“The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is not to try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it” - Debbie Fields
If you’ve ever thought about turning your creative interests into something more than just a hobby, but are too busy with the school/daycare drop-offs, meal preparation, and cleaning in between, you aren’t alone.
New businesses are the result of someone’s dream, persistence, hard work, and that famed leap of faith. Everyday people like your neighbor, your boss, your nephew, are entering into the business world while juggling the daily responsibilities of their other roles such as parent, employee, and student. So the first thing to do is to ask yourself, “What’s holding me back?”
Of course transforming your hobby into an entrepreneurial pursuit is much easier said than done and overwhelming obstacles line the path to success – but many business-owners will tell you that the rewards are great.
If you do feel you’re ready to take that leap, here are 6 essential tips to making your passion profitable, something you can get started on from the comfort of your own home.
FIND YOUR SPACE IN THE MARKET
Nailing an original and creative idea is seemingly impossible in today’s world, where nearly everything you want or need is just a click away. So perhaps the most obvious but challenging step is making sure that what you offer will have some impact on the market – whatever market that may be.
While the kids are at school why not spend a couple of hours researching online? Whether your passion is in the realm of creating, collecting, or something else, there’s always an entrepreneurial window of opportunity for even the most niche hobbies.
The only question is, what does the market you’re entering really need? And how can you make your idea stand out from the rest? To begin, you can start with a simple Internet search and brainstorming sessions, while consulting those who’ve managed to create a business out of a hobby similar to yours.
IF YOU GET STUCK, REMEMBER: YOU DON’T NEED TO REINVENT THE WHEEL
Be inspired by some of the oldest and most successful companies in the world like Disney, who have adapted their product in line with technology advances to stay relevant. A simple, but unique spin to your hobby may already be the answer
Just don’t get too consumed by what is ‘trendy’ right now, think about how your product might be relevant in 3 – 5 years, even 10. Many entrepreneurs say that starting a business is like having another baby (albeit without the dirty diapers), demanding constant attention and nurturing.
In the same vein, envision how your business will be like as an “adult”. Thinking long term will also influence the other aspects of your business such as finances, marketing, and operations.
Also, think about how evolving technology will impact your business, and how this will affect your longevity. How easy is it for competitors to copy your business?
MAKE A BUSINESS PLAN ALONGSIDE YOUR LIFE PLAN
It’s been shown that businesses led by women are more innovative, creative, and embrace diversity to achieve better results.
But you need to ask yourself if you are ready for the challenge of taking on multiple roles at once – being an accountant, marketing whiz, and CEO all at the same time will be challenging already, not to mention making sure the kids make it to school and their extra-curriculars on time and dinner is on the table.
This might seem a little off-putting when talking about chasing your dreams, but you need to be realistic. When you draw up your business plan, have it side-by-side with your life plan, both long- and short-term.
From minute but no less important details such as how you’re going to go about your day to key milestones in your kids’ lives vis-à-vis that of your business, how will you manage?
DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE
Get as much legal advice as you can, and understand it thoroughly. In starting a business, you will inevitably enter the realm of contracts, employment conditions, tax, small business loans or alternative finance and insurance – so get some advice from an expert before launching.
If you don’t have the resources available to consult an institution or expert, read up. Make sure you don’t forget the basics like registering your business name and opening a separate bank account.
MUMS ARE THE BEST NETWORKERS
Now for the fun stuff! To succeed, you need to put yourself and your business out there. Ask your friends and family for advice and critique, and don’t be afraid to change things up if required. Talk to other parents, test the waters and see what they think.
Embrace the online world of social media marketing, no matter what your product is. There are so many avenues for your brand’s digital profile, but you should pick a select few and absolutely own them. If you are relying on beautiful images of your product, something simple like Instagram might be best.
Don’t put this in the too-hard basket – your niece or neighbor’s teenage daughter might be interested in helping out. Sometimes, looking too far out of the box makes us miss what’s right underneath our noses.
Transforming your creative hobby into something profitable will be a most challenging, yet rewarding, decision. You will need to live and breathe your brand, network like crazy and build your business with integrity, efficiency, and long-term strategy.
Your family will always love and support you, even if they find you on the couch at 2pm still in your pyjamas, researching the best marketing platforms for your product. Believe in what you do, and enjoy doing it. Remember that you will also learn lessons along the way from mistakes, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
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