You’ve poured countless hours into your hobby. Today, you’re a master of your trade. Why not take that skill and turn it into a profitable business?
Whether you’re looking for a career change, an encore career, or just some extra pocket money in retirement, turning a hobby into a business lets you do something you’re passionate about while earning a living. However, building a profitable business requires more than putting a price tag on your creations. There’s branding, marketing, financial management, and more involved in running a small business. You also have to test the viability of your business idea.
Bloom Personal Branding offers these tips to help you learn the basics of turning a hobby into a profitable business venture.
Is your hobby built for business? Hobbies that can be monetized include photography, DIY crafts, cottage goods, woodworking, writing, illustration and design, interior decorating, antiquing, and pet care.
Don’t rule a hobby out if it isn’t on this list, however. If you’re certain your business idea has legs, conduct market research to assess its viability. You may be surprised at how many people want your product!
It takes more than a great idea to run a business. Business owners are responsible for a wide range of tasks, from sales to marketing to bookkeeping and more.
The skills needed to run a business can feel overwhelming at first. However, there are a lot of resources to help you learn about business management like personal coaching through Bloom Personal Branding. Entrepreneurs should also connect with local resources like chambers of commerce and small business development centers.
Some entrepreneurs will benefit from pursuing a business degree. Online degrees are affordable and convenient so you can develop business skills while working on your business idea. Consider if you need basic business skills like what’s offered by a business management degree or an advanced business degree tailored toward adding to your existing knowledge and education.
Even if your hobby is in the craft or art realm, you’ll still need a space to conduct the business aspect of everything. Try to set up your office in a space with plenty of natural light. Also, invest in a sturdy desk, possibly one that is height adjustable. Check out affordable ergonomic chairs so you can stay comfortable, and set up an organized filing system so you know where to find important documents, invoices, files, receipts and more. Ideally, you should also make digital copies of these documents so you can have them on hand for quick sending.
Business tasks take up a lot of time if you’re not careful. Luckily, inexpensive online software is available to streamline routine business tasks so you can focus on creating your product.
Some of the most popular software solutions for small businesses include Square and Stripe for accepting payments; Mailchimp and Constant Contact for email marketing; and Buffer or Hootsuite for social media marketing. Many of these are available at a low cost or even free to very small businesses. QuickBooks is a top software solution for accounting, as it can integrate with powerful financial reporting features like real-time access to reports like your balance sheet and income statements.
Word-of-mouth marketing is great, but it’s not everything. That’s especially true for rural entrepreneurs who don’t have a large market to tap.
DAN Institute notes that taking your business digital lets you reach a wider audience so you sell more and earn more. While word-of-mouth marketing and relationship-building are powerful strategies for local marketing, connecting with customers outside your community requires going online.
This includes selling on informal channels like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, starting an Etsy store, and even building an e-commerce website of your own. Pairing an online presence with creative marketing tactics like how-to videos and project updates is a fantastic way to connect with customers and build relationships.
Your business may still be an idea dwelling in the back of your mind, but it doesn’t have to stay there. With a viable business idea and the right tools, you can make your hobby more than a pastime – you can make it a living!