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Should you turn your hobby into a business?

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by Alastair Cameron

Most people who we have spoken to on this issue, have a hobby that they wish they could turn into a business-  its a fairly universal desire.  But it is really important to bear in mind that not all hobbies can be effectivly turned into a business and not everyone is cut out for self employment.  Before you begin there are a few questions that we reckon should help you to decide if turning your hobby into a business is the right move for you.

Is self employment for you?
Without getting too deep on you from the outset there are plenty of reasons why self employment might not be for you. “What? I thought Startacus was an avid promoter of self employment for all ?” I hear you cry! Yes, this is true - we are all for potential self starters starting businesses, being creative and generally getting knee deep in ‘doing that thang’ that they love. However that does not necessarily mean that self employment is for all. For example, self employment might not be right for you if you like being paid a regular wage, you like working regular working hours, you like being delegated tasks and having your job duties clearly defined...and so on. (Note to editor...this seems like a future post in itself!)

Is your passion better as a hobby than as a full blown business?
Just because you have an absolute love for cooking, doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to open a restaurant that operates virtually 365 days of the year. There are just some things that are better remaining hobbies than they are becoming businesses and thereby potentially becoming like a metaphorical noose around you and your life. The love that you have for looking after your own dogs or cats, might become a nightmare if you were suddenly faced with having to walk, groom and care for 15 dogs on a daily basis. You need to consider if your hobby would no longer remain the love of your life, if you were faced with the reality of having to do it every single working hour.

Do you need financial capital?
Cool - you’ve reached this point! You are hopefully still interested and feel that there is a market for your hobby turned business in your local area. What next? Well, you’ve got to ask yourself if your plans are realistic? If you have grand plans for creating a brand new social network to compete against Twitter or Facebook just because you love socialising and stuff, think again! Unless of course you happen to have some pretty considerable financial backing or you are a world class programmer with a truly amazing idea. Then...work away! Get to it! If it helps, here’s a post we wrote previously on your financial options for funding your business.
Is your hobby unique?
Firstly, great! You have considered the first three points and you are still all in, 100% committed. Fabulous! Now back to the question - what is not so fabulous is if you have answered that no, your business isn’t unique. For example, if you think about creating a cupcake business and discover that there are 100 similar cupcake businesses all operating within a 30 mile radius of where you live, it doesn’t bode well. That is not to say that a cupcake business in a saturated market place would fail, however you would really need to consider if you have, or could have a unique product, service or proposition that makes you stand out. Perhaps your uniqueness is that you can do it better, faster, tastier, cheaper....the list goes on, but it’s important to make sure that if you want to launch your hobby into a business, you understand the competition you face and that by having some sense of ‘uniqueness’ you stand a better chance of surviving!

Will your hobby make money?
I love collecting stamps (I don’t really), and although this is a very worthy hobby, could it ever be anything more than that? Could you actually make money by creating a business around stamp collecting? Another example - you may also love watching sport ( I do) but you don’t often hear about people being paid to watch sport, unless they are freelance sports journalists or TV pundits, do you? You get the point, I hope. Realistically to turn a hobby into a business - you still need to generate revenue ( you need to get paid for doing something) and you need to be offering a product or service that people will want.

 

We hope that these questions and the infographic gallery below will help you to decide if you could turn your hobby into a business.Personally, I’m in two minds now about my idea for Goldfish racing......on second thoughts..

Infographic provided by Make it Cheaper

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Published on: 7th March 2013

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