6 Steps From a Hobby to a Really Serious Business

I will call it a hobby for want of another term, but a hobby is usually a passion, something you enjoy creating or making, or being involved with. Often hobbyists fall into their businesses by accident.

They create something to meet their own need, because they can’t purchase what they want. Others see your creation, and before you know it, you are producing for real customers with the same un-met demand.

The same example can be made of artists who produce art initially for themselves, often driven by the need to creatively express themselves and then wonder if they could turn their art into a real business.

There logical steps to constructing anything functional like a business and it all starts with your specific dreams for your business enterprise. If you have a passion, or creative hobby; then here are some steps that you will need to take to move from a hobby to a successful business.

1. Purpose, vision and values:

Self belief to realise your dream starts with believing that you can be a successful business. The only way to be truly unique is to be clear about who you are and what you have to offer. Some will love your work, and some will not. But you can’t please everyone and you don’t want to try.

2. Write a plan:

Whether you write a business plan or a marketing plan will depend on what you want to use it for. A business plan will be expected if you wish to apply for financial support. If you don’t want to take out a loan or apply for a grant; a marketing plan will help you identify your target market, set marketing objectives and strategies; and create a priority action plan to help you stay focussed on your goals. You must identify a market for your work and target your promotions to this market; if you want to enjoy the benefits of your hard work.

3. Pricing your creations:

It is a familiar trait of creative people to not compensate themselves for their time. If you can’t create something and price it at the overhead costs plus your time; you need to find another product that you can make a margin from. It’s the first rule of a potentially successful business – pay yourself first.

4. Diversify your market offer:

Once you have a market for one or two products, it’s time to think about what other products you could create that will meet the needs of your market. Your marketing plan will be the mechanism for understanding your target market and other products or services they need.

The market for original art is relatively small when compared to other merchandise. What other ways can you create products using your art at different price points? This is your chance to use your creativity in broadening your marketing offer to appeal to a broader market.

5. Market Online:

Create a website that displays your work, tells your authentic story; and allows people to purchase online. Create social media platforms to direct traffic to your website.

6. Go public:

When starting your business, selling your work at local markets and other networking events gives you the advantage of showing your work in person. Plus, it doesn’t require the commitment and expense of setting up a shop. This lets you test the waters of running a business, learning how interested local customers may be, and what they are prepared to pay.

To succeed as a creative business you have to deliver a unique point of difference, and a unique value proposition, to a target market. You must be courageous, passionate and be ready to speak authentically and offer the world your story and ideas.

If you are a hobbyist ready to take the plunge, I hope you found these tips useful? Please leave a comment below:

Minimize Small Business Expenses

Office

When starting a small business the key is to minimize overhead. If you do not need a large office, avoid renting one. Starting small is usually the best way to go. If you can run your business efficiently out of your home, then why not? Unless you are going to hire employees or a staff right away or selling products directly out of your location, there is really no need these days for a stand-alone office location. Many businesses are actually moving away from the typical brick and mortar style business and moving towards increasing their business presence on the internet. When owning a small business, it is important to at least have a desk, computer with an internet connection, phone, and scanner/fax machine.

Materials

Also, it is wise to minimize the cost you spend on materials for your business. For example, if you can get by with an older computer then there is no need to go out and buy a new one. Basically, follow the status quo; if it isn’t broke don’t fix it. When purchasing any materials for your business, check out different internet classifieds, they are usually free to view ads. There are several people I know that have found great deals and paid a fraction of the cost off the original purchase price. Telemarketing firms pay thousands of dollars per work station, when the same workstation in slightly used condition can be found on these classified sites for $100 each. It’s not unusual to find a solid cherry conference table that was originally $2,500 brand new and now you can find the same conference table for less than $150 on-line. Chairs that normally cost hundreds each, can also be purchased used for $25 – $40 each.

Labor

What type of business do you have? Is it more sales oriented or more hands-on? Have you ever thought about hiring interns? Businesses can save a great deal of money by hiring interns to help out with the simpler tasks of their business. Instead of a business paying an hourly wage to an employee, they can instead bring on an intern that helps out their business in exchange for a good reference. Many under graduate college students are looking for ways to gain hands on experience before entering the job market. Without any hands on experience it is much harder for a college graduate to find employment within a company, since most companies are looking for people with experience. This is the all-time catch 22 situation! It is easier than you think to find college students willing to work for free in order to add a reference to their resume. Interns are great for handing out marketing material, attending and helping out at events, and word of mouth advertising.

Columbus Businesses Offer A Variety Of Products And Services To The Masses

Columbus’s tourist attractions include its many historical buildings and beautiful landscapes. The Goodale Park is a beautiful park and a locals’ favorite. It is a favorite wedding, engagement, and other parties as well as a beautiful place for tourists to take pictures for keepsakes. If the tourists are more into architecture, they can enjoy beautiful buildings such as Columbus’s state capitol building which has architecture similar to those of the ancient Greeks. Or perhaps they would like a more modern design like the Ohio Judicial Center which has art-deco architecture. Wexner Center will also appeal to the traveling artists who can enjoy different art exhibitions in this contemporary built building. The exhibitions range from photography and sculpture, to paintings, to even films and videos. The architecture of these buildings and many others like them, bring many tourists not only from other cities within the state, but also national and international tourists who want to explore the gems of Columbus. The tourists help many local businesses, such as restaurants, gift shops, arts and crafts shops, as well as hotels, cabs, car rentals and such.

Columbus hosts many annual fairs and events, which brings to the streets of Columbus both residents and tourists who sometimes only travel to attend these events. These events are a wonderful opportunity for vendors and small businesses as well as Columbus companies. Many Columbus businesses and companies use these events to promote their products and increase their name recognition through advertisement, sponsoring the events, or setting informative booths. These events also help charities and nonprofit organizations; Restaurant Week is one of these events. Every January,
Over forty thousand people head to different participant restaurants to enjoy their specially prepared menus. Some of the profit from these busy nights goes to charities. Another event that brings large number of people to the streets and creates an unparalleled opportunity for different businesses is the Fourth of July, America’s Independence day. In Columbus, more than half a million people come to the streets to watch the fireworks, eat, enjoy music, and celebrate.

As mentioned before, festivals and fairs also draw people to the beautiful city of Columbus. The state fair features competitions, educational sessions, rock and country and church and choir music as well as the traditional food and rides and other healthy fun activities for the families. The state fair brings only about eight thousand singers from all over the state of Ohio to Columbus. In 2011, the number of participants was over eight hundred thousand people. The state fair schedule is announced well in advance so that different businesses can participate as they wish, with enough time to plan. The events mentioned here is only a fraction of what Columbus has to offer. To learn more about the other activities, events and festivals such as Arts Festival and Jazz and Ribs Festival, you can do a quick search online and you’ll be amazed at the number of events and opportunities both for participating businesses and the audience and participants.