Turning a Hobby into a Business? Ask These Questions First

by Kayla Garcia on Thursday 16 January 2014, 2:37 AM | Category: Launching a New Venture| View: 1519 views

Ask any of the most successful, wealthiest people in the world how they made their fortunes, and chances are you will hear them say “I started my own business.” Entrepreneurship is often a key part achieving financial freedom, but unfortunately, many people believe they simply don't have it in them to become a successful business owner.

While it's true that not everyone is suited to launch and run a multi-million dollar corporation, every day thousands of people take the first steps toward building a healthy income by turning their hobbies into a business. Whether it's designing websites or knitting cozy scarves, these people are taking something they would be doing anyway and turning it into a source of income they can use to invest in their futures.

Before you turn your weekend pastime into a full-time job, it's important to ask yourself a few questions. If you don't, you could end up losing time, money and your enthusiasm for your favorite hobby.

Is There a Market for This Product or Service?

No matter the type of business, the first question to ask before you even draft a business plan is whether there is a market for it. Your friends and family might appreciate the handmade gifts that you give each holiday, but will others pay for the same items? For example, websites like Pinterest and Etsy have proven that there is great demand for handmade artisanal products, but you still need to determine how much of a market there is for your particular product. This means researching your competition, looking at financial and demographic data and carefully analyzing how your particular product or service fills a gap in the market — or how it's different from everything else that's already available.

What Resources Do You Have Available?

It's certainly possible — and often advisable — to start any business on a shoestring budget. You do not always need a startup budget of tens of thousands of dollars (or more) to launch a business successfully. However, you will need to have some resources at your disposal. Not only will you need funds to cover basic business expenses, including business licenses, your website, mailings and marketing costs, but if you want to cut back on work or quit your job, you'll need funds to cover your living expenses in the meantime. Of course, if you are going to start a business making something, you'll need money to cover the costs of supplies.

Financial resources aren't the only consideration. Time and space are also important issues. Do you have the physical space available to run your business? How much time do you have, and are you willing to devote it to your business? Balancing a full time job, family responsibilities and your hobby business is a lot for even the most organized entrepreneur to manage.

What Are Your Long-Term Goals?

Setting goals is an important piece of the success puzzle for any business. Knowing what you hope to accomplish provides structure to your activities and gives you a measurement for success. Before you turn your hobby into a source of income, develop a clear vision of where you would like to go and how you want to get there. Ask yourself whether you want to eventually turn this hobby into a full-time gig and grow into a business with employees, or whether you want to keep things on a smaller scale. Knowing the answer to that question will allow you to plan appropriately and know when it's time to set some new goals.

Are You Willing to Shift From “Fun” to “Work?”

This is perhaps the most difficult question for many people to answer. While you might enjoy an activity that you engage in occasionally for fun, when it consumes the better part of each day, you may find that you do not enjoy it as much as you once did. In other words, will turning your hobby into a business take the fun out of it and cause you to lose your passion? Only you can answer that question, but before you dive in head first, consider the impact that turning a hobby into a business will have on your quality of life and your enjoyment of your hobby.

Thousands of people have successfully leveraged their talents, skills and interests into successful businesses. You can do the same, but only if you have a clear vision of where you hope to take your business, and a healthy sense of what it really takes to launch a successful enterprise.


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