Did you know that 70% of Americans feel unhappy with their current job or career path?
If you’re one of them, don’t despair. You’re not doomed to a lifetime of punching the clock at a job you dislike (or even hate).
What’s the secret to breaking the cycle? Follow your passion and turn it into a money making machine. Chances are good that one of your hobbies is a business just waiting to be born.
Whether it’s arts and crafts, baked goods, or flipping garage sale finds, lots of people just like you are trading their 9-to-5 job for money making hobbies.
How do they make it happen–and how can you share their success? Here are 9 tips you can use to monetize your favorite hobby.
1. Define Your Goals
Before you quit your day job, you need to clearly define your “why.”
Are you looking for a hobby that will bring in a little extra cash on the weekends? Or is your goal to leave your current career and take up your hobby full-time?
If you plan to make your hobby your primary or sole source of income, be prepared to work very hard on building your business.
2. Make Sure You’re Up to the Challenge
We all love Field of Dreams. But the “If you build it, they will come” idea isn’t automatic for everyone–or even most of us.
Starting any business is tough, but starting a business from a hobby is even more challenging. You’ll need to adopt a completely new mindset (more on that later).
If you think turning your hobby into a business will be easier than your current job, think again. Are you ready to be an entrepreneur, marketing expert, accountant, and brand ambassador?
Chances are you’ll be wearing multiple hats for a while. Your actual “hobby” will likely compromise much less time than the business side of things.
3. Learn About Marketing & Social Media
Let’s say you sell custom buttons and you want to design a website where customers can view button options.
How much do you know about web design? Social media marketing? Affiliate advertising? Building a brand?
If these are foreign phrases to you, you’ve got a lot of research to do before you try to launch a business.
The bottom line is this: Even if you make the greatest product in the world, no one will buy it if they don’t know about it. Prepare to spend a lot of time on the computer and your smartphone setting up and managing your business.
4. Be Prepared to “Sell” Yourself
Along the same lines, you can’t just make a bunch of products and expect people to magically show up and buy them.
Do you know how to set a fair price for your products so that it’s worth your time and effort to make them?
How good are your sales skills? Can you confidently talk about yourself and your work–and what makes it different from your competitors?
5. Find Another Way to Unwind
Here’s a factor many people fail to consider. Will you still enjoy your hobby when you’re doing it for a paycheck instead of relaxation?
If you’re baking cookies, you won’t get to spend all day relaxing in the kitchen. You’ll have to meet deadlines, deal with customers, and bake even when you don’t feel like it. Are you mentally prepared for the workload?
When you bake cookies all day for customers, you may not feel like baking on the weekends for stress relief. Do you have another outlet for relaxation if you turn your main hobby into your new job?
6. Become a Master of Your Craft
This tip involves some serious self-examination. Are you truly good enough at your hobby to turn it into a business?
Many people dream of becoming a writer, but not everyone is gifted enough to make money at it. The same is true of any other hobby.
If you sense your skills need improvement, put your business plans on hold for the moment. Dedicate more time to your hobby and then–once you’ve mastered it–you can focus on monetizing your skills.
7. Think Outside the Box
There are more ways to monetize a hobby besides making and selling a product.
If you’re a photographer, you can sell your photographs. But you might also consider teaching photography classes, opening a studio, or getting into camera repair work.
Especially in the beginning, you may need to try a few different ways to monetize your hobby. Once your business gets off the ground, you can focus in on the one that’s most profitable (or the one you enjoy the most).
8. Get Your Finances in Order
This should go without saying, but you shouldn’t quit your day job until your hobby is producing steady income.
Your first step is creating a solid business plan. If necessary, meet with your accountant or financial advisor.
How much money will it take to get your business off the ground? How much income do you need to generate before you can walk away from your day job?
As excited as you may be about your new business, remember that’s it’s still a business, first and foremost. Your number one goal is making the money you need–not just having fun.
9. Snag That First Customer
Nothing will make your confidence soar like landing that all-important first customer.
To get off the ground, you might consider doing your first job for free. In return, your first customer could leave you a glowing testimonial or review.
88% of people trust reviews as much as personal recommendations, so never underestimate the power of your first positive review.
Final Thoughts on Money Making Hobbies
As you can see, there are plenty of money making hobbies out there.
Whether it’s photography, blogging, or personal fitness, the money is waiting for you to come and claim it. Put these tips outlined above into practice, and you’ll soon be on your way to turning your hobby into a business.
Need more inspiration for money making hobbies? Check out our recent post about this year’s best hobbies to make money.