If you’ve got dreams of working for yourself, starting a side hustle is a great way of testing out a business idea without giving up the security of your nine-to-five job. A side business is also perfect for supplementing your income on your own terms. There’s nothing better than getting paid to do what you love, so turning your hobby into a side hustle is a no-brainer. But if the thought of trying to make money from your hobby feels daunting, fear not. Here’s how to turn your hobby into a side hustle… in five steps.
Test if your business idea will work
The difference between a hobby and a business is profit. Just because you enjoy doing an activity does not mean that people will be willing to pay you to do that activity. The secret to running a successful business is to provide a solution to a legitimate problem that your ideal clients have. With this in mind, always do your research before going ahead with your side hustle idea.
Just because you enjoy doing an activity does not mean that people will be willing to pay you to do that activity.
Test if your side hustle idea will work in three ways:
- Speak to people that have the problem your hobby will solve. Don’t ask them if they would pay for your service because people tend to tell you what you want to hear and will say ‘yes’ to avoid hurting your feelings. Instead ask them about the problem they have and the solution they would pay good money for.
- Find others who are making money from the hobby you’d like to monetise. Look at how they are doing it. Where are they finding clients? How much are they charging? What service are they providing? Are they making any money from it?
- Get a sample client. Find just one person to take through your service (or use your product) from start to finish. This will allow you to spot any oversights you may have made and to create a seamless process for providing your service.
Make sure your product or service is professional enough
If you want to get paid for doing your hobby, you’ll need to step things up. It’s fine to be a little slapdash when icing cakes you’re baking for your mother or using the wrong brushes when doing your own makeup, but if you’re making cakes for paying clients or charging brides to do their wedding makeup, you can’t cut corners. If you’re ‘winging it’ on certain aspects of your hobby at the moment, it’s worth taking the time to sharpen any skills you are lacking and get hold of any essential equipment you need to do your hobby professionally.
If you’re making cakes for paying clients or charging brides to do their wedding makeup, you can’t cut corners.
Start marketing your business sooner rather than later
It can be tempting to wait until you are 100% ready before launching your side hustle, but the reality is that you’ll never be completely ready. Once you know that you can offer a service or product at a level that is worth paying for, it’s time to act. Start telling people about your business as soon as possible, both in person and online. You can fine tune and tweak things as your business grows and you discover ways to improve.
Make sure you make money from your hobby
Many people say they have a side business, but when you dig deeper it soon becomes clear that they aren’t charging people for their product or service. Instead, they continue to play gigs, plan weddings, bake cakes or design websites for free. To take you back to step one, the difference between a hobby and a business is profit. If you aren’t getting paid to do an activity, you don’t have a side hustle, you have a hobby. Sorry!
People will only take you as seriously as you take yourself. The best way to show you are a serious business is to charge people. (Not sure how to get people to pay you for your services? Here are seven ways to find your first paying clients.)
If you aren’t getting paid to do an activity, you don’t have a side hustle, you have a hobby.
Make sure your side hustle won’t get you fired
It’s easy to get so excited about your new business venture that you forget to check you aren’t breaching your employment contract. There are many terms your employer may have put into your contract that will determine if you can have a side hustle without getting fired.
Most reasonable employers do not allow employees to start competing businesses while working for them (and sometimes for 6-12 months after leaving them), which means that as long as your side business is unrelated to your day job, your side hustle won’t get you fired.
However, some employers can be more strict and forbid employees from having any other source of income, side hustle included.
Check your employment contract and seek clarification from HR if you are unsure about what you can and can’t do. Also bear in mind that some employment contracts include terms that aren’t actually legal. If the conditions of your employment feel excessively strict, it could be worth seeking legal advice before deciding how to proceed with your business idea.
Trying to figure out your next career move?
Sign up for our weekly Get Unstuck emails. They will walk you through your stuck moment and give you the advice and tools you need to create the career you want… one week at a time.