Almost all of us have fantasized about turning our hobby into a full-fledged successful business venture. If you know about Bill Gates, you know that his unconditional love for his lifetime hobby helped him build the multimillion software empire of Microsoft. It was his passion to pursue his hobby as a career choice that paved the way for him to attend Harvard University and later drop out to start Microsoft, and today, we all know that Bill Gates is one of the richest men in the world, thanks to his hobby.
Considering to turn your hobby into a full-blown business might feel like an acid test. It might demand you have to leave your daily job and pool all your resources into something that you had only considered as a leisure activity until now. It is a life-changing decision that requires some serious consideration of pros and cons before turning your after-hours passion into a real business venture.
However, on the brighter side of things, turning what you truly enjoy and love doing into a thriving revenue generator is one of the most generative, exciting and satisfying experiences. The best part about it is that if you are willing to make this transition of taking up your hobby as a profitable business venture, you get to be your boss.
Anyone determined enough to do so must closely consider their options and analyse whether it is the right thing to do. It often happens that people go the extra mile, but when there is pressure to achieve financial milestones and deliver unrealistic client expectations, you stop cherishing the thing you used to love to do.
Making this decision is seldom easy, and so, we have some things that you should consider before turning your pet-related pastime into a full-time career.
Your Commitment towards Your Hobby
This is one of the foremost things you need to consider if you are going to become a hobbyist-turned-entrepreneur. It will be a completely different ballgame once your hobby, which you used to do to relax your mind or have fun, becomes your sole source of income. There will be deadlines and pressure, you will have to buckle up and expense every ounce of your energy to achieve significant results. There won’t be any time to goof around if you turn your pastime leisure into a business venture.
Is your Hobby Commercial?
One major thing to consider before you quit your job and dive headfirst into the business is to analyse whether your hobby is commercial or not and if you will be able to sell what you are creating. A business is not just about selling your products, but you should be smart enough to also sell ‘yourself’. You should work on the fact if you will be able to create a market for yourself to promote your products and earn a living.
A Mindset Shift
You need to mentally prepare yourself that your hobby which was something you did in your after-hours to relax and enjoy, is now going to be your source of income. You cannot just do it for leisure anymore, and you will have deadlines to meet. You are now going to run it day in and day out and take responsibility for all sorts of business-related duties. You will have to track your expenses, handle a wide range of administrative tasks, record all sales and will also be responsible for other aspects of running a business, like advertising, customer service, storefront or webpage design, etc.
Set Realistic Expectations
Many people who turn their hobby into a business venture anticipate that they will miraculously grow over time and build an empire. This is highly unlikely. You need to realise that it takes time and a lot of hard work to build sales and acquire market. You must set realistic goals for customer acquisition and sales, especially during the early months. It can take some time to build a client list through positive referrals, advertising, and promoting.
Providing exceptional service to your customers can help you generate repeat business and coveted referrals. It will be a slow process and every little win counts. So, don’t go hard on yourself if you don’t achieve your target in the very first month only and keep going for you will get there eventually.
Try not to overestimate the immediate profitability potential of the new business venture. There are several overhead costs associated with starting any business, including supplies and equipment, insurance, workspace rental, etc. It’s possible that you won’t make profits immediately from the business but don’t lose heart. Focus on growing your revenues and reinvesting them back into the business for the first year. Once your business is steady enough then shift your focus on making a profit.
Once you have decided to enter into the business world, now you must do a lot of research about the industry you are trying to enter. This will help understand the technicalities of the industry, analyse the challenges and opportunities, and monitor how the competitors work on their product. When you have extracted all such relevant details, take your time to evaluate your original idea and the plan of action. Refresh it, rectify it, and revise it until it is ready to enter the market. Plan every little detail to perfection.
Market yourself as much as possible
Design an attractive webpage for your business to get attention from new customers, and increase the engagement through social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Create business cards, brochures, online posters, etc., to attract new people.
Come up with fun ways to promote your business by hosting local events, holding giveaways, giving special discounts, etc. Reach out to all business associates you have previously worked it and ask them to recommend you for new business opportunities.
Test the waters
You may want to test the waters first and open the business on a part-time basis at first while hanging on to your full-time job. This will give you a fair idea of how it functions and if you’re ready for taking up your hobby as a full-fledged business venture.
If you’re ready to dive in headfirst, consider having a second source of income. Possibly, the business may not flourish for quite some time, and at least you can have something to fall back on.
Just Do It
Enjoy the path you have chosen for yourself and be persistent. You will most definitely face problems and make mistakes, but instead of treating them like setbacks, let them be significant elements in your learning process. Take lessons from your past mistakes and make adjustments so that you never make the same mistake twice. And even if you do, try again.
Turning your hobby into a business can be a risky endeavour, but tap into the passion that drove you to make this decision in the first place. Count every little achievement and celebrate all small victories. It’s not going to be an easy road. Don’t give up on something you so passionately love and find the strength to overcome barriers of negativism and doubtfulness to achieve your success goal.