Let’s say that you’ve got this hobby that you’re really passionate about. You’re having fun with it. And you’ve thought: maybe I should start a business with it?
If what you do outside “work” is your true love, then why not consider making it your career too? After all, you probably want to love what you do, especially if you’re going to spend most of your life doing it.
Read more: Living a fulfilled life
But, first things first let’s differentiate between hobby and a business.
- A hobby is a spare-time activity or pastime pursued for pleasure or recreation.
- A business requires some form of investment and enough customers to whom its goods or services can be sold on a consistent basis with the intention of making a profit.
A hobby is a pastime or leisure activity conducted in your spare time for recreation or pleasure. It’s important to understand the differences between a hobby and a business for tax , insurance and legal purposes.
Questions to ask yourself
- Should you turn your hobby into a business? Consider carefully before turning your hobby into a business. Many people have experienced that, after turning their hobby into work, they no longer enjoyed doing it. The pressure of working to a schedule and meeting financial goals and customer expectations simply took away the fun, relaxation, and personal satisfaction they had previously felt while doing it.
- Will you enjoy doing your hobby when you have to do it to a deadline? For some people, working on their hobby is like working on a long-term art project. They do it to learn, to create something beautiful, and in an attempt to attain perfection. Unless you’re planning on selling your services for a fortune or selling your items to an art gallery, you’re probably going to be making or doing things faster than you previously would have. Is this right for you?
- Do you have other business to take care of? As an entrepreneur we’re always thinking of new business ideas. And if you already have other businesses that have not been taken to harvest, meaning someone else can run it on your behalf. The answer is no. Please do not start another business until the existing business that you have is taken to a point of mastery, meaning it’s just running on its own or it’s been sold.
- What short-term result you want out of your business? Considering the short-term result is very important, because a lot of people think they’re going to make money quickly, and the reality is in the real world it just doesn’t happen like that. Running a business is a long term investment. So if you’re hoping to make lots of money upfront, it’s not going to happen. Now, if the short-term result is you’re just going to have fun, making, something and maybe sell a few, then that’s probably a reasonable expectation in the short-term. Next, ask yourself what the long-term result is that you want? What do you want out of this business 1 year from now? How about 5 years from now? Do you want to keep it as a hobby business or do you want to build an empire? Whatever your answer is, there is no right or wrong here but we want to be clear a few things about it.
The more long term you are willing to think about your business in terms of getting a result from it, the more realistic your expectations are likely to be.
If you’ve decided it’s a good decision, how do you actually go about doing it?
I’ve compiled a how-to guide that will help get you up and running.
Do your research and planning
Learn as much about the industry as you can. Get to really know the space and the niches within. Take the time to understand the players and grasp how they think and understand the space, you should take some time to re-evaluate the quality of the idea. Don’t be afraid to be hyper-critical. Solicit ideas from others. Sometimes the idea is terrific, and other times, it just requires minor tweaks. Fix those tweaks before fully entering the market—and understand that, for most entrepreneurs, this is a process, not a single final product.
Remember as you develop a business plan, roll-out plan, think about each step along the way and what you will need to take each step. Plan to have the information and resources you will need at each marker. You will need a team to ensure that your plan is comprehensive and that you have touched on all the main issues.
This will take us to the team building step. Consider who you will need on board. An attorney knowledgeable in that field and experienced with start-ups and small businesses is critical to the success of any company, as he or she will advise on a corporate structure that makes sense, draft or review your documents and contracts, advise on employment or partnership issues, and will work to protect your interests as the new company grows. An accountant is equally important, and will help address tax considerations and preparation. You may need additional employees or consultants, such as salespeople, designers or marketing consultants. Get the help you need to succeed.
It’s always a good idea to test the waters first, so consider starting your business on a part-time basis while maintaining your day job. Just remember that customers will still expect the kind of service they’d get from a full-time operation. Be ready to put forth the effort and manage your business growth carefully.
Pricing your service or products
Pricing your services or product can be a much more complex issue than assessing a rate based on what your competition charges and offers, the current state of the economy, or by determining a rate from a salary. Your financial present and future are impacted by how you price your services or products.
It’s important to charge enough for your product or service to make a profit. To determine the right price, you’ll need to add up your expenses and factor in intangibles, such as the time you spend on labor. Then ask yourself: Will people be willing to pay that amount?
Choose a name for your business
Your business name is the beginning of your new brand, so choose it wisely. Make sure it’s easy to remember and spell, and indicates something about the nature of your business. Also, check if the website address for the name you’ve selected is available. You don’t want to confuse customers by using a name with a different Web address. (For more, see related article, ”
How To Choose A Right Domain Name” “Getting Creative with choosing your domain name“)
Build a Web presence
Every small business needs a Web presence today. It is the modern-day equivalent of being listed in the phone book. However, a credible website doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many low-cost Web design and hosting solutions available online that are easy to use. You many have a look at our DIY Website.
Create a marketing plan
You never know who the next potential client could be, and it may not be the people you think. Keep telling people about yourself and what you do.
If you don’t have funds to spend on marketing, there are excellent resources that cost next to nothing, save for your time input. For example, you could create a Facebook fan-page and offer incentives to your followers.
You could also stay in communication with repeat and potential customers via an e-newsletter. See “Online Marketing Strategy”
Of course, these aren’t the only things you’ll want to think about before heading down the entrepreneurial path.
Take amazing product photos
Whether you’re selling online or taking photos to submit to a magazine or newspaper, pictures can either make or break your business. You need a high standard of photographs in order to gain the trust of potential customers.
By investing in professional photography your business images will be enhanced and will tell your customers that you have a professional attitude. Professional images add value to your products or services, attracting more customers and increasing your sale. See our photo collection here.
Just Go for it. Throw yourself into it. And don’t look back. Work hard, but cut yourself some slack. You will make mistakes—learn from those mistakes, make adjustments, and move on.
If you think you’re ready to make the leap, there are so many great resources you can turn to in order to help you get started. Are you really committed to this hobby?
And if it wasn’t successful, that’s not a failure. That’s just a sign to you that maybe it should stay as a hobby and something you enjoy. The idea is that we take one test at a time and gradually dip our feet into the process of transitioning from a hobby into a small business.
If you’re still not sure about what’s right for you, let us know and we’ll be happy to help you figure it out. Leave a comment below.