TURNING YOUR HOBBY INTO A BUSINESS

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Lots of people dream of turning their hobby into a business but what are the pros and cons of trying to turn your interests and passions into moneymaking ventures? I am asked this question so frequently that I thought it would be useful to pull out the main factors that contribute to creating a successful enterprise and pointing out some of the pitfalls to look out for.

THE PROS

Do what you love

Most marketing experts agree that to develop a successful business you should always be involved in something you have a passion for.  If you can't drum up any enthusiasm for your business -- why would your customers be bothered either?  Enthusiasm can be highly contagious and if you love and believe in your products and services, your customers are far more likely to buy from you and remain with you as loyal customers into the future.

It's also important that you care about and love what you're doing because this will carry you through the hard times and help you overcome the inevitable problems that running a business will bring.  If you are half-hearted about it, you are more likely to give up at the first hurdle.

Expertise

When you turn your hobby into a business, you already have a great deal of knowledge and experience in your chosen subject and this will help to establish you as an expert in your field -- something that is highly prized in business these days.  You may also be able to identify a market for your products.

Not only will you be able to sell the physical products resulting from your hobby, such as a picture, a knitted garment or a landscaped garden for example, but you will also be able to sell your knowledge and expertise in the form of information products like books, courses, DVDs and so on.  These can be valuable back-end products to your main business and can bring in a great deal of extra income.

THE CONS

Business experience

People who want to turn their hobby into a business don't necessarily have the knowledge or experience to run a business.  In fact, it's quite common for creative and artistic types to shy away from the business side of things and I know plenty of people who are like this.  It can be a problem if you are trying to run your business single-handedly -- after all if you can't make sales, you don't have a business!

However, all is not lost.  Business skills can be learnt, but more importantly, they can be outsourced.  If you aspire to spend your time making things, growing things or writing books about your hobby but you have no knowledge or skills at selling your products or services, there is a huge choice of companies that can offer you the sort of services you need -- such as web design and development, marketing, website optimisation and Internet marketing and even virtual office assistants that can help you with the general administration of your business.  It will cost you, of course, but you have to weigh up the costs of hiring these vital services against the money you could make by concentrating on doing what you do best -- creating your product or service.

If you really don't like the idea of running a business single-handedly, but want to make money from your hobby -- why not consider taking on a business partner? Okay, you will have to share your profits, but a partner with the sort of business skills you lack could bring in much more business than you ever could alone, making it well worthwhile. One place you can find business partners is at:

www.companypartners.com

Overload

One of the main problems with turning your hobby into a business is that whereas you once enjoyed spending time doing something you love, you can find that it becomes tiresome to be spending all your time on your hobby.  Sometimes, you can have too much of a good thing!

You also have to worry about whether or not your new business will make money -- you have to ‘up your game’ and produce quality, saleable products.  You are not just producing a piece of art or restoring an old car, for example, for your own pleasure -- you are expecting people to give you their hard earned cash in exchange for your products, so they have to be good.