With the rise in DIY projects over the years–and outlets for the resulting products, such as Etsy and Redbubble–it’s no wonder that so many people are turning to their hobbies when they want to start a new business. Making money by doing something you love has never been easier, but there are some important things to consider before you get started.
The first thing you need to think about is whether there’s a market for your hobby; can you turn it into a full-time career, or would it work better as a part-time money maker? This is going to take a bit of research on your part. You’ll also need to think about whether or not you have the energy and time to take on a business because you’ll need a lot of both. Will you be able to sustain it for a year or two without making much of a profit?
Once you’ve thought about these questions, it’s time to turn to the issue of whether you can afford to “give up” your hobby and turn it into something you have to do. Is it something you truly love to do? If so, it may be difficult for you to find joy in it once it’s your career.
If you’re serious about becoming an entrepreneur, here are some of the things you’ll need to consider.
Look at your competition
Do some homework and look around your community and online to see what your competition might be. If there aren’t many people doing what you’re doing, great! That means there’s plenty of room for you to build a business that can thrive. However, you want to make sure there’s a demand for your product, or for something like it. Start a conversation on social media to get feedback from potential customers in order to feel out the scene. For more tips on how to get started, go here.
Do financial planning now
No one likes to make a budget, but it’s very important to start your financial planning when you’re still in the beginning stages of starting your business. Not only do you need to figure out how much you’ll need for capital–and where to get it from–you’ll need to get a feel for how much money you’ll need to run your business every month. Most new companies take several months or even years to make a profit, so don’t expect to make your money back right away. However, with careful planning, you should be able to grow your business safely.
Don’t quit your day job
If you already have a job and are thinking of starting your own business because you want to work for yourself, congrats! Just know that new companies are extremely hard work and often require owners to put a lot of time and money into them at first, so there’s a question that needs to be asked: can you afford to quit your day job and commit to this business fully, or would it make more sense to work on it a little at a time until you’re financially stable enough to give your notice?
Nowadays it’s easier than ever to market yourself; there are multiple social media platforms you can use to sell your product, along with websites that offer virtual storefronts. But it still pays in the end to network with other small business owners and find out what advice they can give you about the first months of ownership, especially if you’re going to set up an online shop for the first time. Connect with other entrepreneurs at trade shows and on sites like Etsy and Facebook to see what they have to offer.
Of course, running your business from your home is another concern entirely; it may sound like a dream come true, but working from home means you have to deal with a lot more distractions, plus it’s harder to “turn off” and come to an endpoint for the workday. There are some ways you can avoid this, however; head to Redfin.com to see how.
Starting a business is a big job, but with the right planning, you can make it a success. Ask for support from your friends and family, as well, as this is an important part of starting a new venture.
This post was contributed by Jason Lewis of Strongwell.