I’ve been doing quite a bit of soul searching lately which led me to wondering if it’s possible to turn your hobby into a business?
Just the thought of getting paid for something that you love sounds really interesting and worthy of a little research.
Part of the reason for the post is we have a small back garden nursery venture which although a hobby is slowly growing into something a little more ‘adventurous’ shall we say.
I’ve been doing a little research on the web it appears over 3 million people have started their own small business from home and derive a huge amount of satisfaction and fulfilment as a result. But perhaps the best bit of all is it’s born from a passion that with a little effort and a lot of planning turned into something a tad more permanent.
That’s all very interesting I hear you say .. . but what if you want to replace your regular 9-5 job? HOW do people like us turn their hobby into a viable business?
Take my friend James (not his real name).
He has a modest workshop in his garden from which he produces the most amazing art made mainly from wood and precious metals. He’s at the top of his game (if you ever really can be) and sells his work all over the world. I’m pretty confident he makes a modest living from it.
He’s his own boss and walks approximately 20 steps to work. What a fabulous way to make a living and the harder he works the more income he can generate. I like the sound of that!
I also have a friend that set herself up as a dog and cat sitter for friends and immediate family. Essentially she moves into the home of the owners and looks after their pets while they are on holiday or perhaps off on a short break. She has a great way with animals.
I caught up with her a couple of weeks ago and she told me she started advertising in the surrounding villages and is looking for a second sitter to help out such is the demand! How fantastic is that! She gets to spend time with all those fabulous animals and gets paid for the pleasure.
But what’s involved in turning a hobby into a business and how do you make it work?
First and foremost I think you need to find something you’re really passionate about. Almost everyone I know that runs their own succcesfull business started with an idea or a vision they felt they could spend inordinate amounts of time pursuing.
Say you love gardening and want to start your own plant nursery. First you’re going to need to enjoy gardening with a passion as your customers are more likely to buy plants from you if you know what you’re talking about.
Second you need to understand what its going to take to make a success of it … or put another way what are you prepared to do to make it a success? There will long days and short nights for you at least for the first couple of years while you establish the business.
Also it may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you’re getting all excited about your new venture … but think about how you will cope when your little business starts to pick up momentum and the orders start to role in. How were you going to manage the phone calls, market the business and keep your web site up to date? … as well as actually selling some plants.
These are all considerations you need to think about.
The good news is…
I think there’s never been a better time to start a new business. In particular an online business. I also believe the pendulum is swinging back to the days of the small retailer where reputations are built on excellent customer service and the integrity of the supplier which is where you come in.
Yes Amazon and Ebay are significant players in the market but if you have a great product and outstanding customer service then you have a fighting chance of stealing a very small part of the lunch from those giants. I’m not suggesting for a minute that Amazon or Ebay aren’t good for turning a hobby into a business as they are relatively low cost access to a massive database of customers. Just remember it’s a massive market out there and there are plenty of customers to go round!
My advice having been there a couple of times in the past few years is to jump in and make a start. Yes keep it small to begin with and limit the risk but it’s never been easier to get yourself selling on line if you have a great product and story to sell.
Before you know it you’ll have your first customer and then your second and your little hobby will build a momentum of its own. You remember to keep feeding it.
Have YOU turned your hobby into a job or ever thought about it?
If you have we’d love to hear from you and perhaps you might share some of your experiences good, bad or indifferent with our readers. Its easier than you think you know and if there is anything we can do to help anyone that’s thinking of turning a hobby into a business do drop us a note as we’d love to help if we can.
Still living the dream …