Ben Todd | Apr 16, 2017 | 3
How to Turn a Hobby into a Career
For those of you looking for a sweet step-by-step guide on how to make millions from your hobby, you are going to be sorely disappointed. If you genuinely want to make money from your hobby, then this is the ONLY article that will level with you and give you the honest and boring truth.
Start Small And Do Not Quit Your Day Job
This is the first and most obvious tip. Even if you secure a massive startup loan and hire a series of consultants, you cannot quit your day job. Your hobby needs to mature into something that makes money, and that always takes time. You need to eat and fund your hobby while it matures, and that means a constant flow of cash. If you think your hobby will become a moneymaking venture within five years, then you are delusional, or you are happy to saddle yourself with copious amounts of debt.
Learn How Money Works
The biggest reason for failure when it comes to small businesses and people turning hobbies into moneymakers is a base ignorance of how money works. Every minute of your time has a dollar value, every item you have is losing money with the exception of a minority of things, and every sale you “don’t” make is costing you money.
You need to fully understand how much your items truly cost to make, which includes the cost of your time, your resources, tools, fixtures, fittings, rents and taxes. Then, you need to understand how much money you lose whenever you make a sale, how much you earn when you make a sale, and you need to understand the difference. It is easy to make thousands of dollars in income during a month and only make 11 cents per sale in profit.
Retail prices are not high specifically because stores are money hungry. In many cases, a company cannot afford to sell at a low cost because their expenses are simply too high. The cost of your hobby and the things you produce are likely to push your price so high that it is not good value for money for the consumer (your customers).
Budgeting Is A Massive Part Of It
Once you understand money, you need to be able to budget to be sure that no time and no resource is wasted because any waste will eat into your profits. You need to know how to manage your time because your time has a dollar value, and if you spend too much time doing one thing, then you push up your prices and/or lower your profits.
Making Sales Is Your Biggest Priority
If this guide were being written for the terminally stupid, then this tip would be at the top of the article before the introduction because this tip is the most important of all. Nothing else matters besides what you sell. You may think that quality matters, or that prices, discounts and usefulness matters, but it doesn’t. You biggest priority should be making sales.
One person may spend months perfecting each product and be unable to sell any. Another person may sell pebbles that he or she collects and be able to sell hundreds at a time. The person selling pebbles will turn his or her hobby into a money making venture because he or she is making sales.
This is one of the reasons why you need to start small and work around your day job. You need to make sales in order to make your hobby a self-supporting enterprise. You need to learn what your consumer wants, where they are, how much they want to spend, when they want to buy, and you need to figure out how to convince them to buy.
Failure Happens Right Away
Oh boy, oh boy, EXPERIENCE is going to teach you this one. A friend told me he was going to write a book on business success. He was going to interview some of his millionaire friends and turn it into a book. He was very excited and even has investors willing to fund the publishing and marketing of his book.
He was an idiot. Firstly, there are literally thousands of books like that on the market, and yet he honestly thought he would sell millions of copies. Secondly, and more importantly, he couldn’t tell me who would buy his book, he didn’t have a list of customer that had made pre-orders, he didn’t have a long list of 1000 names of people who had expressed interest in his book. He was about to invest his time and other people’s money into a book that wasn’t going to sell.
If you have a friend come up to you and give you a similar proposition, they may say that their marketing expertise will sell the book. In that case, give them six books that were written by other people on the same subject, and tell them to sell those six books. If they can sell all six and get orders for a further six, then maybe their marketing prowess will carry them to success. If they cannot sell the books, then they are destined to fail.
Get Buyers Before You Create
Failure happens right away for most people because it happens before the product is even made. If you are going to invest your time into a hobby that you want to make money from, then get pre-orders or at least get expressions of interest.
Back in the 90s, when Chinese goods were cheap and a new(ish) way of making money, I was going to order 5000 units of umbrellas to sell in Wales (Britain) where it is always raining. Prior to making my order, I secured six potential customers and had five of them make deposits. They were not very pleased about the 30-day wait, but were pleased about the price and wanted in on the deal. If I had simply bought 5000 umbrellas without taking orders first, I would probably still have them today.
Learn To Produce Quickly
This is a big problem for many people who turn their hobby into a moneymaking enterprise. The problem arises because they actually enjoy their hobby, and their enjoyment is usually stretched out over a long period of time. However, this long period of time is very costly and often results in the price for the product becoming too high so that no profitable sales are made.
After all, can you imagine sitting on a hill with your watercolors and having to paint eight versions of the same scene before the sun sets? It doesn’t sound nice or pleasurable, and yet if you want to make money, then it is exactly what you have to do. You have to “learn” how to produce quickly and more efficiently. It is your job to streamline the process, and that is going to take a lot of fun out of the process.
Set Up A Routine Because Your Motivation Will Falter
As you may have gathered by now, making money from your hobby is not as fun as it first seems. You may like the idea of doing your hobby for a living, but now you are going to have to do it so much that it will become a hassle and monotonous. For that reason, you need to set up a routine.
Do not rely on your love for the project or your motivation to carry you through. You need to set up a routine the same way you have one during your day job. Assign certain times of the day for certain tasks. Set up routines and get into the habit of doing those routines.
If you get into a habit of doing things, then even though they are monotonous, they still get done–and that is the key to your success. You need to do the boring and horrible jobs as regularly as you do the fun jobs. You need to push yourself, and with a routine, you are able to push yourself in a structured and repetitive way. Get into the habit of doing things according to your routine, and you will find that much of your success powers itself.
Build Your Web Presence
You are probably not going to be able to compete with your mid-sized and larger competitors on the search engines and with affiliate advertising–so do not try. However, you do need a web presence that includes a website and a Google+ account. You may also have other social media accounts if they are suitable. For example, if your hobby is sculpting out of plaster, then you may have a YouTube account where people may watch you work or where you give people sculpting tips.
Your website is there both as your online ambassador, and as a place for people to find you. Ideally, you are looking for people who type in the name of your products or your business/website name. You aim is not to rank up the search engines with certain keywords because your competitors will dominate that side of your web marketing.
Remember that the names of your products may be as important as the name of your business or website. For example, a young lady used to make leather roses that she sold on her eBay shop, but few people could remember the name of her eBay shop, her account, or her name. When they went to Google, they would type in “Gothic Leather Rose,” which was the name of her main product, and they would find her eBay store.