So my previous articles have convinced you; you want to start a business.
Or maybe you have already started, but it's still in the 'hobby' phase.
Perhaps you have started a blog on your favorite topic. You blog regularly. Let's say your topic is scrapbooking.
You regularly blog about new ideas on scrapbooking. You share inspiring ideas that you have come across. You may even share some scrapbooking techniques and teach others how to use it as well.
You are starting to build some traffic and have regular comments.
Your social media channels are growing and you are getting increasingly active on Pinterest.
You are also sharing your posts and images on Pinterest and see some traffic coming from there as well.
You are growling slowly but steadily.
So let's take stock for a moment. Is this a hobby or a business?
Do you know the answer to that question?
It's really important that you do, because your satisfaction with what you're doing is dependant on the answer. As is, in most cases, you level of success.
You will have to go back to earlier posts on site site, like finding your why and how to discover your passion and find the work you love.
Here are some signs that what you're doing is really a hobby
- You're not setting clear goals
- You don't have a plan on how you are going to make money
- You're not strategic about what to spend your time on
- You don't have a clear social media plan
- You're not working on your (business) systems
- You haven't started collecting email addresses through your website
- You're not investing in your training and development to move the business forward
As mentioned, perhaps these things are not important to you and that's perfectly fine, but realise then that what you are doing is a hobby, NOT a business. Some hobbies should not become businesses and not every passion you have can be turned into one.
That's why you need to know which of your passions will stay a hobby and which one (yes only one!) can become a business.
Since this website will be focussed on creating successful online business, let's discover what you need to do to turn your hobby into a business.
Your business plan
You don't need to have an official 'business plan' but it is good to think about how you can turn the hobby that you have chosen into a business. How do you see yourself make money from it? How much money do you want to make and how are you going to that? You need to understand and focus on a business model.
Let's take the example of scrapbooking again.
Let's say you want to make an extra $2000 per month. Some potential revenue streams include:
- Create articles for other websites and get paid per article (67 hours of work based on a $30 / hour rate)
- Provide one on one consultations on coaching and scrapbooking (10 clients paying $200 per session)
- Organise in-person workshops on scrapbooking (1 workshop per month with 10 people paying $200 per person)
- Sell an ebook or product bundle with lots of inspiring scrapbooking ideas (100 ebooks sold at $20 per book)
- Write a book about scrapbooking and self publish on Amazon (200 books sold at $10 per book)
- Create a scrapbooking online course where you share all your best tips (5 people per month paying $600 per person)
- Create a scrapbooking membership site where you share new techniques every month and build a community around scrapbooking around a particular topic (100 members paying $20 / month)
- Host online paid scrapbooking webinars with experts in the field that people can sign up for (30 signups paying $66)
- Create a high traffic blog/website and earn through sponsorships and advertising and affiliate commissions (1 advertorial at $800, affiliate commission of $700 and advertising at $500)
These are just a few ideas and if you feel they are far-fetched, then think again because I know successful businesses in the area of scrapbooking that are using each of these revenue streams. Of course, you can also use a combination of these options.
There is also a particular order in the ideas I listed above as I have listed them from easiest to hardest.
You may be surprised that I listed a high traffic blog and making money from advertising and affiliate sales as ones of the hardest things to do to make a decent income stream. The reason for that is that competition is fierce and it's not easy to get a lot of traffic fast.
And even if you have that traffic, it's not that easy to earn a lot just from advertising alone. My business has grown, because in addition to revenue from advertising, advertorials and affiliate sales, I also offer courses and a membership site.
The good news though, is that you don't need a lot of traffic to start earning income from you hobby business. You simply need to be focussed and strategic. Traffic is still important, but it should not always be your main focus.
Which brings us back to knowing what you want to accomplish and your business plan. Your desired revenue model determines what you need to focus on.
For many, if not most of you, your blog will be the supporter of your business. It will not BE the business. You will blog and add content to your website so you can sell your products and services. That is the smart way to think about blogging these days.
It also does not have to be a blog. It can be a video channel or a podcast, but you will create interesting content on a regular basis that will help, support or inspire your audience. You are showing them your expertise and stay in contact with them on a regular basis. This is how your audience will get to know you and how you can grow your audience. You want your audience to know, like and trust you so that eventually, when you do offer a product or service to them, they will buy.
That is precisely what I'm going to do here at 40+entrepreneur as well. There is not going to be a HUGE amount of content on this site. But there will be new content on an ongoing basis (articles, videos, podcasts) and this will support the business behind 40+Entrepreneur which is going to be specific courses on topics that matter to you on becoming successful online.
For today, ask yourself this simple question: Is what I'm doing a hobby or a business? And if you you say it is a business are you treating it like one? What will be your business model?