Thank you to 9Honey for inviting Michelle to share her tips and ideas on how to make money from your hobbies.
You will have seen stories of people who experimented with their hobby as a ‘side gig’, ‘side hustle‘ or ‘moonlighting’ before taking it full-time and landing a thriving business.
It can sound enticing and rewarding. Who wouldn’t want to throw in their day job and spend time focused on their hobby?
Like most things in life, however, building a business takes planning, effort, and persistence.
So, if you want to turn your hobby into a thriving business, here are seven tips to get you started:
1. Assess the market
Assess if there is a market and whether you could make money from your hobby. Not all hobbies are potential sources of extra income. Talk to people and test your concept to see if there is a market waiting to buy your product or service.
2. Find your niche
You will want to find the niche you will target. For example, are you targeting young female entrepreneurs or time-poor executives?
Once you know your target market, it’s easier to focus your efforts and ensure your message, brand and product or service resonate.
3. Get practical
Work out how much time you have to devote to setting up your side hustle, and then schedule the time to work on it.
Set specific goals and milestones as to what you want to achieve by when. This process includes considering how much money you are willing to invest in getting your idea off the ground.
4. Pick your track
Taking a ‘dual track’ approach means staying in your current role whilst getting your business off the ground. This is a great way to try your idea, test the parameters, build the infrastructure and contacts, and transition over a timeframe that works.
It also provides a safety net, as you have guaranteed income coming in from one source while building up an income stream from another source.
5. Be aware of overload
Using the ‘dual track’ approach means you may feel you’re holding down two jobs simultaneously. Consider how long you can sustain this approach and when you are willing to make your business your full-time gig.
6. Don’t use what isn’t yours
Make sure you use your equipment and resources for all the work related to your second gig. Keep a separate laptop, mobile phone and all the infrastructure you need to set yourself up. Do not use your company’s or organisation’s property.
Many organisations frown on this kind of activity, and you could find yourself in a sticky situation if you don’t handle it correctly. Read your employment contract carefully, including the small print you might typically ignore. You may need written consent from your employer to get involved in outside work.
7. Manage your boss
Whether or not you tell your current boss depends on your relationship with them and whether you think they’ll support you or try to sabotage your efforts. They may be suspicious of your activity, wondering what you are doing on company time.
If there’s any potential for a conflict of interest or any concern that your new business might compete — even in a small way — with what you do currently, then be very careful about what you say and do. It may help to work through the options with advice from a trusted adviser.
Opportunities abound, and so too do business failures. So, be realistic, plan it out, set your goals, know your risks and enjoy the challenge.