Grow Your Hobby into a Small Business
Some may call it a hobby, but for you it’s a year-long passion that keeps you inspired and fulfilled in your everyday life. Whether it’s photography, coffee-roasting or flower arrangements, a pastime activity can inject the right amounts of creativity, relaxation and fun into our daily routine. When you realize that your commitment to this activity grows and grows, and you also happen to get better and better at it, you might find yourself asking – should this become more than just a hobby?
If you’re leaning towards taking your hobby one step further, we have some great news. Today more than ever, you have an array of tools and platforms that can help you realize your dream and turn your hobby into a small business. From the ability to create a website to the option of connecting with niche communities worldwide, jumpstarting a small business venture is becoming increasingly more accessible.
However, the transition from pastime activity to profit-making can be tricky. To help make it as smooth as possible, and to make sure that you don’t lose the drive and the passion for your hobby in the process, we are delighted to offer the following steps for how to make a business out of your hobby.
Conduct Market Research to Know Your Elements
One great advantage that your hobby preoccupation had was that it didn’t put you in direct competition with other professionals. As a business owner, you’ll see that industry trends, local competitors and big brands that set the tone and play a role in your strategic plans. Conducting serious market research helps you stay on top of these issues, keeps you up to date on new developments and allows you to see where you might fit in.
But market research isn’t just about spying on the competition. It gives you a deeper understanding of your target audience, how they interact with competing brands, what triggers their curiosity and how would they engage with your product or service. In short, market research helps you develop an informed and nuanced strategy for communicating with your future clients.
Devise a Responsible, Ambitious and Feasible Business Plan
The underlying goal of every business venture is to make a profit. All good and well, but it doesn’t just happen all at once. Every business owner and manager should work closely with a business plan that sets short term and long term goals, takes into account costs, time and resources, and predicts the growth rate accordingly.
Your business plan should be comprised of the following aspects:
What is your workflow? How much time does it take you to produce your articles or to provide the service that you offer?
What is your monthly budget? Where is the money coming from? Will you rely on loans to any extent, what are the conditions? What are your monthly expenses? Take into account every relevant detail – rent, bills, employees, materials, transportation, registering your own website domain name, etc.
Where do you make your product or service available? How can you expand its reach to newer platforms and venues?
How will you determine pricing plans? What type of price incentives could you offer your customers?
And finally, based on all of the above, what is your timeline for growth and profit? What are your expectations for the upcoming month/quarter/year?
Brand Yourself! Build a Brand Identity that Stands Out
After completing your market research you probably realized that your small business will be competing with numerous similar companies. How do you make a name for yourself in a saturated field? You brand. Building a brand is about creating something that is bigger than just providing a service or selling a product. Successful brands are able to attract clients by offering a vision and a voice that their audience can identify with.
Branding a business is a long-term task that evolves as your business grows. As a new small business, much of the branding work you do will take place online, so you better go through our guide for online branding as well.
Establish an Effective Online Presence
Much of the contact you will be making with clients will take place online, and for many people in your target audience, the very first interaction with your business will take place on the web. To make the most out of these interactions you need to be ready with a stellar online presence, which means active and regular marketing and branding work on multiple platforms.
A solid online presence must include the following:
A professional website that is both visually striking and offers all the content incentives for visitors to enhance their engagement with your brand.
A regular website is definitely a must, but don’t forget about the mobile version too! More people than you imagine will try to access your site using a mobile device, and you definitely want to make a great impression on those visitors.
Social media offers amazing opportunities for new and small businesses to develop a following. Before you begin, you will want to pick out the best platforms for your brand to be active on, and then continue to prepare a social marketing strategy.
Newsletters are an extremely effective tool for maintaining online engagement with your business’ audience. Sending out emails with high-quality content on a regular basis keeps your followers involved and interested.
Engage with the Local Community
As a small business owner, you take part in a network of local ventures and initiatives. The level of your engagement with this network is a matter of your own choice, but you should take into consideration the benefits that are involved.
First of all, connecting with local business owners expands your own reach into the community. It opens up doors and establishes links that can lead to new cooperations and expose your business to larger audiences. In addition, fellow biz owners can offer you, the new-comer, useful advice and guidance as you transform your hobby into a business.
In current consumer culture, “local” is a word that carries a lot of cachet. Many people want to be responsible consumers and direct at least some of their purchasing money into the communities they live in. If your business can offer that, then you have a big advantage working in your favor.
Prepare for Obstacles and Fear Them Not!
Putting together a new business venture is no small thing. Don’t expect everything to go smoothly, because it most likely will not. Even the most successful companies in the world experience rough patches. The important thing is to know how to move forward.
Be prepared for last-minute changes. Understand that sometimes your plans will need to be modified. Don’t let the doubts and momentary pitfalls get you too hard. Hold on to the energy and motivation that propelled you to grow from an amateur into a professional. It will carry you through the hard times and into the good ones.
Ready to unleash your small business into the world?
Create a website with us today!