(Art Credit: Andrea Hernandez)
This article is posted with permission from our partner Lili and originally appeared on the Lili blog at: https://lili.co/blog/how-to-turn-your-hobby-into-a-business
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The era of the freelancer is here, and you can literally make money doing anything — so why not do something you really love? Whether you’re looking for a new side hustle or are hoping to take your hobby full-time, here’s what you need to know to get started.
The most important thing to do when you decide to start a business is keep it above board. Look into state laws and start by registering a DBA to give your business some legitimacy. If it becomes more serious later on, you may consider an LLC. Start familiarizing yourself with the concept of self-employment taxes now to get your accounting in order.
Have your invoicing and payment processes streamlined before those first customers start rolling in! You’re going to need a place to send payments and a way to ask for them. Luckily for you, Lili’s got you covered on both counts!
Decide how you want to price your products or services by doing some market research. How much do your competitors charge? How much do you need to make for your needs? Since you’re a new business, start your prices out a little bit lower than your competition until you’ve established a bit of a reputation.
Once the legal stuff is taken care of and you have your product or service ready, it’s time to get the word out! The easiest place to start is with social media.
You don’t need to spend money on ad space in order to successfully promote your hobby-turned-business. Research the best ways to promote in your niche, whether that be flyers in local stores, selling at art shows or markets, or leveraging different social media platforms. When promoting on Instagram, use local, niche, and thematic hashtags and tag your location to reach people in your area. On Facebook, check out different Groups in your niche or where your target market might be hanging out (but be sure to follow any rules the group has about self-promotion). Collect testimonials and reviews from your first several customers, and even from family or friends who have benefitted from your hobby in the past.
Before you get into all the nitty-gritty of running a business, make sure you really love your chosen hobby. Turning it into a business means mixing work and pleasure, which can be a good thing so long as the pleasure is enough to make it all worth it.
Need some inspiration? Here are some popular hobbies you can turn into a business with ease:
Love finding hidden treasures and giving them a refresh? Resell your best-thrifted finds and vintage antiques on Etsy, Ebay, or even Facebook Marketplace. For reselling clothes, try Poshmark or Depop.
Yes, you read that right — you can get paid to read! Online Book Club will pay you for book reviews, which can be a great way to start out as you build up an audience on Booktok or with your own blog.
Prefer to make your own words rather than reading someone else’s? Start by posting your writing on Medium, and look for opportunities to write for local or digital publications.
Take your hobby beyond your own yard and start offering landscaping services locally, or start a gardening coaching service to teach others how to create beautiful gardens like yours.
Cleaning might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you love it! Start a business as a housekeeper or even a home organizer to embrace the Cleantok fanatic within you. Handy or Taskrabbit are great places to start promoting your services.
Start sharing mouth-watering photos of your baked goods on social media, and offer catering for weddings, birthdays, or other local events. You can also sell at your local Farmer’s Market or festival.
Are you a pet lover? You and 70% of the United States! There are always people looking for dog walkers or pet sitters, and you can easily start your own business in this niche with Rover.
If you really love your hobby and want to get paid to do it, then it may be time to monetize it. Start a blog sharing all about it, turn it into a product or service you can sell, or teach a course on how to do it. The possibilities are endless!