There’s a likelihood you have at least one hobby or craft you are passionate about. Perhaps you are an avid photographer, gardener, or reader. Maybe you’ve just begun to dabble in the world of blogging, jewelry-making, or design. No matter what holds your interest, you can turn that hobby or passion into a lucrative side career if you put your mind to it. These 5 tips will help you get you started!
1- First … Stop and Think
Putting your skills to work seems like an awesome idea, but you need to stop and think first. Hobbies are generally used for relaxation and enjoyment, but if you’ll be hunkering down to meet deadlines, it can get stressful. If your hobby is your go-to method of de-stressing, you’ll need to find another outlet so you don’t get burnt out. Starting your own business means you’re not only the boss, but you’re also the CEO, accountant, social media manager, etc. Are you up for the challenge? If you are, then read ahead.
2- Put a Plan on Paper
Before you start taking orders from customers and clients, you need to get a plan on paper. Remember, doing your hobby for fun (and maybe selling a few to friends a family) is a lot different than selling to customers. Write a business plan that lists your target market, start-up funds, estimated expenses, goals, and marketing plan. It doesn’t have to be a fully polished, professional plan – an outline will do – but you need a roadmap to go by.
3- Set Up a Website
You don’t have a brick-and-mortar store, so potential customers need some way to browse through your products/services, make orders, contact you, etc. This can be accomplished by creating a website. “Your website can actually be a marketing team, a sales team and a customer service team for you – and that really saves you a lot of time as a business owner,” GoDaddy partner Lara Galloway told Business News Daily. A website also shows that you are serious about your business and gives you some extra credibility as a new entrepreneur.
4- Take Advantage of Social Media
Socialnomics reports that as many as 80 percent of social media users will buy a product or service as a result of their social media interaction with a business. Social media is a very powerful marketing tool that can help you spread the word about your business, attract new clients, and interact with returning clients. While Facebook seems to be the most common route for entrepreneurs, it isn’t the only one. According to Oberlo, “Instagram is a great marketing platform which ecommerce entrepreneurs can use to help grow their ecommerce businesses. It doesn’t matter whether you’re just getting started with your store, or if you’re already making thousands in revenue every month, Instagram is a valuable tool that you can use to your advantage.” Getting followers on Instagram is a lot easier than you’d think: join Instagram engagement groups, repost others’ content, or take advantage of Buzzfeed’s Community section, where you can promote your account by posting your own content.
5- Don’t Forget to Network
While social media is a great way to connect with others, you shouldn’t hide completely behind the computer screen. Get out and network with others by seeking out clubs and groups related to your business or attending networking events for small business owners. Your local Chamber of Commerce is a good place to start, as is the popular site/app MeetUp. Make sure you aren’t showing up empty-handed though. Have business cards ready, as well as a speech prepared when you are inevitably asked about what it is you do.
If you have a hobby or passion, you are already one step in the right direction when it comes to starting your own business. Before you get too far in, consider whether this is the right venture for you and if you can handle the challenges and setbacks you’ll face. If you’re ready, write out a business plan, create a website, market yourself on social media, and utilize in-person networking to get your side hustle off the ground.
Want help with making the transition from hobby to career?