Does your family tell you that your chocolate chip cookies are the best ever? If so, I bet at some point someone has advised you to consider setting up a cookie shop. While that may seem like a sweet idea, jumping into entrepreneurship is a big deal and a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
These days there is a lot of pressure to figure out how to monetize almost everything. Combine the popular advice that we should all be following our passions and doing what we love, and add in how easy it is to open a shop online these days and multiply that by the success stories that are all over social media, it is no wonder that many of us feel compelled to start a business that stems from a hobby.
If you have ever felt the pressure or the desire to turn your hobby into a business, you are not alone. Almost everyone I know has an online shop. Even my great aunt who still types emails in all caps, sells her hand painted wooden spoons online. She might not be able to master the shift key, but she has photography, pricing, and shipping down pat.
If you are thinking about making the leap from hobbyist to business owner, there are a few things to consider before you make an investment of both your money and your time.
Are you ready to start a craft business, even a very small one?
Think beyond the time, energy and supplies you need to have an active hobby. Besides what you need to bake those chocolate chip cookies or sew those aprons, can you add in additional equipment and the skills to use them that a business will require?
Once you’re done making, a whole bunch of other work will be waiting for you. Can you handle accounting, photo and prop styling and customer service? These are just a few tasks that you’ll need to manage when you begin to sell what you love to make.
Are you ready to put the word out beyond your close circle of friends, family and immediate community?
The amount of time small business owners devote to marketing, social media, and general outreach can feel overwhelming at times. These tasks are also not easy if you find it difficult to talk yourself up or talk about why what you make is worth money to someone else.
Do you really want to turn what you like doing in your free time into a way to make money?
Hobbies are wonderful for so many different reasons. They allow us to explore, relieve stress, make a mess and indulge both our time and resources in the pursuit of fun and pleasure.
If you decide to monetize your hobby, those things may change for you. What was once a small mistake may not be able to be overlooked if you put the item up for sale. If you like to make things as gifts for loved ones, it can feel weird to put a price on that. Jobs feel like work for a reason. Would you feel the same way about your hobby if it became an income source?
No matter what you want to do, there is good news no matter which direction you decide is right for you.
If you want to start a business, trust that everything you’ll need to figure out from taxes to branding can be learned. There is nothing that you cannot figure out and if you don’t want to figure it out, there will be someone you can hire to do it for you.
If you want your hobby to remain a source of good times only, good for you! There is absolutely nothing wrong with making things for the sheer enjoyment you get from just doing what you like and what you’re good at. The reward you get from watching your best friend wrap her new baby in a blanket you lovingly crocheted or the look on you dad’s face when you present him with something you made by hand can be priceless.
Not sure if you are ready to start a craft business? Follow the prompts on the infographic below and find out if you really want to craft like it is your J-O-B: