Wondering how to convert your hobby into a sustainable, full-fledged, and profitable business? Think it’s hard? It should not be because you have landed on the right page. It’s not an easy venture to convert your hobby into an ecommerce business, but with my entrepreneurial inspiration, I will steer you in the right direction.
Are you too involved with your hobby? Many in your category fail to build anything substantial from their passionate hobby. The reason is they never pursue their ideas in the perfect way. The e-commerce landscape is bumpy and your path to success will only be illuminated if you get the basics right. Let me guide you through the steps.
#1. SELF ASSESMENT
This is the first and very important step in your quest for success. The reason you are turning your hobby into a business is to make money. Period. Of course, the idea is truly exciting, but many starters fail because of rushing into it. They say hurry hurry has no blessing, the wise men said. If you want to excel take your time to carefully evaluate all your personal conditions.
Be brutally honest with yourself. Do you think your hobby will survive customer scrutiny and financial pressure? When the environment is hostile, will you accord enough time to your business? When the going gets tough how will you balance it with other responsibilities like your family and day job?
It’s a daunting task bearing the financial burdens and working to a strict schedule of a startup. You could end up hating your hobby. Consider the following factors before making any other decision;
- What do your finances look like?
How much have you set aside for this project? Can you quit your day job to pursue the project? If according to your projection, the money set aside cannot sustain you for 6 to 12 months, keep your job. Make the transition easy, gradually drop to a part-time job, until your business starts to generate revenue.
- How much time are you willing to accord the business?
- When they going get tough, do you have a robust support system. Be on the same page with your partner, family, or a close friend who you can rely on.
- Are you confident enough about your product/hobby?
- Are you equal to the challenge? Regardless of how much you love the hobby, it’s going to be a challenge.
#2. MARKET RESEARCH
Do you know your target market? You do not want to enter the scene only to find your hobby or its resultant product generates no interest. Research your target market and ensure people have interest in the products you are about to introduce. If you hit the right button, your hobby will seamlessly convert into a great business without even noticing. Analyze your target audience and your possible competition in the intended market. Here are some valuable tricks;
- Use keywords and hashtags to assess the amount of interest the hobby will generate.
- Come up with a generalized or fictional representation of your target customers. This will make it easier for you to understand your ideal customers and relate to them as human beings.
- Identify the trends in your field.
- Find your biggest competitors.
- Check the laws and licensing
#3. CHOOSE A BUSINESS MODEL
Are you scared off? If not yet, congratulations! The next step is selecting your business model. This is not easy but it’s crucial to make the right decision. The business model affects your profits, tax rates and liability when the road gets tough.
One of the easiest models for many startups is the sole proprietorship because:
- It easy and inexpensive
- Gives you complete control
- East tax preparation and reporting
However, you will be required to shoulder all the liabilities and it will be difficult to raise funds. In addition, being all alone in the business can be very stressful.
Alternatively, you can pursue your dream in a partnership or a limited liability company if you want to protect personal assets. Choose a model based on your preferences, personal condition, and financial circumstances.
#4. CREATE A BUSINESS PLAN
So far so good, if you have not given up, you got the right attitude to set the business rolling. A good business plan will not only help you navigate through the early business days but it will also let you visualize the whole journey. It will be a necessity when trying to raise funds to buy equipment, purchase inventory, or hire staff. To come up with a comprehensive business plan follow the following guideline:
- Where will the finances come from?
- Why and how are you planning to do this?
- What is the workflow? How long will it take to create the product or provide the service?
- Any plan to expand the business in future?
- Have do you set the pricing?
- Based on the above factors, what your expectations? When do you think the business will break even?
#5. TIME TO GET LEGAL
Everything is almost falling into its place, but you are not yet done. Prepare for the tedious paperwork, this is crucial if you miss a step the government will be on your back. Some of the most important things to get at this step include;
- Employee Identification Number (EIN): this is important for tax purposes and it will be required in your business transactions.
- Business checking account: this the central checking account where all your business transactions and finances will run through.
- Business credit card: you will like the reward system that comes with the credit cards.
- PayPal account: this account should be tied directly to the business. You will need it for your online transactions.
#6. FIND THE RIGHT MARKETPLACE
You are almost at the tip of the ladder, but you will have to choose the right marketplace. The modern marketplaces are great because they offer free traffic. So will have the freedom to trade without worrying about SEO or marketing. However, the platforms will charge you for selling on their sites. Nonetheless, they are the best way to establish your foothold in the ecommerce arena. Some of the most common marketplaces include Amazon, DaWanda, Etsy, Handmadeology, Zibbet, Aftcra, and eBay.
#7. ESTABLISH YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE
Now that you have successfully converted your hobby into a business, you need to establish an online presence. Social media is an excellent platform to raise your brand awareness. If you go the social media way observe one simple rule: keep it professional. You should also be smart if you want to generate viable traffic.
Some of the most popular people who made a great business out of their passionate hobby include;
Bill Gates was a 13 years old boy when he took up the art programming as his hobby. He raised money by selling a rummage to buy the resources he required to write a tic tac toe game. Bill Gates perfected his art and developed an algorithm for sorting pancakes while still at Harvard University. He converted his hobby into Microsoft after dropping out of college.
Walt is the most popular hobbyists. Out of his passionate hobby of sketching and doodling, Walt made a multi-billion dollar business. Though the man is gone, the Business created continue to do well almost fifty years after his death.
At the age of four Walt Disney was drawing pictures and at seven he was selling the pictures to relatives and friends. All through his formative years, Walt kept pursuing his hobby even while attending a Chicago art school. Walt later launched his career in film production, theme park design, and animation.
Using the money she earned working as a young ball girl for Oakland A’s, Debbi started making cookies. 10 years later, she started selling them in a retail shop. Her business recorded an instant success and helped her to establish over 650 retail bakeries in the USA and over 80 in other countries across the globe.
Pamela love has demonstrated that you can easily convert your little hobby into a big business. She spent many hours during her preteen to making bracelets from toothbrushes. She would bend the toothbrushes into cufflike shapes using heat. 20 years later, Pamela Love converted her hobby into a multi-million dollar jewelry business. Some of her best items feature in some of the top fashion magazines like Elle and Vogue.
At this point, I believe you have taken the right steps to transform that passionate hobby into a multi-billion business. However, setting your business rolling marks the start of the whole tussle.
Hobbies help people to pass time, but it takes diligence to separate your heart from reality. Control the love for your hobby and don’t allow it to shadow the harsh reality ahead of you. Though the business idea originated from your hobby do not sit back comfortably thinking it will be a good business. There is a lot you need to learn to keep the business buoyant.
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