Do you have a hobby that people will be willing to pay for? If so, you could actually turn that hobby into a really profitable business.

Don’t get me wrong. That you can cook great meals does not mean you should set up a restaurant. A hobby that you can turn into a business goes beyond that. A hobby is a skill that you are passionate about.

Earning money from something you enjoy doing beats doing it for free, right? However, before you go and quit your job, you need to be certain that you’re ready for the responsibility of business ownership. As a woman, this can mean combining your new business with family responsibilities. There is a big difference between making pocket change from your hobby and running a full time business.

If you feel the time is right to monetize your hobby, here are six steps to help you get started.

1. Assess yourself

As I pointed out in the introduction, there is a huge difference between working on your hobby and working on your business. It takes more energy and stamina to push your hobby up to the point where it becomes a viable business. And don’t forget about your other responsibilities. If you have children, you might have a home to keep an eye on. If you’re not, there are probably a lot of other responsibilities you have that take up some part of your time.

If you don’t get it right, you may end up hating a talent that brings you joy. Therefore, before you embark into the unknown world of turning your hobby into a business, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will you still enjoy it even if it means more responsibility and meeting deadlines?
  • Will it still be fun even if it means that if you don’t do it, you probably won’t have money for rent or your mortgage?
  • Are you really committed to making a successful business out of a hobby that was safe and undemanding?
  • Will you be able to convince people that your hobby is worth paying for?
  • Can you be self-motivated when things appear not to be working as planned?

You should answer these questions before you continue with the process of making a business out of your hobby. Thankfully, startups today can count on several valuable online business tools and loan options to help them perform transactions and other activities with ease, speed, and security from anywhere in the world. However, in addition to these useful tools and opportunities, successful business requires hard work and dedication. If you don’t plan well, you can easily take the fun out of an otherwise enjoyable pastime.

2. Test the Waters

It’s important that you test the waters before fully committing your time and resources into a new business. Develop your business first as a side hustle while still maintaining the security of your current source of income. This will give you the opportunity to test your business model to see if it’s actually viable and will appeal to paying customers. You can also use this period to determine the profitability of your new venture.

Remember, manage your time well so you don’t lose your job before you’re ready to leave. You may need a steady income while fine-tuning your business plans.

3. Grow Your Network

You need customers for your business to grow and a large portion of your customers will come from your existing relationships. It’s important, therefore, that you take advantage of your existing contacts to build up a database of potential customers. Reach out to friends and family members, neighbors, and anyone you know who might appreciate what you do. You should also take advantage of your partner’s contacts to grow your network.

You can also build up a network of customers from people you’ve never met before. Social media provides one of the easiest platforms to meet people who share the same interest with you. You can also meet and network with women like yourself who are building a name for themselves in the world of business.

The size of your network both online and offline will significantly determine the size of your customer base.

4. Think Big but Keep Things Affordable

That you want your business to compete with others ahead of you does not mean you should ignore the affordable resources available to you. If your business is one that you can run successfully from your home, you have no need to pay for a physical office. Sometimes, the size of your setup doesn’t necessarily dictate the size of your business. If you plan on putting your business online (which you should), then you should choose affordable hosting options and discount domains which while saving you money will also give you the exact same features as any you can get elsewhere.

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your business has to grow to a point where it obviously needs extra resources before you should put more in.

5. Keep Improving

It’s important to re-emphasize that running a business is not the same as managing a hobby. For your hobby, you may not really need to keep up with current trends. After all, you’re doing it because it’s something you enjoy. But when you decide you want to turn your business into something that pays you, you have to keep up with trends in order to remain relevant.

It’s safe to assume that regardless of what you do, every day brings with it newer and better ways to get things done. You need to constantly keep on improving your skills and methods in order to hold your own in the ever-changing and highly-competitive marketplace.

6. Learn How To Be Unique

Even if you paint murals on fabric, someone is doing the same somewhere else. In this age of the internet and social media, that other person is a direct competitor no matter where their business is based. It’s important, therefore, that you find ways to make your own business stand out from others. Look for something to make you unique. It could be your packaging, your service delivery, or your customer service. Identify a part of your business that would increase your market appeal and develop it.

Turning your hobby into a business is not only a great way to put money in your pocket, it’s also a great way to be your own boss. If you have a skill that you’re passionate about and would like to make a business from, then apply the steps discussed above and join the league of extraordinary women making a name for themselves in business.

Good luck.