How To Turn Your Hobby Into A Side Business That Makes Money
Everyone – old and young – has had the dream of making money from something they love – whether it’s selling your own crafts or cakes, becoming an expert and sharing your knowledge, or writing that book you’ve always wanted to.
Chances are, you can probably monetise your hobby – all long as you can provide value to others, there is a demand for your talent. You just need to take those next steps towards starting your new business venture.
If you want to learn how to turn your hobby into a money-making side business, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to find out how you can earn money doing something you love.
Come up with a business plan
While becoming a millionaire by simply doing a hobby you enjoy is a lovely dream to have, it’s only ever going to be a dream if you don’t plan it out.
Creating a plan – with tangible goals and a clear direction for your business – and sticking to it is what is going to make your business a success, and earn you some money.
You need to consider your vision for your business, as well as your overall mission, your values, and your goals. Write these down as a broad business plan, and use this to map out the next six months of your business (your strategy can be tweaked as you go along, but it’s important to have a plan in place to start with).
This will help you to iron out the details and establish how you’re going to achieve these goals. And if you don’t have any practical experience creating a business plan, online tutorials and tools like LivePlan will help save you time, money, and effort.
Get your own website
If you want your new side business to be taken seriously – and if you want to make any money from it – you’re going to have to invest in your own website.
This could be a blog or ecommerce store – or an online store with a blog attached, or vice versa – depending on the type of hobby you want to turn into a business. This website will be where you base your business from, write about your brand, and where customers can come for more information and to purchase your products or hire your services.
Although setting up your own online store may sound daunting, ecommerce has come a long way since its beginnings. Gone are the days of having to learn HTML. It’s no longer necessary to be a computer whizz or coding expert – most online store builders, like the old favourite Shopify, or newcomers Wix and Squarespace, are made with beginners in mind, and it’s easy to create an attractive storefront using “drag and drop” functionality. They’re also simple to manage, making ecommerce an accessible option for everyone.
If you want to base your business on a blog – for example, if you’re a writer selling a service or writing reviews – then you can’t go far from wrong with WordPress. It’s estimated that there are 75 million sites out there that are currently using WordPress, which equates to a whopping 27% of the internet.
Develop your brand
Now that you’ve got an online base for your side business, you need to think about developing your brand.
This doesn’t have to mean hiring a graphic designer or putting a huge amount of money towards branding; a lot of brand development you can do yourself. It’s more a case of focusing in on some key elements, and getting these right, rather than flashing the cash.
Here are some of the things you can do to develop your brand:
- Get yourself a logo. You can make your own using a free online design tool like Canva – and there are plenty of tutorials available out there if you’re struggling to come up with the goods.
- Decide on a colour scheme. You will be using this on your website, as well as any marketing material, so you preferably want to stay away from garish or clashing tones. Pick colours that compliment each other, and portray the ‘feel’ of your business.
- Choose your fonts (and choose them wisely). As with your colour scheme, your fonts will be used on everything from your site to your business cards to email marketing, so they need to be clear and easy to read. It’s best to stick to one primary font with a few secondary ones – any more and your branding will look messy and confused.
- Pick your style of imagery. Your photos need to accurately represent your brand and your values. Take photos with suitable props and backdrops. (For example, if your business is all about rustic craft, create a barn-like feel with bunting and flowers in jam jars.) Definitely stay away from blurry, poor-quality images. This is an alarm bell to potential customers, and you won’t be taken seriously. And if you don’t have the resources to take high-quality photos yourself, check out stock image websites such as Pixabay, Pexels, and Unsplash for great free images.
Get these basics right, and you’ll be easy to distinguish from the many other side business owners out there who have amateur branding. It’ll take a little time, but the finished product will be worth the effort.
Promote your business on social media
If you really want your business to succeed, you’re going to have to build a strong online presence and do some marketing. Luckily, this is easier than ever to achieve, and it’s all down to social media.
Social media is a powerful tool to leverage – it’s an easy and free way to get your new business in front of a large audience, promote your products and engage with followers to build meaningful relationships.
Most side businesses or small businesses will use Facebook and Instagram to promote themselves, but it’s important to pick social media platforms that suit your business and target your desired audience. Understanding social media platform demographics will help you to establish exactly who you’re aiming your products at so that you can tailor your posts and content to them.
Make sure that you post regularly to boost brand awareness and increase engagement. This will help you to gather followers and get them interested in your products.
Anyone can make a bit of money from a hobby by charging their friends and family for the odd craft or product. But to go from that to a side hustle that makes real money, you need to start acting like a business.
These are some of the key steps you need to take to turn your hobby into a side business to be taken seriously. Follow these points, dedicate some time and effort to your business development and keep your goals in mind. Who knows what the future could hold for your passion project?
Recommended reading: How to Set Up a Successful Education Startup Based on Temporary Building