Do you have a hobby that you enjoy and are passionate about?
Ever thought of launching your own business and turning all those hours spent with your hobby into money?
Of course you have.
But the fear of failure, of becoming financially ruined and placing the family at risk has so far prevented you from pursuing your dream.
The reality is that with some hard work and commitment you can turn your hobby into a viable home based business while simultaneously keeping the home fires burning.
Stay in your job
One of the foremost emotions when starting a new business is fear.
And the root cause of the concern is finances, or the lack thereof.
The nagging question is always; will there be sufficient money coming in from the business to finance the family debt, for example, the bond and car repayments, school fees, medical insurances and the usual monthly living expenses?
To ensure financial stability on the home front, stay in your full-time job.
Will this create additional strain in terms of time and effort?
Absolutely, but remember you are probably already allocating a reasonable amount of your free time to pursuing your hobby, so it will mean squeezing in a couple of extra hours a day to get the business set up and running.
Is your hobby saleable?
In other words, do you produce something that other people will want to buy – if not, then the exercise will be pointless.
Logic and common sense will provide the answer and so if your hobby is something people will buy you need to get an idea of what the average selling price is in the market.
The reason for this is to determine whether your current cost of making one item does not exceed the average selling price.
If all the preliminary numbers look positive, then it is time to develop a process that will look something like this.
Draft a detailed Plan.
It doesn’t have to be a formal business plan but you need to commit your idea to paper.
Spend the time and do the research. There are excellent home and small business websites with valuable and relevant information by authors who have the experience and know-how.
Just to name a few.
Don’t skimp with this exercise, the more detailed your plan the better the odds are that you will identify potential problems and be able to address them before launching.
- You need to know what available finances can be put into starting the business without encroaching on household expenses or long-term savings.
- It is important that you get to know and understand the market you intend entering. Who are the competition, how popular is the product, are there outlets were you could sell your product?
- Map out your available time to allocate to the business, understanding that the business is going to be launched in your “free time” as your current employment must take precedent.
Discuss your intentions with your loved one’s
Nobody likes surprises that could have a negative impact on them.
Talk to your partner about your idea and involve them in the planning stages especially when it comes to the finances.
Those close to you will need to be aware that most of your free time is going to be spent on the business so family and social time will be limited.
But a word of advice – don’t cut yourself off entirely from those closest to you. Make the effort to allocate some of your precious time to unwind and spend with the family. If you don’t, you will burn out.
Time to find out who your real friends are
You need to start building a network of potential buyers and a good place to begin is with friends and associates.
If you are active on Twitter and Facebook share your intentions with your lists and ask for feedback, both positive and negative, provided it’s constructive. If you have Pinterest and/or Instagram accounts, share images of your product.
Another word of caution: before you broadcast your new business venture, ensure that having a business is not in contradiction with your terms and conditions of employment with your full-time employer. Some companies prohibit moonlighting by their employees.
Assuming there are no restrictions, you need to ask your lists to share with their lists and welcome questions and pricing requests. The more people who know about your launch the easier it will be to generate sales from day one.
Marketing your product is going to be your foremost activity when you do launch.
Find a mentor
I cannot over emphasise the recommendation that you find someone who “has been there and done that”, in other words, a small business mentor.
It could be a friend, relative, colleague or someone who already owns their own business.
Don’t ever be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help.
The earlier in the process that you are able to find someone, the easier the whole start-up will be, with a much greater chance of success.
Stay focused on your priority
That means your full-time job.
Hopefully, the day will come when you will be in a position to resign and focus full time on your home business, but until that time comes, don’t chase your new business at the expense of your job.
Getting laid off because you weren’t focused will be devastating.
Be ready for the long haul
Starting a business, no matter how small, takes time and patience.
Stick to your plan and stay committed.
It will be difficult at times and on the odd occasion, the business may have to be temporarily put on the back burner as you focus on other more important issues, but when the dust clears, get back to the business of establishing a sustainable and long-term business.