Craft Focus - February / March 2021 (Issue 83)

91 BUSINESS Taking the plunge – turning your hobby into a business The last 12 months have been extremely challenging, but I’ve been inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit that I have seen. With everyone spending the majority of their time at home, people have been creating more than ever, and some have used this time as an opportunity to turn their hobby into a business. Setting up a business is by no means an easy feat, and when it’s born out of a hobby, there are other factors to consider. Something previously done for enjoyment or to alleviate stress, becomes a source of income and potentially a full-time career, which understandably brings added pressure. On the other hand, it provides the opportunity to make a living doing something that you love both inside and outside of work, as it has done for me. If you want to take the next step in developing your hobby into a business venture, there are things that you can do to set yourself on the path to success. First of all, you need to have a positive attitude and mindset. Positivity can get you through even the most challenging of times, and when you’re working day and night to establish your business and complete orders, it’s important to remember that success doesn’t happen overnight. Hard work and positivity pay off, and ultimately, being your own boss and having your own company has enormous benefits. Test products out on your friends. Ask them for their honest opinions and start to pick up projects on the side before making a full commitment and quitting the day job. Next, question whether there’s a gap in the market for your product or service and identify who your customers are. You don’t want to push your product out to a saturated market with similar pieces, you need to identify what’s unique about your product, and why your customers will buy them. There are other ways to make your products stand out from the crowd, from the way they are made, to the materials you’ve used, down to the service your customers receive when they buy from your business. Special touches don’t go unnoticed. Utilising the tools that are readily available is a must. Today, everyone promotes their business on social media and it’s a great way of spreading a message and creating brand awareness. The more you share of your story and business ethos, the more likely customers are to connect to your brand. You can also use the different platforms to announce new products, special offers and company updates. In addition to being a great selling and awareness tool, social media is also a fantastic way to engage with customers. Questions can be answered almost immediately and it’s a great way to put your business out into existing online communities. Sharing your business venture with like-minded people exposes you to a network of support, and it’s here where you’ll receive the custom you need to get started. Finally, if you’re serious about establishing a company, create a business plan with a sales and marketing strategy, significant milestones, goals and financial overview. Even if it forms the base of something you can adapt and change over time, it shows that you are serious about making your business a reality. Sara Davies discussed how to take the next step in developing your hobby into a business venture Sara Davies MBE is founder of Crafter’s Companion