What better way to love what you do then to make money from your hobby? Your favourite spare time activity, something that you choose to do for free, suddenly helps to pay the rent – could there be a more perfect scenario? Swapping your 9 – 5 grind for a job you enjoy could be as easy as undertaking an NCC home study course. You could take a business course to learn how to monopolise on your natural talents and joy. Alternatively, you could hone your skills and become more professional – whether it is as a writer, artist, accountant or trainer.
Learning how to monetise your talent is easier than you think. Here we explore the steps to turning your hobby into a career.
Your first small step will be to assess your finances and evaluate your short and long-term goals. Can you afford to leap, or will you need to work at your current job until you get yourself established?
Your first step might be to treat the money you earn from your hobby as a bit of extra cash. To stop work and start-up your business, you will require an injection of funds. The start-up costs associated with starting a business can be limiting. Unless you have a smart business plan, you are going to struggle to get the investment needed to just go for it.
Therefore, working your old job while investigating markets and routes to work will give you the necessary security. It will take a lot of hard work and passion – but if you keep the end vision in sight, you should feel happy to put in the grind.
Earning money from a hobby requires connections with other people seeking to make money in the same way. You will learn a lot about shortcuts and markets from people already walking the same path as you. Getting involved in groups on social media and apps like Meet Up will help you virtually and literally meet people willing to pay you for this work.
Remember though – you are their competitor. Filter the advice through your personal sense of what is right and wrong. Your goal is to be a part of the community rather than expect a smooth ride. Therefore, share as well as receive ideas and comments.
Research and research some more
To succeed in business, even if it is your hobby, requires you to know your market inside out. First, you need to work out how much your customers or clients would be willing to pay for your product or services. Checking out what others charge online could be a great starting point – but remember to fit this in the context of your experience and the name recognition you bring.
Remember to find out what your market demands from other companies – read testimonials and make a note of what people complain about and what they praise.
Use the research to plan
Once you have started and got a feel for how your hobby could make you money, you should begin to plan how to grow the venture. You need a business plan. Writing this plan is not at all glamorous, and you will drag your feet – most people do. However, if you have any hope of getting outside investment, you need to write one and make it brilliant.
The plan aims to help others see how your fantastic idea can be a success. They also want to know that you have anticipated risks and mitigated these in your planning. No financial institution is going to give you money if you are exposed to problems that you have failed to foresee.
You will be expected to calculate your monthly expenses and balance this against your expected income. You will need to cost in any new equipment and any membership fees for professional and marketplace associations. You may also need an accountant or someone to prepare your tax.
Start to spread the word
With the growth of the gig economy and the freeing influence of the internet, it is easier than ever to become a sole trader. You need to work social media and other online sites – eventually maybe even set up your website. Gaining some success might be as easy as posting on social media.
If you are still working your day job, be sure to be discreet, especially if you are working in competition to your company or it requires you to use knowledge specific to your role. If you are happy that there is no compromise of your current work, then you can spread the word as much as you like.