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So you’ve got a hobby that you’re really, really good at. You love doing it, everyone else seems to love you doing it and you’d like to see if it’s viable as a business. Maybe your friends have been telling you for years to turn your hobby into a business, or you’ve noticed that there’s a gap in the market for a product or service just like the one you’ve created. Maybe your work situation has changed and you need to think of creative ways to make money, or you’re convinced you’re in the wrong job and want to try being an entrepreneur. Whatever your reason for considering turning your side hustle into a business, xneelo, South Africa’s leading specialist web hosting company, has shared some steps to guide you through the process.
Step 1: Think it through
Starting a business isn’t a decision to take lightly. While it might seem wonderful to have the freedom of not being tied to an office job, or getting paid for something you love doing, there are practical considerations you need to face head-on. For starters, are you sure there’s a demand for your product or service? Doing some market research (seeing what else similar is available on the market, and what price is attached) is a good first step. If you charge the going rate for your hobby, will that make you enough money? Is there an option to do it part-time until you get it off the ground, or do you need to give up your current job to do it? Can you run it entirely online or does it require a physical presence? These are all important questions to ask before you take the plunge.
Step 2: Decide on your plan
Once you’ve decided that the time is right to turn your hobby into a business, whether it’s because it makes financial sense or there’s an opportunity in the market, it’s time to decide on your plan. What does your business need to succeed?
Some things to consider are:
You’ll need a website, social media presence, business cards and a network. What can you do on your own and what will you need to reach out for help with? What opportunities are there to network, both in real life and online?
Once you’ve created your website, be sure to update your LinkedIn, business Facebook and Instagram handle to include your website address. Set up a newsletter so that interested people can sign up for regular updates (even if this is just your friends and family at first!)
- How your products or services will get to people
Do you need an online shop? There is a WordPress plugin called WooCommerce that can turn any WordPress website into a shop. Etsy is also a helpful place to test which of your products are popular. If you are offering services rather than products, perhaps you can offer to guest post for other websites that are aligned to your business, to get the word out about what you offer. It’s also a good idea to start a blog or video series (either on YouTube or Instagram) to promote your business. Think of where you would look for a similar product or service, and make sure you have a presence there
- Your projected finances for the year
The more organised you can be with your finances, the more of a chance your business has to succeed. How much do you need to sell each month to make your business viable? Keep expenses to the bare minimum for the first year, and consider offering reduced-cost options for first time customers.
SMART goals are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based. These will help to keep you motivated without adding too much pressure. Goals are important because they keep you focused on the most important tasks. One of the hardest parts about being an entrepreneur is juggling a few different roles, so the more focused you are, the better.
Step 3: Commit to working hard
The most important ingredient in any new business is perseverance. It will be a lot of hard work in the beginning, but if you commit to your business and accept that each failure is a learning opportunity, you’ll be able to grow and develop your hobby into a successful business.
Step 4: Keep learning
One of the joys of turning your hobby into a business is the chance to learn more about what you’re passionate about. It’s also a chance to learn new skills – like how to build a basic website. For more articles to help you on your journey, please visit xneelo’s Insights portal.
Wherever you are on your hobby-to-business journey, xneelo is there to support you. Their technical support team is available 24 hours a day , and they’re happy to help with any website issues you run into. Best of luck in this exciting venture!
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First published on: ForbesAfrica