The one where I help you decide if turning your much-loved hobby into a business is a good idea.
Hello and welcome to episode 54 of the Lightbulb podcast. It's so good to have you with me.
Today, we're talking about whether you should turn your hobby into a business.
If you've ever been on the cusp of a career change, I'm certain someone has said to you at some point, pursue your passion, do what you love.
It sounds like really good advice, doesn't it? Well, it isn't, at least not always.
A lot of people decide to turn their hobbies into a business, not necessarily a full-time career but a business because of this advice. Sometimes, it works beautifully, and sometimes, it doesn't.
I think the reason why it sometimes doesn't work out is that the person in question is avoiding, asking themselves some awkward questions.
What I want to do with this episode is go ahead and ask those questions.
I've got nine in total. If you're thinking about turning your hobby into a business, then obviously, this episode is for you.
If you already have a business that's grown out of your hobby, this is probably still a really relevant episode for you because you might be starting to feel that perhaps your business isn't going in a direction that works for you, so it might be a good opportunity to pivot. In other words, branch off in a different direction.
I really hope you find these questions helpful. At the end of the episode, I'll tell you about a freebie I've created for you that will also help you with this process.
If you're making products, for example, is it the process you enjoy or the end result?
This is a relevant question because if you start creating your product as a business, you're going to really have to up your rate of production. Identifying what you like whether it's process and product or both can help you work out whether it's viable.
This is also still a relevant question if what it is you plan to turn into a business is more of a service than a product-based hobby.
This is a related question to question 1 because if you do relax while doing this hobby, chances are when you're doing it to a deadline, you might stop finding the process relaxing.
Conversely, doing lots and lots of your hobby might mean lots and lots of relaxation.
Essentially, are you in it for the long haul?
I mean, really good? Are you excellent? Have you had feedback from someone with knowledge and experience in your area to suggest you are particularly skilled?
This relates really closely to question 5 below.
We're ruling out friends and family there because they are, generally speaking, pretty supportive. They are not going to give you the constructive feedback that you will need at this stage of considering launching a business.
You need to work out if there is a market for what it is you plan to offer. In other words, will there be people wanting to part with their hard-earned cash to purchase your products or services?
You might be thinking, "Well, it's a side hustle. It's a part-time business. It doesn't really matter if nobody buys my products or service," but you know what? It does.
If you're going to launch a small creative business, you don't want to launch to crickets. You want to make sales. You want to feel successful. Everybody does.
This is a tricky one. Sales is really tough.
Generally speaking, people don't like to blow their own trumpets, talk about how fabulous they are or what they're creating is.
But newsflash, when you're selling a product or service, you do have to become comfortable with talking about how great your stuff is. People will need convincing, I'm afraid.
If you're deeply uncomfortable with sales, then maybe starting a business isn't for you.
That being said, you can learn to be better at sales. If you are somebody who loves to learn and is up for a challenge, then I say go for it.
In other words, have you worked out your startup and running costs?
You might be thinking, "Martine, this is only a little side hustle. It's not going to cost me anything."
Believe me, it will. You need to sit down and make a spreadsheet or a Google sheet and work this out. It's really important because costs can mount up without you even realising.
The reason I'm asking this question is if, for example, you have a full-time job and perhaps a family or a dog to look after, then it's going to be challenging to find the time to work on this project.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, but what I am suggesting is that you will look at your calendar and you block out time to work on your business.
It might be evenings. It might be weekends. You might have a day-off in the week. Whatever it is, it doesn't matter but you absolutely must block out the time to make sure that it's realistic for you to undertake this venture.
Chances are at some point in this process, you are going to need a helping hand, whether it's helping you create products or helping you with the financial side of things or getting a hand with social media.
Whatever it is, it's really important that you have at least one person around you who is going to be supportive and encouraging. It's good to identify that person at this stage.
I said at the start of the episode, I had nine questions for you but I just remembered another one.
If you've never run a business before, then the whole process is going to be incredibly exciting but also quite challenging.
And if you don't have that appetite for learning, chances are you're going to struggle a bit. If you are like me, someone who is mildly obsessed with learning, then you're going to be absolutely fine.
Those are your 10 questions.
Now, I really hope that by asking these questions, I'm not shining a negative light on starting your own business from your hobby.
Often, it can be absolutely fantastic, but what I really want you to do is go into the process thoroughly prepared. By answering these questions, you'll have all of the information you need in front of you to make a really educated decision.
I truly hope it's a yes because I love small business, particularly creative business. I'm passionate about it. I hope it's a yes, but if it's a no, then what means is perhaps you still want to start a business but you need to think about a slightly different direction to your hobby.
At the start of the episode, I mentioned a freebie.
I've put all of these questions into a workbook for you because I do think there's enormous power in writing down the answers as opposed to just thinking them.
Hop over to martineellis.com/54 to grab your freebie.
I'd also highly recommend you join The Lightbulb Club, my private Facebook group because it's a really supportive bunch of people. And if you've got questions about starting your business, I can't think of a better place to ask them.
Okay, that's all from me today. I really hope you've enjoyed the episode and thank you for listening. I hope you'll tune in next week.