Things to consider before turning your hobby into a career

Do you wish you could do something you love for a living? It’s a powerful motivation for many people and it’s what causes many to turn to their personal passions for career inspiration. Indeed, one study in the UK suggested that as many as 40 per cent of self employed people in the UK set up a business based on their hobby.

But, before you run off into the sunset with your new business idea, there’s a few things to consider first:

Gradual transition?

Do you have to go straight in at the deep end? It’s a big step to call time on your job and, ideally, you wouldn’t do this until you’re definitely ready to go. Think about whether or not you can start moving towards monetizing your hobby on a smaller scale in your free time. This will give you time to build some foundations and to test the water before you dive in. You could, as Glassdoor notes, do a lot in 15 hours a week before leaving your role.

You’ll need a business approach

A business mindset needs to be different to your hobby mindset. Your first impulse should be to make money, not just to have fun. You need to be able to promote yourself, market your products and be able to accept criticism, which is only natural when you’re looking to sell rather than show. You need to be able to handle all of the ‘back office’ work needed to make this a professional pursuit – with all of the necessary paperwork, budget planning, accounts and taxes – and make choices that have a sound financial basis.

It’s not about you, it’s about the market

Speaking of which, one of the biggest hurdles to get over is in your attitude to the market. When you’re engaged in your hobby your target market is you – you’re making products that you love and to entertain yourself. As a business, your target market is your prospective customers. You need to spend some time researching which products and services are successful in your field. What do rivals do, how much do they charge and what could you do differently? You need to be able to think about what other people will want to buy, not just what you’d like to make.

Can you operate on the right scale?

You also need to consider the issue of scale. Can you produce enough items to be able to make a profit and meet customer demand? This means looking into everything from sourcing materials in bulk right through to storage space to be able to have the right amount of stock (you might need to purchase a new garage to help with this if you’re starting from home).

A place to work from

As well as storage, you also need to have a premises to work from. Many people choose to do this from home and, while this might be a smart choice to keep your overheads down, it’s still important to think about how to create yourself some ‘work space’ – not least to help you separate your work and home life. This might mean investing in a desk or other home equipment, for example. If you’re not working from home, spend time searching for a space that won’t cost too much money – but will still be able to cater for all of your needs.


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