5 Questions to Consider Before Turning Your Hobby Into a Business

Most of us find it hard to resist the lure of safety and security promised by a full-time job, no matter how boring the work is.

But imagine how much happier you would be spending every day doing what you love while also making a reasonable living.

How can you make that happen? One idea is to turn your hobby into a business.

Before you give it a try, consider these questions:

Can my hobby be monetized?

You’re more likely to make money if your hobby provides a unique or in-demand product or service you can sell. Here are a few income-generating ideas:

  • Sell your goods. 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. For example, if you’re handy around the house, highly organized or a natural at color schemes and home decor, use those talents to get paid.
  • Teach your skills to others. Show others how to make something you created, or equip them with the skills to provide a service at which you excel.
  • Take your hobby on the road. Host live events for enthusiasts who share your hobby.
  • Write away. The internet isn’t going anywhere, and neither is the content that keeps the wheels turning day in and day out. Present yourself as a subject-matter expert and create a blog, a series of e-books or content for websites.

Have I scoped out the competition?

Consider the competitive landscape. If there’s competition in the field you’re looking at, there’s a proven market — but you also will have to offer greater value than your competitors.

If there’s no competition, you’ll be on your own to convince consumers they need what you’re providing. That’s a tougher sell.

On a positive note, if you do convince customers to buy, you should have the marketplace to yourself — at least for a little while.

Is my product or service competitive?

Test your product on family and friends in exchange for their honest opinion and feedback on how much they’d be willing to spend for it.

If friends and family aren’t exactly your target market, consider gathering feedback by setting up focus groups or creating a survey from an online platform such as SurveyMonkey.

If consumers aren’t willing to pay enough for your product to cover your costs, head back to the drawing board.

Do I know where to go for help?

You’ve probably heard that a small business should have a “business plan.” But do you even know what that means? Do you know all the other steps a new business must take?

Fortunately, the U.S. Small Business Administration offers some great information in the article “10 Steps to Starting a Business.”

You can also tap into the wisdom and advice of veteran and retired entrepreneurs through the SCORE program.

Is this really what I want and need?

Before you commit, ask yourself if this really is what you want to spend your days doing.

Even if the answer is yes, do you have the capital it takes to get things up and running and to sustain yourself during the startup period?

You will need to think hard about whether the business has the potential to financially support your family and lifestyle.

Still ready to proceed? Consider taking things slowly for some time until you get adjusted and demand grows for what you provide.

During this time, pay off high-interest debt such as credit cards. Being rid of that burden will ease the transition from the stability of your day job to the uncertainty — and excitement — of running your own business. You can get help with getting rid of debt in our Solutions Center.

Have you converted your hobby into a business? Share your experience in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

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