The past year has seen many of us have a whole lot more time on our hands for hobbies. The coronavirus and Covid-19 pandemic has seen governments around the world asking us to stay at home as much as possible. Many of us haven’t been able to work under these circumstances and – seeing as we aren’t able to socialise under these circumstances either – have found ourselves increasingly bored. As a result, more and more people have been picking up hobbies that they can undertake from home to occupy their time and thoughts. Some of the most popular hobbies to pick up have included baking, making jams and pickles, learning a language, reading, watching more films and TV series and much more.
Now, as vaccines for coronavirus and Covid-19 are being rolled out around the world, some of us are feeling reluctant to go back to jobs that we don’t enjoy. We want to continue doing the things that make us happy. Now, some hobbies simply aren’t really monetizable. But some are – and rather than heading back to a job you don’t enjoy, you could set up your business focused around your hobbies and demands for their results. Of course, this is a complex process. So, here are a few steps that can help you to determine whether this is the right step to take and how to go about it if you do decide to follow this path!
Do Your Research
First and foremost, before you take any steps to finding hobbies to pick up and making a business out of your hobby, you need to do your research and work out whether this a viable option to support yourself. Some hobbies can really take off and you may experience vast success. You might have picked up floristry and make a whole lot of money through bouquets, advancing on to events such as weddings or funerals. You may sell a few cakes online and eventually open your very own bakery. You may learn a second language and become a translator. The list goes on. But before you dive in the deep end, you need to determine whether there is demand for your product or service, how much it will cost you to provide these things to customers and whether customers are willing to pay enough for you to cover your own costs and still make a profit.
Make Sure You Have the Equipment You Need
Making money from a hobby is very different from doing something purely for enjoyment. Whether you plan to offer services such as tutoring, consulting, web design, bookkeeping or catering as a side hustle, or you want to use your creative talents to launch a new venture, it’s essential to make sure that you have the equipment you need. If you’re turning your kitchen into a business headquarters to sell cakes, for example, or you’re serious about trying to forge a career in the music industry, you may need to make investments such as new kitchen appliances or gadgets or a drum beat machine. Figure out what you need to convert a passion into an income stream, look around for deals and offers and consider hiring if you can’t afford to buy or the equipment you need is very expensive.
Also consider that while new equipment can cost the earth, second hand units tend to be much more attainable, even if you’re on a tight budget. For example, there are affordable CNC wood routers on the market which are just as capable as box-fresh equivalents, but come in at a lower price point due to being pre-loved.
If you do buy second hand equipment, be aware that you need to be clued into its condition, and also understand any additional maintenance requirements.
Register as Self-Employed
When you are employed and work for a company or another individual, you are registered as employed. Your employer will take monthly deductions from your pay to cover tax, national insurance and other essential payments. If you’re planning on setting up your own business, you will be working for yourself and will have to register as self employed, This is an absolutely essential step that you need to take before getting started. It will inform the government of your new mode of working and will ensure that you can file your tax returns at the end of each fiscal year.
Officially Register Your Company
When you’ve registered as self employed, your next step is to officially register your company. While this isn’t an absolutely essential step, it can help you out a lot financially if your business doesn’t perform as well as you had expected. At the end of the day, we’re living in strange and unpredictable times and it can be hard to plan whether a business will be successful and whether you will be able to generate enough sales to make steady profits. Over the past year, even some of the best established corporations have collapsed. Registering your company can protect your personal finances should you experience failure. When you register your business through Companies House, you ensure that your business is a separate legal entity to you as an individual. This separates your finances and your business’ finances. If your business does experience failure, you and your assets won’t be attached to it. Instead, your business can simply be dissolved. You won’t find bailiffs at your own door seizing your own assets to cover the costs.
Find an Accountant
As we briefly mentioned above, when you run your own business, you need to register as self employed and pay your own taxes and other essential contributions to the government at the end of each tax year. This can be difficult. Taxes are extremely complex and the average person doesn’t know the ins and outs. Seeing as there can be penalties, fines and even jail time given as a result of not filing your taxes correctly, the easiest way to manage your finances is to collaborate with a professional in this field. This professional is generally an accountant. Finding your first accountant can be difficult, but focus on the areas outlined below and you should be fine! Make sure you find that matches, when you decide what hobbies to pick up
- Qualifications – generally speaking, accountants need to be professionally qualified to officially deal with your taxes. At the end of the day, taxes and other forms of record keeping and bookkeeping are legal requirements, so your accountant needs to be recognised by the law in order to take responsibility for them. The qualifications that your chosen accountant should have will differ depending on where you live, so make sure to look up what an accountant needs to work in your local area.
- Experience – as with any other role, experience is a great asset when looking to hire or work with someone. While everyone has to start somewhere and an inexperienced or newly qualified accountant’s services will be cheaper, experience is a bonus that you should look out for. An experienced accountant will really know the ins and outs of the industry and you’ll be able to place full confidence in them to do their job correctly.
Learn How to Invoice
If you’re offering services rather than products, or if you’re offering products on a subscription basis, you’re going to need to learn how to invoice correctly. This is the process of submitting a document to your customer and client detailing how much they owe you and how they can pay it. Now, people make all sorts of mistakes when invoicing which can result in loss of profits. So, you’re going to want to learn how to invoice correctly. The easiest way to achieve this is to work with a company or app who will generate and manage your invoices for you. But if you’re short on funds, you can take care of your invoicing yourself. One of the most common mistakes that people tend to make when invoicing is failing to invoice straight away.
As soon as your goods or services have been sent or once an order has completed or fulfilled, you need to send an invoice to your customer or client immediately. This will speed up the process of actually getting paid, so it’s a step that’s more than worth taking. You may also find that even though you’ve sent your invoice, your client doesn’t pay. Sometimes this is because the client has simply forgotten. Sometimes this may be because the client is permanently delaying paying for their own financial reasons. Either way, make sure that you politely follow up and chase payment, or you may, again, find yourself at a loss.
Set Up a Website
In a world where people are spending increasing amounts of time online, it is pretty much essential that you have a website for your business. Here, you can generate sales and spread awareness of your brand. It’s also a platform for people to get in touch with you, so you can answer their queries, questions and complaints. Sure, you may want to open a traditional brick and mortar store at some point, but the pandemic has shown us that this probably isn’t the best idea right now and you can save a lot of money and hassle by starting out online instead.
Now, there are platforms such as Shopify that make setting up your own website relatively easy and straightforward. But if you want to go all out and have a complete custom site, you will need to work with a web designer and a web developer. These specialists will be able to bring your ideas to life, creating a website from scratch and ensuring that everything works and runs smoothly. It's good idea to thinking about things like this before you decide on what hobbies to pick up.
Consider Packaging and Delivery
If you’re selling products, a step that many people forget until the last minute is packaging and delivery. When you make a sale, you’re going to have to get your product to your customer and you’re going to have to get it there in good shape. If possible, choose eco friendly packaging options with your own branding printed on them and use a reliable courier with good reviews.
As you can see, there are a lot of steps to take on the journey to setting up your own business. But once you’re up and running, you’ll likely find that all of the time, effort and financial investment was more than worth it! So, give it a go! It could be great for you!
Examples of Hobbies to Pick Up:
This car air freshener is so easy and cute! You probably have these items in the house already. You can easily find everything to make this at your local dollar store! Scroll down for the tutorial!