How to Turn a Hobby into a Small Business

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Most of us have passions outside of our careers, but those passions become hobbies because we’ve all been told to make sensible career choices. 

To quote the great Jimmy O Yang, who plays Jian Yang on Silicon Valley, “In my Chinese family, my dad always tell me: ‘Pursuing your dreams is for losers. Doing what you love is how you become homeless.’” 

If we all followed this advice, we wouldn’t have any of our great visionaries, artists, musicians, philosophers that we know and love. We wouldn’t have Jian Yang! 

But to be clear, do not quit your job if you have a stable and well-paying job that supports you or your family. 

Instead, start a side hustle business or service. It might eventually become profitable enough to be a full-time gig, but there’s a chance it won’t. 

How do we accomplish this feat?  

  1. Identify your life’s passions and hobbies. 

Are you an artist? Do you love creating music? Maybe you love being around dogs? Do you love finding old cars to refurbish? 

These should be passions that you are an expert in (more than the average person), or plan to be.

2. Reach out to the community of Like-Minded Individuals

Contact people and groups that share your passion and ask to see if anyone’s monetizing their passion or hobby. Ask how they do it? How did they start making money off of it? Web forums are a great resource for peer to peer feedback. 

3. Research if and what people will pay for

Maybe you’re an artist and realize that people would pay for your designs or like to take classes from you. You could sell your artwork on t-shirts, art books, prints, stock images. Alternatively, you might be passionate about sharing your love of art and want to teach art classes. Paint nights are very popular right now. Don’t be afraid to ask your potential clients exactly what they want and what they would pay for. 

Maybe you know people who love classic cars but don’t have the mechanical skills to refurbish cars. Would they pay you to do it for them? How much would they pay? 

Identify who your target audience will be. Are there enough people in your niche to sell to? 

See what people will pay for by freelancing on Fiverr.

4. Put a plan on paper 

This is the step where you pivot your passion or hobby into a money-making side business. 

Write a business plan to determine if this idea can be profitable. 

Here is a great step by step article on How to Write a Business Plan from Entrepreneur Magazine 

This is where you should take an honest look about your target market, your competition, and analyze why your concept is better or different than everything else offered in the market. 

Write it as if you are looking for investors. Would someone invest money in your venture? If so, what would their return on investment be? 

Would you invest in your venture if someone pitched you the idea as an investment opportunity? Don’t stop working on your idea until it’s something you would put money into. 

5. Get Started

Time to get started. You have your small side hustle business idea planned out. 

Put together a logo, website, marketing material, social media accounts. Try Fiverr or Upwork for customized work at a reasonable cost. 

Once you get all of your branding together, I suggest starting with a soft product push (through social media channels), and offer your business on a trial basis. Offer your product or services for free or at a discounted rate. This process is great practice where you can determine what works and what doesn’t. As a bonus, get a couple customer testimonials to give you credibility in the market. 

6. Show Up 

Nothing worth achieving ever comes easy. Make a commitment to yourself that you will show up for your small business side hustle, every day, for the next six months. Some days you will only have 15 minutes to dedicate because life is busy. Other days you will have hours. Either way, you’re moving forward every day. Activity breeds results. Make sure you get to doing and not stuck conceptualizing. 

Too many people get stuck in the theoretical stage because the idea isn’t ‘ready’ yet. Don’t be like that. If you want to be successful in business, get to work! 

Learn how to drive online traffic to your online business here

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