Can You Turn Your Hobby into a Business?

April 11th, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Entrepreneur 2 thoughts on “Can You Turn Your Hobby into a Business?”

hobbyMany successful businesses trace their roots back to a hobby. You may have heard a motivational business speaker share their story about how they realized one day that they could make money simply doing something they enjoyed.

A hobby certainly isn’t a bad way to start a business.

After all, hobbies tend to be low cost and low commitment. And generally, they involve something you love. You probably already have a hobby or two. The question is…

Should You Turn Your Hobby into a Business?

The idea sounds great: make money while doing something you love.

And you can deduct purchases and expenses for it. That’s something you can’t do with a hobby.

However, you might end up disliking this activity you once loved. Turning a hobby into a job can make you suddenly lose the joy that comes from doing it. As an example, I love to cook. I love to experiment with new recipes and make stuff up as I go. But would I enjoy running a restaurant?

If you’re not worried about that, then here are some questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Will I be able to get enough business to make a living, earning what I want or need to earn?
  • Can I get others to understand the value of my hobby?
  • Can I grow the business at a sustainable rate?

If you’re answering yes to all of those, then you’re ready to start seriously considering making the leap from hobby to business.

But first….

Do Some Research

There’s usually no point in starting a business if there’s already someone succeeding at what you want to do on a level you can’t perform – or if you have no differentiator. What are the market and competition like? Is there a niche that’s being overlooked?

If the marketplace is already pretty full, try and think of a different way you can transform your hobby into a business – do something to make it unique and stand-out. Think about how to be a market disruptor.

Strategize and Create a Business Plan

Despite what some may say, you should develop a strategic and a business plan (there’s a difference). Start with a strategic plan and graduate to a business plan. This will help you create a foundation from which to build your business. It doesn’t have to be overly complex, and you’ll certainly change it along the way.

But start with a simple, concise strategic plan. Speaking of starting simple….

Start Small

You may have big dreams, and that’s great. But big dreams aren’t accomplished overnight. Instead, break the big goals down into smaller, actionable steps and objectives. Get a few sales under your belt. Figure out your flow. Make some mistakes.

And then, once you’ve settled into the idea of your hobby being a job, start building.

Treat it Like a Job

The only way people are going to take your business seriously is if you do. Once you’ve decided to turn your hobby into a business, it’s no longer just for fun or whenever you have a free time. Get up early. Work late. Be regular. Stay consistent.

Even if you’re doing something you love, it’s not always going to be enjoyable.

Get Another Hobby or Outlet

Now that your hobby is becoming your job, you need something else in your life to release tension and enjoy. Consider starting a new hobby that’s purely for pleasure. It’s important to maintain balance when starting a business.

For more guidance on starting a successful business, make sure to check out Business is ART, available now at Amazon and other booksellers.

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2 thoughts on “Can You Turn Your Hobby into a Business?”

  1. Jon, thanks for this post. The key, especially, to turning your hobby into a business is definitely having–and working–a plan. I’ve turned one hobby into a business, and even though I’m passionate about my writing, getting my second career as a fiction writer off the ground has taken years of building and then implementing a plan. Even so, your advice is spot on: get up early, work hard, and stay consistent. I’ve watched you do that with your Business Is ART business, and your “plan” really works. This post speaks to us on so many levels: everyone has that dream of turning their hobby into a business: you show us how. Thanks.

    1. Jon Umstead says:

      Thank you, Mary. I appreciate your insights, particularly as someone who has done it multiple times. Your experience and willingness to share lessons learned is beneficial to anyone willing to listen.

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