More and more people are pursuing small business ownership. This has been particularly true since the pandemic ended. Some analysts believe it may have been a product of the Covid relief money. Free seed money doesn’t come around every day, right?
Other people think it’s just a good time for small business ownership. Digital technology makes it easier and more affordable than ever to run a business. And with people working more and more from home, there isn’t even always the need to experience the crushing costs of major overhead.
In other words, it’s easier than ever to follow your dreams. If you are interested in turning your passion into a career but don’t know where to begin, this article is for you. Read on to learn how to monetize your hobbies!
Perfect Your Product
Let’s say your passion is baking. You love to make cookies and everyone you bake for says that your stuff is the best they’ve ever had. Well hey! That’s a ringing endorsement if ever there was one. Time to start shopping for company jets? Look out Keebler Elves, here you come?
Not quite. Because while no one will call Keebler cookies the best they’ve ever had, they are at least consistent. Be honest with yourself. You tinker a little with that recipe, don’t you? And sometimes a batch will come out of the oven burnt, or flat, or misshapen, and you never really know why.
That’s fine for amateur bakers who like to make sweet treats for their families. It doesn’t work for pros that need to bake dozens of batches every single day. Before you can bring a product to market you need to make sure that it has been perfected and standardized.
Your customers deserve the same predictable, high-quality results time after time. Become Keebler consistent, or risk losing out to inferior competitors who at least have consistency on their side.
Treat it Like a Business
In the early stages of transitioning from hobbyist to business person, it is easy to go in half-hearted. “Yeah, I probably should have a logo, a slogan, a website, a social media page. But those things take time and money. Maybe I will just wait and see how it goes.”
Isn’t that a little like saying you’ll build the walls of your house and then see how things go before committing to a roof? Customers don’t really care if you are dipping your toes in the waters of entrepreneurship. They want to shop from people who are professional and reliable. If you can’t convince them in a few seconds that you fit that bill, they will move on to someone who can.
Having a strong professional presence will take a little bit of startup cash, but it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you might assume. Website builders make it easy for laypeople to design their own pages with a drag-and-click interface. And freelancer websites make it easy to find qualified, affordable professionals to do things like create your logos, or even run your social media accounts.
You might not have the online presence of, say, Disney, but you will be Googleable. That means something.
Get Your Legal Ducks in a Row
Ok, you’re a cookie business again. You got the product down. You even designed a website you’re pretty excited about. Customers can place orders directly on the page, and you can ship them off that same day.
But there is a small problem. You aren’t a registered business. You’re just a person with a laptop and a dream. “How will they ever know?” You think to yourself. And while there is a decent chance this menacingly vague “they,” might not ever find out that you haven’t dotted the I’s and crossed the T’s there’s always the chance that they will.
It’s easy enough to register as an LLC and get whatever requisite licensing your state requires. Usually, you can do this by paying a few minor fees and filling out the required paperwork. It’s not the most exciting step in business ownership, but it is an important component of getting yourself ready to make a public debut.
Marketing is basically just the art of selling through storytelling. You need to be able to put out a message that makes people want to buy your stuff. Part of your marketing campaign will come in the form of branding— essentially establishing a story around yourself. What your product is. What your business values. What people who shop from you value.
Do I really need that for a side hustle?
Well, sure. Especially if you want your side hustle to turn into something lucrative and sustainable. One of the things that hold people back from finding success with their passion projects is that they will think, “Ok, sure. I see why that might be good to do. That’s the first thing I will worry about when I start making sales.”
Ignoring the fact that good business practices are what elevates companies to success in the first place. Imagine walking into a new grocery store and asking where you might find the eggs. “Well, right now we are trying our luck with bread,” they reply. “But eggs—yeah. That’s a good idea for the future.”
Give yourself the chance to succeed by treating your business seriously from day one.
Remember: Most Businesses Start from a Place of Passion
It’s true. Businesses usually begin as a passion project and expand from there. It’s easy to see that in exciting industries like publishing or filmmaking, but it’s true of just about everything. A person has an idea or a passion, and they start thinking about how they can make money out of it. That’s all a business is.
You’ve heard the saying, “If you’re good at something, never do it for free?” Well, with a decent business plan, you can experience the reality of that. Work doesn’t have to be miserable. Business doesn’t have to be hard. Follow your dreams, but let reason and logic lead the way. You won’t be disappointed.
Guest Author Bio
With a Bachelor’s in Health Science along with an MBA, Sarah Daren has a wealth of knowledge within both the health and business sectors. Her expertise in scaling and identifying ways tech can improve the lives of others has led Sarah to be a consultant for a number of startup businesses, most prominently in the wellness industry, wearable technology and health education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life with a focus on making America a healthier and safer place for future generations to come.
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