Everybody wants a side hustle. Who wouldn’t like to monetize their hobby? Do you have a skill, something fun you like to do during your leisure time? How about designing birthday cakes for your family and friends? Decorating sugar cookies is your passion, right? I know, you love taking lattice pie toppings to the next level. A hobby is an activity you do for pure enjoyment. Performed during your leisure time, hobbies involve creative and artistic pursuits.
Can you monetize a hobby?
A better question is, should you try to monetize a hobby? The answer is no. Every hobby is not a side hustle. First of all, there are certain products and hobbies that will not yield a sustainable income. If monetizing can take the joy out of the task, don’t do it.
How do you know? Let’s walk down your “try something new” memory lane. Take a look in your closet. No, look in the basement or attic. Are there any hobby-like items lurking on the shelves, in boxes or on the floor? Almost everyone has an unfinished scrapbook or a journal for that next great novel. What were you thinking? You thought there was something magical about bringing life to a blank canvas. Art is a grand old hobby, everybody does it. You go to Michael’s buy a two-for-one canvas and procrastinate. Did you even bother to decide on using pencils, oil paint, water paint, pastels, or charcoal?
Are you ready to make your hobby a business?
Do you see where I’m going with this? A new year is three months away and I’d like to offer some practical advice on taking your hobby to the next level. Before you leap into taking your product from kitchen to market, examine the task and the product. Because family and friends love your pound cakes doesn’t mean you have the green light to put up your for-sale sign.
- To begin monetizing your hobby, you must devise a game plan. Create a worthwhile strategy for exposing your product to people you don’t know.
- See if family and friends are willing to pay top dollar for your product. Don’t sell cheap, sell value. Stick a price on your cake comparable to or higher than the top cake bakeries in your community. Are they willing to pay? Awesome. If not, ask them why? Price cannot be an excuse.
- Working a full-time job and then spending extra hours pursuing a hobby may not be practical. What could put a damper on your success? Kids, significant other, friends and life responsibilities. Furthermore, during the initial stages, you’ll have to get creative about how you use your money. Did you even think about how you’re going to fund this hobby?
- Do you have an online presence? I’m not talking about the people that follow you on Facebook. I’m referencing those folks who have indulged in your product and asked for more. This is a great time to gather their contact information. Build a mailing list.
- A few folks will stumble across your online presence. But a lot of your business success happens via word of mouth and networking. And that networking may involve you or your brand ambassadors. Those people singing your praises when you are unaware they’re championing your cause.
How will folks find you?
Recognition will also come from wearing a T-Shirt displaying your company logo. “People are bound to ask, What’s ‘The Custom Cookie Factory?’ Make sure to have an elevator speech ready. It only needs to be a few sentences.Click To Tweet
Treat your hobby like a job
The final piece of advice is to treat your hobby as a job. If you want this passion to be your main source of revenue someday, treat it like a job. Your life’s work.
- Work hard at your craft.
- Read about the industry.
- Learn about selling and marketing your specific product.
- Learn about your target audience.
- Commit to steady improvement.
- Become a master of your craft.
Stop procrastinating. The longer you wait to act, the more you’re likely to talk yourself out of pursuing your passion. If you’re looking for more information on how to take your product from kitchen to market, visit the Foodpreneur Institute’s Learning Lab and make 2019 the year you start a home-based food business.
Ready, set, go!