Whenever I am asked what I would recommend for starting a business, I skip over the usual notion of finding a product/service that’s popular or in-demand and instead recommend they start with a hobby.
A hobby is something you’re accustomed to and know a great deal about. You also have connections with other hobby enthusiasts and know what sites they visit (which assists later in marketing).
Additionally, your knowledge of the hobby puts you in a position where you can immediately find ways to sell products, services, or information to those that are getting their feet wet with the hobby so there is already a market to go after.
We all have hobbies and each one of them have things in common:
- There is an on-going learning process
- There are items needed to begin the process
- There are communities that share information
Combine those three things and you have the recipe for a side-income opportunity; all that is needed is the platform to sell a product/service, a marketing plan, and motivation/passion to pursue the dream.
Here’s how it gets done:
Setup the Platform – A website and social media profile (Facebook will do the trick) is what you’ll want to start when creating your side-income opportunity. Website creation is easy if you use a free website tool such as Wix but you could always hand-code or purchase a template from a marketplace like ThemeForest. Setting up an online store isn’t as complicated as you’d think – it can be done in afternoon with enough motivation. The second of this is to create a Facebook profile for your business so you can begin building a following. The two, working together, will keep your audience informed, allow them to make purchases, and be used as a platform to share your knowledge.
Diversify the Income Sources – Having an online site of your own is great for selling your products, services, or information but it’s wise to diversify the income sources by leveraging other platforms. For example, if your hobby was collecting and selling rare documents and signatures you would want to utilize a platform like Raab Collection to find the right buyers. There are plenty of popular choices like Ebay and Amazon but don’t forget about the smaller options like selling directly through forums or social media.
Source the Products/Services/Info – Get in touch with the manufacturers of the items that are created for your hobby and see if you could register as a reseller. Alternatively, consider becoming an affiliate for one or two of the major product/service providers for your hobby industry. A third option is to create information products such as ebooks or video courses that could be tailored to teaching others the basics, mid-level, and advanced topics of the hobby.
Condense the Information – Content is what people want outside of products related to your hobby. They want to read tutorials, see reviews, and talk to you for guidance and just to chit-chat because it’s something they love to do (or want to explore). Try to create content a few times a week. Content will be indexed by search engines which will help you show up when others search for that topic. Content also gives you something to share on your social media accounts which will get the discussion going and give you opportunities to plug product recommendations or sell services/information.
Play with Others – You may want to think business is about cutting out the competition but hobbies are about meeting others that share your interest so it’s good to play with others. You should take part of your day to reach out to other sellers and individuals that are passionate about your hobby so you can build a connection and create a great network. By working together you can progress the hobby as a whole, refer customers to another, and aid with the overall promotion of the hobby which makes for a larger marketplace for everyone!
Now obviously this is a very condensed version of how you’d get started but it does cover the basics that will start the journey. There will be smaller objectives and hurdles you’ll need to overcome but once you get the platform together, you begin marketing your offer, and connect with the right marketplace (to which you already know of) you’re in business.
So the question isn’t how to get started … it’s: when will you start?