How to Turn Your Favorite Pastime into a Profitable Business

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Have you ever dreamed about what it would be like to be your own boss? Or, how nice it would be to wake up and head to your home office, instead of embarking on a long, treacherous commute? Perhaps you’ve daydreamed about what it might actually feel like to be passionate about your job.

The notion of work hard and play harder is a stark reminder that we often disassociate our work with fun. But why can’t our work be fun? After all, when Walt Disney took his passion for drawing to his first job in 1919, who would have imagined he’d turn his love for art into a multi-billion dollar industry, and one of the most recognized brands in the world?

If you’re thinking about following in Walt’s footsteps, and turning your passion into a business, you might want to start by asking yourself a few questions.

Is your hobby marketable? In other words, if your favorite pastime is tennis or golf, you’re probably not going to be turning yourself pro any time soon. Your hobby has to be something that translates to a need in the marketplace.

Are you willing to change how you view your hobby? Turning your hobby into a business can take some of the joy out of it. If you’re passionate about graphic design, for example, are you willing to put your labor of love out there to be critiqued and valued? What you think is worth $500 dollars a potential customer may only value at $200.

Are you committed to this hobby? There’s a difference between what we’re called to do and something you take on to pass the time, consider this.

Can you sell not only your products but yourself? If you’ve got a great product for the world to see, you have to be willing and able to sell yourself.

If you’ve answered “yes” to these questions, you’re ready for some tips to make a go at your new living.

Make a plan. The first step in monetizing your passion is drafting a business plan. This plan will serve as a roadmap to the future, by including what you plan to do and how you plan to do it.

Learn about starting a home-based business. If you’re going to be working from home, keep these things in mind.

  • Learn the home-based business laws in your area. Make sure zoning and licensing allow you to conduct your specific business from home.
  • Even though you’re working from home, you’ll want to make sure to set up your business as a legal entity. And always keep your personal and business finances separate.
  • Even if you’re working from your home in pajamas, your image in the marketplace needs to be professional. Take the time to have business cards, letterhead, and marketing materials that make you look accomplished.
  • Consider the logistics of working from home. For example, if you have children that require daily attention come summer time, how will you negotiate working free of interruption?

Make online presence a priority. In today’s computer-driven world, any business needs a strong online presence to generate business. You’ll need SEO, a website, and social media pages, for starters.

Network. Plan on attending industry meetings and joining local organizations that allow you to meet potential customers. Start an online blog. Ask your customers for referrals, and encourage them to spread the good word through positive testimonials. Networking can help you achieve things you couldn’t otherwise do alone.

Be Persistent. When the road to your business’s success gets bumpy, and it will, it can be easy to flood your mind with doubt. Instead, commit yourself to being persistent through all of the challenges your new venture will bring.

So maybe your new business won’t quite make you the next Walt Disney, but your unbridled passion can fuel a business worth building. With proper planning, and a fair amount of personal grit, you can create a profitable marketplace for your services. And, in the words of Walt himself, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” It’s time to make your dream a reality.

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