Do you bake a mean cupcake? Can you whip an event into shape like no other? Well, it might just be time to turn your ‘hobby crush’ into a hobby business you love. Remember Marc Anthony’s famous saying? “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Perhaps you’ve been mulling over the idea of starting your own business for awhile. If so, there are some important (even vital) steps you must take. Sure, it would be great to jump right in ‘with both feet,’ but in today’s competitive global market, you want to make sure your hobby business will translate into success.
Look Into The Mirror
Once you have in mind the type of venture to start, it’s time to decide whether or not you have the ‘fire in your belly’ to do what it takes. There are some tough questions you must ask yourself when it comes to launching a brand new startup.
Take a cold, hard look at your work ethics and personality traits. Make a list of what you think your strengths and weaknesses are, then share them with friends and family or business associates. Be prepared for constructive criticism. Don’t get discouraged, just make changes where necessary.
Here are a few suggestions to start your list:
- Do I have the ability to adapt quickly to the ever-changing market?
- Am I technically or social media-challenged?
- Can I commit to my purpose and follow through?
Getting Down To Hobby Business
We all wish there was a magic genie who, with the swoosh of a magic wand, could have all the necessary paperwork, legal licenses and company branding done for us. Unfortunately, this is not a reality. As a new entrepreneur, this is your homework for success. Research and networking are key elements of the crucial business acumen to get you started.
In order to get your venture off the ground, you will probably need specific licensing, depending on the type of products or services you plan on providing. You will want to consult with a small business lawyer to make sure you have all those legal ‘ducks in a row.’ (See Linkilaw’s ebooks for a good business starting point and startup logistics!)
You will also need to formulate your startup budget. Factors should include marketing costs, inventory or supplies to manufacture your hobby for sale, professional fees, including accountancy. If your capital funds are low, try your local think tanks, incubators or accelerators for support and funding expertise for startups.
Networking is also a vital part of any new business. There are virtually unlimited meetup groups and forums that you can attend (sometimes free) that can shortcut your having to do extensive research. Try online groups like Meetup.com. They are worldwide and offer networking groups to join that can be essential to the success of a new business. Sometimes, success can depend on a simple introduction. As the English proverb says, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.”
Hello? Is This Thing On?
There’s a lot more involved these days beyond placing a sign on your shop door saying, “Open for Business.” Getting a foothold requires many tiers of marketing strategies, including social media. If you don’t have a digital footprint, you’re basically not being heard. There are many integral social media steps that you must incorporate for success. Here are a few must-haves:
- Company Website – New clients will look your site up first to browse through your services and business background. Many people research a company beforehand, so your site is essential to maintain a good customer connection.
- Selling Platform – Consider, if at all, which e-commerce site you might utilise to get your products sold. There are several major selling platforms, such as Ebay, Etsy and Pinterest. Be aware of the costs and fees associated with these sites, and be sure to factor them into your budget.
- Facebook – Most consumers will search for a company on Facebook to see what other consumers think and feel about the company. They also like to see the communication a company has had with their clients.
- Twitter – Consumers are always looking for a deal or coupon discount, and they will follow a company’s deal to get the ‘inside scoop.’
- Pinterest – Your business should have a page to showcase and social your products. Fans will ‘pin’ product pictures they like, and just like that – poof – they spread the word to their followers with the potential of ‘going viral.’
After your socials have been created, the next step is to make sure your digital landscape is listed correctly. Nothing frustrates a consumer more than not being able to get contact information or, even worse, not be able to find you on the web. If you’re a brick and click store, local search is a must to putting you on the map.
Turning your hobby into a profitable venture turns entrepreneurs into business owners daily. Remember, just like with any worthwhile project, you must do your research. Contract the services of a good startup lawyer, ask yourself the tough trait questions and become one with the digital world. In combination, these elements will help you along the path from hobby to success!