Here’s a simple truth: ANY kind of a passion CAN be turned into a business. In this post, I want to review a few simple starting steps you should take to turn a hobby into a business.
People often are genuinely shocked when I say that I became a self-taught designer at the age of 19.
Some are also surprised by the fact that I started traveling right after and embraced being location independent as soon as it was possible.
At the end of the day, we all live in your bubbles and don’t know much about the options beyond them.
So if the term “building your own business” scares the crap out of you, here are the steps how you can turn hobby into business, no matter your situation.
5 steps to turn hobby into business
STEP #1 Understand that ANYTHING can be monetized
Call this “fixing your mindset” or anything else you prefer but the single most important step really is understanding, admitting to yourself that ANYTHING can be monetized.
It’s a matter of getting started and getting it done.
For several years, I’ve worked with people who turn their 9-to-5 careers or life-long hobbies into online courses. You wouldn’t believe how different these fields are!
And if right now, you think “yeah… well… not my hobby, it just can’t be turned into a business…” then please leave a comment and try me.
Crafting, painting, knitting, sewing… Hula-hooping, yoga, home-based workouts, outdoor workouts, running techniques… Baking, organizing, feng-shui… Singing, writing, make-up, decorating… Home repairment, diving, video games…
Do you feel me?
You can find a way to monetize literally anything.
Often people start by saying “I don’t know what to do. I like writing but I’m not a writer.”
Well, you’re not a writer until you start writing, you know.
STEP #2 Brainstorm ways to monetize your business
Although there can be unlimited variations when it comes to monetizing your passion, it can also be challenging to get your gears going. It’s time to brainstorm!
- Would you like to sell something? Create products? Work with physical things?
- Would you prefer working with people? Coaching? Teaching?
- Maybe the best way to turn a hobby into a business for you would be freelancing? Selling your skills and time?
As you can see from my samples, there are many different paths to go and it can be confusing to make the perfect fit.
Here are a few things to consider:
What’d make the most sense?
For some passions, the path seems rather obvious. For example, if you’re a painter, you can either sell your artwork or teach what you know to others. For others, there might be more (or less) options to consider.
For example, if you love writing, the options to work with are almost unlimited. You can be a copywriter, a ghostwriter, social media pun author, blogger, author…
Are you an introvert or extrovert?
What way of expressing yourself do you prefer? Are you an introvert, loving your alone time? Or do you prefer being out in the people, helping and communicating directly?
Introverts might prefer calmer monetization methods, something that lets you stay “in the shadows”. Extroverts, on the other hand, like actually getting out and being in direct contact.
STEP #3 Seek the inspiration from others
It’s hard to turn hobby into business if you can’t really imagine how it could look like.
Imagination is widely known as a powerful tool to actually achieve your goals. Many book authors have managed to create different theories around it and they all say the same.
“My ability to imagine my dreams in intricate details is one of the biggest reasons I’ve been able to achieve them. (…) The ability to pick out a daydream and then focus on it… sometimes for years.” Girl Wash Your Face
So start with seeking the inspiration.
There are oh so many ways to get this going.
Ask on Facebook groups
Facebook groups can be one of the most inspiring places to be.
Basically, they gather like-minded people and give them a chance to chat: ask questions, give support, share ideas, brainstorm together.
It’s an absolute goldmine when it comes to inspiring yourself.
Find relevant groups (you’ll find some samples in the post above) and just ask around – has someone turned their hobby, similar to yours, into business and how does it look like?
Pinterest is not only my #1 source of traffic but it also is a great idea generator.
From the very first moment when you decide to turn hobby into business, you should hop on Pinterest for several reasons:
- You can find tons of relevant advice there
- It’s a great place to get known
- It’s the perfect way to see what others are doing
Pinterest works like a search engine, therefore, you just need to type in the keywords and let the world blow you away.
Here are just some of the ideas: “food blogging”, “freelance business”, “online income”, “crafting business”, etc. The options are unlimited!
Use Google or other search engines
Search, research, let yourself wander.
Once you’ll have an overall idea what others do with the same or similar skills you have, you’ll be a lot more inspired and will be able to IMAGINE how to turn your hobby into business.
STEP #4 Create a plan
Now, when you have an idea of what you’d like to do, I’d choose to stick with one business module, for now, and create a plan on how to make it happen.
For example, when I decided to be a graphic designer, I started from zero with no previous knowledge whatsoever.
My plan on how to turn hobby into business included, first, acquiring this hobby. Then, learning as much as I can. And, after all, monetizing it by offering my skills as a freelancer.
While each path will depend on your specific ideas, here are the usual bullet points to follow:
- Make sure your hobby is sellable. Meaning, you have the skills, the experience. It doesn’t have to always be A LOT. But it should be enough to share at least something. Therefore, if you’re not there yet, spend some time learning/practicing. But don’t expand this learning time. After all, getting started is what will teach you the most…
- Find the audience. Once you have something to get the money rolling in for, it’s time to find the audience. First, you should decide WHO would benefit from what you have to offer. Then, figure out WHERE you can find them. For example, here’s a good article on how to find the audience in 10 steps.
- Clarify your offer. Along with finding the right audience, you also should clarify what exactly you’ll be offering – at least, for now. Expanding is great but focusing will get you a lot further, especially, when you’re just starting out. Don’t be scared to target very specific niche but don’t push yourself into doing something you don’t feel comfortable at.
- Research the best ways to get out there. Making first sales or finding first clients always is the hardest. While some spend weeks on this, others end up spending months or even more. Don’t get discouraged and look at it as a continuous process of learning, evaluating, improving. Always be open to new ideas! For example, here’s an inspirational post on how to find new leads in your own community.
STEP #5 Get started
Starting instead of planning is what will turn your hobby into business.
Having a plan IS important but sticking in a planning phase won’t get you very far.
The final step on how to turn hobby into business is getting in the real action. Get yourself out there, start talking with people about what you do. Create social media profiles or utilize what you already have. Create a website or use job boards.
Anyone has started somewhere and almost anyone has been reconsidering whether it really was the best idea…
What works is sticking to your guns, always seeking new ways to improve. And not expecting for a miracle to happen.
What to do if your idea doesn’t work out?!
Many people are afraid of getting started with their own business because of the obvious chance of not making it work.
My suggestion here is to be open to possibilities, give yourself enough time and seek help when needed.
Be open to possibilities.
Although you have set your mind on your business module, sometimes the right thing could be just around the corner. If you have a chance to alter your business and try something different, give it a go if it might give you a better chance of success.
I got started as a graphic designer and worked with print and marketing designs mostly.
Give yourself enough time
One of the biggest mistakes people make when their turn hobby into business is thinking that success happens overnight.
In all honesty, it doesn’t.
Yes, some people get lucky but you, most likely, won’t. Just because of the statistics.
Therefore, before giving up and desperately seeking new ways to sustain yourself, make sure that you’ve given yourself enough time.
As much as we’d like to learn everything ourselves, be in control and not to spend any more money than necessary, sometimes it’s wise to hire a professional to help.
For example, if you’re selling on Etsy but your sales are not coming in, it might be valuable to hire a professional in marketing to give you some pointers.
We can’t be perfect at everything and it’s always better to focus on what you really know. Especially, when times are hard!
Consider what kind of help could give you the most value at the time – do you need to improve your website, work on SEO strategy or have a physical workforce – and then just go for it!
BELIEVING that you can turn hobby into business is a huge part of the deal and definitely the first step to success.
If your mind is there and you’re ready to WORK, the success will follow.