You’ve probably heard the saying, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Having a career you’re passionate about isn’t going to magically turn every day into a tropical vacation, but pursuing a job you love will positively impact your life. The more you love your job, the harder you’ll work at it. Happy people tend to earn higher salaries, and we can only assume these people are happy, in part, because they genuinely enjoy their jobs.
Hobbies are typically things we do after work hours or on the weekends to escape from a stressful work week. Our hobbies are unique to our lives and reflect our personalities. It can be anything from knitting, fishing, or even scuba diving. No matter what your hobby is, it might be time to think about turning it into a business.
According to Merriam-Webster, a hobby is “a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.” But why limit your hobby to outside of work; what if you made your hobby a career? Before you decide, ask yourself these questions:
Would You Still Enjoy Your Hobby as a Full-Time Job? Remember, you’ll be doing this full time, not just during your free time. You’ll have to carefully manage your time to meet deadlines, satisfy customers, and work even when you don’t feel like it. Let’s say you enjoy your hobby five hours out of the week. Make sure you would be just as enthusiastic if you dedicated 40+ hours each week to your hobby.
Why Are You Doing This? The desire to make a career change doesn’t necessarily mean you hate your current job. Perhaps you just want more freedom, need a fresh start, or have always dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur.
How Will This Benefit You? Turning your hobby into a business should come with some benefits. These can include managing yourself, working flexible hours, traveling, etc. Determine what you want out of your business and make sure it enhances your life.
What Is the Lifespan of My Business? Consider if your hobby will sustain you long term, or if it will be short-lived. Chances are, you’ll want to keep this going as long as possible. Keeping the future in mind is always important, so make sure you set both long and short-term goals to keep your business booming.
Ready, Set, Go!
Taking your hobby into a professional setting may alter the climate a little bit. You’ll no longer be doing this activity in your free time or just for fun; you’ll be working full time at your business. Making this transition can be fun, exciting, and satisfying. If you’re ready to take the leap from hobby to “jobby,” these five tips are for you.
1. Imagine Your Hobby as a Business
Visualize how you can take your passion for yoga, hiking, drawing, knitting, etc. and turn it into a viable business. Imagine what your passion would look like as a job, and think of short-term and long-term goals to help you achieve that vision.
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Let’s say your passion is yoga. Here, a short-term goal is teaching a class at an existing business. This helps you gain experience and connections, which in time, will help you achieve your long-term goal of owning your own yoga studio. Keep in mind when planning your dream business, there’s no cookie-cutter strategy. Form a plan that works for you and your goals.
2. Plan Out Your Business Model
Business models will vary depending on the industry and whether you plan to sell a product or a service. Some basic things to consider are:
Inventory. Let’s say you’re going to sell knit hats. Will you have inventory on hand, or make them to order? Or maybe you’re offering a service like kayaking tours. This will require having x-number of instructors, kayaks, paddles, life jackets, etc. available for customers.
Price. A number of factors play into determining a price and you need to ensure you’re making a profit. For hats, it’s cost of materials, labor, and current market value. For services, it’s your material plus time spent. Service packages are a good idea if you’re selling a service by the hour or a variety of services at certain price points. For example, if you’re going to offer kayaking tours, you could charge hourly rates plus a kayak rental fee.
Location. Will you sell via brick-and-mortar, ecommerce, or both? If you’re just starting out, opening a storefront probably isn’t in the budget. Look to ecommerce sites like Amazon, Etsy, Shopify, or even social media platforms to start off selling your products.
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3. Build a Presence on Social Media
Social media presence for your brand is a must. With more than 2 billion users worldwide on platforms like Facebook, social media has quickly become an important asset for businesses. Creating profiles on various social media platforms will make your business visible to people outside of your local realm. Your business’ Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any other platforms you use reflect your brand and show people what you’re all about.
For example, if you sell jewelry, you can post pictures of your latest designs, share input about the latest trends, ask followers what their favorite accessory is, or use related hashtags like #jewelrygram or #instajewelry (both have over 3 million tags!)
If you teach yoga classes, you might want to share inspiring quotes, add photos of new yoga poses you’ve mastered, post pictures of your classes in session, ask your followers to comment their favorite yoga pose, or use yoga inspired hashtags like #positivevibes, #yogi, or #namaste.
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Engagement is key. Interact with your followers, use hashtags, and follow others in your niche. Social media is a foolproof way to get your name out there and bring in new customers.
4. Treat It Like a Job, but Keep It Fun
When transitioning from hobby to business, it can be difficult to differentiate between the two. After all, your hobby has always been your favorite relaxing pastime. Make sure you treat your business seriously by properly managing your time.
But don’t forget to keep it fun. Make sure you’re enjoying your work and keeping the spark alive.
5. Test the Waters Before Diving in Full Time
Before you quit your day job, take a swim in the shallow end. Treat your hobby as a side gig, building its foundation while you continue to work full-time.
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Before diving all in, you want to make sure your hobby is profitable enough to provide you a livable income. Don’t be like Michael Scott and quit your full-time job before you figure out how to make a living off of your own business. And even once you take the plunge, have a safety net of cash, too, while you get your start-up business’ feet wet.
The Cool Down
Visualizing your business and the goals you have for it is a big part of achieving success. There are hurdles and hardships behind every successful business, but there’s also an endless trail of hard work and dedication. The first step is knowing what you want, and the next step is getting there.
You hear it all the time: follow your dreams. If transforming your hobby into a business is your dream, go for it. Make sure you’re prepared, willing to work hard, and know what you want for yourself and your business. There’s no straight line to success, but with these tips, you’re ready to hit the road.