18. Turning a hobby into a business

Seller Help

Changing a hobby into a business

There are huge numbers of talented crafters, upcyclers creators, artists and even inventors doing their craft as a hobby, but can you turn it into a business.

The objectives of a business are very different from a hobby.

The hobby

A hobby is pure enjoyment, something you are prepared to fund out of your pocket, as it brings you pleasure. Hobbyists generally do not expect payment for any creations, which may be kept or given as gifts.

The Business

A business should provide you with an income by making a profit from your creations whatever they may be. It is a delicate balance that includes quality control, pricing items realistically, making objects that are in demand, marketing the brand, shipping and communicating with customers reliably. In short, it is work, enjoyable if you get it right, and expensive if you don’t.

Make sure you are prepared

You need to think carefully about the move from hobby to business, done well it can provide a very enjoyable occupation that could last a lifetime and even a good income, done badly you can lose money, or inadvertently breach regulations for your market and be forced to abandon your dream

A list of things to check before you jump from hobby to business

  • Read all the help pages to ensure you have as much information you can, especially the legal and compliance page.
  • Do your market research, search for businesses already in the market you want to enter, this is to check there is demand and the market is not already flooded with similar offerings.
  • Ensure you price your creations realistically, ideally for online sales aim for 3 times the cost to you and remember to include your time if you ever want to earn an income from your business. The most common cause of new crafting business failures is underpricing, so don’t let that be you.
  • Plan for success, if sales take off can you handle scaling up to produce more items to fulfil your orders, for this you need to have sufficient time you can devote to the business
  • Identify your target market, if your products are niche that could be critical to your success or failure and helps you focus your attention on the ideal media outlets and advertising medium.
  • Ensure you have some unique appeal, it could be design, method of creation, materials used or almost anything that sets you apart from the rest.
  • Check the UK and international regulations for your market sector, ensure you get any required certifications or licences.
  • Seriously consider product/public liability insurance, not glamorous but could save you if anything goes wrong in the future
  • Make sure you fill out your shipping policies to give customers a clear timescale of both production and shipping. If any products take longer to produce ensure that is clear on the product entry itself. Always ship when you promised you would, if there are shipping issues inform the customer as quickly as possible.
  • To write a description of your new online shop you need to give people a reason to want to buy from you specifically. So you will need your unique twist on the products you create.
  • Think about your policies, returns, deliveries and any terms or conditions ensuring you are within the law.
  • To promote the new business ideally you will need to promote it on social media and by any other means, you can. If you are not confident on any social media platform then ensure you have an alternative plan to advertise and market your new venture to your target market.