Turn your hobby into a career
How do you turn a hobby into a career and job?
A hobby is something you choose to do, something you’re good at and enjoy doing. But how does one make money from it?
The first thing to ask is whether you are prepared to turn something you love into a money-making venture. That changes everything when you didn’t take up the hobby for money. The question you have to ask is are you prepared to do this full time and do it for money rather than pleasure.
Would you get sick of it?
Starting a business is a lot more than just doing something you enjoy. Would you like to do it every day under all sorts of pressure? There’s a big difference between doing something for fun and doing it because you have to pay the bills.
Ashley Thomson from Tenfold Business Coaching says one of the dangers is you might get to a point where you actually start to hate your hobby and that’s not what you want.
You don’t want to get to a point where you start to hate your hobby.
“That means you have to assess very carefully upfront to make sure you are making the right decision,’’ Thomson says.
Can you make money out of it?
The second thing to ask, he says, is whether you can make money out of it.
“You need to be clear about what kind of business you want to get into,’’ Thomson says.
“You need to do some market research and work out where the opportunities are and where your niche is and what makes you different from everyone else. Then you want to put together a budget and financial model and work out how you can make money out of this.”
That means working out costs and revenue streams. It also requires you to work out capital requirements. Does it need equipment? A new office? Vehicles?
Can you afford to finance your hobby to a point where it makes money?
“The flip side of that is how long will it take me until I actually break even and how long will it be until I replace my previous wage, because up until that point you need to finance the growth of the business,’’ he says.
“For a lot of businesses that takes 12 months, so the question they have to ask is can they afford to finance it to the point that it makes money and to the point where it replaces their previous income.”
Who else is doing it?
The next stage he says is taking a look at what’s already out there. Who are your competitors? How good are they? Are there areas that you can make your own?
“The first thing you need to do is the market research to work out what’s out there and have a look at which ones are successful and why they are successful and which ones might not be successful and why not,” Thomson says.
“You would want to do your research and work out what the others out there are doing, and pick ideas out of what they’re delivering and then work out what you will do that is different.
Work out what the others out there are doing.
“If it’s been your hobby, then it’s easy to understand what you have enjoyed about it and how to accentuate those to sell it to other people.”
That, he says, can take a lot of soul searching.
“It requires you to look inside yourself and ask who you are and what kind of person you are. One of the most important things in business is having a business that reflects your personality,’’ he says.
People who turn their hobby into a job generally make good salespeople.
“For some people, that can take months or years but then the more time they have thought about it, the better it is because they have thought through the challenges and not making the decision not on the spur of the moment but after some careful analysis.”
On the plus side, he says, people who turn their hobby into a job tend to be good at sales. That would be a key strength.
“The good thing about someone who is turning their hobby into a job is that they are obviously pretty passionate about their hobby so when it comes to going out there and making sales, which is the most important thing in any new business, they will be passionate about it.
“Even if you are the worst salesman in the world, if you are passionate about something, people will often buy your passion.”