Most people spend their lives separating their work from their interests. That doesn’t have to be you, though. If you have a hobby that produces something worth selling, then you have the potential to make money from it. Whether you paint cartoon characters, sew clothes, or make animations, here’s how to turn your hobby into a profitable business.
Sketch Out a Business Plan
Every business needs a plan. Don’t worry – it doesn’t have to be too detailed in the beginning; even just a simple plan outlining your business goals alongside your budget is enough to get started. Just remember to keep your vision as clear as possible.
Sell Items on a Reputable Marketplace
If your hobby includes creating items such as knitted scarves, scented candles, or homemade furniture, consider selling your products on a reputable marketplace as well as your website. Walmart Seller Central helps you reach the right customers, allowing you to build your brand while you make money. Just remember to look at their categories to ensure your product type suits their marketplace.
Figure Out Who Your Customers Are
One of the most important steps when turning your hobby into a business is to define exactly who your audience is. Are you selling to tech-lovers? New parents? Children? By knowing who your target market is, you’ll have an easier time advertising your business.
Build a Social Media Following
A great way to boost your sales is to build a social media following. That’s easier said than done, though, as it takes a lot of work to reel followers in – especially ones who are genuinely interested in your business. To authentically grow your business’s social media accounts, you should:
. Post engaging content
This one is a must. By posting consistent, engaging content, your following will naturally grow.
. Engage with other users
The more you engage with other users, the friendlier you will appear as a brand. Plus, it’ll help you reach more people.
. Keep up to date
Keep up to date with events related to what you are selling. If you make pet collars, for example, follow pet-related content and post about it, too.
. Be authentic
What a lot of businesses get wrong on social media is failing to be authentic. By showing off your more personal side, you’ll appeal to many more people.
When pursuing a hobby purely for your enjoyment, you don’t have to worry too much about quality. To make money off it, though, you must ensure it’s good enough to sell. If you enjoy woodworking, for example, you need to ensure the finished result is as smooth and beautiful as possible.
Research, Research, Research
No business owner gets anywhere without a substantial amount of research. It should become part of your daily routine – research in the morning, on your lunch break, and before you go to bed. Your goal is to know everything about your niche as well as any new ways to market yourself to new customers. Prepare to spend a lot of time on social media!
Work on Your Time Management Skills
When working for someone else, time management is relatively easy. After all, you often cater to another’s schedule. Working for yourself, however, can be much trickier.
One of the biggest mistakes many start-ups make is not managing their time correctly. By letting the days slip away with little progress, you run the risk of your potentially successful business collecting dust. Some tips for improving your time management include:
. Set a weekly schedule
. Get enough sleep
. Set goals
. Remove unnecessary tasks
Consistency is the key to most things. Profit might seem like a long distance away, but by putting the same number of hours into your business each week, you’ll soon see real developments. Just keep at it!
Grow a Thick Skin
When your hobby was just that – your hobby – you didn’t have to worry too much about what other people thought. Once it becomes your business, though, it matters how other people perceive it. For this reason, it’s crucial to grow a thick skin early on, as you’re probably going to hear some blunt criticism about your product or service. Learning how to take criticism well is tricky, but it’ll help you improve your business overall.
Create a Website
Whether you’re selling purses online or starting a professional dog walking business, you should create a user-friendly website. Make sure you include all the relevant information about your business on the site without overloading with text. All the pages should load quickly, too, to avoid a high bounce rate.
Save Money Where You Can
Business owners need to be talented at budgeting, and that includes saving money wherever you can. If you buy materials, can you get them any cheaper without sacrificing quality? Is there a way to minimize marketing costs? Is your time being used efficiently? Assess your business plan and schedule regularly to make sure you aren’t spending money where it doesn’t need to be spent. You should also consider hiring an accountant – managing a business’s money can be overwhelming, making an accountant a sensible investment, even in the early days.
Ask for Feedback
Feedback is one of the most important gifts for new business owners. It doesn’t just have to come from customers, either – you can ask your friends and family what they think about your website, products, and posts. Get them to review your products, too, as this will help boost your online brand image.
Keep Learning Your Craft
Making money off a hobby doesn’t mean you are the master of it. No matter how successful your business becomes, make sure you never stop learning your craft. That way, your business will only become better and better.
Doing what you love can earn you money – you just have to be organized, committed, and have enough talent to see it through. So, start sketching a business plan and see if your hobby allows you to quit your day job.
Ryan Flannagan is the Founder & CEO of NuancedMedia, an international eCommerce marketing agency specializing in Amazon. Nuanced has sold $100s of millions online and Ryan has built a client base representing a total revenue of over 1.5 billion dollars. Ryan is a published author and has been quoted by a number of media sources such as BuzzFeed and Modern Retail. To connect with Ryan, check out @Ryanflannagan on Twitter or via LinkedIn