Everybody has a hobby. Whether collecting coins, watching TV, fixing cars, or people watching, we all do something to pass the time. And most would love to find a way to turn that hobby into a source of income. Unfortunately, the path to an income from a hobby can be hard to see, depending upon the hobby. But whether you want to create a full-time income or just a small subsidy, there are certain steps you can take to help get you there.
Find a Success Story
If you can find someone else who has done it, you can find a blueprint on how to do it, yourself. Some hobbies will be easier to find that blueprint – but anything you enjoy doing, someone has found a way to make money on. If you can’t find someone who has done exactly what you would like to do, find someone or a few people who have done similar things – this will help you to understand where profits can come from, even if you need to change the model.
Become the Best
Whatever your passion, if you are looking to monetize it, you better be good at it. If collecting (wine, coins, cars, etc.) is your passion, for instance, you need to be very good at appraising the value of the item you collect, and determining which ones are most likely to appreciate. If you aren’t better than the person you are buying from or selling to, you are not likely to be very successful at turning it into an income. The same holds true for any other hobby – if you aren’t the best, you won’t win the business. Continue to develop yourself, and continue to add value in whatever your hobby.
Understand the Risks
There are risks to any business venture. You could lose money, you could waste time, you could alienate friends or family who feel left out or forgotten. You could be successful and have different issues. Whatever the business risks, you need to understand them. Then, you also need to consider what this hobby means to your life and what doing it for a living will do to it. Sometimes too much is too much. If your hobby is watching movies and you want to start a movie critic blog, will going to see every single new release ruin the enjoyment of movie-going for you? And if it will, and the business does not completely supplement your income, will you now have no time for or other forms of relaxing? Many people have lost their hobbies from doing them too much.
Find a Sounding Board
This can be a CPA, a friend who has business experience, a business coach, or someone in the industry you hope to enter. Just make sure it is someone who is objective, is qualified to have the conversation, and is willing to help you develop your concept. You can’t possibly account for that which you don’t know is a concern. Someone who has been there before, or who has seen others go through the process, can be a huge help as you get started.
Create a Business Plan
Once you are sure you have the means, desire, and support to monetize your hobby, create a formal business plan. This should include upfront business costs, time expenditures, projections of ongoing costs, and estimates of revenues. This will also have an advertising budget and plan, and will list any key partners or employees needed. There are many companies which can help you with your business plan, and there are also many online templates to help you get started.
With a business plan in place, the last step is to get started. The better your business plan, the more detailed your first few months will be, but be sure you have a plan in place for what you will be doing the first few months, when that will happen, and what that will cost. If you are jumping in and doing this full-time, be sure you have a reliable savings or source of income to support you while you are developing the business. If this is going to supplement your income, be sure to carefully chart your time, otherwise, you may never get to the tasks required to successfully monetize your hobby.
No matter your passion, your expectation, or your level of support, understanding the risks and potential rewards of turning your hobby into a source of income will help you to be more successful. Following the steps outlined will help you to be sure you both want and can actually take that leap.