Turning your hobby into a business 

Turning your hobby into a business 

So, you have a hobby and you’re really good at it. So good that people keep telling you that you should go into business and be your own boss. Is it a realistic dream though?

Grooming adorable doggies, taking baby photographs, or designing jewellery full-time may sound like great fun, but as nearly every hobbyist-turned-entrepreneur will tell you, starting a business is about a lot more than just the activity you enjoy. The everyday reality seldom matches up with your day dreams.

Here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself, before you even get started.

Can I cope with deadlines?

Sure, you love baking the occasional cupcake for friends and family. Will you enjoy turning them out day in and day out, under time pressure for years on end?

Unless you’re planning on selling your services for a fortune, or selling your items to an art gallery, you’re probably going to be making or doing things faster than you previously would have. Is this right for you?

Will I enjoy doing this with a financial gun to my head?

There’s a difference, psychologically, between doing something for fun and doing it because if you don’t, you won’t be able to pay the rent. Anticipate this truth and think deeply about it.

Is this hobby my outlet for relaxation?

If it is, you’re going to have to find something else to do to unwind – your hobby will no longer have that effect.

Am I up for a challenge?

Starting a business based on your hobby can be deeply fulfilling, but it almost definitely won’t be easy. If you’re looking for an escape, a life break, or simply a less effortful alternative to a straight job, then turning your passion into a business probably isn’t it.

Starting up will be tough, especially if this is your first business. You’re probably going to be wearing a lot of hats for a while – accountant, customer service rep, brand ambassador, CEO and so on. This is also a good time to think about what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

Am I willing to sell myself?

Don’t fall prey to the delusion that if you build it, they will come. No, they won’t. Not unless you market it, anyway. You cannot afford to be too modest, you have to be pushy. Be prepared to sell and sell hard!

Right, so you have asked yourself some tough questions and are happy that this is really what you want to do. With some drive and determination, there’s no reason why you can’t. Don’t forget that Small Business Advice can offer small businesses great advice and assign you a mentor, so don’t be afraid to ask for help! Other wise words to take heed of include:

Do the maths

How much money do you need to bring in to pay for childcare, or make your mortgage/rent payment every month? Maybe your new business starts small, with you dedicating only one full day a week to pursuing your dream.

If childcare costs €200 a week, do the maths: Do you need to net €800 a month in income, or can  your family get by with a net income of €400 a month? Put a legitimate goal in place.

Make a plan

Who are you pitching to? Do your homework, follow protocols and industry specifications. Seek to make connections and go for it, even if – and when – rejection seems more prominent than sparse.

Consider writing down weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals, so you can take steps toward turning your hobby into a revenue-generating job.

Network, network

It’s always a good idea to have friends and connections in your business niche – online and in the real world.

Join the local business and network groups, attend breakfast meetings and briefings. Don’t bring a stack of cards and hand them out randomly, as you work the room. It’s insincere and off-putting.

In reality, you’re more likely to get stuck talking to two or three people for ages; but they might be the very people to recommend you the next day. Why? Because you were engaging and gave so much of your time. Quality, not quantity, when networking!

Believe in it!

By neglecting to give value to our work, we negate our sense of self-worth. When we believe that our hobbies remain secondary at best (and unimportant at worst) to the duties of childrearing, house cleaning, or other career responsibilities, we forget that our vocational identity is just as important as the other parts of ourselves.

So, give yourself – and your work – a little bit of credit. Believe in the value of your vocation, put some perspiration to action, and watch and see that hobby transform into a job.

Small Business Advice

Small Business Advice is a free and confidential advice service offered by Ireland’s business community to help businesses grow. 1,250 small businesses have benefited from the Small Business Advice Programme.

For more information call 021 421 1433 or Apply Online today

1 Comment

  • Lynn farmer

    Just found this site and was hoping to get some advice on starting up a small business while currently employed on a part time basis. The tax implications and marketing. If I could meet with someone I would be very grateful. Thanks so much Lynn

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