How to turn a hobby into a small business

In all honesty, the past few months have been a whirlwind of emotions – from shock, sadness, frustrations, to bouts of joy – brought about by several uncontrollable events and the little things we have done to adapt to them. For months now, we had to lock ourselves indoors as a must for our safety. In those months that we were not able to run outside and do our usual activities, many of us turned to different hobbies just to keep ourselves healthy and sane.  In my case, it was my passion for baking, which has now turned into a business. 

Us Filipinos have a thing for snacking and every household boasts of having a special take on several dishes and delicacies. As a 22-year-old who has been in love with cookies, cakes, and bread since her childhood, my special take birthed out a passion project that wants to reach households and make them happy, especially during this time, by having a taste of some favorite freshly baked goods.

If you are looking for a source of extra income or you need something to help you with your expenses now, here is how you can also turn your hobby into a business: 

Checkout @wkndbakers

1. Have a goal in mind

The journey will always have its hardships no matter what you do, but it’s tougher if you do not have a goal in mind. Much like in fitness, you have to set SMART (sustainable, manageable, attainable, realistic, and time-based) goals for yourself and your business. These goals will keep you going because they are where you are headed anyway!  Whether it has been your dream to become a full-time businessperson or you are just looking for an extra source of income, the amount of work you will be putting into this will depend on how much you want from it, and your goals will be your constant reminders for that.

2. Plan ahead

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” I have been living by those words since I read them and that is because I believe that in order to become successful, you need to plan ahead. Be as driven as you are with your fitness and write a business plan first. During my years in university, the UP Entrepreneurs’ Club trained me and put emphasis on how important business plans are. You have to study your market first and make sure that your idea is viable and will be a hit to that market. Here, you have to dig through the backbone of your branding, products, marketing strategies, financial needs, and logistics.

3. Get your mindset ready

Starting a business, especially one with friends sounds all fun and exciting at first, but it is actually no joke.  A hobby stays a hobby if it’s something you do in your free time and for leisure. That changes when you make it a business. You can’t just play around because you’re not only trying to make yourself happy but others as well. Whether you are offering goods or services, remember that you are translating the worth of other people’s resources.

4. Be ready for fallbacks

Most of the things we do won’t be a success the first time. From trying to run at SUB1 for my first 10k to baking my first batch of cookies, I was able to experience failure from which I picked up a few lessons. Learnings that I used to my advantage and to become better at what I do. There will be fallbacks and you have to be ready for them. Accept when they happen and keep moving forward to your goals. 

5. Get your family and friends to be your customers

Who else would be the best people to ask to try your product or service first other than your family and friends? From my personal goal of being able to make my own cookies, I progressed to wanting my family to ask me to make stuff for them. They were the witnesses to my growth and the first ones to make me confident. As a matter of fact, the push of turning it into a business came from them. Get an honest opinion from the people you don’t want to disappoint in the first place. You’re lucky if you have someone who is always willing to taste your creations even after you serve them some slightly burnt cookies and still encourage you. (Thanks Fons!)

6. Become better each day

Most people would say, practice makes perfect’, but an old friend would always tell me, practice makes more practice’. This baffled me at first, but I was able to understand it well when I started doing things I wanted to be good at. Instead of just thinking about perfection, I focus on practicing in order to get better each day. Even professional and elite athletes who we already think as the greatest strive harder each day because they put no limit to their abilities.  

7. Get the word out online

The best way to get sales these days is by building an online presence. You are going to need more than just the people immediately close to you to support your business in order to keep your finances going. Nowadays, it has become easier to go beyond your local community simply by creating social media accounts and even a website that will help you tap people from other places. You can borrow ideas from people or brands you look up to if you are struggling to create an image of how you want to present yourself.

8. Love what you do

Find your passion and use that as fuel in whatever you do, because when times get rough, you will need that to remind yourself why you even started, and it may take you beyond the goals you have set for yourself. The important thing is that you have something to go back to when you feel like giving up and you need enough motivation to get up each morning.

There is actually more that goes into turning any hobby into a business than just these steps, but these were the first ones that were important for me to get started with what used to be a hobby and means to relax. And I know that we all have hobbies that we want to and can actually make profitable.

It may be scary at first, but if it is something that you are passionate about and are willing to make failures along the way for, it will surely be worth it. In life, no athlete became a success overnight. Always be in the pursuit of becoming a better version of yourself by improving in what you do every day.  

Don’t be afraid to learn through multiple trials and what seems to be an unending stream of errors. It gets easier. You will eventually become good at what you do and if you are good enough, you will always have a market for it. Nothing should stop you from wanting to share it with others and make them support your passion by availing your products or services.

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