Being self-employed requires passion and determination. With some hard work and creative thinking, you can turn your favorite hobby into a small business that makes money and helps you achieve your financial goals.
Almost 15 years ago, the manager of the gym where I was working as a bookkeeper asked me if I wanted to teach kickboxing classes. I had just retired from professional dancing and was enjoying participating in group exercise, but I declined the opportunity. Later, as I retold the story to my husband, he reminded me of how teaching group classes closely resembles performing and suggested it could be a great substitute to fill the void left behind by dancing.
I gave it a shot and was soon completely hooked. One class a week turned into seven, and my former hobby is now a full-fledged business.
Was this my original intention? No—this was a hobby that simply took its course and landed me where I am now. Whether you’re looking for a side business to help you achieve your financial goals or you’re interested in a complete career change, you may want to consider turning your passion into a business.
Is it time to turn your hobby into a small business?
I decided to take my hobby to the next stage when I realized that what I had to offer could benefit more than just the small group of people I was influencing.
I asked myself the following questions to figure out if this interest should turn into something more:
- Do I have something unique that may appeal to a broader audience?
- Can I make a positive impact of which I can be proud?
- Do I want to make money on this venture or do I just want to have fun?
- What will I categorize as success?
- How important is it to me that this venture succeeds? Will I be happier?
- What is my goal in doing this? Is it self-validation?
- Will turning my hobby into a business take the joy out of it for me?
- Why do I want to take this to the next level?
- Do I have the time it takes to embark on this venture?
- What if it fails? Will it destroy the hobby—and my confidence?
Ask yourself these same questions. If you realize you are ready to move forward with your hobby, research how to go about it.
How to get started
Begin by studying your competition. Look up statistics on other ventures similar to yours. Identify your audience, figure out where it is, and think about how you’ll reach it. Analyze the costs involved in getting your business up and running, and think about how you’ll cover them.
If you have friends or family who are encouraging you to broaden your talents, allow them to support and assist you. Ask for help brainstorming business names, leverage relationships for helpful connections, and bounce ideas off of trusted friends.
For example, if you’re not computer savvy and someone you know is, get his or her help setting up your computer system. If you have a relative that is a lawyer, ask for legal advice. Anything free or discounted is a bonus, and the support of your friends and family will help you continue when you feel overwhelmed and start to doubt yourself—which is going to happen along the way.
Starting your business may require a great deal of knowledge of the Internet and social media. Your online presence is an essential element of promoting your new business and reaching customers, so be sure to educate yourself in this arena. This was a weak spot for me, so I enlisted the help of a publicist and social media strategist to help me get started. This may be something you want to consider if you don’t feel ready to tackle the social media arena.
Tips for staying positive
The transition from hobby to business was scary, but the adventure along the way was—and continues to be—rewarding. By turning your passion into a moneymaking endeavor, you can discover things about yourself that you never knew before. Let your family and friends help you, and always keep in mind why you decided to make the change in the first place.
Dana Pieper, group exercise innovator, is the creator of Everybody Fitness, an intense total body workout that targets all major muscles and increases cardio endurance to deliver impactful results. Visit Dana’s blog for her “Move of the Week,” fitness tips, inspiration, and more! Follow Dana on Twitter , and “Like” her on Facebook.