Should You Turn Your Hobby Into a Second Business?
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Christina has a small bakery. For the past decade she has been designing websites as a hobby. What she enjoys most is trying all the new web building software. She's created sites for her friends and family but never for money.
She was recently approached by a small business to design their website. This opportunity started her thinking about generating additional income this way. Many business owners want to follow their passion and make money—but is it really feasible?
Hobbies are supposed to be fun and oftentimes we spend a lot of money on them. Christina pays over $200 in web hosting fees for her various websites. The transition from hobby to business can easily take the delight out of the diversion. As any owner knows, there’s a lot more to a business than simply what you sell.
The upside of being an entrepreneur is that you already have the knowledge to build a new money-maker. With your systems in place, adding a second revenue stream should not be a daunting process. Here are a few considerations to think through before deciding to turn your passion into a profitable side-project.
Current versus new
Should you spend your time developing a new business idea or work to grow your current one? Everyone has days where any business idea seems ten times better than the one they’re currently embroiled inn, but the answer there is simple: To succeed you have to persevere. Every business faces rough patches and jumping ship is not going to solve that problem. If you are starved for time, starting a new business is not going to fix the problem.
Does the hobby align with your current business? While rare, some personal interests can complement your current business, and this can be a great way to provide more value to your clients. However, it’s important to stick to your niche and not dilute your core offering with unnecessary products or services. Leveraging your current clients is a great way to grow your business, but what you offer should bring just as much value to them as your core product.
Fun or business
Will turning your hobby into a business take the fun out of it? We often enjoy side-interests because they are stress-free and offer a way to escape the day-to-day grind. This freedom is lost when the beans have to be counted and every expense justified. You must be willing to apply your business knowledge to your hobby. If you’re simply in search of some extra income, consider getting a job in the industry joining said industry and being personally responsible for everything you used to enjoy about a personal passion. This is a trend that, according to a survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Fiverr, millennials seem to be especially adept at exploring.
Can you monetize your hobby? I like to go wine tasting, but that’s a long stretch from being a wine blogger or wine judge. It’s unlikely I can monetize this hobby directly, but I can leverage wine tasting events as networking events. What's better than enjoying a great Cabernet and getting more business while doing it?
If making more money is the goal, consider spending more time on your current business instead of a new one. With a complimentary service, the fear is that more sales to your current customers will turn them away—but it can also provide more value. Not everyone likes to mix business and pleasure, so it often comes down to personal preference.If you look for them, there are often other ways to leverage your hobbies to boost your current business.
As for Christina? She considered the current offer to build a website and politely declined. The service has nothing to do with her main business: the bakery. While she enjoys designing websites, she’s afraid that errors will reflect on the quality of her baked goods. Not every opportunity that shows up is the right one to jump into.