How to Turn Your Hobby into a Job

Commonly 'work' is thought to be synonymous with the tough, boring and unpleasant. Hobbies are are for fun. But truthfully work need only pay to be work, and there are plenty of enjoyable things you can be paid for. One way to do this is by turnign your hobby into your job. This article will try to explores ways to do just that.

Does your hobby have a market:
First and foremost you should find out whether your hobby has a market, i.e. would people pay for it? Is there a demand? Tough most of the things in today's world depend more on marketing tactics rather than their direct merit ? the marketability of your hobby will greatly influence the transition. For example, you love to paint on glass and you have exquisite designs and colors which take time and are costly to produce. Hence, in order to have profit you will need high-end consumer base that not only can afford the wares but also have homes/offices where they can install such exquisite interior d?cor.

Hence, if you do not have a local market available you will have to 'export' and that would raise the cost of marketing, transport and showcasing. In this case, you will need to put in a reasonable amount of initial investment. Are you ready for it?

Can it be up-scaled with ease:

As a hobby whatever you do would be on a very small scale. Is it possible for you to up-scale your hobby to a medium-large production base? For example, you embroider bed sheets very beautifully. It takes you some 7-10 days to finish a bed-sheet set. Would you be able to deliver 10 in the same time if you have an order? What amount of time, manpower and machinery would involve such an order? Do you have the space to expand? The finances?
Is it profitable: When you look at it as a hobby it does not matter whether it ever gives you any returns in terms of money. You are satisfied with the joy it give you. But when your hobby turns into your job, it will be very important that it is economically feasible. Work out the statistics and see whether you can sell your hobby products with a reasonable profit. For example, you make exquisite tasting jam and pickles, but for the out-of-the-world taste you use exceptional ingredients which makes your wares cost almost double than what is available in the market. On personal front it is fine as you are happy with the praise and recognition you get from your near and dear. But commercially, your hobby may take longer to give you profits as it will have to convince the customer that they get value for their money.

Are you really experienced enough to go on a higher scale:
It is something to have a lovely hobby which gets your attention a few hours a week and totally another to be with it 10 hours or more every day. Are you experienced enough for such a change? In case not, it would be a good idea to take up a few training or diploma courses in the line you prefer which would prepare you for all eventualities that would come when the hobby turns into serious business. A course will also help you orient yourself in business matters such as economics, marketing strategies and business forecasting techniques.

Do you have the financial back-up:
Obtaining a loan is easy nowadays. However, you will need to be prepared with a sound business plan which not only shows profits but also show a growth future path if you want the backing of a bank loan. Before you turn your hobby into your job, you will have to ensure you will have a comfortable cash flow to sustain your transition into business.
These are the most important question to work out before taking the plunge. Besides the above, it will be good if you keep in mind the following few tips:

Marketing:
The most important aspect in any business is marketing and the belief that it is possible to achieve your targets. Once you have decided to take the plunge ensure that you have an aggressive marketing team that promotes your wares continuously and constantly. Your wares should become a word on everybody's lips. With adequate and sufficient marketing effort, one can sell a fridge to an Eskimo. So, ensure that you have a good marketing team in place.

Contingency plan:
Since you are starting something new ? a great many things may go wrong at the most unexpected times inspite of your best efforts. Always have a contingency plan ready for each and every phase. Also, have an alternate source of income till the hobby is able to sustain you. Hence, if you have a job do not quit the moment you decide to become an entrepreneur. Rather, build up your strength slowly and only when you are comfortable with the returns take it up full time. Otherwise the financial pressure may cloud your judgment and push you into taking unnecessary risks in order to raise your profits fast.

Network heavily:
In all spheres networking can be priceless. This has been proved beyond any doubt with success stories such as Tupperware, Oriflamme and Amway who promoted their business through networking. However, networking need not be in this manner only. You can build our own style of network with like minded industries or complementary wares or even your competitors. For example, if you are good at cooking you could network with caterers in your region to complement their work or promote your business for a commission; or you could network with event planners or fast food counters or schools, etc Networking has snowball effect which is highly beneficial.

Be a miser in investment:
When you start your venture do not go all out to have a perfect set-up as you would envisage it in your mind; in this way you will end up investing all your capital in non-returning assets which will become heavy liabilities. Rather, invest only in what is necessary and what gives you returns. Use only about 20% of the profit (or less) for beautification ? the rest you invest in broadening the base of your enterprise and marketing. Do not worry about how the place looks ? worry only about the quality of your wares. Once you stabilize in the market ? and that would take some 12-24 months ideally ? then you turn your attention to beautification.

Persevere:
There is absolutely no substitute to perseverance. If you really love your hobby and you want to turn it into your bread-earning asset, you will need to persevere greatly. Whatever it is your hobby, there will be a market somewhere out there. If it is not you can create it with a reasonable amount of effort and the right marketing strategy. Sometimes it takes longer than we anticipate or plan to change our dreams into reality, but if we believe in it well enough anything is possible!