With the level of unemployment in the country, it will be great to make a living out of your hobby aka what you love doing. Even if you are already employed, you can make your hobby a secondary means of income. Research reveals that a lot of businesses today actually started as a mere hobby… Some of the big names we have today in media, fashion, sports, and several other fields, started with using their leisure time to indulge in their hobby… doing it for free for family, colleagues and friends before deciding to take it a step further by monetizing it.
Converting a hobby to a business sounded pretty easy to me until I had an eye-opening conversation with Felix Blessing, the beauty and brain behind AfricInspired Paintings. Blessing, like ChiviaXclusive, went to my secondary school and has a natural flair for fine arts – drawing and painting in particular, but unlike ChiviaXclusive, we weren’t in the same arm and barely had any interaction during our 6-year period in same school… Twas the beautiful works she often posted on Facebook that brought her back into my radar 2-3 years ago, and today she is in my league of CEO friends.
So for today’s CEO Memoir, I present you this exceptional lady as she takes us on the necessary tips for ‘Converting Your Hobby To A Lucrative Business’. Please seat back, read, learn and share your opinions in the comment box.
Converting Your Hobby To A Business – Felix Blessing
I love fine arts – drawing, painting, creating wallpapers, making handmade cards, etc. For a long time, I did it for leisure and free for family and friends until I decided that I could also make some steady stream of income from it, which isn’t bad after all. But converting my hobby to a business wasn’t a walk in the park… in barely a year I made that decision, I’ve made more than a few mistakes, run some losses and also made some profits too.
When it comes to converting your hobby to business, there are some critical questions and important points we need to take note of, but before then it’s good to understand the difference between a hobby and a talent, as some people may confuse one with the other.
According to the dictionary, a hobby is “an activity pursued for pleasure or relaxation”, while talent is “a special natural ability or aptitude.”
Hobbies are the things you choose to do; activities that you’re probably good at and enjoy doing. Now, one’s talent may not necessary be his/her hobby, but a hobby, something you enjoy doing, might be your talent. For example, one can be a talented singer, the music flows effortlessly, yet (s)he does not enjoy singing at all times. And while talent is a natural endowment or ability, which is present from birth, hobby can be something you took time to learn or a skill that you acquired later in life. So how then do you convert your hobby to a business?
- Discover what your hobby(ies) is/are. What do you love doing during your leisure hours – Cooking, drawing, writing, singing, dancing, playing the piano etc.? After you have discovered what your hobby(ies) is/are, ask yourself if there’s a need or problem your hobby can meet/solve.
- If the answer to the above question is yes, ask yourself – Is this hobby something I am willing and ready to convert to a business.
- If the answer to the above question is yes again, then you need to ask yourself a second critical question – Is this hobby something I am really passionate about; something I can take risks for because business involves a lot of risk-taking.
You have to realize that your hobby as a pastime is different from it as a business. As a business, you will be required to invest more money, time and yourself because you are going to be servicing paying customers. According to an article in bplans.com, one should carefully consider whether turning a hobby into a business is the right thing… Some had done so and found that, after turning their hobby into work, they no longer enjoyed doing it. The pressure of working to a schedule and meeting financial goals and customer expectations simply took away the fun, relaxation, and personal satisfaction they had previously felt while doing it.
4. Evaluate the market. Do you think people will appreciate this? Are there people who would be willing to pay you for your craftsmanship? And has your skill risen to the level of other players in the marketplace? Do you just enjoy your hobby or are you good enough to actually sell your products or services? Making this distinction is essential… it is important you determine if your hobby expertise is really commercially viable — or simply something that gives you great pleasure in your spare time.
Be honest with yourself. Remember, family and friends tend to always say nice things. If the answer to the above questions is yes, then ask yourself how you’ll stand out from the competition. Perhaps you could fill a special niche or undercut competitors’ fees. You must be very creative and innovative with whatever hobby it is that you want to bring to the market.
5. Do the math. Estimate your start-up capital, the amount of money you’ll need to get your hobby turned business up and running. Also estimate your working capital, the amount you’ll need to stay afloat until you become profitable. This way you’ll know what you can afford to spend your money on at first and what can wait until later, helping you to avoid running out of funds too soon
6. Determine your price. It is very important that you name your price. To be able to make a profit, you have to charge enough for your product, and this includes both your expenses and all the time you spent on labour. Choose a price that is profitable enough to pay the bills. You are not a philanthropist but a businessman, in that wise you should make returns for every penny spent. Whether you are combining it with your day job or not it must cover the expenses incurred on it.
After calculating, find out if people will be willing to pay that amount for what you have to offer. A possible way to do this is basically you asking your family/friends if they’re willing to pay X amount for what you make. Then go to someone you don’t know and offer it to them for that price and see what kind of reaction you get. You can also go to Survey Monkey and create a quick survey for your friends online to answer whether they would pay a certain amount for a certain kind of product or service. This will help with your pricing model. And help you make necessary adjustments.
7. Can you sell yourself or your creations? Whatever your hobby-converted-business is, you have to be able to sell it to people. Master the art of selling because that knowledge is the link between your business and the world. You have to sell your products or yourself to win customers.
Strategize ways to market your product. People won’t know about it until they hear about it. It’s a lot easier for us today because we have the internet and social media, to take full advantage of. Make Great use of your social media platforms – put the word out there on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and other social media profiles. For example, you could create a Facebook page and offer incentives to your followers. You could also stay in communication with repeat and potential customers via an e-newsletter; it helps a lot.
8. Make it real. Start treating your hobby like a genuine business instead of just a pastime. Set up a bookkeeping system to log your income and expenses. If you have to run your business, you have to become a manager and have the mindset of an entrepreneur. You should learn to manage your resources properly. Budget before you spend and do not spend unnecessarily. Your income or profit is not to be eaten but to be re-invested.
9. Choose a name. Give your business a name – an attractive and catchy name, and let it be a name that points to the nature of your business. Your business name is the beginning of your new brand, so choose it wisely. Make sure it’s easy to remember and spell.
10. Build an online presence. Every small business needs an online presence. It is the modern-day equivalent of being listed in the phone book. A credible website for your business doesn’t have to be flashy or expensive. There are many low-cost Web design and hosting tools online that are easy to use. Alternatively, you could create a blog or social-media profile to represent your business, or you could list it in an online business directory. Another option is to set up a store within an online marketplace like eBay.com, Etsy.com, jumia.com.ng, smemarkethub, etc.
11. Decide on your distribution strategy. How are you going to sell your product or service? Where are you going to be located? Will you work from home or will rent an office?
This list is no way exhaustive but it will go a long way to help you avoid some unnecessary mistakes and pitfalls. In conclusion: Be diligent. Do a lot of research. Be customer friendly. Be humble. Take corrections and seek improvements daily. Above all Pray, Pray and Pray again. You can never underestimate the power of prayers.
Thanks so much Blessing for sharing these essential tips with us!
As stated earlier, Felix Blessing is the CEO of AfricInspired. She is also the Visionaire and Inspirational Writer at SHE’S ROYALTY
I hope you have learnt more than a thing from today’s CEO Memoir? I personally learnt a lot and will apply these tips when I decide to monetize any of my hobbies.
For those who have successfully made the transition from hobbyist to business owner, what advice would you give those thinking of making similar leap? Please share with us in the comment box.
You can catch up on other CEO Memoirs posts HERE
PS: I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to post any updates earlier in the week. Took my laptop for repairs over the weekend and it came back still having some issues… Plus my phone developed some scoin scoin, making me a bit on and off the online space. Watching and praying everything works out fine this weekend so we can have regular updates in the coming week(s). Thanks for bearing with me. #hugehugs
Thanks for reading to the end.
Do have a Fruitful and super-Fulfilled weekend.