Turning your Hobby into a New Business: Have you been thinking about turning your hobby into a small business? Maybe you’ve been bolstered by the recent influx of people turning their crafts into multi-million-pound businesses. It all sounds really good, and for those who are looking for a way to earn a living whilst utilising their creative energy, it is very appealing.
After all, who doesn’t like the sound of building something up from nothing to a successful company? In fact, for stay at home parents, or those who can’t work in traditional employment, starting your own business sounds like the perfect idea.
You will be able to:
- Work around your family schedule
- Be at home more
- Set your own work hours
- Create your own product or service for others
- Report to yourself and no one else
It’s an enticing prospect for anyone. However, that doesn’t mean it is an easy one. After all, there is a high percentage of businesses that fail in the first few years. You don’t want your new business to fail so before you take the next step in your journey, you need to make sure you do your homework and lay the foundations for success. You need to think with your head and not your heart when it comes to business and ignore the eye-catching headlines that scream ‘mum sets up her own business with £30‘.
So where should you start when it comes to turning your hobby into a successful business venture?
Is there a market for what you are selling? Sure, you may have been commissioned by some friends and pushed forward by their supportive comments. But creating a business based on this may not be sound advice. There is a difference between picking up a few supplies with your weekly shop and investing all your money into supplies and equipment for orders that may not come in.
So look around and see if other people or companies are offering what you are and what is your unique selling point (USP). you need to find out what it is that makes people buy what other companies similar to yours are offering and if there is room in that sector for you to feasibly market yourself.
A saturated market will mean that there isn’t enough supply for the demand and chances are you may struggle if this is the case. So, find out what is working for others, what is selling and the quality and prices of products available. This will enable you to make a sound business judgement on whether or not this venture is worth the risk.
If you are already supplying your items or services to others and find demand growing then you already know you can move your business plan to the next level.
Sort out Your Business Plan
Do you know what your goals are or where you see the business going? You need to have a clear plan in mind when it comes to creating your business plan so you know exactly what you need to happen every part of the way. Brainstorm ideas to make sure you know what you can potentially turn your hobby into. If you are an illustrator, can you look into running classes to teach others how to draw or hold workshops for kids? you can run this alongside selling your products too as you expand.
Ask yourself, will you still enjoy doing what you do when you have to do it to earn money? It is easy to love doing something you don’t have to. However, once you turn this into your business it is a different ball game and your feelings on this may change.
A solid business plan can include some or all of the following that applies to your business idea;
- Find your niche
- Who is your customer base?
- What products do you expect to sell
- What kind of turnover are you expecting and how much profit do you intend to make in the first year?
- Do you know what expenses you will have?
- Know your potential problems and competitors
- Plan a marketing campaign
- How will you expand the business and adapt it to meet customer needs?
How will you Finance Your Business?
If you can’t afford to or don’t want to self fund your business, then you may need to be looking at taking out loans or bringing investors to help you reach your goal.
The easiest way to build your business is to have a business plan in mind to prove to backers and loan companies. If you have followed the steps above and created a solid business plan with the answers to all the above questions and more, then you will be in a better position to gain the funds you need to start your business.
If you are getting a business loan for your company, it makes sense to get enough capital to cover your first years worth of expenses, including wages, this will take the pressure off you, in the beginning, to be turning a profit. It will allow you the time to perfect what you do without having to worry about perfect from day one.
If you have bad credit you can still look for loans for bad credit online to help you get the money you need to set up your business. Other ideas to look at are peer to peer lending, crowdfunding, or pitching your idea to investors who will give you the funds you need for an investment in your company.
Marketing Your New Company.
A new business needs a really good marketing campaign. you may be doing well so far on word of mouth, however, to run a successful business you need to make sure you are reaching as many people as possible.
If you are a company looking to supply to local businesses, then business cards, flyers, adverts in local papers are all still good options. But, the best place to push your marketing campaign is online. Whether you are operating nationwide or in your local area.
One of the most powerful tools you can have in your arsenal for a marketing campaign is social media. If you aren’t a whizz on Facebook or your photos aren’t up to scratch for Instagram, then you can find companies who can help you create the right content to push your marketing campaign. you need a strong brand image to use across all your online accounts so people can easily recognise your brand.
Then you need to be consistent with what you publish and share with the public, making sure to keep your ideal customer in mind.
Great ideas for pushing your brand into the public eye online include the following:
- Google Ads – This will place you at the top of search engines.
- Sponsored Facebook/Instagram Posts – Boosting your sales posts on these channels will mean you can target them to reach people who might not be following your accounts but have shown an interest in similar things previously. this is a great way to boost your visibility on social media.
- Influencers – You can consider gifting your items for influencers to post on their social accounts so you can reach their followers. This is more effective if you can hone in on the right people who can reach your target audience.
- Bloggers – working with bloggers comes in the same way but they could write a review of your product and then share with their followers too. Bloggers give you more flexibility when it comes to the creative process and most will take pride in the work they do, producing high-quality images and content.
To follow through a successful marketing campaign, you need to make sure you have the funds available to do this. You need to speculate to accumulate as they as and a good marketing campaign can be worth the time and investment in the long run.
So now you have the basics, you can start to plan your future and turn your hobby into your new business!