I will call it a hobby for want of another term, but a hobby is usually a passion, something you enjoy creating or making, or being involved with. Often hobbyists fall into their businesses by accident.
They create something to meet their own need, because they can’t purchase what they want. Others see your creation, and before you know it, you are producing for real customers with the same un-met demand.
The same example can be made of artists who produce art initially for themselves, often driven by the need to creatively express themselves and then wonder if they could turn their art into a real business.
There logical steps to constructing anything functional like a business and it all starts with your specific dreams for your business enterprise. If you have a passion, or creative hobby; then here are some steps that you will need to take to move from a hobby to a successful business.
1. Purpose, vision and values:
Self belief to realise your dream starts with believing that you can be a successful business. The only way to be truly unique is to be clear about who you are and what you have to offer. Some will love your work, and some will not. But you can’t please everyone and you don’t want to try.
2. Write a plan:
Whether you write a business plan or a marketing plan will depend on what you want to use it for. A business plan will be expected if you wish to apply for financial support. If you don’t want to take out a loan or apply for a grant; a marketing plan will help you identify your target market, set marketing objectives and strategies; and create a priority action plan to help you stay focussed on your goals. You must identify a market for your work and target your promotions to this market; if you want to enjoy the benefits of your hard work.
3. Pricing your creations:
It is a familiar trait of creative people to not compensate themselves for their time. If you can’t create something and price it at the overhead costs plus your time; you need to find another product that you can make a margin from. It’s the first rule of a potentially successful business – pay yourself first.
4. Diversify your market offer:
Once you have a market for one or two products, it’s time to think about what other products you could create that will meet the needs of your market. Your marketing plan will be the mechanism for understanding your target market and other products or services they need.
The market for original art is relatively small when compared to other merchandise. What other ways can you create products using your art at different price points? This is your chance to use your creativity in broadening your marketing offer to appeal to a broader market.
5. Market Online:
Create a website that displays your work, tells your authentic story; and allows people to purchase online. Create social media platforms to direct traffic to your website.
6. Go public:
When starting your business, selling your work at local markets and other networking events gives you the advantage of showing your work in person. Plus, it doesn’t require the commitment and expense of setting up a shop. This lets you test the waters of running a business, learning how interested local customers may be, and what they are prepared to pay.
To succeed as a creative business you have to deliver a unique point of difference, and a unique value proposition, to a target market. You must be courageous, passionate and be ready to speak authentically and offer the world your story and ideas.
If you are a hobbyist ready to take the plunge, I hope you found these tips useful? Please leave a comment below:
About the author: Teresa Bassham is the principle of Zenworkz Authentic Marketing, and is passionate about educating small and medium business professionals to create their differential advantage, attract more ideal customers and create a marketing plan to achieve success. She coaches customers online and by phone – if you would like to request coaching – please contact me.