How to Turn Your Hobby Into a Business

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Do what you love and the money will come, it’s often said. And it’s often true. But if you’re already committed to a boring full-time job, you likely can’t see how to make the transition.

In fact, the idea seems so far-fetched that each year many head straight into the work force from high school or college to begin a stable, though not necessarily satisfying, career.

Imagine how much happier people would be if they could spend their days doing what they love while also making a decent living?

How in the world can you make that happen? One way is to turn your hobby into a business. In the video below, Money Talks News money expert Stacy Johnson offers some helpful tips to get you started, along with some important factors to consider before you begin. Take a look and meet me on the other side for more.

Can your hobby be monetized?

Whether you’ll make money depends on whether your hobby enables you to sell a unique or in-demand product or service. Not sure? Here are a few income-generating ideas to consider to see if your hobby provides these or similar opportunities:

  • Sell your goods. This is fairly straightforward, but you could set up a consignment agreement to test the waters or open up shop on your own. Another option is to advertise your goods through online marketplaces such as eBay, Etsy or Craigslist.
  • Use your talents. If you’re handy around the house, highly organized, or are a natural at color schemes and home decor, why not use those talents to make the lives of those around you more pleasant and get paid for it?
  • Teach your skill to others. You could teach others how to produce the product you created or equip them with the skills to provide a particular service.
  • Take your hobby on the road. Host live events for fellow enthusiasts or offer public speaking, seminar or workshop facilitating services.
  • Write away. The Internet isn’t going anywhere, and neither is the content that keeps the wheels turning day in and day out. Here’s your opportunity to present yourself as a subject-matter expert and create a blog, a series of e-books, or content for websites that are popular among other enthusiasts.

Scope out the competition

It’s important to offer a product or service that customers will rave about, so the competitive landscape must be considered. If there’s competition in the field you’re looking at, there’s a proven market.

Literature offered by trade organizations and other industry-based entities can help you find out.

If there’s no competition, you’ll be on your own to convince consumers that they need what you’re providing. That’s a much tougher sell, but not impossible.

Is your product or service competitive?

Assuming there’s a ripe market for what you’re selling, now’s the time to determine if your product or service can compete. You can start by testing it on family and friends in exchange for their honest opinion and feedback on how much they’d be willing to spend.

What if friends and family aren’t exactly who you had in mind to market your product to? Consider setting up focus groups or creating a survey from a platform such as SurveyMonkey to help you gather the feedback you need.

If consumers aren’t willing to pay enough for your product to cover your costs and turn a profit, you definitely should head back to the drawing board.

Before you take the leap

Here are some other important things to consider before you commit:

  • Think again: Is this really what you want to spend your days doing?
  • Do you have the capital it takes to get things up and running and sustain yourself during the startup period?
  • Does this business really have the potential to support your family and/or your lifestyle? Again, trade publications and your own online research will give you some valuable information to consider. If there’s no demand, or people would have to pay an unreasonable price for you to make a profit, you’re probably not on the right track.

Still ready to proceed? My advice: Consider taking things slowly for some time until you get adjusted and demand rises. During this time, pay off high-interest debt like credit cards. Being rid of that debt will ease the transition from the stability of your day job.

Do the needed paperwork

First and foremost, you need a business plan. But there are other steps that new businesses should take. These free resources can help:

Spreading the word 

Once your business is ready to go, you have to let the world know.

Here are a few no- or low-cost ideas to promote your new business:

  • Blogging.
  • Guest posts.
  • Craigslist.
  • Public speaking.
  • Free seminars.
  • Free appearances at community events.
  • Networking.
  • Free online platforms, such as Weebly and Wix.
  • Social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest.  

While you may never achieve the fame and fortune of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or any other world-renowned entrepreneurs, you’ll have a chance at leading a fulfilling and happy life if you can make your hobby pay.

Have you converted your hobby into a business? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

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Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.

  • Stacy Johnson

    We’re shooting news, not a movie. In other words, we don’t control the set because there isn’t one. This is real life. While we do our best to control the environment, if someone walks by a window while we’re conducting an interview (or honks their horn, or waves their hands) it’s out of our control.

    Now, here’s a question for you: Why would you insult my crew by calling them unprofessional? They’re anything but.

    • ask996

      If that’s what Martha walked away with, she missed the bigger picture. Keep up the good work. Thanks

  • Anda Gail Andreu

    Great article. I am looking into how to sell my art and need this info.

    • Amanda

      What kind of art are you looking to sell?

      • Anda Gail Andreu

        I want sell portraits, figure painting and landscapes. Most of what I am doing now is either charcoal or pastel. I am teaching myself oils now. I have people asking me what do I charge and I just get flustered and don’t know what to say.

        • Amanda

          Browse around online and see if you find other artists who have a similar style/quality. That should give you a good average idea of pricing and you might even be able to ask them for advice on selling paintings. If it’s something you’re considering long-term, I’d look into creating sites online (like on Deviantart or maybe starting a Facebook page, although the latter isn’t as great anymore) so that you can advertise your art and possibly find new clients.
          Just remember that it’s easier to lower prices than it is to raise them. I started out with super low prices and was quickly overwhelmed (also people are meaner to you when you have cheaper/free art for some reason…), so don’t undervalue yourself. The more you do it, the better you’ll get, so adjust your prices every now and then to make sure you’re getting what you deserve. :)

  • Balmer

    The interview was well done and very professional.
    I had to watch twice to see your issue even was —
    It’s a shame you’re so easily distracted and so quick to criticize this informative news clip.

  • home exchange 50plus com

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    Brian Luckhurst

  • Amanda

    I made a Facebook page to grow my art so I could start trying to reach out to people. It was pretty successful for a while but Facebook isn’t worth expending your hobby with anymore unless you’re willing to shell out the money just to make sure people see what you post. It’s ridiculous. If it were just reaching out to new people I would understand it, but I can’t even get the people who have liked my page and want to see my art to have it on their feeds.

  • speaksthetruth

    Do you mean the leaves on the trees? Come on! You can’t be serious. The wind blows and the leaves hit against the window. That’s now a problem? Get a life.

    • Sarah A Shunk

      I did the same at Balmer to see what the problem was as well. It is trees that are blowing that are the “problem” that you see? Do you not live in an area that has some trees growing next to a house?