You have an exceptional hobby. You’re good at it and believe you could turn it into a business. But how do you know if will become a viable business? One way to find out is to test the waters before you jump straight in. Turn your hobby into a part-time side hustle while you still have a day job. But before you do that, research the industry related to your hobby. This will help you identify if there is a need for your product or service. After you’ve done your research, write a business plan. Use it as a roadmap for your business journey.
- Identify the problem your hobby will solve
A hobby will remain a hobby unless you’re using it to solve a real problem. Perhaps you’re good at teaching, making a product or offering a service. However, if you want to build a successful business, you have to separate your emotions from your hobby. Take yourself out of the picture. Instead, focus on the potential customers you want to serve. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What needs can you meet?
- Are people interested in what you have to offer?
- Will they be willing to pay for what you’re selling?
- Is there a market for your products or service?
- Who are your ideal customers?
If you want real answers to these questions carry out market research or surveys. Go directly to the people you want to become your customers. Otherwise, you could play the guessing game by predicting people will buy from you because you have a wonderful hobby. Presumption alone is not a strong foundation for turning it into a business.
- Test the market
Unless you find out whether your hobby will work as a business, you could waste valuable time and money. Although it’s your dream that doesn’t mean people will be interested. There’s only one way to find out. Get out there. Tell people what you have to offer. Promote your product or service on social media. Blog about it. Write a press release. Tell friends, work colleagues and talk about it at networking events.
After promoting, check the level of interest. Is there enough buzz around it for you to venture out and test the waters?
A word of caution, however. Although you might have a high level of interested potential customers, don’t jump in head first or quit your day job. Start a side hustle first to determine if you have a genuine business to generate a sustainable income.
This will give you an insight as to whether your hobby will work as a business or not. Remember, when you start up, operate with a business mindset. Whether you’re trading full or part time, your customers will expect good quality service. Always act professionally.
- Build up a pool of contacts
It’s never too early to start networking. Build up your contact list as soon as possible. Reach out to existing business associates, friends, work colleagues or even contacts from college or university. Updating your database will come in handy for when you’re ready to start your business.
In addition, you will need advice, guidance and feedback from other business professionals.
Also, create your social media accounts. Use these platforms to get to know your potential customer’s behavior. Find out as much as you can about them. This will make it easier for you to interact and provide what they are looking for.
- Research into the legal side of running a business
Your local library will help you gather the information you need such as…
- Market research data.
- Business insurance.
- Small business accounting systems.
- Whether you need a business license.
Knowing this information will help with your business preparations. Use it to find out if you need to follow any regulations or get a special license before starting up.
- Don’t invest too heavily to start with
There is no point in pumping money into a venture until you’re sure it will succeed.
Start small. If you don’t need to rent or buy business premises, set up your business at home. It’s cheaper. For a start, you’re not paying extra on utility bills, rent or mortgage. Nevertheless, when you start making a profit it makes sense to move your business into another property.
Use whatever existing resources you have available, unless they are broken. This could be a car, van, office equipment or something else to get the business started. Invest and buy new equipment as you go along.
If you need extra funds to get started, apply for a business grant or small business loan with low interest rates.
One of the most satisfying jobs is working for yourself. There is nothing better than being your own boss. Still, running a business is completely different to enjoying a hobby. However, be prepared to work hard, plan, set goals, focus and put lots of hours into your business. On top of that, try it for 12 months before launching out full time.