Here’s an experiment you can try, ask any person what business they would love to launch if they had the budget at this very moment. They will probably relate the ideal business to one of their hobbies. People who love reading would love to have their own bookshops, and those who know everything there is to know about herbs would gladly open a teahouse with blends from all around the world. Well, starting a business you’re passionate about is not as easy as it seems.
If you try to grow a business out of your hobby, you’ll start thinking of different ways to make it profitable, so it will slowly lose the beauty you once recognized in it. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you cannot start a business related to your interest. You can, but first you have to be aware of the pitfalls, and you need to learn how to avoid the traps.
Here are 5 major obstacles on the way to turning your favorite activity into a successful business:
1. Lack of knowledge and real expertise
When you’re doing something as a hobby, you’re focused on the nice things that come with it. If you like reading books, you have unspoiled love for literature and you know little or nothing about publishers, store management, prices, taxes, and budgeting. If you open a bookstore, the business will be related to literature, but you’ll hardly find any time to enjoy literature the way you used to.
Here are few tips to help you handle this risk and to become a good entrepreneur:
- Learn everything there is to learn about the type of business you want to start. What expenses will come with it? What connections do you need to start this business? How much money do you need to invest? What’s the demand on the market? What’s the potential for growth? In other words – become an expert not only in the hobby, but in the business as well.
- Always make time to enjoy the hobby the way you used to. As you learn more about your hobby, you’ll start seeing everything from a theoretical point of view. Let’s say you want to start a fitness center. No matter how much you learn about nutrition, muscles, and different types of physical exercise, you should always engage in your hobby with pure joy, at least for one hour per day.
“If you’re trying to create a company, it’s like baking a cake. You have to have all the ingredients in the right proportion.” – Elon Musk
2. Deadlines ruin the fun
If you want to start a business, get ready to face some pressure regarding deadlines. You’ll have a deadline for everything; setting up the store, launching a website, organizing a competition, providing documents to your accountant, etc. All that pressure will make you think, maybe this hobby isn’t fun after all.
3. Financial and legal matters
Some people love perfumes and they can recognize every note in a scent. They can tell you a lot about a person based on the scent they prefer. Does that mean they can start a successful perfume shop? Not necessarily. The most common pitfall for all passionate people comes in the form of financial and legal matters. You may have enough money to start but it’s not enough without knowing how to invest that money efficiently.
It will take a lot of time for you to understand how everything works, so the best solution would be to take a course related to small business maintenance. You’ll have to be educated on the regulations of your state before you can start a business.
4. You’ll find yourself in different hats
First of all, you’ll be the founder of your business. You’ll be responsible for the supplies and organization for the entire company. You’ll also need advanced budgeting skills, and you’ll be the manager of your employees. If you don’t have many employees at the start, you’ll also be a seller. In other words – you won’t even notice the hobby among all those responsibilities.
The best way to surpass the risk of having too much on your mind is delegating. You should consider employing more people or outsourcing certain tasks, such as press release or blog writing, website maintenance, social media management, etc.
“If you really want to grow as an entrepreneur, you’ve got to learn to delegate.” – Richard Branson
5. Tons of competition
Let’s face it, you’re not the only person on the planet with this hobby. Many people have already thought about starting a similar business, and few of them have succeeded in their goals. Moreover, there are plenty of companies that have worked out the ‘business’ part of this hobby. You’ll see tons of brands producing yoga clothes, but their owners know nothing about yoga.
In simpler words, you have to stand out! You have to master marketing techniques. If you know nothing about marketing, you can always take an online course before starting your business.
Add a twist that makes you different. There are tons of customers for any kind of business, but you need to attract your target audience with brand new ideas and original offers. Since you already have this hobby, think about the things that are missing on the market. How can you make this hobby more enjoyable through the services or products you’ll provide?
With all this serious talk, maybe you started questioning the idea of turning your hobby into a business. You should never doubt yourself! There is great potential in you, but it will take a lot of persistence, dedicated learning, and a wise approach for a successful start.