Thinking of Turning Your Hobby into a Business? Read This First.

Many people have hobbies they believe could be successful business ventures. Unfortunately, no matter what products you create or services you can offer, you can’t predict the future. Before you begin a business venture based on your hobby, it’s important to sit down and think about all of the things that go into creating a successful company.

Here are a few things to consider before starting your own business…

Funding

Before you begin your business, you have to think about how you’re going to fund it. While you may not need lots of money right away, you need to be prepared for growth and potential emergencies. Whether you have investors or you’ve saved your own money, you’ll need to have funds readily available for anytime you may need it.

You can keep your day job in the beginning. This will ensure you have something to fall back on should your endeavor not pan out as you had expected.

Motivation

You have to be able to take the initiative and keep yourself motivated every single day if you’re going to turn your hobby into a business. Expect daily work and long hours—building a brand is hard work.

You’ll also have to learn the ins and outs of business- from account management to marketing initiatives. If you’re starting with less funding, you’ll need to teach yourself all of these different aspects. You might even consider taking a business course at your local college to get started.

If you can afford to hire a professional team, first hire people who can help you with marketing. Then, hire people to help you with whatever your weak spots may be or the areas where you have the least experience.

Branding

Your brand is what will make your products stand out from the crowd. Who you are is important to the public. It’s what helps them decide whether or not to work with you and buy your products. This is where your company mission is important. It shares your goals and values with prospective customers and employees.

Branding is also what helps people recognize and remember you. The images and designs you use on your products, website, business cards, and other marketing materials will make people recognize your brand. Be consistent in designing your website, marketing collateral, and other representations of your brand.

Networking

It’s important to network and meet people in your industry. These people will help you strengthen and expand your business.

While networking, you can find public relations contacts and media professionals to help market your business and manufacturers who can help you develop your products for less. You can also meet buyers face-to-face, which is always an advantage for fostering new wholesale relationships.

Networking takes communication skills, so it’s important to work on getting comfortable with public speaking and to learn how to talk to other professionals. If you’re initially uncomfortable in social situations, don’t worry. It gets easier. The more experience you have, the sooner you’ll develop these skills.

Professional Support

You’ll probably be working alone when you launch. However, as you expand and start to make a profit, it will be time to hire professionals like lawyers and accountants to help keep your business afloat.

Your attorney will be one of your most important resources in business. Your lawyer will help with trademarks, contracts, copyrights, incorporating your business, and more.

An accountant will also be vital, especially when tax season comes around. Your accountant can help you save money with exemptions and make sure all of your accounts are up to speed. He or she can also provide solutions should any financial issues arise.

Patience and Commitment

You have to be committed and patient to sustain a successful business. You can no longer treat your new business like a hobby- you have to work every day. Once you’ve launched, you’ll be working on this business full time, every day… for years. You have to be excited, prepared, and completely devoted to find success.

That said, we’re human! It’s normal to get frustrated sometimes when you’re running your own business. Stay level-headed when issues arise and remember success doesn’t happen overnight.

Syama Meagher is a CEO and retail strategist who works with startup, growth stage, and enterprise retail businesses. The Scaling Retail founder has worked for Gucci, Barneys New York, Macy’s and more. For more information, visit www.ScalingRetail.com or email hello@scalingretail.com.