For free-spirited people, working from 9am to 5pm can be stressful and exhausting. It’s no secret that many employees dream of having their own business.
Running your own business makes you your own boss, allowing you to define your schedule while doing what you truly love.
But let’s face it, starting and running your own business is easier said than done. Lack of capital, fear of failure, overwhelming responsibility and self-doubt make the path to a successful startup challenging.
However, you don’t have to dive headfirst into entrepreneurship. You can test the waters by dipping your toes in instead of diving in all at once. Here’s how to turn your hobby into a full-time job, step by step.
1. Choose the right hobby
If you eventually want to turn your side job or hobby into a business, make sure you choose the right one. Unfortunately, not every hobby can easily turn into a lucrative full-time business. Some hobbies may even cost you money instead of making you more.
Choose something that is likely to make you money rather than cost you. Do you like writing? Create a blog. Do you like design? Consider taking a class. The goal of the first step is to get started. And you will start to improve.
It doesn’t have to be a lot of money at first, but you should think about doing something you’re passionate about to avoid burnout. Take some practice outside of your full-time job to get a feel for it without taking any significant risks.
2. Start small
It’s good to dream big and set lofty goals, but idealism without a hint of reality rarely works. Tech giant Apple started out in a garage, so don’t think you need a big organization to succeed. Also, remember that if this is a hobby, you don’t have to turn it into a full-time job right away.
Start small, but dream big. Freelance a few hours a week to gauge how your hobby needs align with industry realities. If your passion, for all its claims, remains interesting after a while, that’s a clear sign that you should turn it into a business.
3. Get some social proof
Now that you’ve picked a hobby that could eventually lead to a business and put some effort into it, it’s time to create social proof for it. A great way to do so without spending too much is to create a social media presence. Create a website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages and start sharing.
Consider this a fun project you can work on in the evenings or weekends. However, you also want to show professionalism.
Encourage your customers to leave reviews and recommend your brand to their friends. Positive reviews help new customers buy with confidence, especially when they shop online.
Studies show that before making a purchase, 90% of consumers check reviews on the internet and 88% of them trust them as much as a personal recommendation. Don’t be afraid to solicit real feedback about your product, service, or concept.
Validating your ideas, communicating with people, and becoming ready for the day-to-day reality once you’re ready to launch are all vital parts of success.
4. Invest in Marketing
Many new entrepreneurs think of marketing as something they will have to do “down the road”. However, if you want to turn a hobby into a successful business, you cannot have this mindset.
In fact, you should have a marketing strategy in place even before starting any kind of business.
But you don’t have to go big when your business is just a hobby; you work on it in your free time. You can start by promoting your social media posts to the right audience, which will increase your visibility on social media.
Fortunately, social media advertising is quite affordable. You can set your budget as low as possible while making your ad appealing. Invest in creating simple yet powerful social media images and videos – they are more engaging than text ads.
5. Educate yourself
To turn a pastime into a business, you will have to learn the ins and outs of trading. No one will give you the information – you will have to spend time and effort teaching yourself about the area of interest.
Luckily, there are plenty of free online resources to help you learn just about anything. Look up related podcasts, YouTube channels, books, blogs, and online courses.
6. Treat it like a business
If you want to turn your hobby into a business, treat it like a business. Having a good time and enjoying what you’re doing is good, but if you don’t take it seriously, you can also stop pretending.
Determining how many hours you will spend turning your hobby into a business is a great way to take control of yourself. At least in the beginning, have the discipline to stick to the schedule you’ve set. It’s not a good idea to start by being lazy and cutting corners.
Also, set up business bookkeeping to your liking. You must know how every penny is spent. Get used to separating personal income and expenses from your business revenue – you should have a business bank account for this.
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