From gaming to bubble tea, viable businesses are often born from hobbies. If you've been considering turning your passion into a payslip, completing a series of steps and acquiring a variety of skills can put you on the path to success.
Here are 10 tips to get you started.
1. Do a Reality Check
A hobby is something you do for enjoyment when you're not at work. When you make it your livelihood, however, you have to be willing to put in the time it takes to launch a business, please customers, and meet deadlines.
To be committed, you should have a passion for what you do.
Steve Jobs said that "The only way to do great work is to love what you do." Ray Kroc also said that "if you work just for money, you'll never make it, but if you love what you're doing and you always put your customer first, success will be yours."
2. Test the Concept
"Entrepreneurs believe that profit is what matters most in a new enterprise. But profit is secondary. Cash flow matters most." suggests Peter Drucker. "It's emotionally and financially hard to go from being a salaried employee to an entrepreneur. To avoid worrying about rent or food on the table, I made sure to save up at least two years of living expenses to get through these early years."
Yours should include:
- An executive summary
- Company overview
- List of products and services
- Market strategies
- Sales and marketing plan
- Milestones and metrics
- Management team
- Financial plan
4. Build Your Brand
Branding is important when it comes to recognition. You will need a business name and logo that will convey your business personality and look good on a website, business card, and advertisement. Choose colors that resonate best with your target market.
AJ Boelens of Innovation Connected created his own branding. "I chose the company name, made the logo myself using BrandCrowd, and picked the colors," he says. "I think most people can do this themselves, but might need a little guidance."
5. Perfect Your Elevator Pitch
Every time you meet someone new, share your business mission in 30 seconds or less. Huan tells people, "I help business owners get into Singapore. The typical business owner needs help getting past the first couple of milestones, and I know what to teach them. I've had business owners secure new customers within the first 3 months of setting up in Singapore. Do you know anyone who might need my help?"
6. Create a Web Presence
"With technology such as Skype and Zoom, I coach business owners all across the globe," Huan says.
7. Develop a Marketing Strategy
Your products and services are amazing, and you need to tell the world. Marketing doesn't have to be expensive. Start with free social media accounts. Join professional networks like EGN to spread the word. And as you get more sales, try paid marketing opportunities, like social media ads.
"Plan on social media and marketing taking more time than you think," says Madhav Mimani, owner of Casedodo, which offer iphone accessories online. "But it is important and worth the time and effort to get in front of your desired audience. Leverage resources available to you to either learn how to do it effectively, or make a decision to outsource."
8. Find Your Customers
Seek out your target market. "Put a lot of thought into the groups and places your target audience might be in," suggests Madhav. "For me, it's all the millenial groups. Think creatively on how you can partner with those places and bring value to the business and your desired customer," he adds.
9. Watch Your Finances
Turning your hobby into a business means reporting your income and paying taxes. Set up a business bank account. Hire an accountant or get accounting software that can help you keep track of your finances. You may have to curb your spending to have enough money to flow into your business.
"I put a full stop to my retail therapy habits to make sure I put an end to any unnecessary cash outflow," says Lim.
10. Get a Coach
Having a Coach who can offer advice from personal experience is valuable.
"Passion alone can't cut it. For passion to survive it needs structure. A why without how has little probability of success," says Simon Sinek, a British-American author and inspirational speaker. "Learn from the people who already went through the nitty-gritty of starting their own business. These people can provide you things to avoid and improve for you to be successful."
When you invest time and energy necessary to complete these steps, you give your business a better chance of success. Launching a company and watching it grow can be a rewarding job that you create for yourself.
Hear the real life experience of building a business from Singapore