Many people think that it is only a dream to be able to convert their hobby or passion into their source of livelihood or feasible income. On the contrary, as long as you believe in yourself and in your work and have an entrepreneurial thinking hat, this dream can be converted into a living reality. In the beginning, you may be able to generate only a part-time income from practicing your hobby but as you increase in confidence and your “hobby in action” becomes more popular, you could very well be able to convert the latter into a full-time business.

How to Make Money from Your Hobby?

© Shutterstock.com | RomarioIen

In this article, you’ll learn about 1) how to turn your hobby into a source of income, 2) examples of websites that can help you convert your hobby into a business, and 3) entrepreneurs who became rich by practicing their hobby.

HOW TO TURN YOUR HOBBY INTO A SOURCE OF INCOME

Have faith in your skills

If you don’t believe in yourself, you’ve lost half the battle. Further, nobody else is going to believe in you either. At the moment, you may just be an amateur hobbyist but with time and effort, you can make yourself a professional. Have faith in your skills and potential and the ability to make money from them. Get the words “hopeful,” “aspiring,” and “amateur” out of your mind and thought process.

Find a job that allows you to apply your hobby

Get yourself a job that is closely associated with your passion. For example: a yoga enthusiast can try to get himself a job as a yoga instructor while a baseball fan can probably get a job as a sports columnist for a local or national newspaper. Craigslist.org is a great resource to identify job opportunities in your area.

Get some advice from other entrepreneurs

To make sure you are proceeding along the right path, it may be a good idea to meet up with some entrepreneurs who have successfully made a business out of their hobbies. You can enquire with them as to how they reached their current level of accomplishment. Times have changed and people no longer start working at one place with intentions of continuing there till their retirement. Your discussions with entrepreneurs may reveal this fact too. Similarly, your career path around your hobby may resemble more of an “S” than a straight line but that’s what would make it all the more interesting.

Take photos

If your hobby is something like baking, cake decorating, art or craft making, or jewelry making, you can photograph your unique products, creations, or designs. Fix a price for your various creations by comparing prices for similar products. Once you’re ready to put your product on the market complete with photos, you can start considering putting up a micro job post on a site that suits your requirements.

Go green

More and more people are interested in eco-friendliness these days. One of the innovative ways you can use your hobby is as a way to help others who are interested in your hobby, engage in it in an eco-friendly manner. You can conduct workshops. Otherwise, you can consider engaging in an eco-friendly job side by side with your hobby or passion to show that you care for both.

Set strict targets/goals and deadlines

To make sure success comes out of your hobby venture, you need to come up with a list of objectives which you would be strict about achieving. Once that’s done, you need to fix practical timelines or deadlines for achieving those target goals. For example, if you are trying to sell your jewelry through Etsy, you can fix goals and deadlines pertaining to

  • Increasing traffic to your Etsy page,
  • When you hope to be able to branch out,
  • When you intend to add other items to your product collection.

In addition, it’s not a bad idea to create a detailed business plan, however small-scale your venture is.

Try to ensure you’re in the know

In addition to just identifying role models associated with your hobby, it is essential that you begin growing your network further. This will help you to be in the know not just with respect to knowledge pertaining to your hobby but also with respect to new opportunities and trends. Once you’re in the know, cash will also come easily compared to when you’re not. To expand your network, consider going to events and conferences, taking classes or attending lectures and readings.

Teach others your hobby

If your hobby is one which does not involve any tangible product such as piano playing or yoga, you can consider passing on your knowledge to others by teaching. Depending on your preference, you can conduct lessons on a frequent basis (such as once a month or even once a week) or less often (in the form of occasional, more detailed options such as workshops). For information on putting a workshop together, you can refer to the guide “How to Conduct a Workshop” by The Eastern Regional Institute for Education. This guide for teacher workshops contains information useful for conducting workshops pertaining to any industry.

Use the internet to make a sale

If your hobby involves the creation of a tangible product, you can sell the item online. If it doesn’t involve a tangible product, you can consider selling products associated with your hobby. For example, if you are a person who derives great pleasure from indoor gardening that involves creating terrariums, you can collect and sell interesting and fun vintage bottles online.

Be willing to be flexible

As good as engaging in your hobby is, you must realize that you won’t enjoy the job all the time. You may have to be flexible and to change your way of doing things to accommodate some jobs or tasks that you may not particularly like. However, you will have to ensure that your business is successful. Sacrifice a little and you’ll reap rich dividends in return.

Promote your hobby via social media and advertising

If no one knows about the products you create or the services you offer, you can’t expect anyone to pay for your products and services. So where will you get money from? That is why it is important to tap the power of social media and advertising.

Create a website

For starters, you can develop a website dedicated to your hobby and the products/services that come out from it. In addition to using the website to make money from your products, you can use it to make money from ads. Google’s AdSense Program is an easy way to sell ad space and make money. With AdSense, you get a percentage of every sale made when someone clicks on any of the ads appearing on your blog. When developing a website, ensure you pick a suitable but impressive name. A good place to look at for a good selection of domains is GoDaddy.com.

Create and grow a blog

Blogging is a medium to promote yourself and show your value in a helpful and subtle manner. You can pen blog posts relating to your hobby. Through this medium, you won’t come across as begging your market to buy from you. If people like your blog, they just may share it which means you’ll gain from search engine traffic and more people will come to know about you.

Optimize your use of social media

Create social media profiles for your hobby/side project that are separate from your personal FacebookInstagram and Twitter accounts. This will ensure you have separate profiles for your friends and for your target audience and clients, and help to avoid aspects of your personal life interfering with your professional life. Pinterest is a great site to get plenty of traffic because when people find an item they like, they would probably repin it. Other sites you can use to promote your business are Google+ and LinkedIn.

EXAMPLES OF WEBSITES THAT CAN HELP YOU CONVERT YOUR HOBBY INTO A BUSINESS

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock is a medium through which amateur photographers or people who engage in photography as a hobby can sell their photos. It is also possible to sell vector art and illustrations through the site. For every sale made (image downloaded), you can expect commission in the range of 25 cents to $28.

To get started with this website, you have to sign up from an account, go through some security checks and upload 10 images for review by the company. If a minimum of 3 images are rejected, you would have to make a second attempt at applying, within 30 days. Once you’re approved, you’re free to upload as many images (pictures) as you wish.

Threadless.com

Through this website, people who like to design T-shirts can submit their designs for the Threadless community to vote and comment on. If you’re lucky and your design is adequately popular, you can expect the company to utilize the design for their next set of shirts. Provided your design is selected, you can expect a reward of $2000 in addition to a threadless voucher for $500 (which can be exchanged for $200 in cash). You’ll get an additional $500 for every time your design gets printed on a T-shirt.

To get started with this website, first come up with a great idea. Once you’re ready, you can download the Threadless submission kit which contains templates. Start designing!

Etsy.com

Etsy.com is a great avenue to sell handmade creations and goods from artwork to furniture. The list includes clothing, beauty products, jewelry and knick-knacks. So if you have any stuff you’ve made with your own hands or will be continuously making, you can sell it here. You get money when your goods are sold.

To get started with the website, you have to sign up. Begin creating your items and then you can begin selling them. You will be charged 20 cents per items for listing purposes and if you make a sale, 3.5 percent of the earnings for the item will again go to Etsy. For some creative stimulation, you might want to check out other Etsy stores.

ENTREPRENEURS WHO BECAME RICH BY PRACTICING THEIR HOBBY

Terry Finley

Terry Finley is the founder and president of a racing partnership management company called West Point Thoroughbreds, Inc. based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. which he started in 1991. The company was triggered by Finley’s passion for racing which developed when he was a youngster and attended races with his father. When Finley was serving in the military, he implemented his business plan to make distinct emotional lifestyle experiences available, thereby making it possible for people of modest income to compete at the top levels of horse racing.

Terry Finley purchased his first horse for $5000 in 1991. The horse’s name was Sunbelt and he was purchased at a time when Finley was feeling stuck in his profession of selling life insurances. The horse won his first race that very year. Following this development, Finley began running small advertisements in racing papers from which he got an investor who contributed $5000 for part ownership of Sunbelt. Finley purchased his second horse within a period of two months and continued to purchase more horses on credit cards.

Shortly after, Finley quit his insurance job and founded West Point Thoroughbreds. Under Finley’s founder ship, the company grew to more than 500 investors and over 80 horses usually under management. The company’s horses continuously compete in the allowance and stakes levels and Finley supervised the progress of six horses into Grade One Winners. This is in addition to the company’s credit of dozens of stake winners.

Kalpa Padia (and late husband Rajesh)

Kalpa Padia is the managing director of Raka Cheese, a cheese making business in Kenya. The business developed from Kalpa’s husband Rajesh’s and now, her love for making cheese. Twelve years ago, Kenyans Rajesh and Kalpa Padia encountered a problem. The pair had been preparing cheese for more than a year and as a result they had in excess of seven tons of cheese and no idea where to sell it. The husband and wife decided to concentrate on growing their company – Raka Milk Processors.

In 2002, Innscor Africa which runs the fast food brands Chicken Inn, Pizza Inn, Galito’s, Creamy Inn and Baker’s Inn entered the Kenyan market, thereby opening a fresh line for Raka Milk Processors. The company required 500kg a week which was a tall order. To meet the increasing demand, Rajesh and Kalpa acquired a locally manufactured 1,400 litre tank. From then on, there was no turning back. When Rajesh passed away in 2010, his wife Kalpa took over the reins. As of 2013, Raka Milk Processors gathers up to 9,000 litres of milk and develops 900 kg of cheese every day.

The vegetarian friendly, Halal certified Raka Cheese has entered the export markets of Rwanda, Juba, Eritrea, Tanzania, Ethipoia and Uganda, which is proof of the business’s success.

Megan Duckett

Megan Duckett is the President of Sew What? Inc., a California-based manufacturer of custom-sewn theatrical fabrics and drapes for the entertainment and special events industries; and its sister concern Rent What? Inc.

At the age of 19, Duckett, a stage electrician left her home, Australia, for the U.S. in search of adventure and some Hollywood glamour. She worked for an event planner while using her free time to sew bedding, costumes and drapes on her kitchen table.

A key turning point came for Duckett when she had to create the inside linings for 10 decorative coffins for her boss’s Halloween event. Duckett realized that she was in possession of a skill set which other people lacked. She also understood that positioning herself as an expert in designing entertainment décor and props would set her apart. By 1996, she was getting more money from her sewing projects than from her full-time job for the event planning company ($45,000 salary) and her husband Adam noticed it too. So she quit that job, rented an 800-square-foot warehouse, employed three seamstresses and was able to bring in $80,000 in revenue in her very first year.

In 2010, Duckett opened another business – Rent What? Inc. , with a different business partner that rents and repurposes stage drapery.

Included in the Sew What? Client list are big names such as Sting, Madonna, Don Henley, Maroon 5, Rod Stewart, James Taylor and Green Day.

Lisa Price

Lisa Price is the founder of Carol’s Daughter, popular for its natural beauty products for more than two decades.

Price’s love for fragrances began in her childhood. She came up with a way to develop her own fragrances by mixing different perfume oils. When Price began her business, she had a job in television and film production and used to prepare fragrances and body butters in the kitchen. She gave the things she prepared in the kitchen to family and friends. In 1993, her mother encouraged her to put her body creams for sale at a church flea market and that’s where it all started. The products almost sold out. In addition to getting back the $100 she invested in the flea market, she got something more. That very summer, she spent time selling her handmade concoctions at street festivals, craft fairs and flea markets. The popularity of her products made Lisa Price realize that she could convert her passion into a profit generating venture.

Price ran the initial six years of business from her home, juggling it with her film and television production job. When she launched her maiden store in 1999, she was able to generate $1.7 million in sales. Currently, the company provides prestige, body, skincare and hair products made with natural and rare ingredients such as Shea, Acai, Monoi Oil and Cocoa Butters.

As can be seen from the article, it is not impossible to convert your passion into your job as long as you put your heart and mind into it and have the right tools, strategy and mindset to keep you going.

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