How To Turn A Hobby Into A Home Business


As the old saying goes “Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”. Many people have hobbies and for those looking to make some extra money, selling home-made items can be an attractive way to do it. Let’s look at the realities.
Can You Manage The Commitment? 
If your plan is to make goods first and then sell them face to face if you can, then you need to make sure that you have enough stock for your outings, but otherwise you don’t have to worry too much about meeting commitments. If you offer delivery or you make goods to order then you have to be prepared to meet that commitment, no matter what else is going on in your life. Customers will generally be sympathetic to genuine reasons such as illness or emergencies, but if you have a hectic job and family life, taking on another commitment may be a step too far unless you’re really keen. 
Is There A Market? 
It can be easy to think of a market in terms of potential customers; however you also need to consider potential competition. If your passion is only of interest to a minority of people you may still be able to make decent money at it, provided that there is minimal to no competition. If your hobby is more mainstream, you may have a larger customer base, but you’re likely to have a huge amount of competition. 
Remember that the global nature of the internet cuts both ways. You can reach the world’s customers but the world’s competition can also reach your local customers. For a newcomer, eBay and Etsy may bring in sales, but it’s very easy to get lost amongst all the other sellers if you’re in a mainstream market. It may be better to start locally and build an off- and online presence organically before going onto these sites, if you elect to use them at all. 
Is There Money In It? 
If you’re simply looking to make a bit of extra cash on something you were planning to do anyway, you may be happy with a minimal profit, but if you seriously want to turn your hobby into a business you need to be able to make a decent living at it. Taking into account the two other questions, can you sell enough at enough of a profit to make it worth your while to do so? 
Sooner Or Later The Tax Man Has To Be Paid 
Legally you need to register as self-employed within three months of starting your own business. Even if you don’t actually make any money, even if you actually make a loss, you still need to file a tax return. The good news is, filing taxes is not actually that complicated. You will be asked the nature of the business so you can deduct the cost of relevant materials from your tax. For example if your business is making cards, you can claim for pearl card but not for knitting needles.
The author is a freelance writer and translator who will one day write a novel. In the meantime, she’s busy cleaning out the clutter in her house and walking her dog. She also enjoys photography and playing poker and backgammon. She’s currently re-reading the Inspector Rebus series from the beginning.


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