How to turn your hobby into a business in 5 easy steps
Step 1: Identify Your Hobbies
Take some time and write down a list of all the things you like to do in your spare time. After you have them listed, look at each one and evaluate where it can go in a moneymaking way. Keep this list for later, because if one of your ideas doesn’t work out as a business, it doesn’t mean other ones won’t. Keep these two questions in mind: “What am I selling?” and “Who is my customer?”
Sample Hobby List:
What you’re selling: organizational skills
Your potential customer: busy people who need their houses orderly
What you’re selling: personal shopping services
Your potential customer: busy people who don’t have time to run errands
What you’re selling: catering
Your potential customer: parents of people with young children having birthday parties
What you’re selling: quick-fix sewing jobs
Your potential customer: people with ripped pants
You get the idea. After you’ve made the list, look at your options and try to pick the idea that you think is most realistic, or the idea that has a more broad base of clients, rather than a really specific buyer. When I look at the list I’ve made, I’m liking the Organizing hobby - who wouldn’t want there house a little tidier? Who doesn’t have closets they need to clean out? It’s not a very common business, so there won’t be a ton of competition. Let’s choose Organizing and move on to Step 2.
Step 2: Try it out!
If I’m trying to jumpstart this Organization business, I should first test out the model on a messy room in my own home, or a close relative’s. Take lots of before pictures, note the time, and then start. If you need to buy boxes to organize the room, factor those into your expenses. Factor in dusters, trash bags, recycling bins, or anything else you need to organize the room. When you finish, note the time once more and take a ton of “Voila!” pictures. Now let’s say it took you ten hours to organize a standard-sized room - better go back to Step 1 because that’s way too much time to spend at another person’s house. Let’s say it took you three hours - not bad. The room looks way better! Move to Step 3.
Step 3: Name Your Price
This can be complicated or simple, depending on your hobby, but if you want to intelligently price your skills, take a few things into account. What’s the transportation situation looking like? How much do your supplies cost? How strenuous is the labor? How valuable is the service? Once you settle on a good price, move on to Step 4.
Step 4: Advertise
Flyers, business cards, brochures, oh my! Slow down, though. Start by offering your services to close friends, neighbors, and family members. Not only will you improve your skills, but if you always take before and after pictures, you’ll have great images for your advertising material. If you do a great job on someone’s laundry room, ask them to refer you to their friends if they can. Tell these initial people that you’ll give them a certain amount of money for each person they refer, and they’ll be more likely to tell other people about your services. Now start making flyers. Bring them to local businesses, bulletin boards at school, even offices and hospitals, but don’t forget to ask for permission first! Now that you’re growing your presence, you might even want to make a website! Always keep in mind your best selling points. If the best part about your business is that it’s cheap, lead with that on your flyer. If you’re the only Organizer in town, but that on the front of your brochure. Include contact information - set up a separate email address for business. Not only will this make you appear more professional, it will keep clients from knowing your personal contact info. Don’t forget, fun colors but readable fonts - you want to appear cool, but also serious.
Step 5: Expand
If things are going great, to the point where there’s too many organizing jobs for you to do yourself, you can start to expand your business in several ways. The first way is by hiring people. Take them on jobs with you so they see how you do things, and then they can start organizing houses as well. Another method of expansion is teaching. If people love your organization skills, teach them some tricks. Call past clients and invite them to an organization class where you’ll be sharing tips on how to maintain an organized room. Or, if you prefer to keep your business small, don’t try to expand. Rather, continue steady advertising and choose jobs that are most convenient for you. A waiting list is never a bad thing, if you’re the one they’re waiting for.