The option to make money from hobbies can be very appealing to many people. Low wage growth, corporate restructuring, and changing nature of work are some reasons why people are constantly seeking alternative sources of income. It’s just natural that we could be thinking about converting our passionate hobbies into money-making machines that may enable us to quit our jobs in the future. This hobby business could even future proof ourselves from possible layoffs.
Why not do something you are passionate about for the rest of your life?
To bring this dream to life, we need commitment, strategy, and planning for making money from our hobbies.
The hope and pray strategy will not work. There’s a lot of work that goes into monetizing your hobby.
This ultimate guide seeks to provide practical steps and actionable information about how to monetize your hobby in a safe and sustainable way. It can be another source of income that could sustain you in the future if you choose to rely on it.
The Difference – A Hobby versus a Business
First off, let us define what a hobby is and its differences when compared with a business.
A hobby is an activity that is done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure. You are doing the hobby for yourself only. There’s no money involved. It’s purely recreational.
When we play the piano, there’s personal enjoyment. It helps us unwind from a hard day’s work. No one is going to criticize the music quality and quantity.
To have a hobby is selfish. It’s all about your own self-fulfillment.
There are no customers to worry about. There’s no pressure to make money out of it.
You can spend as much time or as little as you want on it. You dictate the level of commitment you want to put in.
There is no time pressure on you. If you don’t feel like doing the hobby, you can just sit in front of the television or do other things.
On the other hand, businesses are commercial activities that exist purely to make money by serving paid customers. They will dictate what services and products they want from you.
Meeting customers’ expectations is the key for any business to make money and earn a profit. This will apply to your hobby business.
We can be sick of doing the same thing over and over again.
If I played the piano for my personal enjoyment for one hour after work every day but now must make money from that activity, I really need to play piano for the entire day instead.
There’s constant pressure to perform. My livelihood depends on it.
Ultimately, I can get sick of playing the piano. It’s doing the same things repeatedly, day in, day out.
I must then find another hobby to unwind just to get away from playing the piano.
Am I Ready to Do This for a Living?
Therefore, you really need to think carefully about converting your hobby into a business.
Some people may think that there is more freedom when they make money from their hobby (or even when they freelance).
As you go through this ultimate guide on transforming your hobby into a successful and sustainable business, ask yourself these questions:
- Am I ready for converting my hobby into a business?
- Am I ready for dealing with demanding customers? Do I like dealing with people in the first place?
- Do I have the time and commitment to going into a business given other things I currently have on my plate (e.g., family, work commitments, etc.)?
- Do I really want to convert my precious hobby into something that I will depend on for my living or even spend more time on?
- Is it going to be as fun and enjoyable as it used to be?
- If I lose interest in my hobby, what else can I do?
- Do I like teaching others about my hobby? Am I passionate about helping people?
List other questions that you may have, and answer them sincerely.
What does your current employment contract say about a side business?
Let’s address this defining question upfront.
If you have regular employment or a job, what does your employment contract legally say about you having a side business?
You could be doing this side business outside office hours. Some employment contracts have limitations that can preclude you from doing any side business.
Is it an outright prohibition?
Some employment contracts do stipulate an outright prohibition to perform any form of side business, even outside office hours.
This is going to be a problem for you as an outright prohibition can significantly impact your ability to start a hobby business later down the track.
It does take time to commercialize a hobby.
Perhaps by then, you would have found another job that permits you to have a hobby business in addition to regular employment.
You may also want to negotiate your side business into your new employment contract.
Always read and understand your employment contract to avoid any prohibition or liability in starting a hobby business.
Are you in competition with your employer’s business?
If you are regularly working in a hobby shop and decide to start a hobby business selling Lego or remote-control cars, then your current employer may deem that you are in competition with him.
Having a hobby business that is in the same industry or niche as your employer can be problematic for you.
It is going to be difficult to argue against your employer’s objection to your hobby business. When your hobby niche is totally different from your employers, you have a better chance to succeed.
Working in a professional services firm?
Some professional services organizations do not want their employees to tarnish their reputation by doing any form of side business. They consider you as a professional and must demonstrate that status in your personal life, too.
Find out about any unwritten codes of conduct that may impact your ability to start your hobby business. It could be company-specific or industry.
Do you tell your manager about your hobby business?
It really depends on your relationship with your manager. This is especially so if your employment contract is silent on whether you can have a side business or not.
Personally, I would not tell anyone in the office about my hobby business. I really do not know what office politics are there that could impact me.
It may just come back to bite you later, as I have experienced in my workplace.
Those late nights may impact on your day job performance.
When your hobby business is booming, you will need to spend more time on it. You may sleep less just to meet customer order deadlines.
As you are sleeping less, you may feel tired at work and may even lose concentration because your mind is on your hobby business.
Poor performance at work can lead to disciplinary action being taken against you. You would want to avoid this from ever occurring at all costs. It is not worth your job security to start a hobby business when it jeopardizes your employment.
Got a Unique Hobby?
Many of us have hobbies – some more unique than others.
Because we are all uniquely created by God, there can also be different ways of doing a common hobby that someone else may be interested in.
You will never know what people are looking for. This is where you can make money from it.
You are created uniquely.
Rather than giving you a list of ‘profit-making hobbies’ that you can monetize, I will be showing you how you can take your existing hobby and potentially make some money from what you are already doing.
Each one of us has unique God-given skills and talent that other people would die for. Do not discount them.
The power of the Internet has opened tremendous opportunities for many people to reach out to people around the world. You are no longer limited geographically.
With technology, you can deliver education and services digitally to any customer living on planet earth!
Do You Like Teaching Others?
Invariably, if you have the knowledge and skills about a hobby that you would like to teach others about, you really need to enjoy helping others solve personal problems and like sharing your insights.
It’s all about clearly communicating your passion through structured lesson plans that will incorporate adult learning principles.
Teaching others will require you to be patient and systematic. You need a heart for people and education.
Teaching skills can be learned.
Teaching and coaching skills can be learned over time. It is not difficult to acquire these skills.
Invest in your own education to up-skill yourself. There are a lot of online resources and classes that you can attend to equip yourself for the task at hand.
Practice, practice, and practice – you will get better over time if you just start.
Adults learn by doing.
If you are teaching adults, then you need to know about the principles of adult learning.
It’s about getting them involved in their own education. Hands-on learning and doing is vital for adult learning and engagement.
Show them how it is done. Then ask them to follow you in replicating the outcome. Finally, ask them to do it themselves, and you watch to see whether it is done correctly.
Correct the steps where appropriate.
This is Part One of a five-part series.
Part Two- Build Interest in Your Hobby Business
Part Three- Driving Sales to Your Hobby Business