If you have a skill or hobby you’ve been working at for some time with some level of expertise, you may be wondering how you might be able to cash in on it. There are many crafters, jewelry makers, woodworkers and all sorts of talented people out there who have turned their hobby into a money maker. If they can do it, so can you!
There are some things to keep in mind before you set out on this venture. First of all, be sure your hobby is something you’d want to turn into a business. After all, a hobby is usually something to enjoy in your free time without the pressure of a job. If you feel you can still get the same enjoyment out of it and offer your goods or services for sale, the next step is to create a business plan and set some goals. If you’re going to turn your hobby into a business, you’ll need to treat it as such and take it seriously.
Your plan should include a marketing and branding strategy, as well as profit analysis to make sure you can earn money based upon what your investment in materials and other expenses are. The next thing to ask yourself is, what are you going to call your business and how are you going to get the word out and develop a clientele for your product or service? There are easy ways to create your own logo, come up with a slogan, and build a web site. Check out freelogodesign.org, which guides you through a simple and free logo design process. If you don’t want the expense of a web site you can create a social media business page such as Facebook, and start inviting your friends to like and share it. You could even offer an incentive for referrals. In other words, if a friend refers someone who turns out to be a paying customer, offer that friend a thank you gift in return – such as a discount on a future purchase for every referral or a free product.
There are also sites to get your goods to market which will help you set everything up effortlessly. If you’re the crafty type, such as a jewelry maker, photographer or artisan, sites like Etsy are very successful for many independent businesses. Their products encompass a broad range, so take a look at other sellers in your category to see what they are pricing similar products for. Whether it’s textiles, art, collectibles, toys or home products and more, Etsy has grown significantly since it began and now has a pretty broad range of categories. They give you all the tools you need to get your online store off the ground and running. If you’re a first-time seller, they offer support specialists to help guide you through the process of getting your e-commerce account up and running.
The main points here are to make a plan, set your goals, do your research and be dedicated to making it work. Also, don’t plan on quitting your day job, if that’s part of your initial goal, until you are rock solid in your endeavor and 100% certain you can make a full-time paycheck from it. It may take some time to reach that point. The other factor is, make sure you still enjoy your hobby as a business just as much as when it was just a hobby, otherwise it could become just another grueling job.
Ann is a professional writer who brings dedicated experience having written international and domestic news, blogs, and web content for over 20 years. She’s also a published poet and graphic designer with degrees in Business and Graphic Communications and has been a music distributor, music industry sponsorship sales director and band manager.