You can then begin to make your contacts, send out press releases and generally plan for the day you will be able to kiss being an employee goodbye.
This way you won’t be losing any income while you are getting things up and running.
Unless you have a sizeable chunk of capital to inject into the business at the beginning therefore, this is the best way to start – slow and carefully.
Everyone would love to get paid for doing something they would be doing anyway, so building up a small business from a hobby is the ideal way to make a living.
Not only will you be your own boss, you will be doing something you love to do anyway – work isnt like work if you enjoy what you are doing.
On top of this, if you are marketing your own products and designs you are far more likely to work harder and have a belief in your product.
Also, the love you put into producing your work will shine through, not like if you were selling or promoting someone elses wares.
There are many ways to turn a hobby into a business.
It doesnt necessarily have to be something you make to sell. If you like cooking, why not start a recipe newsletter for other like minded chefs.
Or if your forte is fancy cakes or cheesecakes, why not try to get one or two regular customers, in the way of coffee bars or sandwich shops, to buy your extravagant confections to sell in slices to customers.
Obviously if you are going to do something like this you will have to comply with health and safety regulations, but it is definitely something worth considering.
If you enjoy making crafts, why not sell them via mail order, rather than going down the usual route of selling through craft fairs.
What about sewing?
Are you a good quilter?
Could you make exclusive cot quilts and bumpers?
Cuddly toys, clothes alterations, soft furnishings?
All these pastimes can be turned into lucrative businesses, especially on a part-time basis.
By working as many hours, or taking as many or as few orders as you like, you can control how big your business grows and at what rate.
When you have decided to take the plunge, it is worth reading up on how other people have started up home based businesses.
You can get plenty of books from the library which will not only give you inspiration, but inform you of tax, insurance and accounting. Also statutory rules and regulations you may have to comply with.
Your hobby might involve a very specialised product, or may even be something that relates to a locality.
If you are a collector and want to start up an agency that deals with your particular obsession, then the best way to find other like minded souls, is by advertising your service or product in some of the specialist magazines that are available on the news- stands or via internet newsletters on the subject.
These days, you can get magazines on any subject under the sun, from miniatures, through to everything British, family trees through to card making. Theyre all there if you just go out and find them.
Also it is worthwhile looking in trade magazines too, which refer to the field you will be entering into.
Many useful contacts and associations can be found in the pages and you will need all the information and help you can get at the beginning.
The next stop is to find out if there are grants or bursaries available to the small business person.
If you feel confident and your research tells you that it would be safe to give up employment and go the whole hog straight away, contact your local employment centre to find out if there are any allowances to help the new business person.
When I started freelancing designing knitting patterns for magazines many years ago, I got something called The Enterprise Allowance Scheme which gave me £40 per week for a certain length of time in order to get my business off the ground.
(Australia has NEIS for anyone on benefits interested in starting a business, after completing the NEIS small business training contact Centrelink)
If your product or service will sell on a local level, why not try leafleting door to door in your area, posting small A5 flyers promoting your services.
Alternatively, you could always use the tried and tested method of post cards in shop windows. Not very glamorous admittedly, but an effective way of advertising very cheaply.
On the other hand, if you are going to have to advertise nationally, then you will have to have at least some budget put aside for this purpose before you start.
Advertising can be expensive – but doesnt have to be. It depends on the publication. Why not try contacting magazines relevant to your product with a press release telling your story or advertising what you have to offer?
You might even get a feature about you. Your story has to be unusual or different however, if you are to hit gold straight away by sending press releases.
In summary, turning your hobby into a part-time business is the ideal way to be your own boss, work at something which you are doing – and get paid for it, be in complete control of your working life and have the opportunity of working from home.
You have to do your research before you start though.
Never jump in before you are confident that there is a market for your product and that you have enough financial reserves to keep you going during the early days of your business.
Gail Miller is author of “WILD CHILD – A Mother, A Son & ADHD” The true story of a mother driven to despair by her unruly son, and her fight with the authorities for recognition & treatment for his condition. ISBN 1 872229 24 7 Patten Press http://home.freeuk.net/theadhdgazette/wild.html She also publishes “The ADD / ADHD Gazette” the on – line ezine accenting the positive side of ADHD. http://www.onelist.com/subscribe.cgi/ADDGazette
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