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Turning Your Hobby into a Lucrative Side Career

Caption: Working from home is a dream shared by many.

Being able to make money from home, doing something we are passionate about is a dream that many of us share. It doesn’t have to be a dream any longer, however! Whether your hobby is writing, creating art, cooking, building websites or even playing computer games, today’s economic climate means it is easier than you think to transform something you enjoy doing into a potentially lucrative side business.

While not everyone achieves the instant success of the likes of Twitch streamer Julius “PhantomPokerTV,” who hit the big-time within two weeks of launching his channel, with passion and dedication, it is possible to turn your creative hobbies into viable sources of income. If you’re ready to spend your days immersed in a business that you know you’ll enjoy, read on to discover the things you need to know that will help you find your successful entrepreneurial path.

Keep the Day Job

Sure, building a business takes time and effort, but until you can afford to pay all your expenses from your hand-crafted work, you’ll need to keep the day job. Spending your free time planning and building your new career is hard work, especially in the beginning, but consider it the time you’re investing in yourself and your family.

Even successful entrepreneurs like Jon Youshaei, who generates his content on YouTube by himself, creates a popular weekly cartoon series and provides freelance marketing consultancy, still holds down a full-time job with Google. Going into a business by yourself does come with risks, however, so a regular and dependable income stream will go a long way toward minimizing some of these.

The Power of Passion

These days, it’s simple enough to educate yourself online about business practices, marketing strategies, bookkeeping and financial planning, etc., but one key ingredient that will ensure your venture gets off the ground and keeps going is passion. To build a business, even a small one that gives you supplemental income, you need to love what you do because you’re going to be spending quite a lot of time doing it!

Is having a great idea and pouring all your passion and free time into developing it enough to make you the next Mark Zuckerberg? Not quite, but don’t underestimate the power of passion.

Get Strategic

It would take a miracle to turn a hobby into a triple-figure business in only a few days, so before you get carried away with yourself, you need to think strategically. When you’re first starting out, your priority should be to get your first customer, client or sale — this can be the hardest but ultimately, is a critical milestone on your entrepreneurial journey.

There are all sorts of strategies that you can use for getting your name out there and securing that first sale, but the one you should use depends on the product or service you want to sell. If you’re starting a consultancy business, you might want to consider offering a free trial for a limited number of people. This approach gives you a chance to build relationships with people who could become lifelong clients and invariably generates word-of-mouth marketing about what it is you are doing. Showcase products you make at home in local fairs, exhibitions, farmers’ markets and more specialized events. You could even join up with other independent traders or entrepreneurs in your local area to collaborate and publicize each other’s products.

Partner Up!

Speaking of collaboration: there will come a time when you may need a partner to help you out. As exciting as it is to build and follow your venture alone, you can’t possibly know and do everything that needs to be done to turn it into a sustainable, profit-making business. Asking for support or collaboration from mentors, co-founders or partners makes your business much more likely to succeed in the long-term.

Caption: Networking is an excellent way to meet potential collaborators, mentors and even co-founders.

In business, it’s rare indeed for a fairy godmother to come knocking at your door offering all the support and insight that you need. While these fictional creatures would make the ideal business partner, in the real world, you’re going to have to get out there and network! Think about the type of people you’d like to work with and be honest with yourself about your current skill set. Co-founders can elevate a start-up with financial backing, but a partnership isn’t always about a financial investment. Collaborations with more experienced entrepreneurs can provide you with plenty of additional insights and give you access to an already established customer base. Even advice and support from business mentors generates new opportunities for growth and sustainability.

Finally, it almost goes without saying that turning your hobby into your career means that. However, it’s a process that can create much more satisfaction and enjoyment in life for both you and your family.