“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” ― Mark Twain
And while that idea is pretty nice, even the most significant love you have for something can fade if you are overworked and underpaid. Typically we do hobbies as stress relief from our usually 9-5 job. But something those hobbies can be the keys to making decent cash – and we don’t even know it.
Or worse, you have been toying with the idea of selling what you make or looking online for work and haven’t. The worst thing about indecision is that you are doing nothing the whole time. Our hobbies improve our happiness levels a lot, and being able to turn that into a hustle, and then into a full-time job is impressive. But to create a business that is viable from something you do for a few hours on the weekend takes time and care. Commitment, planning, and a business attitude (even without any experience, you can do this).
Taking a ‘basics’ approach, here are some steps to get you started on building your hobby into a hustle.
Before you set out on this adventure – you need to set some goals. Do you just want to sell a few of your pieces, or get something published, or have a weekly stall on a market place. Are you thinking about one day leaving your job and doing this full time? The more income that you want to make from your hobby will mean the more time that you need to put into it.
Think It Out
It is easy to rush ahead in the planning and ideas process and be dreaming up names and business premises – and that is a great thing for your motivation. But you need to have some realistic ideas down on paper too. Is your business financially sustainable? Do you currently spend more on materials that the average price of what you do?
How many different revenue options are there from what you do? For example, a writer could ghostwrite books, create eBooks, write content and copy, press releases, and more. If you sew, you can teach classes (online or in-person), open a store, sell your works, or create and sell patterns.
Write a list of all of the ways you can make money from your hobby right now.
When you begin to turn your hobby into what will earn you money, you might lose some of the pleasure of it. Not in the early days because it is fresh and exciting, but over time. When your hobby becomes both time and money, the outlook can change. You won’t be able to just do what it is that you love; you will need to also handle the accounting, social media, marketing, and dealing with unhappy clients.
Even if you have been doing something for years, you can still be better. That is the absolute joy of a hobby. There will be training and techniques that will make you better. This is something that should make it into your goals – to be better at what you do as the time goes on. This will be one of the ways that eventually you can upscale and see some growth within what you are doing. Before you decide you are going to leave your current job to make this work, get your skills up to par.
There is a school of thought that says that a business plan isn’t needed anymore. But really you can use a business plan as a way to firm your ideas and lock them down. As well as put all of your financial forecasts in place. If you are going to need finance, having a plan that is well presented and includes all of the information that you need is going to make a difference.
Not everyone is analytically minded, and that is great – because otherwise, the world would be boring. However, you need to see your hobby as a money/time thing as well as something that you love. And view it more as a way that you are going to bring more money into the home. You will need to register your business in the entity that makes the most sense to your circumstance.
When it comes to getting the word out there about your product or services – you need to learn fast, and well. Luckily there are many free online courses that can help you the main theories down. It pays to research small business marketing and learn how to manage your marketing on a shoestring budget. You should have a website and set up social media accounts for your business too. You don’t have to be a mogul but learn as you go and work on your marketing, and you’ll see results.
Your brand is going to be your business identity. It is what your customers will know you for, and what new customers see first. Your brand’s identity will strengthen over time. Most of the basis will be pulled from your business plan and the goals that you have set earlier on in the process. You will need to learn some basic design techniques, and even you can design a logo that is going to work. Think about the colors and styles that reflect the business that you are launching.
When working on the branding and the ethos of your business, you need to almost future proof yourself. So think carefully about some font styles and taglines, not everything ages with grace. In fact, some things age very badly indeed, and re-branding can be a costly venture later on.
If you are lucky, you might have a few clients already lined up and ready to buy your services or products. If not, you are going to have to put all of that marketing knowledge to good use. Once you hit the goal of getting your first customer outside of your circle of friends and family supporters, you will likely find that your confidence grows exponentially.
Money In Order
Once you are making money and spending anything on your business, you are going to need to make sure that you are keeping track of it properly. It doesn’t matter if it is a few cents/pence or hundreds – it all needs to be accounted for. Depending on the country of residence and the type of business entity will make a difference as to when you have to file your taxes and VAT. If you are shipping your products overseas, you might need to consider shipping costs in your pricing too.
Of course, the best option will be to hire an accountant to handle this, but in the early days, there is plenty of accountancy software that will help you keep on top of everything until you need to hire.
Growth & Success
Dream big. Once you have started and you see that you are running well, making a profit and still enjoying the work – you are going to want to consider what growth looks like to you. Success is a very personal thing, you should also have goals that you have for your business in terms of money, sales, and awards. Things that you can work towards and tick off when you reach them. Try not to judge your success by the success of others either – because comparison is the thief of joy.