When your social calendar had to be completely scrapped this spring, you may have spent some more time developing a personal hobby. Did listening to your favourite music, reading a great book, or nailing a new recipe inspire you to try to take your hobby to the next level?
Even amid your newfound inspiration, you might have wondered if other people would be really interested in your fantastic sewing creations or would even want to listen to your original songs. It can be scary to take the leap into something unknown, especially if you are putting something that was once personal and private out for public inspection. Whether you are looking for your hobby to just generate a little income on the side, or wanting to move it to a full-blown business, we applaud you for stepping out!
The transition between hobby and business will require a little upfront investment. However, if you have limited budget, it is sometimes difficult to know which things are worth the investment now and what can wait until you have built up a little reserve fund. Here are the top investments to make upfront.
Training and Qualifications- Hopefully obvious, being properly trained is foundational to a good business or side hustle. If you are a musician, but have not taken lessons since high school, consider finding a good teacher or mentor who can help you advance to the next level. If you have dabbled in woodwork, see if there is a course you can take to sharpen your skills. If home renovation is your passion, make sure you have the necessary certifications to legally work for someone else before you begin.
Equipment- This is where a lot of people can go off the deep end. Nearly every hobby comes with an endless list of equipment you might need. Before investing, talk with a few other people who are successful in your field. Try to narrow the list down to the top 2 or 3 most valuable pieces of equipment to get you started. For example, if you are ramping up your photography skills, a tripod, lens, and lighting equipment would be worth the investment if not already in your bag of tools.
Advertisement- You do not have to buy billboard space or airtime to advertise. There are many small-scale ways to advertise that can be very effective. Once you have the name of your business and details settled, create your own business cards to hand out locally. You can also take advantage of Facebook and other social media platforms for both organic and paid advertising. These platforms are constantly updating, making them more user friendly and giving you more options. You can customise the amount you want to spend, ways you want to advertise, and target the audience you want to reach.
Reputation Builders- Nothing makes clients shy away from a business like no costumer reviews. They are also more likely to skip over an entrepreneur with zero experience. There are several ways to build up your reputation a bit before you start interacting with clients. If you want your recorded music to gain some traction, you can buy Spotify plays. While you are getting your name out, consider volunteering your service or donating your product in return for reviews on the marketing platform of your choice.
Remember, before you start investing, make sure you love your hobby. Loving what you do is one of the first rules of being an entrepreneur. We wish you success on your journey.