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Three Steps to Turning Your Hobby Into a Real Business

Posted by Maria Cannon on Dec 1st 2017

Photo from The Little Spark—30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity.

Everyone’s dream job is to make money doing something they love. The reality is that most people don’t get to do this. But if you have a marketable skill or a hobby that you’re truly good at—say, quilting, sewing, or embroidery—you can turn that into a real business if you have patience, creativity, and dedication. If you want to turn a hobby into a business you need to, above all else, commit 100%. If you treat it like a side project, it will always remain a side project. Once you commit, here are some things you mustn't forget if you want to be successful.

Don’t forget to market test your idea

There’s no law that says you must take the steps to start a formal business—website, branding, LLC, permits, etc.—right out of the gate. Part of determining whether or not your hobby can truly be a real business is figuring out if there’s a real market for your product or service. Take it for a test drive, as The Balance suggests. Start selling your goods slowly. If you want to sell your homemade jewelry, for example, try to set up a tent at a local street fair or ask local organizations if you could set up a table at one of their next events. Gauge interest in your product. Determining whether or not there’s a market is the first step in turning your hobby into a business.

Photo from Sewing to Sell—The Beginner's Guide to Starting a Craft Business.

Don’t forget that you can often run an entire business from home

Thanks to the proliferation of the internet, there’s now zero reason for many businesses to operate a brick-and-mortar storefront. For the hobbyist looking to turn their passion into a small business, there’s more than one reason to run the whole thing out of your home. For one, you don’t have to pay overhead for a retail/office space. At home, you can also juggle other domestic responsibilities while you run your business.

To begin running a business from home, it’s important to designate a workspace and get yourself the right technology. For a great guide to home businesses, check here.

Photo from Sew Organized for the Busy Girl.

Don’t forget to create an online presence

Why do you need to focus so much into your online presence? As Chron says, “the Internet never sleeps, and every portal you offer online gives your business a virtual 24-hour showroom.” You can’t always be available to take orders, answer questions about your business, and market it—but a website can. And Facebook and Instagram and Twitter can. Not having a strong website and social media presence nowadays is like not having a telephone—it’s just not something you can overlook. Research has found that somewhere around 97% of shoppers go online before making any purchase. If you’re not in those search results, you’re starting behind the 8-ball in a major way.

Remember: your online presence is often the first thing a potential customer or client sees when considering whether to give you their business. It should be well done. Here are some good tips for how to build a strong online presence.

Photo from kraft-tex Style

For most hobbyists, the major thing standing in the way of achieving their dream and turning their passion into a money-making venture is self-doubt. Once you overcome that, you can begin to think about the logistics of the enterprise. Start by giving your business idea a trial run, then start working from home, and be sure to get your online presence up and running as early as possible. That will provide you a solid springboard into small business success. 

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