The right questions, motivation, and processes will help you establish an online business – brick by brick.
Do you dream of starting your own business and turning your hobby into a million-dollar venture? Imagine being your own boss, doing what you love the most, while also making a lot of money.
So how do you turn a hobby into a full-blown business?
I have five big questions that will help you figure it out.
1. What Will I Sell?
Think about your hobbies. Do they involve a profitable product or service that you can deliver professionally?
Keep an eye on profitability
“Profitable” has the potential for generating income. When starting your own business, be sure that you are seizing an opportunity, not wasting money on a bad investment.
Luckily, most hobbies have the potential for generating income! Popular examples are:
- DIY crafts
- Makeup and hairstyling
- Graphic design
I could go on and on!
But what about “specialized” hobbies like playing cards, sports, and collection?
You can try the following:
- Become an expert and sell exclusive knowledge
- Create membership clubs
- Become a merchandise seller
- Offer services as a guru or coach
How can you gauge the profitability of your interest? Consider the following questions:
- What are the features and benefits of this product/service?
- How large is the existing consumer market for this?
- Who are my potential customers?
Focus on what you enjoy doing and are good at
Be honest about your skill level and degree of commitment. When you make a business out of anything, you have to stop thinking of it as a pastime.
Ask yourself the following sub-questions:
- Am I good enough at what I’m doing?
- Do I have expert knowledge in this industry/field?
- Can I keep doing this in the long term?
- Am I committed enough?
Entrepreneurs who built million-dollar businesses out of their “passion” weren’t newbies. Ideally, you should be an expert before building a business around anything.
But what if you’re not an authority on the subject yet?
Take it easy. You can always improve your skills by learning, taking advanced courses, seeking expert advice, and consciously practicing.
2. Where and How Will I Sell My Products/Services?
The next step is to figure out how you can actually build your business. Time to turn your ideas into the next big thing!
E-commerce opens doors of opportunities. Without spending thousands of dollars, you can set up an online store painlessly.
If you’re selling electronic products or non-perishable goods, partner up with the following platforms for a fee:
- Social media
Your own website
If you’re ambitious – and I hope you are! – you can launch your very own e-store or booking service.
A huge benefit to this option is the opportunity to brand yourself.
You decide what your customers see and feel when using your products and services. A memorable brand sets yourself apart and leaves a lasting impression.
On the technical side, it provides you better insights and analytics, so you can take action steps to expand your business and increasing profit.
Old-fashioned brick and mortar store
E-commerce might be popular, but nothing still beats good old face-to-face when doing business. As a matter of fact, some online retailers open physical stores to focus on better customer experience.
Some types of businesses are also better suited to this option. Food services, for example, boost reputation through hospitality or indulging customers in an appetizing atmosphere.
3. How Will I Get Customers?
One of the biggest challenges when starting your own business is convincing people that you are better than your competitors.
Invest in branding
Your brand sets you apart and defines who you are. Anything that you’re providing or selling has been sold before. Why should customers choose you?
Take a look at luxury brands. They’re all selling the same high-end products, but each has its own signature.
Perhaps it’s in the colors of their store, how they treat customers, and how their advertisements look like. This is all part of branding, and it’s one of the most effective ways you can convince customers to choose you.
Contemplate on the following:
- What is the unique experience that you can give to your customers?
- What makes you stand different from the rest?
- What is your competitive advantage?
Know your audience, research your market
Do you struggle with the question, “What unique experience can I provide?”
Research the industry and look for trends. What is a common customer problem? Look at bigger brands. What’s missing from their services?
Know your customers. Investigate their problems. Look into their demands.
Your unique knowledge is your competitive edge. People will have no choice but to choose you if you offer a solution that no other business provides.
Jump into marketing
This is the most exciting part. It’s time to get your name and passion out there!
There are so many marketing strategies when starting your own business. To name a few, you have social media, content marketing, and paid advertising. All for free!
You can set up a social media account (like Pinterest!) and make your way to earning money from there. Influencers, bloggers, and writers can help you produce alluring content.
If you know about SEO, customers can find you on Google!
If you can shell out some cash, go for paid ads.
4. How Will I Deliver My Products and Services?
It starts from packaging, product display, order process, to how customers receive it on their doorstep. You want to aim for a smooth process.
Your choice of selling platform becomes significant. Is it easy to use for the average customer? What if they need to do any of the following:
- Changing order details
- Changing delivery addresses
- Request for refunds and store credits
- Want to make one more revision
How do you plan on answering those concerns? Address these while starting your own business to avoid hassles in the future.
If you own the platform, you have better chances of addressing their needs. You can offer personalized services and guarantee customer satisfaction the most. Investing in your own digital store can pay the most.
5. How Will I Build Loyalty and Grow My Business?
Now that you’ve made your mark, built your platform, and generated sales (whew!) it’s about time to answer this golden question: How do you keep on winning and earning money from your hobby?
Only 85 percent of small businesses make it to their third year. You don’t want to be a part of that 15 percent!
According to a study, the key reasons for failure include:
- Lack of planning
- Lack of professional advice
- Poor customer service
- Unqualified employees
- Poor location
All of these can be avoided. You can start by setting proper expectations, having a clear mindset, and defining your goals.
Improve customer experience
Invest some of your earnings back to your business. Improve key aspects. Maybe you can upgrade your delivery systems and keep an eye on post-sale services. You can design a more professional website or upgrade your hosting.
Packaging and branding make a big difference. You can get a professional logo designed or finally build a website (if you haven’t).
Learn about content marketing
How do you expand your customer base? How do you make your customers “hooked” to your business, purchase more, and recommend you to their friends and family?
Sure, you can’t hire celebrities to promote your stuff, but it shouldn’t end there.
After starting your own business, keep in touch with your customers, make yourself visible, and consciously connect.
So how do you do this? This one’s easy – use the internet!
Established brands are on Twitter. Big corporations have a blog. When done right, content marketing is a great way to build a reputation and attract more customers.
Remember – visibility and relevance will attract customers like a magnet.
Going from hobby to full-time business takes serious effort and careful thinking. But if you’re geared for success, nothing will ever be too hard!
You’ll take big steps to get there, but the ultimate reward is a satisfying career and way of life that’s rooted in passion and enjoyment.
Take it step-by-step. There’s no rush. Planning is key. Think of the five big questions in this blog post, and carefully answer them.
Ready to take your hobby to the next level? Sign up for my newsletter to get more tips and guidance as you go from hobbyist to a successful business owner!