Does your job feel like a nine-to-five grind? That may be a sign that you need to make a change. A career change can be a great way to alleviate boredom and reengage yourself.
The problem, however, is that making a career change often means you have to start at the very bottom and work your way up. If you’ve already climbed the ladder in your current career, the prospect of heading back to the entry level can be quite disheartening.
There is some good news, though: If you want to make a career change but don’t want to drop to the bottom of the pack, you can take a hobby of yours – such as carpentry, gardening, cooking, etc. – and turn it into a business.
That being said, turning your hobby into a business isn’t necessarily easy: 25 percent of new businesses fail in their first year, and 44 percent fail by their third year.
Even if you have all the passion in the world, your business might not succeed. That’s not to say you shouldn’t make a go at it; rather, I only mean to say that you should stop and think about it before making any rash decisions.
To help you determine whether or not turning your hobby into a business is right for you, I offer the following screening questions. Answer them honestly, and you may find that your business truly is a good idea.
1. Is The Market Saturated?
Hobby-inspired businesses are not immune to the market forces that affect other businesses.Don’t let your passion blind you to the realities of the marketplace.
While you may find a few friends who are prepared to buy your products and services at reduced rates initially, you can’t undercut the market for ever and expect to survive or support your family that way. When you go professional, you need to be sure that there are enough clients out there who’ll pay market prices.
Do your research. If you have jumped on the bandwagon far too late and are joining a saturated market, your hobby might not be the best choice for a business. You might be better off looking for an area where demand exceeds supply.
2. Are You Expecting a Lot of Growth in Demand?
The market around your hobby may be saturated now, but that doesn’t mean it will always be that.
Are there signs that the market is going to grow? For example, let’s say you want to start a landscaping business, based on your love of gardening. If a new housing project is underway nearby, that may lead to increased demand for your services.
Even if the market is saturated at the moment, you may find that demand for your hobby is set to grow in the near future. If that’s the case, this may be a good time to launch your business.
3. Will You Enjoy Turning Your Hobby Into a Business?
Many of us use our hobbies not only to practice a skill, but also to wind down, stave off boredom, or escape from the daily grind.
Turning a hobby into a job, however, requires a move from soft escapism to hard-nosed commercialism. Your hobby won’t be about escaping the grind any more – it will be the grind. You’ll need to hit deadlines, put in an average of 52 hours per week, meet exacting customer service and quality standards, correct errors, and deal with some disappointed and critical consumers.
The foregoing questions may seem gloomy and pessimistic, but that’s simply the reality of the business world. If you can accept these limitations and still enjoy turning your hobby into a business, then starting a new company may be just the thing for you.
If, on the other hand, you’re afraid that turning your hobby into a business will spoil it, you may want to keep it as a hobby. If that’s the case, you can consider starting a more viable business or simply sucking it up and making the leap into a new career — even if that means starting over at the bottom.