Spending your free time gardening, restoring classic cars or collecting antique jewelry can be a joy, right? It's the thing that renews your passion, the thing that makes you feel that all is right with the world. Wouldn't it be great to find a way to make money doing what you love? Turning your treasured hobby into a business will take hard work and a truckload of creativity, but the rewards are endless. You'll be doing what you love--and getting paid for it.
The benefits of starting a business based on your hobby are many, according to Rachna D. Jain, founder of business coaching firm Excel With Ease Coaching in Columbia, Maryland. "Many times you'll have a lot of knowledge about [your hobby] already," she says. "And the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who have a passion for the work they do.
Turning passion into profit takes serious work, though. Just because you love making pottery doesn't mean you know enough to create a profitable business from it. Experts and entrepreneurs stress the importance of researching any business idea before jumping in. Denise O'Berry, president of business consulting firm Small Business Edge Corp. in Tampa, Florida, notes that research is one of the most important first steps: "You need a full plan of how you're going to address your objectives. It's all that stuff everybody hates to do."
You may know everything about your hobby, but you only know it from a hobbyist's point of view. Think like a business owner by conducting a market analysis and a competitive analysis to see if existing businesses are similar to your idea. Is there a similar business in your area or nationally?
Next, find out if selling your hobby wares will sustain you. Jain echoes that sentiment: "Once you have a market identified, canvas Internet neighborhoods and invite people to meet with you [for focus groups]." You may even consider contacting a mentor who can point you in the right direction while you're researching your business plan.
Mentors can also offer guidance about what kinds of businesses are a natural fit for your hobby. To jog your brain for any possible business ideas, Jain suggests listing 20 ways you can use your knowledge, skills, talents or hobbies.