A bit of patience and effort is all it takes to turn your passion into a side hustle.
One of the best things about having a hobby is the potential to make a living out of something that you’re excited about and love doing. It’s also an ideal starting point for starting out a business because you already know how to do it. Whether it be baking, woodworking, knitting, photography, graphics design or even writing, we give you the details you need to know to effectively start monetizing your pastime activity.
1. Define what you want to get out of this side hustle. Are you doing this with the intention of starting a full-time business if things go well, or are you just looking to get some extra cash to help with the bills? It’s important that you understand that the more that you want to depend on your hobby to bring in money, the more you also have to invest on it. Manage your own expectations early on. And when you do this, take into consideration the reasonable amount of time and energy that you can put to this venture.
2. Create a menu of your products from your strengths. What are the specific products that you can offer that highlight your strengths? Example, if your hobby is baking, what specific items are you able to bake well? Cookies perhaps? Which flavors? How about cupcakes–any specific cupcake flavors that you are known for? Same goes for design. Are you better at doing illustrations and logo design or do you excel more in creating posters and adding special effects?
Since you’re only just starting out, it’s important to put your best foot forward, and the easiest way to do this is by lobbying on the things that you’re already really good at. This does not mean that you can’t accept orders that you’re able to do but are not specifically your specialty. It only means that what you put forward are the ones that have the potential of getting you repeat customers.
3. Learn how others price their products. Once you’ve got your menu, the next thing you need to do is to learn how much similar individuals or businesses charge their customers. You can ask for your friends’ help on this one. Just be sure to compare prices with small businesses only and not established ones. If it’s possible (a.k.a. make sure you’re still profitable) try to offer your products at a lower price point, just so you can start getting customers.
4. Market yourself. Start with friends and family. Offer them your products and be upfront that you’re doing it to make money. Chances are they will want to support you. Ask them if they can also recommend you to their friends. If you can, create a portfolio of your offerings and start posting them on Facebook and Instagram or just about any social media platform that can help you reach potential customers. You can even go the extra mile and create your own website. There are a lot of providers out there that offer free basic hosting. Also, learn about how you can make your photos look nicer with free tools like Lightroom and VSCO.
5. Focus on customer service. After every transaction, take the time to ask your customer what they honestly think of your product and the transaction you had. Feedbacks are very important in growing your business. A negative feedback gives you the opportunity to improve yourself, while a positive one can be used to further promote your business. If you are able to, give your customers—especially first timers—a token of appreciation. This does not have to fancy. A small pack of cookies or doughnuts with a thank you note usually gets the work done.
Now that you’ve learned the steps you need to make to effectively turn your hobby into a profitable venture, keep in mind that at the end of the day the whole process of trying to make money out of your passion should not feel like a burden. If it does, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and reassess if this is really something you want to do.
Remember to always have fun and don’t overthink things. Be kind to yourself, to your craft, and to others.