How To Turn A Hobby Into A Business
We’re so excited to kick off Season 2 of the Big Plans Podcast! Are you thinking about transforming your hobby into a thriving business? In this episode we share our insights with newer shop owners and those who are considering opening up their own shop. We’ve also been busy behind the scenes working on our eCourses - be sure to check out our course offerings at bigplansacademy.com/courses.
First, you may be wondering, how do you know it’s time to turn your hobby into a business? A good indicator is if you’re investing in expenses frequently and making some money at it, (also keep in mind you can tax deduct your expenses if you’ve registered your business). Another sign it’s time to turn your hobby into a business is when you’re not just charging for the materials anymore (like when you make things for friends/family, you might not charge them very much.) Once you have defined prices, it’s time to become a business. Lisa knew she had the beginnings of a successful business when she started out on Etsy and noticed she was making a good amount of sales with little effort in marketing.
Here are some of our practical steps for turning your hobby into a business:
1. Do Your Research
When starting a new business, it's essential to find the right balance between investing in materials and not overbuying. Research the materials that you need, look into buying in bulk whenever possible (things are cheaper when you can buy in bulk), how to ship things, and where and how to sell it (online, platform, in person, etc.). With this new information, you can form a business plan to actually get started with your business. When Lisa started Sticker Guru, she decided to start with a small inventory. By doing so, she was able to gauge the demand for her products without the risk of having unsold stock. As your business grows, you can gradually increase your inventory according to the demand.
2. Ensure There's Actual Demand for Your Product
Before diving into a new business venture, it's crucial to make sure there's an actual market demand for your product. Don’t just ask friends and family. It’s important to identify your target audience and understand their needs. Survey people in your hobby community and your Instagram followers to get a better understanding of the market potential. For example, Lisa would make “plan with me” videos to gauge if there was interest in her sticker kits. Also, consider researching existing markets and competitors to see how your product can stand out from the rest. This will help you gain confidence in your business idea while also ensuring there's room for growth.
3. Differentiate Your Product from Competitors
In a competitive market, it's essential to differentiate your products from others. Don’t just replicate existing products, but try adding unique features or designs to make your products stand out. By doing so, you'll be able to carve out a niche for your business and attract a loyal customer base.
4. Start Small and Scale Up
One key takeaway we share in this podcast episode is the importance of starting small and gradually scaling up your business. You don’t have to buy all the best equipment upfront or tons of materials to get started. Start with what you have and upgrade as grow. By testing the waters and gauging demand, you can make informed decisions about investing in your business. This approach helps minimize risks and allows you to focus on sustainable growth.
Turning your hobby into a successful business requires a careful balance between passion and practicality. By researching the market, ensuring demand, differentiating your products, and starting small, you can set yourself up for success. Stay tuned for more insights from Lisa and Lucy as we continue our podcast series on starting and growing a sticker shop for new and aspiring shop owners.
Be sure to listen to the full episode for all our insights!
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Thank you SO much for being here. See you in the next episode!
xo, Lisa & Lucy