Turning Your Hobby Into a Profitable Business
by: Ethel Lair
Countless successful entrepreneurs were once hobbyists. They tinkered around in their garages (or attics, kitchens and bedrooms), created something of value, and then turned that into a lucrative business venture. If you have a hobby you’re especially good at, you could potentially turn it into a profitable business too.
For instance, if you’re a craftsperson and create beautiful handmade jewelry, you could sell it online for a nice amount of money. This same strategy would apply to many other hobbyists – artists, painters, confectioners, and DIY product-makers. Small-scale e-commerce businesses typically don’t need much in the way of an investment, and they’re also easy to set up and manage. Starter Story shares inspiring examples of successful handmade goods businesses.
Modaville walks you through how to turn a hobby into a business below (with a focus on e-commerce businesses just like ours):
Test the waters with a side hustle
Launching a business is always a risk. Doing it on a smaller scale first, as a side hustle, might be a good idea. That way, you won’t need to risk your current source of income and you give yourself an opportunity to learn the ropes before you become a full-time businessperson. You could attempt to sell a limited number of products online to see how far you get before starting a full-blown store, for instance.
Write a business plan
A business plan is a document that covers the nitty-gritty of running a business. It details considerations like your business model, money-making options, market conditions, ideal customers, marketing campaigns, financial plans, and business goals. Creating this formal document can help you get clear on everything it’d take to have a successful business. It can also help you secure a loan or investment money too.
Choose a business structure
Registering a business structure such as an LLC may be a good idea. The personal liability protection afforded by LLCs can reduce some of the risks of doing business. Also, there are other benefits like tax advantages, easier paperwork, and more flexibility. In order to form an LLC, you can hire a lawyer or use a formation service, the latter being a considerably less expensive option. Before choosing a service, read reviews to determine the best service available.
Get online and start marketing
Getting online is essential in this day and age. You gain extra visibility and can share your work with people conveniently. If you’re planning to sell crafts goods, you should feature them on your website. Digital marketing will help you find a steady stream of customers and clients. Create an attractive brand and execute some high-impact strategies like newsletter marketing, social media ads, and customer reward programs.
Use e-commerce software
When you’re planning to sell the goods you made, you will need to set up an online shop (aka e-commerce site). There are several specialty e-commerce website creation platforms that help you set up and manage your store, as well as optimize it for the internet. It’s a good idea to carefully vet your options to find something suitable. Fiverr covers the 10-best e-commerce options for small businesses. Other types of apps (and technology in general) can help you automate key tasks and become more productive. You can have a look-see at the Modavile store (especially the arts and crafts section) for an idea of what an e-commerce business looks like.
Consider going back to school for a business degree
Running a business requires several skills, including accounting, communications, management, and risk assessment. While you could learn on the job, going back to school may be worthwhile – it would help you acquire key skills and market information from experts that would help your upcoming business thrive. If you’re pressed for time, you may consider this online degree – you could do it in your spare time while running your business.
Make sure you’re ready for the hobby-business tradeoff before getting started – your hobby may not be as enjoyable, at least until your business becomes settled. For the best results, write a business plan, register a business structure, and, optionally, go back to school for a degree. It takes time for businesses to find their feet, but it’s very rewarding when they do.
Author: Ethel Lair