Do you have any hobbies, such as photography, baking, or perhaps writing? Something that makes you happy and that you look forward to doing?
As a result of doing it repeatedly, you have honed your skills, which has impressed others. They may have even suggested you sell it or turn it into a career. And it’s high time you start considering their suggestions.
Turning your hobby into a business has several advantages. We’ll discuss the difference between a hobby and a business, along with tips from experts who have done it before.
Important Questions To Ask Yourself Before Turning Your Hobby Into A Business
Like any other business venture, you need to plan before turning your hobby into a business. Asking yourself certain questions can help you get started.
1. Is it marketable?
In other words, is there a market for it?
The best way to find out is to do market research. Study the target audience, competition, and industry trends to understand the demand for your product/service.
Also, look for online marketplaces and discussion forums. It’s a great sign if others are already monetizing a product or service like yours.
2. What value can I offer?
You need a unique offering that separates you from the rest. It’s what will get you more customers.
Research your competitors. What market segment are they leaving out? Are there reoccurring complaints from customers?
How can I reach the underserved segment? How can I provide a solution to the reoccurring complaints?
3. Are you flexible enough to accommodate client needs?
Turning your hobby into a business pays off massively: immense freedom, control over your time, and more money.
But working with clients means you have to accommodate their needs. You’ll have to communicate openly to understand their requirements and be adaptable and willing to change your services to meet your clients’ needs better.
Lily Ugbaja, a content strategist and writer for B2B SaaS brands, says:
“Be prepared to do stuff you won’t enjoy at the beginning. Definitely, you will hate it. But that will change as clients begin to trust in your ability.” And as clients begin to trust your ability, they will pay you more.
8 Steps to Turn Your Hobby Into A Business
1. Create A Brand
A brand is a key differentiating factor to standing out in the crowded marketplace of fellow hobbyists-turned-entrepreneurs.
Without a brand, your product or service contributes to the noise.
Contrary to what many think, a brand goes beyond getting a business name and sorting out visual elements – logo, font, and brand colors.
It encompasses your unique story, your personality, etc.
Now, to the fun part:
How do you create a brand?
Craft a positioning statement
A simple positioning statement spells out the product/service you offer, who you offer it to, and your differentiating factor.
Here’s an example.
Say you’re a salsa dance instructor. Your positioning statement could read as follows:
We offer Virtual Salsa dance lessons (service) for seniors (ideal customers) to help them learn to dance even in old age (unique selling proposition or differentiating factor).
Get your business name
Your business name should be unique and easy to associate with what you offer. Run your name suggestions by a focus group or friends to ensure their meaning is understood. Or has similarities with another brand.
Before choosing a business name, ensure the domain or URL is available. And if it’s not, there is no need to panic. You can always register your domain name on a new domain extension such as .icu. .icu stands for “I See You” and help you register a catchphrase name for your business that can immediately grab the attention of your target customers.
Create your visual elements
This encompasses colors, fonts, and logos.
Your fonts and colors should show forth your brand personality. And the logo should be simple, unique, and scalable.
2. Test The Waters (Try It Out)
Josh Pitzalis, Co-founder of Chirrapp, sums it up: “There is a world of difference between what you want to do as a hobby and what the market wants and is willing to pay for. Finding an intersection between the two you’re happy with is key to transiting into a successful online business”.
But how can you know if a hobby is monetizable? By trying it out first.
This way, you’d know if there’s a ready market for what you’re offering and find the strength to keep grinding even when it seems not to be working out.
There are different ways to test the waters:
Starting as a side hustle first
Rather than quitting your job immediately, try your hobby as a side hustle first. You can consider going full-time later after you’ve validated that there’s a market available.
Selling a limited run
If you’re offering a product, run a limited offer. The sales performance will give you the necessary insights to turn your hobby into a profitable online business.
Get across to influencers or other business owners in your niche. Run your idea by them. Their insights will give you ideas on what steps you can take to turn a hobby into an online business.
3. Leverage existing businesses
Someone else has already turned a hobby like yours into a business. You can use this to your advantage.
According to Josh Pitzalis, hobbyists-turned-entrepreneur can leverage accomplished businesses in their niche.
It’s an opportunity to learn and grow geometrically by taking advantage of the systems laid down. They already have loyal customers too.
How can you do this?
Buy an already-established business
With Acquisition marketplaces like microacquire.com and its many competitors, it’s easy to buy small businesses that already have customers, has validated the idea, and have proven there’s a market.
This way, you can hit the ground running immediately.
Ryan Kulp has a course on finding and buying tiny businesses, sometimes without even putting down cash.
Join an already-established business in your niche
You can also join an already-established business related to your hobby in some capacity.
Say you’re a writer who intends to own a content agency.
You can join a content agency as a writer to learn people management, communication with clients, etc.
4. Choose A Method For Funding
A thorough financial strategy is helpful at first so that you can monitor the performance of your business and see any areas that could want improvement. Eventually, this will be crucial to successfully receive finance if you ask for a loan or pitch your idea.
How do you secure funding?
Using your savings is the simplest and most economical way to supply your business financing.
Loans from family and friends
Family and friends can assist, especially if they have used your product or service.
You can pitch your idea on various crowdfunding platforms online and raise funds for your business.
5. Choose A Sales Channel
Sales! That’s the lifeblood of every profitable business.
You’d need a channel to carry out sales. It could be online marketplaces such as Etsy ( for hand-crafted products), Amazon ( for books), Thinkific (digital courses), Upwork (for digital services), etc.
Additionally, you can even build your website or an eStore. This way, you won’t have to pay third-party commissions and establish a direct relationship with your customers.
6. Start Marketing From Day-1
As you start your business, marketing will play a huge role in bringing customers your way. But many hobbyists-turned-entrepreneur leave it for later.
It may be why Lily Ugbaja and Josh Pitzalis list this as something they wish they had done when starting.
Marketing early brings two benefits:
It helps you get a larger audience base in the long run
Marketing your brand early helps attract an audience base that compounds with time.
Creates opportunities for monetization
Marketing early helps hobby-based businesses build brand recognition, establish credibility, target ideal customers, validate the market, and generate revenue, creating monetization opportunities.
7. Choose A Channel To Focus On First
Start with one or two channels your audience visits to build an online presence. You’d wear out if you focused on numerous channels all at once.
For instance, video-heavy platforms like Instagram and Tiktok will suffice if you’re a DIYer or craft maker.
Create a website or professional store
Today, an online business can only survive with a website or online store.
You can use tools such as WordPress and Wix to build your e-store after you’ve purchased the perfect domain name with .icu.
Optimize your social for your offerings
Mention the offer you provide on your social media channels. This way, people can understand your business and get to know you once they scroll through your social media handles.
Here’s an example:
You can see a summary of what Metanet.icu offers (red). It describes what they’re offering to their customers. It’s clear and straight to the point. Also, there’s a link to their website (blue) and a call-to-action (yellow).
8. Have Self-belive
Starting can be challenging, but that’s also fun since you learn and grow and build a brand you are passionate about. Adeleke, Head of Redboxx, a branding agency, sums it up perfectly:
“Due to a lack of self-belief, people [new business owners] don’t present themselves properly business-wise and are mostly not ready to put their money into advertising themselves.”
Here are certain ways you can strengthen your self-believe
Believe strongly in the value of what you’re offering
People must have benefitted greatly from your skill when it was a hobby. It’s still the same value you’re offering, just that the title has now changed from hobby to business.
You have experience already
Even though you’re just starting, you’ve already spent hours honing your craft when it was just a hobby.
Besides, if you put in hard work and stay consistent, you will achieve the same success as the big brands in no time.
No one said that turning a hobby into a business is easy. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work to make it happen.
But it can be done – and those who have done it are proof of that.
Follow these steps, and you’ll be well on turning your hobby into a profitable online business. You’ve got this!
Akachukwu Obialor is a content marketer who writes content for SaaS, eCommerce, and Web3 brands, that helps to meet business objectives — generate revenue and traffic, grow brand awareness, and educate readers.