It’s easy enough to set yourself up with a hobby and while away the time for the fun of it.
But what if you’d love to give up the day job and put all your energy and resources into making your hobby a paying business?
How can you make sure your business is successful enough to pay the bills – and then some?
With a little planning.
Well, a lot actually, but it doesn’t have to be an eye-wateringly boring exercise.
Just keep in mind the following tips:
How will clients find you?
- Have you set yourself up somewhere, so that people know where and how they can buy from you?
- Do you have a website? If not and if you’re on a tight budget, there are affordable options out there. Check out this independent Site Builder Report, of the best website builders on the market.
- Alternatively, if you have a modest budget, pay to have a developer build a website for you, so your new business can scale up with you. In time, you may want to offer your service in a variety of different ways (e.g. digital tutorials, or online mentoring), at least your bespoke website will be able to grow with you.
How will you promote yourself?
- Start small, start local. So for example, an idea for photographers out there, how about printing some of your photographs as greeting cards, and selling them at local craft fairs. With your web address printed (subtly) on the back, the recipient of the greetings card will have your details to contact you for more services.
- Or how about starting some workshops to teach others your hobby. People will pay good money to learn a new craft. As well as charging them for your time and expertise, you can also sell the necessary materials and equipment – (by buying in bulk, you’ll be able to buy at a discount, meaning there will be some profit for you when you sell it on).
- Think about donating a portion of your service to local charities. Let’s suppose you’re a promising web designer. A local charity might not have the budget for a full-time web designer, but if you could, for example, offer your service to them for half-a day each week (or for a set period of time), they would gladly pay your expenses and be only too pleased to pass the word around that you’re looking for freelance work.
Top Tips For Success
- Take small steps at first – they will all add up and will lead somewhere great, but the key is to start off small. Consider providing your new service on the side, either in the evening or the occasional weekend, while you continue with your day job. At least that way, you can build up a fan-base of loyal customers, before you take the big leap to launching your freelance business for real.
- Price your service realistically – the biggest mistake we make when we move from hobby to professional service, is undervaluing our time. In my case, when I moved from writing as a hobby to writing professionally, I felt guilty charging for something that simply didn’t feel like work! (Daft, but true). Learn how to charge premium fees by pricing per project, and providing your service in a variety of different ways.
- Plug in to social media, but make it relevant – It’s still relatively free, so use it to your advantage. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are all good tools for to use, but make it relevant to your business, as you honestly don’t need to plug into them if they’re not where your prospective clients hang out.
- Take the business side seriously. If your background is not in business, think about taking some courses to help you. Your fees, how you’ll set yourself up, how you’ll promote yourself – they’re all important factors to consider and frankly, mean the difference between succeeding and failing. (Check out these tips in my post on how to go from creative hobby to creative freelancer).
What tips would you add?