I’m ready for a change and would love to finally transform my hobby into a business, but I’m not sure that I can be successful. Elaine Varelas advises.

Making the transition from a hobby to a business can be extremely difficult, but Elaine Varelas advises on things you should consider in your decision-making process.

Q: I have a hobby I really enjoy, and I was thinking about turning it into a career, but I’m not sure how to start. How can I make a successful career out of my hobby?

A:  What I’ve understood from people who have hobbies that have wanted to start businesses was that it was the fastest way to ruin a hobby.  The reality is that most hobbies don’t make profitable businesses.  Knitting might be your hobby and your dream is to open a yarn store.  Or you like cooking and you decide to launch a specialty butter company. 

If you expect your hobby to provide significant income, it’s critical to do extensive research prior to making any commitments.  Research what everything will cost you.  And then double it.  How much time everything will take you, then double it. Before you go further, determine what the start-up costs for the business will be and where the funding will come from.  Many people choose to make hobbies part-time commitments as a start. For example, if you are a dedicated runner, perhaps you could help people train to run a 5K.  If you are a bridge enthusiast, you may want to provide bridge classes at an assisted living facility or a condo association. 

Do recognize that the expectations of a hobby and the expectations of a business are significantly different.  But if this is something that you are committed to, consider trying it out part-time.  Do not flip the switch and go 100% into anything.  If you’re a great golfer, do you want to open a golf course or start by coaching?  A great way to get exposure is by working in someone else’s business that is related to your hobby.  For example, working at someone else’s yarn store can provide you with great exposure as to what the situation would be like without risking your financial security.

Making your avocation your vocation can be much more disappointing that it sounds.  If you’re an entrepreneur and you are experienced in starting and running a business, this advice might be different.  Because regardless of whether it’s a hobby or not, it’s the experience of running a business that leads you to success more than your commitment to the area of interest.  Researching this topic and learning about other people’s experiences can help you greatly in the planning and decision-making process. 
Suggested reading: How To Turn Your Hobby Into A Successful Career,  9 Steps to Turn Your Hobby Into a Business, How to Turn Your Hobby Into a Business


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