How to turn your hobby into a business
Posted: Wed 24th Feb 2016
Have you ever wanted to make money from your hobby? Whether it's shooting pet portraits or making mean gin cocktails, there are few greater accomplishments than successfully turning a creative endeavour into a viable business.
If you're planning on selling artisan soy candles or offering up your public speaking services, make a start by following this guide to entrepreneurial success by Tessa Wegert from MOO.
Prepare for takeoff
We won't lie; starting a business isn't easy, so you need to be sure that can deal with the lows as well as the highs. It's best to ask yourself early on whether you're prepared to take on the challenge. Expect a lot of prep work up front and it may feel as though you're trading in your art for a desk job at times, but we promise every hour you invest now will make for smoother sailing (and sales) down the line.
Line them up
Before you don that dashing entrepreneur hat, be sure that you have enough work lined up to sustain you until you can generate new business and referrals. The most profitable small businesses are those that launch with several paying clients waiting in the wings so get some business cards and get networking. Knowing that you have some orders to fill from the start can do wonders for your confidence, too.
Your website and social media channels are the face of your small business online and are absolutely vital, especially since you may not have the capital to invest in advertising off the bat. When posting photos to your site or social media, choose ones that convey what makes your work special. On your website, include images of all the product options available to buyers in order to show your range. If you don't want to splash out on costly web developers or designers, there are some free off-the-shelf website templates and hosting services like WordPress.
A little about you
Creating a personable online profile on your social networks of choice can go a long way toward building awareness of your service and brand. With eyes glued to screens and face-to-face interaction on the decline, it's important that your profile feels 'human'. Keep it brief, but include a couple of tidbits about your additional interests, be they collecting vintage print ads or fostering pugs.
Remember, you are a brand
Create both your online profile and your portfolio with your customers and clients in mind. Keeping your brand consistent across everything that represents you is crucial! People should be able to recognise your services regardless of whether they're looking at your Instagram profile or your letterhead.
Don't forget your print materials such as business cards, postcards, flyers and stickers. A digital presence is a must, but quality printed items can also make a potential client take notice. To ensure that your marketing stands out, choose a distinctive colour scheme and typeface.
Pitch your pricing
You may rather be designing handmade gift wrap than fleshing out a contract, but it pays to give careful consideration to any business pitch and be clear on your pricing strategy. Set a realistic price for your products and services, and be firm; people may get dubious if you set them too high or even lower your price too eagerly to get the work.
As you head off to make your business dream a reality, remember that old adage about great efforts producing sweet rewards. With a strong strategy in place, you're well equipped for success. Good luck!
MOO is one of the one of the world's fastest growing online print and design businesses. Enterprise Nation members get 20% off the company's range of printed products. To access the offer, join Enterprise Nation today.
Toby Hextall, MOO's head of product design, is one of the speakers at How to perfect your branding and packaging in London on 4 April. Book a ticket here.