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Turning a Hobby into a Business with the Right Model

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Many people feel that their jobs present them with relatively little in the way of new, exciting, or stimulating experiences every day. As a result, they form fewer memories. Long stretches of time become a monotonous blur. It can make them feel as though they’ve wasted the days and somehow missed out on a better quality of life.

For a lot of adults, hobbies provide a respite from boredom. They give us something that engages our attention, demands greater activity, or even adds more meaning to our lives.

It could be a creative art, like painting or photography. A sport like basketball or soccer that not only fills your weekends with exercise but more social interactions. Or a universally useful skill such as writing that you practice by keeping a blog or journal.

Hobbies aren’t just fun ways to pass the time. Often, they help us reconnect with things we love and rekindle their real passion. This, in turn, can prompt us to wonder about making money from doing what we love. Can a hobby become the platform you need to start your first business?

In search of a model

On some level, every business exists to serve a need. And their success hinges on how well they can deliver that value to the right audience.

However, that’s not all it takes to launch a successful business. You also have to consider what your business model will be should you pursue this venture in earnest.

Sport fishing, for instance, lets you put food on the table. It can certainly justify the investment in an Avet SX Raptor reel or even your own fishing boat. But your income would be limited if you tried to make a living out of doing the same thing.

The solution lies in finding a business model that lets you scale. To continue with the fishing example, you might want to buy a commercial boat, hire people, and use nets to bring in a massive haul.

Alternatively, you could keep it simple and try to model your business around expertise. Use your expertise to teach others how to catch a specific game fish, fish in certain local areas, or under challenging conditions.

You could also try to cater to fellow enthusiasts by supplying their needs. Rent your boat, or get into the breeding scene to keep fisheries well-stocked.

Encountering difficulties

man workingFor some hobbies, the need for a good business model is evident. This is why most painters, for example, consider themselves artists and not entrepreneurs. They understand that it’s difficult to scale what they love doing.

But others make it seem easy to handle the leap from hobby to business. Photography, for instance. With just one device, a camera, or even a smartphone, you can take multiple photos. And it’s easier than ever to connect with audiences using your images. It encourages the hobbyist photographer to try starting a business when the challenge is far more daunting.

Stiff competition exists within the photography domain. The ease of distribution creates an excess of supply relative to demand. Online licensing models typically pay poorly for photographers.

As a result, the aspiring photographer-turned-entrepreneur will have to explore other models and perhaps combine multiple income streams. They might end up hiring assistants to tackle a schedule filled with shoots while also selling usage rights, printed merchandise, and tutorials.

Takeaways and possible failure

Unexpected difficulties are par for the course when you start any business. But this should bring one thing into focus. What you love about any given hobby is not necessarily compatible with turning it into a revenue-generating enterprise.

What if your search for successful business models takes you further and further away from the actual practice of your hobby? Just because you run a business that mixes with it doesn’t mean you can feel passionate about the work.

You can take heart in the fact that there’s really nothing wrong with attempting to start a business. If you manage the risks, you might end up exiting at a loss, but not one that will cripple you financially.

Give it a try, and stick with it for a couple of years. According to research, even if you fail, you can return to employment and actually enjoy a better career due to your entrepreneurial efforts. It’s not a bad consolation prize. There’s real value to be gained from the takeaways of business failure.

And if it works, then you’re all set to make a living by doing something that gives you joy. In a way, you won’t have to work another day.

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