We all dream of doing the thing we love full-time – but what if you really could turn your hobby into a business?
As the world of work changes, more and more people are trying to monetise their passion. It’s never been easier to transform your hobby into something on which you can build a career. Here, we’ve compiled some simple steps to turn your hobby into a business.
You know what your passion is, but how do you turn it into a profit-making enterprise?
First, think about the strategic side. What will your business actually do? There’s a range of options here. For example, you might teach other people the skills that you’ve developed in your hobby. You might make and sell physical products. Or you might run a service business, where you apply your hobby to help solve client or customer needs. Think about the nature of your business first.
Next, you need to see what the market is like. Is there an opening for your business? Is there demand for what you’re selling? What are your competitors doing? What are the major costs, and what is pricing like across the relevant industry? This research will form the basis of your business plan, which is the crucial document against which you’ll base your activities.
Once you’ve done your research, you need to analyse it. The simplest way of doing this is through a SWOT analysis; read more in our guide to creating a SWOT anaylsis.
Before you go any further, you’ll need to tend to the legal requirements necessary for starting a business. If you’re setting up a limited company, you’ll need to do so through Companies House or an intermediary. If you’re operating as a sole trader, you’ll still need to tell HMRC that you are self-employed and you will then need to complete an annual Self Assessment tax return.
You’ll also need insurance. The types of cover you’ll require will depend on the nature of your business, so you should compare different types of business insurance to see what fits.
So you’ve got your idea and you’re all set up, but how do you make your first sale? Marketing is key for any new business. First you’ll need a name – something snappy that sums up you and your unique offering. You should also think about branding, developing a look and feel that helps you stand out.
Next, think about places that you might be able to drum up business. You might start with friends and family, but you should also look further afield. Local business directories are a good place to start, but you should also consider advertising in places specific to your industry.
The internet has provided a wealth of new ways for young businesses to get themselves seen. Getting your online presence set up might take a bit of time, but it pays dividends in the medium term.
There’s a range of tools you might use. First, make sure your business is listed on Google My Business and that your profile is complete. Follow our step-by-step guide to creating a small business website. And, of course, don’t forget small business social media marketing.
Inevitably, if you’re working alongside your new business you’ll need to have strategies in place to manage your time. This will require some sacrifice in the short-term, for example through earlier mornings or later nights.
However, try to introduce some structure as early as possible. By dividing your time sensibly, you can ensure that you give your business the attention it deserves while still fulfilling your responsibilities in your job. Pretty soon your hobby might be your full-time gig.
Finally, it’s crucial to remember that if you want to succeed in monetising your hobby, you need to treat it with a professional outlook.
Make sure that you keep on top of the numbers, and try to present yourself professionally at every turn. Part of the route to success in business is self-belief – remember how good you are at what you’re selling, and you’re halfway there.
Do you have any tips for those thinking about turning their hobby into a business? Let us know in the comments.
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15 September 2017 • 3-minute read
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