Are you the creative and crafty type? How many times have you made something and heard the compliment, “You should sell that?” If you have a hobby you are passionate about, whether it be creating handmade jewelry, baking, sewing, painting, or even playing a musical instrument, you should know that your skills are valuable and marketable.
Many consumers who are not as skilled in the same area as you are always willing to pay for such talent and, because of this, you can easily turn your hobby into a business. You may not evolve into a Fortune 500 company (but hey, you never know!) but you will at least make some extra income doing something you really enjoy.
When is the last time you did that? If you want to know more about how you too can enjoy the luxury of making money doing what you love, take a look below at our list of 10 ways to help turn your hobby into a business.
10 Ways to Turn Your Hobby Into a Business:
1. Identify your skill.
First, identify your strength. What is your special skill? Once you can identity it, you can move forward to start marketing it. Are you an artist? Are you skilled at making jewelry? Perhaps flower arranging or cookie making is your strength. Whatever it is, identify it.
2. Determine your buyer.
Who would be interested in purchasing this product? Children? Mothers? Students? Just as you needed to identify your skill, you now want to identify who your buyer will be. This will help you determine where the best place to market your skills is. Just look back and see who has shown interest in your skill before.
3. Figure out what your skill is worth.
If you sew, you need to decide if you will charge by the hour or piece. If you bake, you need to decide how to price your items. Pricing your skill is hard and quite often people sell themselves short. Determine how much expense goes into each item you create as well as how much time in order to come up with a price that is fair to you and your buyer.
4. Decide where to market.
Now that you established your skill, prices, and buyer, where do you want to market your product? Your options range from an online store at eBay, Etsy, or Tophatter. Or, you can do local art and crafts shows if you wish. Perhaps local bazaars and flea markets may be an ideal market for you, or you can even do work for hire and advertise yourself in your local paper. In the beginning, there is a lot of trial and error when deciding where to sell your product. Don’t get discouraged and instead give several of these options a try until one or even more works well for you!
5. Advertise yourself.
When you are promoting your own business, the only person who will advertise for you is you! Take advantage of the free business card promotions offered by Vistaprint. Pass your cards out at local shows you to or to family and friends. You can also place ads on free local online forums if you wish. Create a Facebook page for your business and have your friends “like” it and spread the word. The more people who know about you, the more business you can get.
6. Network with people who share your passion.
Find local groups online of people who share your passion. If you are a crafter or baker, there are tons of groups on Facebook you can join to meet people like you and share your skill. This is a great way to share ideas, learn about new shows and markets in the area you can take advantage of and so much more. Networking is a great way to expand your business.
7. Always be willing to sample your services.
If you bake and know a child having a party, send over a dozen cupcakes and your business cards. Guests will want to know who made the yummy cupcakes, and the hostess will pass on your card. If you make jewelry, paint, make flower arrangements or some other craft, donate a piece to a local charity auction along with your business card. By giving freebies away, you are opening yourself up to new customers.
8. Be willing to learn more.
As you go along trying to make a business out of your hobby, always be willing to learn more. You need to accept suggestions, especially from your customer, to see how you can improve. By listening and learning, you can only get better and improve your business.
9. Start small.
Don’t go for the gold all at once. For example if you craft, start off by renting a small table at a local craft show to see how you do. Then, you may wish to expand to a larger market or a booth at a local shop where you pay a monthly rental fee. Start small and get a feel for the business before jumping into something that may be more than you can handle.
10. Pay Uncle Sam.
If you are going to be selling at a considerable number or shows or markets, or if you are selling large quantities on eBay or Etsy, you will want to be sure you get a Tax ID number so you can collect and pay sales tax. This is not difficult to do, just visit the official website of your state and you can get signed up for one there.
There are so many success stories of people who took their hobby and turned it into a great way to earn additional income. With so many people searching for unique and handmade items, or tasty homemade bakery treats and creations, there are plenty of ways to turn your skills into cash. Give these ten tips some thought and perhaps you too will be inspired to turn your own hobby into a business you can be proud of. Good luck!…