Turning your hobby into a full-time business seems more like a dream. Hobbies are what you do in your spare time and if you manage to earn something it means you are lucky, but living out of your passion is almost impossible. Right?
Well, I’m not so sure about that. A lot of creative businesses started as hobbies. One of them is my little design studio that grew out of my passion for illustration and surface pattern design and my training as a web developer. It wasn’t easy, but over time I managed to build a full-time business targeted to women that love modern, feminine designs.
Today I want to share with you a few steps that helped me turn my passion into a full-time business that brings me a steady income.
Change your mindset
For a long time, I treated my business as something temporary. It was an easy way to earn extra money while I was studying or building my portfolio in order to get a real job. As you can image, the extra money wasn’t a lot.
If you want to build a successful business from your hobby, you’ll have to focus on that. You need to set goals, add your business into your daily schedule and find ways to promote it and grow your audience. Working only when you have free time will not bring you a full-time income, and while your business might still grow, it will take a lot of time.
Study, study, study
Since you want to turn your passion into your main income source, you have to make sure that you are able to provide a great product or service and for that, you need to improve your skills. There are many ways to do that. You can go to classes or workshops in your area or you can even take online classes from your bedroom.
While I learned a lot about web development in school, most of the things I know now are due to studying web design and development on my own. I still read books and take part in workshops when I have spare time.
As a sole business owner, it’s very important to be up to date with the newest technologies and trends in your field. Learning how to manage your business is also a plus.
Find your niche
Even though you have a hobby like painting or sewing, you still need to find your target audience and ask yourself how you can help them. Having a niche, especially a narrow and specific niche, is essential for marketing your business. You might be tempted to please everyone at first so you can build a portfolio or gather testimonials, but it will be much easier for you to create valuable products if you have a client in mind.
It didn’t take me long to find my niche. I love working with creative ladies that also have a feminine style. I prefer working with bloggers and small business owners, instead of larger companies. Once I figured out who is my ideal client, I had a much easier time promoting my business.
Save and invest
If possible, you should keep you day job and put some money aside for when you are ready to earn a living only from your business. A new business usually requires a large investment.
Even an online web design studio has a lot of costs. Just think about how much you pay for design software, a good computer, hosting, and a lot of coffee to keep you going through the day.
I did not want to take a loan and I’m always careful with my money, so instead of investing in everything at once, I made small investments and as my business grew, so did the amount of money I put back into it.
Take your time and be consistent
Planning and launching are the most exciting times as a business owner. Unfortunately, not every blog or business takes off the moment you launch it. That’s when you lose your enthusiasm and your business will suffer.
Consistency is key for a thriving business. If you decided to blog, use Instagram or be a part of your community and sell at fairs, you should keep doing that or else your audience will forget about you.
Once you have everything planned, start telling people about your business. You can find clients anywhere so don’t miss an opportunity to talk about what your do.
A good way to promote it is to build a website and be present on social media. Build an email list so you can get in touch with your audience quickly. Studies have shown that people are more likely to read an email, so start gathering emails and growing your audience before you are ready to launch.
Have you ever thought about turning your hobby into a full-time business? What’s holding you back?