10 Tips For Turning Your Hobby Into A Business
January is always a time for the new, whether you are into new years resolutions or not, it feels like a time of change. It’s a time for sitting back and unwrapping the new year, checking out the instructions, and planning out how you’re going to go about making it before you crack on with the assembly!
I know that many of you have creative hobbies and projects that you currently fit around a full time job, that you would like to make into a business, but might feel like it’s too much of a leap to take. Trust me, I’ve been there! It is scary but so worth it. If you have a real passion that you want to work on all the time, maybe THIS January is the time to start planning your transition to do that and make it a reality.
So if you’re ready to start, here are my 10 tips for turning your hobby into a business:
- Is it commercial? Think about which aspect of your hobby you could charge money for. E.g. if you’re really into crochet, could you charge enough to cover your time and materials if you were to sell products, or would workshops be more profitable?
- What are other people doing in the same space? Follow other people who post about your hobby on social media, go to craft markets, and sign up for local networking groups that focus on creative businesses.
- Planning. Now, I love a spreadsheet (or 10!) and it’s really important to sit down and think about how you see your business growing. When I started my business, I put together a 5 year plan. I find the best way to tackle this, is to think about where you want to be in 5 years time, (e.g. financially, life goals etc) and work back from there. This gives you a good starting point and something to aim for, even if it changes over time! From this, you can put together a business plan. Cash is king when planning a business so make sure you have a profit and loss spreadsheet or start using an accounting website from the start so you can track everything you spend and everything you make.
- HMRC. If you decide that you’re ready to take the leap, make sure you have registered yourself with HMRC as self employed and fill in a tax return each year. If you want to set up a separate company to limit your liability (ltd) then you will need to register with companies house too.
- Channels to market. Think about how you are going to sell your product. Are you going to be online, and if so, will you have your own website or sell through a market place like Etsy? Websites, and eCommerce can be expensive so do a bit of research into the best way to do this. Will you sell at craft markets or even have a shop? Make sure you visit before signing up so you know what the customer base is, what the footfall might be, and if it fits with your brand.
- Branding. Now, the fun stuff! Think about your target customer and how your brand might appeal to them in terms of logo, colours, and mission statement, and make sure this is consistent across all your marketing. Fiona Humberstone’s Book How To Style Your Brand is a great tool for this.
- Motivation. Working for yourself is tough, there is no getting around it. It takes an immense amount of hard work and dedication. Make sure you set yourself attainable goals and reward yourself with days off so you keep motivated.
- Website. Whether you have decided to sell online or not, it’s worth looking into having a website. This helps with your SEO so more people can find you and support your business. Even if you have a very simple WordPress site, people will take you more seriously as a business.
- Community. Use community spaces to build a support group, ask for advice, and boost your confidence. Indie business are much stronger together so don’t feel anxious about other people competing with you, if you can, collaborate with others to utilise your combined marketing power.
- Stay focused. When you are self employed you naturally have to be quite the business chameleon; sales director, book keeper, buyer, merchandiser, photographer, social media manager, and IT all become part of your job description, so being able to prioritise is key. Think about what jobs are most important to your business financially and put those to the top of your to do list. If you procrastinate, tell someone what your tasks are for that day. This accountability makes you far more likely to stay focused and achieve your goal.
Starting a business can be daunting, but if you put the time into planning it and getting the support you need, it could just be the best thing you ever do.
Good luck, and please do email me if you have any questions or would like to chat me about business mentoring.
Take the leap!