Whether it's a lazy day of fishing or an afternoon of baking, our hobbies bring us joy and rejuvenate us. It's only natural to daydream about turning a hobby into a full-time business takes more than skills and passion. Building a sustainable business takes planning, commitment, and a business attitude.
Here are some tips to help you get started.
1. Know Your Goal.
Do you want a full-time business so you can quit your day job? Or are you just looking for a little extra cash to cover expenses? The more you'll depend on the income from your hobby-business, the harder you'll need to work at it.
2. Brainstorm Ways to Make Money From Your Hobby
You may need to do more than one thing to create a financially sustainable business. For example, if you're a quilter, you could sell your quilts, but you also could teach quilting classes, open a quilting shop, or design and sell quilting patterns.
3. Ask if You'll Still Enjoy Your Hobby When You're Doing It For Money
Making money from your hobby may mean meeting deadlines, pleasing demanding customers, and doing your hobby even on days when you don't feel like it. You'll have to manage marketing and finances. Be sure you're willing to juggle all these balls before you turn your hobby into a business.
4. Get Really Good Before You Quit Your Job
To make money from your hobby, you've got to be good at it. If your skills aren't yet up to par, make a plan for improving them and put off your business idea until you're ready.
5. Write a Business Plan
When you write a business plan, you'll evaluate the market for your hobby-business and prove to yourself that it's a viable business idea. You'll learn how much money you need to get started, you'll set goals, and you'll plan how you'll market the business to your customers.
6. Adopt a Business Mindset
A hobby is something you do at your leisure. When you make it a business, you must show up to work. Think of your hobby as your second job and make it a priority in your life.
7. Learn About Marketing
You can be the best in the world at what you do, but if you don't market your business, you'll never get customers. Read up on small business marketing and observe how similar businesses promote themselves. Set up a website for your new business and get comfortable using social media. Start making connections online and in your community.
8. Create a Brand and Stick to It
Your brand is your business identity and what you'll be known for. A strong brand helps your loyal customers recognize you, just as people instantly know that golden arches mean McDonald's. Decide on a business name, logo, font, and/or color scheme that reflect your business's “personality" and use them consistently in your website, social media, and other marketing.
9. Get Your First Customer
Your first customer will give you confidence in your business idea and will make it psychologically easier to market yourself. If necessary, do your first job for free in exchange for a nice review or testimonial.
10. Put Your Finances in Order
You must report your business income and expenses on your tax return and pay quarterly estimated taxes. You may also be required to collect sales tax. The easiest way to keep your business finances straight is to set up a bank account for your business, to keep business and personal finances separate. Meeting with an accountant and investing in accounting software can help you started on the right foot.