If you have a great full-time job but are passionate about something else, you may be tempted to turn that hobby into a business. Whether you love to try out new recipes, carve wooden animals and display them in your front yard or write short stories and sell them online, these sidelines can be great sources of extra cash.
But before you abandon your full-time job to start your new business venture, you need to plan carefully.
No matter how great your business idea, it pays to exercise caution. If you have been itching to turn your current hobby into a future business, the steps outlined below can increase you odds of success.
Clarify Your Goals and Expectations
Do you want your hobby to replace your full-time income someday? Would you be satisfied with a bit of extra spending money, or are your goals and expectations somewhere in the middle? Before you can move forward with your plans, you need to know what you want from them.
Clarifying your expectations does not guarantee you will reach your goals, of course, but if you do not have a plan, you will never reach your destination. Think long and hard about what you hope to achieve, and then start making a plan that will get you there.
Don’t Be Too Quick to Abandon Your Full-time Job
It is easy to move too fast when transforming a hobby into a business after all, the passion surrounding that hobby can be infectious, and you may be tempted to jump in all at once.
Even so, moving too quickly could be damaging to your finances and leave you with few options should something go wrong. The go-slow approach may not be as exciting, but it is much safer.
Develop a Comprehensive Business Plan
Before you can start building a business and transforming your hobby into a business, you need to have a comprehensive business plan in place. Having a business plan will make every other step of the planning process – from obtaining the required licenses and registering the business with state and local authorities to securing bank loans and obtaining outside financing, easier.
Creating a business plan is not as daunting as you might think, and there is plenty of help available.
You can find sample business plans online, and many business schools offer courses that cover all aspects of starting a business, Including writing a business plan.
Seek Out a Mentor
When it comes to starting a business, there is no substitute for experience. Working with someone who has been in your shoes and successfully grown a business can boost your confidence while increasing the odds your new venture will succeed.
If there is a business owner you admire, you can ask about mentorship on either a formal or informal basis. If you do not personally know any successful business owners, you can sign up for a mentorship program through a local business organization.
Test the Marketplace
You love your hobby, but do you know how many people share your passion? More importantly, do you know how many of your friends and neighbours would be willing to pay for the products you create or the services you provide?
Before you can turn your hobby into a business you need to know the market demand, so spend some time testing the waters. This kind of testing process will not only help you assess the viability of your business model, but will also allow you to fine-tune your offerings. Testing the marketplace is an important part of starting and growing your business, and it is a great way to transform your hobby into a steady source of income.
If you are passionate about your hobby, it may be time to take the next step. With the right preparation and planning, you may be able to tum your favourite hobby into a great business, and the tips listed above can get you started.