There is an old saying, ‘Love what you do, Do what you love!!’ We may be doing a job for years without realizing that this is not what we want to do from core of our heart. And, maybe one day suddenly we realize that the hobby activity that we do in our free time can be turned into a business. That is; something that you love doing and can make you earn a living while you enjoy is worth considering as a business because you are more likely to invest your heart and soul in this activity. But there is another side of this coin too. The activity we do in our free time, relives the daily stress we go through in our jobs or business. But, making this activity our business might kill the fun associated with it once it becomes our profession.
Having said that, it remains a fact that the task you love to do will keep you motivated automatically. You are more likely to earn professional success in a career that interests you. Simply ask yourself a few questions and if the answer is ‘yes’… Go for it
- Will the hobby remain the same even after deadlines are attached to it?
- Are you ready to take the risk of not being successful?
- Do you feel committed?
- Will you be able to sell what you create or for that matter yourself?
Even when you are planning to convert your hobby into your profession, you must do the necessary research about the industry and competition. Go for a step-by-step approach:
- Just like initiating any new business, when you decide to explore your hobby as a profession, do not shy away from doing the research on the industry. Study the market trends, competition, related products and suppliers’ market.
- Do not hesitate to critically evaluate your hobby. You are evaluating a career option and not your interests. Be neutral, be fair. Take suggestions from people you trust. Ask them to give an unbiased view. May be you need to make certain changes in terms of time, processes, people involved, etc. to convert your hobby into a business . Make those changes before taking a final step.
- Every venture needs a complete plan to run successfully. Draw out a complete plan for distribution, marketing, dispatch, storage, etc. You must know the time taken by suppliers to supply the raw material. You must know the shelf life of products for safe storage. Plan for transportation of finished goods to the market. Plan step by step for every activity involved.
- Though it is your hobby and the activity you love to do but converting it intos a business involves many related activities. Thus, the need would build a composite team. Each member of the team should be a specialist in his/her field. Like a manager to handle marketing of the product or service that the business will offer. An attorney to create meaningful agreements and arrange for corporate tie-ups.
A few steps that must be followed from the perspective of initiating a business:
- Name your start-up: Name of the business is the first and foremost branding for it. Name it by what it reflects, that makes the brand easier to remember. Also, make sure it is a unique name.
- Register it: Decide on the type of business you wish to start. Whether it would be a sole proprietorship or a partnership. The liability of an owner varies with the type of business. For example, with an LLC your personal assets are guarded against the claims of creditors.
- Every business or start-up needs a Federal Tax ID Number to distinguish or identify business as a separate entity. This is also known as Employer Identification Number.
- You would need to take all necessary permits and licenses to operate issued by the State or local government. In case you are planning to operate from home, you would need a home based business permit too.
- Open a Bank Account to facilitate all business related financial transactions. Make all payments to suppliers and vendors via cheques and receive the payments from clients in favour of the business. This account helps keep the personal and business transactions separate.
It is joyous feeling to convert your hobby into a commercial venture. But, since this would be a hobby turn business, you might prefer initiating it as a part-time business. For example, when you create artificial jewelry as a hobby, you might not be much concerned about the cost of items involved and time taken in the creation of the final product. But when you consider this as an income generating activity, you would be considered in the cost of material and might attach deadlines as per the customer demand. Working part-time on the venture would give you an idea of the tasks involved to conduct the activities commercially. You would get a feeler of all the management, administrative and financial aspects related to the business.
Once you are confident, you have done the backstage jobs, the time is to come in front and take the big step. Go and take the big step. Have the courage to face failures and learn from mistakes.