Running a successful business centered on doing something you love is the dream of many entrepreneurs. What could be more gratifying than making a living sharing your talents and skills with others?
On the Internet, you’ll find a long list of articles and resources offering advice and insight specifically geared toward hobbyists who want to take the step and go from “passion” to “profit.”
It’s not difficult to find success stories about everyday people—from photographers to interior designers to carpenters and others—who have turned hobbies and interests they were passionate about into viable businesses.
That’s encouraging if you’re contemplating making the transition from hobbyist to small business owner. It’s important to know, however, that not all hobbies (and the people participating in them) may be well suited for entrepreneurship.
Here are some essential points to consider as you explore the feasibility of your hobby becoming a sustainable business:
- Will you still enjoy doing the work after you have to do it as a business, instead of choosing to do it as a hobby?
- Are you willing to showcase your talent? It’s one thing to work on your hobby for your satisfaction and quite another to expose your work to the scrutiny of potential buyers.
- Will enough people be willing to pay a fair price for what you create? Does your talent and your product stir them to buy?
- Do you have the knowledge and capacity to both create your product or service AND take care of the other administrative and operational responsibilities that come with starting and running a business?
SCORE mentor Dennis Wright from the Orange County, California chapter suggests you take the following actions as you assess the viability of your hobby becoming a business that supports you and your family:
- Identify who your prospective customers are. Not everyone is going to be interested in your product or service.
- Determine the benefit you’ll be selling. What need or want will your product or service satisfy?
- Consider how you’ll communicate your value proposition and why your product or service is better than those of your competitors.
- Establish what your prospective customers would be willing to pay for your product or service.
- Do the math. Can you be profitable at that price point? Make sure you consider both the fixed and variable costs to produce the product measured against the price you are charging the customer.
“Once you complete your research and have the answers to those basic questions you’ll be ready to start drafting a business plan. A written business plan is essential to focus your ideas, obtain funding and capitalize fully on your talent.
If you need assistance in determining if you and your hobby are suited for small businesses, there are resources out there to help you. Consider taking advantage of the free mentoring services from SCORE, www.savannah.score.org, and also check out the information on the Small Business Administration website (www.sba.gov).