A while back I wrote an article that listed hobbies that can be turned into businesses. In this article, I’m going to talk about knowing when to take the plunge and turn your hobby into a business. Of course, hobbies and market conditions differ; the photographer and the Baker have different considerations to include in their deliberations. This is a list of signs that can tell you it’s time to scale up that hobby and go professional with it.

When people pay you for it

Of course, I was going to put this first. I reiterate my firm belief that a business is simply a customer (or customers) and the rest is commentary. You can have a business without registration, website, logo, social media accounts but you can’t have a business without a customer. If your work is good enough to convince people around to pay you for it then you should seriously consider formalising your hobby. This is especially true if the said people are in your close networks and are coming regularly to you. Many businesses were started on the back of “well, I did it for friends and family and they kept recommending people to me”and this brings me to my next point.

If people recommend your work

The biggest compliment people can pay you is with their wallet. The second biggest is with a solid recommendation. If those you have assisted with your hobby or perhaps have just come across your work see it fit to recommend it to others then you are certainly ok the right track. This is because this is one of the best growth paths for small and budding businesses. Advertising is great and all but nothing sells you better than a recommendation.

If you bring value

This is one of those things that’s really hard to fully quantify but if you bring value to the end user you definitely should. Value is hard to define because it is not always the same thing to everyone but if you bring sufficient additional satisfaction to the consumer compared to the solution they have been using all along then you likely have a winner on your hands. When asked to consult on “new” business ideas the second question I ask (after how the money is made) is always what the prospective customers have been doing to solve the identified problem before. If your solution brings value, real value in terms of what matters to customers then you have a business on your hands.

If there’s a need for it

Do people need what you are selling or offering? They likely do. Do they need it from you? That is the real question. And here it’s important to remember to look at the entire offering not just your product. By that I mean you must look at everything around how you deliver the end product including payment methods, delivery, ways of working and so on.  The establishment of the need gives you your best selling points when talking to customers.

If you’re passionate about it

Yes passion still counts. I could write paragraphs and paragraphs about this but I think it’s best to put it simply and ask if you would do it for no money. I would never advise you to do it for free but if you were asked to would you? You see passion carries you through the hard work and toil involved in business. It’s not a defining factor in success but you are certainly better off with it on your side than not.

So perhaps it’s time you look at that hobby of yours and realise that you could turn it into a business. It’s unlikely itll blow up overnight so pace your expectations.