Should You Turn Your Hobby into a Business?

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Should You Turn Your Hobby into a Business?

If you spend your leisure time crafting, writing, painting, tinkering or whatever else, chances are you’re pretty passionate about your hobby. And nobody’s blaming you, either. In fact, a lot of Americans wish they had the time and resources to put into something they love.

Thinking about expanding these hobbies into careers is all but natural, but before going down that path we urge you to read on to make sure this is the right move for you. 

Making the switch is a big jump and you’ve got a lot of things to think about. It doesn’t just come down to money, though we’re inclined to think of costs first and foremost. It’s a whole lifestyle change and something that’s exactly what we need. But what about the downsides? We don’t want to scare you off. It’s important to be objective when it comes to your life and income.

Part time and full time sign on the ground.

Where Are You in Life Right Now?

First, let’s take a look at your current situation. If you’re unemployed you might be thinking you’ve got nothing to lose and that very well may be the case, but you might end up digging yourself a hole. If your hobby is costly, imagine dealing with expenses on top of the often confusing and stressful endeavor of starting a business.

Oftentimes we’re so blinded by our passions that we forget that without money we can’t really be expected to succeed.

If you can’t reliably cover costs your business will suffer, especially in the early days. Without an established clientele at least consider a part-time gig before venturing on. Having some savings stacked up can definitely help you launch.

Then there are those who are working full time already. Long sifts can suck the life and joy out of us so of course, we’d turn to our passions in order to clear our heads. If this is you then we think you’re in a good enough spot to save up money which can undoubtedly help jumpstart your business. Remember, every little helps! 

Old man using laptop in a workshop.

But what if you’re already retired? Chances are you definitely have enough time to work out all the finer details of your venture. We’re not saying you should spend every waking moment into how to go about starting a business, but not having to stress about work at the same time is an advantage few people get. Plus, retirement may come as a blessing to some and a curse to others.

If you’re a workaholic and can’t stand the thought of doing nothing, we encourage you to think on and see what works best for you. 

Working out costs on a calculator.

Costs and Alternatives

Now that we’ve spent a bit of time talking about your current working situation, let’s dive into why that’s important. We’re a bit used to thinking of hobbies as some side activity that isn’t often affected by anything else. We don’t consider them to be work yet they still require work, meaning that some of us could very well draw a distinction between having a hobby and relaxation time. 

Name me one hobby that doesn’t cost a penny. Chances are, there aren’t many, especially if you’re into making something with your hands. All those materials have got to come from somewhere unless you’re lucky and can find them out in nature.

Wanting to make something for yourself or your loved ones every now and again can bring you joy. Imagine having to supply these things to a larger clientele.

After you’ve acquired your materials, you’re going to think of a platform. Sometimes, all it takes is a good listing on the Facebook marketplace, but other times you might need a dedicated website to show off your goods. Say you’ve figured all of that out and you’re ready to start posting.

Deciding on a good, realistic price is crucial. Too high and buyers might scoff and turn away even if don’t realize what it takes to do what you do. Too low and your business is not sustainable. 

Crunch some numbers before deciding but also stay open to change. There’s no reason for you to stick to your starting prices and there’s no shame in adjusting them as you go on! 

Cook filming himself while working.

Sometimes it’s not about selling a product as much as it is about selling an idea

If you’re worried about sales at all, as you rightfully should be then maybe jumping into this venture is not the right thing to do. And that’s alright! You can still make money off of your craft, just maybe not how you expected. 

If you can write about or film your process, you’re probably sitting on a gold mine. Let’s face it, sometimes people don’t want or need more stuff to buy.

Our lives are already cluttered with so many things, so unless you have a good marketing strategy you might get lost in the crowd. That isn’t to say that your hobby not valuable and appreciated, so don’t let this dishearten you. 

Sometimes, all you need to do is prop up a camera, even your phone, and film yourself doing what you love. Teaching others, guiding them, talking about your hobby could bring in more money than you expect if you’re patient enough to do it. This is also a pretty great way of building up a community that will reliably come back to you.

Once your fanbase is large enough you could dabble in selling your goods. Avid watchers would be far more excited to buy things they’ve seen you make instead of following tutorials. They already have a sort of emotional connection with your item, so they might feel more inclined to add it to their online shopping carts. 

Woman painting blue painting.

Persistence, Selling Yourself and Criticism

Think about why you love your hobby so much. It’s something you do for fun, something you turn to when you need a little bit of time for yourself. You might want to dive headfirst into it as your new business venture, but try to imagine what might happen afterward.

If you’re ready to tackle your hobby on a near-daily basis while setting goals- better yet, if you’re used to doing this anyway, then you’re already on the right track. You’re going to have to structure your day properly. Remember, it takes time and effort to make sure your consumers stay interested.

Hardships will come, it’s best to just face the facts right off the bat. Will you be ready for them when the time comes and do you have a couple of game plans ready? If so then you’re likely already business-oriented and that’s priceless. Use this to your advantage!

As with any job, burnout is a given. We like to think of the perks of being successful: the money, the appreciation, the emotional reward. But what happens when you’re tired or lack inspiration? Being your own boss comes with obvious perks but leaning too much on them could lead you astray.

Take one too many days off and you’re likely to spiral into something worse, and then what are you left with? A lot of headaches and forcing yourself back into a reasonable pattern. 

The best thing you can do for yourself is to take it slow. Find a middle ground and rewards will come if you’re patient. 

Woman giving thumbs down and looking critical.

We hate to say it, but you have to be aware that criticism might come at any moment. Just because you enjoy your craft doesn’t mean others will. Your best intentions might never be enough, especially if customers are putting their hard-earned money on the line. Faults have to be tackled responsibly no matter where they spring from.

Just keep in mind that so long as you’re willing to evolve, listening to constructive criticism will be in your best interest. 

Happy woman in workshop.

Happiness and Fulfillment

The most important take away is this: any new venture comes with costs. The trick is to look at them objectively and to find happiness in what you do. If you find that it’s become arduous and pointless, there’s no shame in taking a step back. If you’re riding a wave of success then learn from it and make sure to apply everything you learn going forward. 

What we’re trying to say is that making any big changes in your life should be looked at with a critical eye. Think of what you have to offer and what you have to lose before taking on any big ventures and you’ll be alright!

If you have a money-making hobby, we’d love to hear all about it. What made you take the leap? What challenges have you had to face along the way? Share your tips in the comments below if there’s anything we missed out.

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1 thought on “Should You Turn Your Hobby into a Business?”

  1. A awesome article. My husband and I run a diving center in Cyprus. We want to offer something more than diving to our customers, something different, thought provoking, unique and absolutely appealing. Open to any ideas? Complimentary refreshments already a given…

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