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Many people who contact me, want to know the best way to make money at home. What most people don’t realize, is that the best way to make money is from something you already know, do or love. One of the great perks of designing your own home-based career is turning a hobby or passion into a dream job.
This week asked experts, all of whom have turned a passion into profit, what it takes to create a career from an unusual talent or idea. They share how they did it and what they recommend considering before diving in. Hopefully their stories and tips will help launch your new WAH career.
Chuck J. Rylant, MBA
- Hone your craft as a teacher of your hobby. Teaching is a learned skill that will improve your performance in your hobby and as a speaker while providing an income source.
- Develop your skills as a writer. Writing books about your hobbies provides a potential revenue source while forcing you to organize your thoughts enough to articulate your knowledge.
- Study the craft of marketing. Marketing is the single most important skill to learn to turn a hobby into a business – it is far more
important than improving your performance at your hobby.
- For Magicians, realize that location is everything. It is very doable to make a career out of magic (with a lot of hard work) but you have to make sure the place you are in has a market for magicians.
- It’s not always best to tell people your intentions. Magic is an unusual path and a lot of people will look at you sideways if you tell them that’s what you want to do for a living. So don’t tell them, just do it.
- Take in advice from other industries. Read books and listen to podcasts from people in business that have succeeded in something other than magic and think about how that can apply to what you do.
- Have a financial plan. This may be having a regular or part time job while starting your business. I really think that people need to prove their business plan and be making money before they go all into a business idea.
- Constantly be learning. As a business owner you have to become a jack of all trades. Whatever I didn’t know, I had to learn. I’m regularly going to events and reading books along with meeting with other business consultants and Owners to learn more. You have to learn the numbers so you can understand your business metrics.
- Outsource the stuff you don’t need to learn. Get a great Accountant and Bookkeeper. They’re a great value and your time is best spent working on your business. There are tons of Freelancers out there you can hire as well and websites such as Upwork will give you a lot of options.
1. Be passionate. If you’re not truly passionate about your hobby, don’t bother. There’s a fine line though between loving something and letting it consume you and remove the joy from the process. Succeeding at turning an unconventional hobby into a career is all about balance. Work/life balance, and balance so as not to overextend yourself so much that your hobby becomes just as emotionally draining as a 9-to-5.
2. Have a brand story. Depending on just how unconventional your hobby is, you might be working with a small audience to begin with. Do not further isolate potential customers by having a lackluster brand. Instead, go all in, develop aesthetically pleasing brand assets, and have a story as to why you turned this hobby into your career.
- Find someone you can trust to partner with. Someone who has the same vision and who compliments your work style.
- Identify your market: Who will you offer your opportunity to?
- Test market: We gave away the class to 15 students in order to test our idea and our system. We did our own beta test before we decided we had a great plan.
Five things you need to turn your hobby into a business
- The business needs to make money- When you’re doing something you love, it’s easy to overlook the money. A business makes you money, a hobby costs you money. You need money for your business to grow.
- There needs to be a market- It goes without saying you need people willing to buy your project or service in order to have a business. Focus on the problem you are solving and the people who have that problem. That is the market your business exists to serve.
- It needs to excite you- Business isn’t easy, so you need to have pure excitement for what you’re doing. Find your why and focus on it.
- You need to have help- There are things you aren’t going to be good at in business. Barter, outsource or delegate the things that you don’t excel at. There are plenty of people in your life who are willing to help if you just ask.
- You need a plan- Many women slide into business instead of being intentional. When you don’t have a plan you can end up overwhelmed and discouraged. Having a plan gives you focus and control, and helps you have fun!
- Think of skills that you have that are outside the box — I saw a need as a reporter. I would look up family members I needed to talk
to after tragedies and noticed that a lot of people’s social media profiles were abandoned and a place of chaos after an unexpected death. Instead, I turn it into a way to heal. This wasn’t my direct skill as a reporter but an off-shoot based on contacts I was making every day.
- Try to make a business that requires very little start up costs. Mine literally only cost the price of my website, and I can do it from anywhere. The business is a subscription-based model, giving me my operating costs (for the website) back with just a few subscriptions.
- Do something no one else is doing. Digital memorialism is something new, that people don’t know they need, but might want to use in the future. In that sense, it’s carving out a niche in a field that you create yourself.
- Make sure to keep a secondary source of income (such as part-time or seasonal work) available while you’re building your business.
- Save up double what you think you’ll need to start your business. It still won’t be enough .
Note from Leslie:
Like any other money-making idea, turning an unusual idea or hobby into income requires figuring out how it can make money. That means figuring out if you can sell your skill, knowledge or stuff. For example, if you love gardening, you can sell your skill by starting a landscaping business. You can sell your knowledge by teaching gardening (even online) or writing a gardening book. You can sell stuff by finding wholesale garden tool companies and opening an online store. Or you can sell gardening items through affiliate programs. Not all ideas will have 3 ways to make money, but most should have at least two, and within those categories you might have more ideas.
Once you know a potential money source, then your job is to figure out if there is a market to buy it. Are there people who’ll hire you to do it for them? Are there people who want to take a class or buy a book about your topic? Is there a market for the items you can sell?
If you have a profitable idea and a market to buy it, the next step is to build a home career around it like you would any other idea.