It can be scary to step away from your steady job to follow your dreams, especially when the passions you want to pursue aren’t connected to a salaried check. Turing something you love to do into a career takes a lot of work, but it is not unattainable. Here are my tips for turning your hobby into your new career.
Ask yourself The Hard Questions
Pursuing your dreams while still sustaining a living wage means a having a monetizable skill. Ask yourself what can you offer the marketplace, would someone be willing to pay for your skill set? Be patient because this can be the most difficult process to tackle since some skills are not as straightforward as others. Think about your future and what you want to build to determine if your dream is a viable business.
If your talents are not marketable enough on their own, consider partnering with another person or entity to help build your vision and expand their business.
Do Your Research
Taking the time to do your due diligence is the key to starting a successful business. It may not be advantageous to run with an idea immediately. You need to survey the current marketplace and determine if your skills have a place to succeed. See if similar businesses exist, and if they do, how will you differentiate yourself to add value? Make sure your pricing is in line with demand and ensure that you will be able to cover your cost of production at that price.
Create a Business Plan
Every good company needs a road map for the future. A business plan will be a guide to what you want to achieve and how you intend on doing it. Think of it as your blueprint; it will keep you on track as you build your business. A business plan does not have to be a lengthy 20-page document, but it should have clear and concise details on your vision. It can help attract potential investors and can be presented to possible partners. There should be three essential parts to your plan:
- Business concept – discuss your industry, business structure, your particular product or service, and what ideas and elements will make it thrive.
- Marketplace detail – describe and analyze potential customers: who and where are they, what makes them buy. Describe your competition and how you’ll position yourself to stay ahead of them.
- Financial analysis – how much does your product cost to manufacture, what is your selling price, what are your start-up costs and projected sales for the year? Will you be selling in a physical location or using enterprise e-commerce?
You’ll need to have an understanding of these principles and a clear financial snapshot to build a solid foundation for your success.
Market your Skills
To run a successful business, you have to get the word out about your product or service. Having a well thought out marketing strategy can be an essential tool to increase your visibility. An incentive, like discounts for new customers, is a great way to grow your clientele.
Your business should have an online presence that is appealing and cohesive. Web sites are so easy to set up and aren’t expensive to run. Social media is a direct way to reach your targeted audience like through Twitter, and YouTube.
Business cards with your logo are also a required marketing tool.
This step is the most essential for turning your hobby into a career. It is not considered work when you love what you do. When you take pride in your business, it will come across to customers and potential clients. No matter how brilliant an idea may be unless you’re passionate about it, it will not be a success.