Are you looking for a side hustle? Why not make money by doing something you already love to do?
Just about any hobby can be become a business if you put your mind to it, especially with the help of the internet. With so many ways to connect, you can find customers all over the world. But before you start raking in the cash, you have to figure out a plan.
Here are a few ways you can get started on turning your hobby into a part-time business.
Before you start your business, consider why you want to get into the game in the first place. Are you doing this for fun? Do you just want a little extra income? Or do you want to turn this into your primary income one day? There are no wrong answers, but you should have a specific goal in mind before you jump right into things. A clear objective can ensure that you don’t lose track of why you wanted to start your business.
Choosing a Hobby
You probably have a few different things you like to do in your spare time. While many hobbies can easily translate into successful part-time businesses, like crafts, others such as chess or fishing, might require some out-of-the-box thinking.
Ask yourself if you will still enjoy your hobby once it becomes a job. You might love crocheting for yourself, but making items to order on a schedule might not be your cup of tea. One of the primary reasons for turning a hobby into a part-time business is that it will remain something you enjoy even while you’re making money. If you don’t enjoy it anymore, it becomes work – and you won’t even have your hobby to get your mind off it!
Check Your Skill Level
This might be a hard question to ask yourself, but are you good enough at your hobby to sell your product? When you’re doing something for fun, you don’t really have to worry about quality. But it’s different when you’re selling something to a customer. Even if it’s a DIY item, customers expect the best. After all, they are spending their hard-earned money on it.
If you’re not at the stage where you can consistently produce a high-quality product, stick with the hobby a little while longer and build up your skills. It’s much less stressful than trying to level up while also trying to run a small business. Besides, the better you are, the more in-demand you’ll be. You’ll be able to charge more for your product, and you’ll be able to feel good about what you’re selling. You’ll probably also get repeat customers that way.
Find Your Customers
Evaluate the existing market for your hobby. What are people looking for in this space? What are other people making? Can you fill a need? Many hobbyists find new customers by using a combination of selling online and going to local conventions and craft fairs.
You can use an online storefront to run your business, but it helps to branch out to different types of social media. People aren’t usually hanging out on online marketplaces, they’re hanging out on websites like Twitter and Facebook. Make profiles for your business and share pictures of your work to find new customers. You can also connect with other makers who are in the same space and trade tips with them. Creating relationships like these can help you and other small businesses grow. It also allows your customers to see that you’re part of a community, that you care about what you’re making.
To find your customers, you have to find your brand. Your brand is your business identity. How do you want other people to see you? What do you want to be known for? Are you a helpful member of the community? It can help to have a special logo, color scheme or aesthetic to tie your different accounts together.
Finances are the trickiest parts of starting a new business. If you’re turning your hobby into a business, you must report business income and expenses on your tax return, and you might have to pay quarterly taxes. You may also be required to collect sales tax. Set up a bank account specifically for your business. Don’t mix up your personal finances and your business finances – it will make everything a lot easier.
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Before you start your business in earnest, meeting with an accountant can help you get a handle on things. An accountant can make sure everything is above board, and they can give you guidelines on how to operate moving forward.
One of the most important things about business finance is to record everything. Record all the money you’re spending on materials, marketing and other expenses, and all the money that you’re making with every sale. Make sure your records are organized and that you can understand them come tax time.
Learn By Doing
Sometimes the best way to learn something is to jump right in. Don’t worry about being perfect at everything right away – nobody is. Planning is great, and can help you out a lot when you’re getting started, but at some point you just have to pinch your nose and jump into the water. Don’t get stuck in the planning phase forever. The only way you can grow your business is by actually doing it.
No matter what your hobby is, there’s probably a way to turn it into a part-time business (or even more). As long as you love what you’re doing and you’re trying your best, you’ll be just fine.
Have you ever turned your hobby into a side hustle? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!