Turning a Hobby into a Business
The pandemic brought with it a great deal of a commodity that was lacking for a number of us – free time. When the usual entertainment options shut down due to the Covid-19 virus, people found themselves turning to new or long dormant hobbies to while away the hours. Activities such as soap making, bread baking, canning, embroidery, gardening, photography, and many others found themselves back in vogue.
For those who have become passionate about or exceptional at their hobbies, the thought of “how can I make money with this” has likely crossed their minds. While it can seem daunting, it is possible to turn these newly honed skills into a brand new business. Here are some questions you should ask yourself before you start trying to generate income from your pandemic distraction.
Is Selling Your Hobby a Part-time or Full-time Opportunity?Are you looking to make some additional income from your hobby or do you see this as your new career? Answering this question will inform every other decision you make regarding a possible business. Each path has its advantages and disadvantages and requires different demands on your time and finances.A part-time business can bring in some additional income on top of your normal paycheck, but can quickly turn your free time into work time, as well as divert your attention from your day job. Making a hobby your full-time job lets you set your hours, but also means that your entire income is now dependent on what used to be a fun diversion. This is your most important decision, so make sure that you consider all your options before choosing.
Is Your Hobby Scalable? Where Should You Sell?To bake a single loaf of sourdough bread requires time and skill. To bake thirty loaves of sourdough bread requires a lot of time and skill – as well as access to a professional kitchen. Starting a business selling handmade goods means the ability to create those goods quickly and consistently. Ensure that you not only have access to the equipment you need to scale up your hobby and that you can meet any possible inventory requirements you may find yourself needing.Your scalability can also determine your best potential marketplace. An eCommerce strategy can help you control inventory but comes with additional costs from website hosting, social media advertisements, and online marketplace fees. Putting your product in retail stores can help create an image as a local brand, but requires a lot of completed products ready for the shelves, as well as the networking skills to get you on the shelf. Make sure you’ve considered just how much you can reasonably create and the best place to sell it before making your next move.
What Should You Sell It For? Who Is Your Competition?How many competitors do you have locally? How many are online? What do they sell your product for? How much does it cost them to make? What sets them apart? What makes your product better than theirs?You need to know what your competition looks like, what your margins should be, and what value you should put on your time and labor. Being armed with this information is crucial if you are serious about wanting to turn your hobby into a business. If you’re unsure, try scouring online marketplaces to see what others charge. You can even try contacting some of your potential competitors to ask questions – after all, the worst thing they can say is no, and they might be willing to help you on your path forward.
How Will You Communicate With Your Customers?You’ve determined how much time you’re putting into making a hobby a business, whether it is feasible to do so, where you want to sell your products, how much you want to sell them for, and who you’ll be competing with. Now you need a way to communicate with your potential customers. This can seem easy in principle but requires careful thought and consideration.Creating social media profiles for your business is a quick way to start finding an audience for your business, but you’ll need to decide if you want your brand to have a voice independent or identical to your own. If you choose to create a website, having a blog or contact forms is a great way to encourage direct communication. A public-facing email address can inspire confidence, but can also lead to a lot of spam messages that can take time to sort through.At AccessDirect, we think that a local or toll-free business phone number remains the best way to communicate with current and potential customers. Our systems can be programmed to meet your specific needs, whether that is a single voicemail box or a fully automated virtual phone attendant. We even offer time-saving features for small businesses like voicemail transcription, online faxing, business text messaging, and more. Contact us to find out how we can help you make your pastime a profession today!