Although most of us have a pretty standard career or job there is no shortage of creativity and passion when it comes to hobbies. Whether it’s pottery, needlecraft, jewellery design, soap and beauty products or cooking, thankfully these arts and crafts are not yet lost to our society and many a weekend hour is spent relaxing with this kind of pursuit.
But, what if your passion for your hobby becomes something more than just a few hours on the weekend and you want to pursue your passion further? Have you ever wanted to extend an obvious talent into something that can actually pay its own way or even begin to make a profit for you?
Whether you just want to have a ‘hobby’ business on the weekends, take on the online world market in your spare time or you want to create a new living for you and your family, doing your homework, planning and preparation is the only way to go. Many great brands have started from humble beginnings, why not yours?
Test the Waters
Before you take the leap and give up your day job it’s important to test the waters and find out if there is actually a demand for your product or services. A good place to start your research is online where you can explore the products or services available that are similar to yours. You can see how many operators are already out there and get some ideas on how to market your products or services by looking at how others have established themselves.
If your hobby involves making products, feedback from friends and family is usually a great indication as to whether it would be well received before you make the next step to getting your products out to the wider public.
Make Markets Work For You
For their instant feedback, craft and local markets are an ideal space to test the thoughts about your products. Many markets only operate once a month so this gives you time to build up your stock between markets and puts less strain on your budget. There are many web sites that can provide you with information about markets in your local area and beyond, including Markets Online, Australian and New Zealand local market guides and individual sites for specific markets. To find listings for markets in your area just look up ‘weekend markets’. It’s a good idea to contact the market you’re interested in to find out the set-up costs as some will have restrictions on minimum length of time for booking your spot, equipment hire and the sorts of products that you can sell. Small Business Branding provides great tips on selling your products at a market and why it’s a great idea. Discover how markets are terrific locations for networking, testing your products and getting customer feedback…and showing your wares to ready buyers!
If getting up at the crack of dawn on the weekend just isn’t for you, or you’re thinking bigger than the local markets, then selling online may be something you would prefer to do. You can set an up an online store, or taking advantage of existing online sales options. It no longer costs thousands of dollars to create an online store with many low cost options available such as a Wordpress blog site, but this will involve some of your time and effort to set up and maintain. If you’d rather take advantage of existing online outlets for your products, sites such as Etsy and Markets Online offer established online shopping options, with the added advantage of established online traffic.
Creating a Professional Image
Whether you’re selling your products at the local weekend markets or you decide to set up your own web site, you will enjoy much more success if you create a professional image right from the beginning.
To avoid any legal issues, it’s a good idea to register a business name for your venture and talk to a local graphic designer to create a professional logo for your business and products. By using a local business owner to create your brand image, this should be an exercise that won’t break the bank.
You should then use this branding consistently, on everything you create in relation to your products and business. This helps to establish a brand for your products that is recognisable by people who visit the markets regularly or search for your products on the web. Whether it’s the design of your web site, your packaging or your marketing material, staying consistent helps to convey a feeling of trust with your existing and potential purchasers and will keep them coming back and encourage them to spread the word about your products.
For more information on what you need to turn your hobby into a business, visit business.gov.au or business.govt.nz. You’ll find lots of tips and advice about registering a business, business planning, marketing and much more.
Most of all, don’t lose your passion for what you create and good luck!