When you think of a hobby, the first thought that often comes to mind is that it’s just something you love doing in your spare time.
It’s not thought to be something that you can actually make money from and if you do it’s probably just enough to cover the cost of expenses. More than likely, your hobby is also something that you are extremely passionate about and what you wish you could spend a large majority of your days doing.
We hesitate to bridge the gap between hobby and business because we don’t think it’s really possible to profit off of something that you love. Little do we know, that all amazing businesses started with a passion.
Passion is what keeps you going when something goes completely wrong, it’s what keeps you motivated and wanting to set higher goals. Seriously, who wouldn't want to make money doing what they love?
That’s how both of my businesses were born! I took my love for creating jewelry and turned it into a profitable online shop that was able to financially support me. I even took what started out as a personal lifestyle blog and pivoted it into a place where I coach other creative women and help them take the leap into entrepreneurship.
Today I’m going to show you the exact steps I took to turn both of my hobbies into profitable businesses.
Change Your Thinking
If you’re looking to bring in a decent income from your hobby, you can no longer think of it “just as a hobby”. Hobbies rarely make full-time incomes, so you need to get strategic and start thinking about how you can take it to the next level. You need to set goals in place, give yourself a schedule for working on your business (this will be extremely helpful while juggling your day job) and ultimately create a plan for long-term success.
This is no longer something you can take a few days off from when you’re not in the mood. Not to scare you, but a lot of hard work and sacrifices comes with becoming an entrepreneur.
Find Your "Sweet Spot" and Your Favorite People
Although your hobby may be specific like making jewelry or blogging, it still needs some sort of direction. Your “sweet spot” is a combination of what you are good at, what you enjoy doing along with what you’re passionate about. You also need to know exactly WHO you are selling to! One of the biggest mistakes hobbyist turned business owners make is they don’t put enough effort into discovering WHO their ideal customer is.
Let’s take myself for example. I am good at giving people a step-by-step process on how they can start or grow their business. I enjoy teaching people the best way to expand on their ideas. And I am also passionate about all things business and blogging. As far as who I want to sell to, coming from a creative background, I knew that I wanted to cater to creative women who may be stuck with turning their passion into a profitable business. I took those three qualities of myself along with who I wanted to serve, to mold my brand into helping creative women turn their passion into a profitable online business through my blog and coaching services.
Try not to overthink it! All you have to do is piece together the parts!
Rebuild Your Foundation
Branding is the foundation of your business. Without it you have nothing and it will be tough for you to clearly get your point across when marketing and selling what you have to offer. If you’ve been taking part in your hobby for any amount of time, then I am sure people already know who you are and what it is that you do. The kicker here is that most people probably know you as someone who has a hobby and not someone who runs an actual business. This is why you will need to re-build your foundation a.k.a re-brand.
QUICK TIP: Do not underestimate the power of an incredible re-brand. When I started my very first online shop, I paid little to no attention to branding and was still stuck in the “it’s a hobby” mindset. As a result, that business failed miserably but I did the research and got the education I needed and was able to re-build a completely new shop that had a clear and unique purpose!
Start off the re-building process by focusing on these steps.
- Get clear on your unique story. Your story is what will separate your business from all of the rest in your industry. Although some may try, it can’t be duplicated and it is what makes you, YOU! So try thinking of your brand as an actual person.
- How do you want your audience to perceive you? Perception is everything and definitely not something that should be taken lightly. Do you want your audience to see you as someone who is an encouragement to others? Or do you want to be perceived as someone who is an expert at juggling being both a mom and career woman?
- Your unique voice. Your voice is the tone and the style you will use throughout your blog, your social media and anything that has your name stamped on it. In my opinion, the best voice for you to use is the one that you use when speaking with family or friends. This way you can guarantee that you'll always be consistent and you won’t have to worry about possibly slipping up.
Ok so now you know what your sweet spot is, you have found your perfect people and you have rebuilt your foundation. The next thing you will need to focus on is building trust within your community. In order to make money, your perfect people have to be able to trust you! No trust = No Dollars. The best way I have found to not only build trust and also build community on a personal level is through blogging.
I can thank the power of blogging for much of my success and recommend anyone who wants to take their hobby to the next level to really dig into it! Blogging, of course, is a great way to show off your new products or services, but it also should be used to prove your expertise in your industry.
Let’s say you are wanting to turn your love for cooking into a new cookbook that you want to sell. Well you could easily use your blog to show off your new book and tell your audience why it should be a part of everyone's kitchen but how does your audience know that you really know what you’re talking about? To build that trust, you could share different recipes on your blog to give your audience a feel for who you are and give them the chance to take your recipes for a spin before committing to buying something from you!
You can also build trust by showing what goes on behind the scenes. Take your audience through your process of rebranding your business. Show them the chaos of launching a new product. People love shopping small because they feel as if they know the owners personally. Use your blog to build that emotional connection and trust with your audience and watch how it grows your brand!
I see so many people make the mistake of losing their drive after they have launched. Going from hobby to business owner and watching your brand grow is an extremely exciting time, but don’t get so caught up in the momentum of launching that you forget to plan for the future. Consistency and success go hand in hand. You should always be figuring out different ways to market what you do and how you can get your unique story to a different audience. If you’re going to blog, not saying that you must blog everyday but you don't want to go months in between blog posts.
It should also always be quality over quantity! Over the past few months I have been posting less but making sure the posts are extremely valuable and it has doubled my pageviews from when I was posting sub-par posts every single day. So don't think quantity will ever trump quality
Inconsistency can really make or break your brand and also lose the trust of the audience that you have worked so hard to build.
Whatever it is that you may love doing, don’t ever think it is impossible for you to turn it into something more! You have a voice or a product or service that someone in this world needs, don’t be afraid to put it out there
About the Author
Alisha is a former online shop owner and also the brains behind TheAlishaNicole.com where she serves as a blogger and creative business coach to creative women. Alisha is passionate about helping women get unstuck and showing them how to successfully turn their passion into a profitable online business without the stress or confusion. When she is not coaching, blogging or playing with her beagle, Porkchop, she is gearing up to launch her first course site, LeapandLaunch.co.