Kill the 9-to-5 by turning your hobby into a thriving business
A beloved hobby can feel like a mini vacation from everyday life. Whether it’s gardening for relaxation, photography as a creative outlet or computer coding to exercise the brain, hobbies serve as an escape from stress and boredom.
What if rather than a hobby being your escape, it was what you did for a career?
“When you do what you love, it doesn’t feel like work. However, people are intimidated by the idea of transitioning a hobby into this type of dream,” says Jim Salmon, vice president of business services at Navy Federal Credit Union. “Becoming a successful entrepreneur doesn’t have to be difficult with the right drive and passion.”
Salmon shares some expert tips based on best practices he’s observed through his close relationship with entrepreneurial clients:
1. Take your time
Becoming a successful entrepreneur doesn’t mean you have to drop everything and devote all your time to starting a business. In fact, research shows the opposite: People who keep their day jobs while starting companies are a third less likely to fail than those who abandon their full-time jobs. Instead, they’re tinkering, researching and cautiously testing things out to see if their idea is a viable business venture and if there is a market for their product or service.
2. Set a timeline
Is there a season where it would make sense to test out your business venture? Or perhaps there’s a transitional time in your life where you’ll be looking to open a new chapter. For example, transitioning your hobby into a viable business venture is a great option for active duty military personnel and veterans because they naturally begin to think about what their second career will be after retiring or leaving the Armed Forces.
3. Decide on time commitment
Decide how much time you are willing to dedicate to your new venture in the beginning. Being an entrepreneur means being your own boss which affords you unprecedented flexibility, but the effort you put in directly affects what you get out. Keep in mind, entrepreneurship isn’t just for full-time professionals. Turning a hobby into a career is a great option for military and stay-at-home parents who require flexibility in working hours and location, but they may have more open time to dedicate to the transition.
4. Create a business plan
Transitioning a hobby into a profession is a lot of fun, but it’s also serious business if you want to be successful. That means creating a business plan that includes goals and plans for attaining them. This will serve as the foundation for how you strategize and build a successful business today. Plus, when it comes time to finance your budding business, a solid business plan will give you a leg up and direction for the future.
5. Find financial backing
Depending on what type of business you want to pursue, you may need some additional funding beyond what you can afford. Establishing a relationship with a financial institution will help you learn more about small business loans and lending products that will help your small business grow. Bring your passion and your business plan — potential investors and financial institutions alike will want to see both before they make a decision.
Getting ready to start your own business? Try Eastern Bank (back page).