or service. Ask people who share your love for your hobby to act as testers so they can point out the chinks in your armour before a paying client can. Nothing kills small businesses and startups faster than bad publicity on social media.
- Learn to please people
It’s one thing to wonder how one can turn your hobby into a business; it’s another to interact with people who will become your buyers. Some will be nice and appreciate all the work you put into what you love to do. Others will nitpick and drive you mad. Whenever there’s a scandal and uproar, notice that all big corporations bow down to their customers immediately. As a startup or small business owner, the rules won’t be that much different for you. Make sure your social skills are on point before you begin so that you don’t get torpedoed by bad reviews that have nothing to do with the product and everything to do with your mannerism.
- Be the apple of everyone’s eye
Speaking of pleasing people, develop a social media presence. It doesn’t matter how grand your idea is, how amazing you feel when you are working on it, or how much the few customers you have adore you – if more people don’t know about you, your brilliant idea is as good as dead. For people just starting out, the best thing to do is first isolate where your community is. Are they teenagers frequenting TikTok or millennials who are still found on Facebook and Twitter? Can you target WhatsApp groups, or is Reddit the platform you should be making noise on? You need to be your own marketer and salesperson, and this is one of the most important aspects to consider when you think of ways to turn your hobby into a business.
- Don’t let your business kill your hobby
We know of several founders who tried to turn their hobby into a business only to realise that the move had made them hate their hobby too. You cannot go at it like it’s the end of the line for you. If you lose sight of why you’re doing what you’re doing, you can start resenting the decision that you have made. Don’t fall into the “productivity” and “efficiency” traps. We quit corporate jobs because they take over our lives, and if you’re thinking of how to turn your hobby into a business, you need to first ensure that you won’t allow the same thing to happen when you’re your own boss!
- Keep your day job
Some people actually get so excited by the potential of their idea that they sink every single ounce of time, energy, and money that they have into making sure their venture takes off. You need a solid game plan of how you are going to survive if you go into this guns blazing, and without one, you’re only setting yourself up for failure. So start small, don’t bite off more than you can chew. And as you grow and expand, keep looking at your finances to see whether you can make a switch to doing what you love full time. Never forget that no one’s hobby can feel like a lot of fun if it ends up with them starving. Plan and plan and plan some more.