|How to turn your hobby into a successful
Don't do you homework and you could
find yourself losing rather than making money. Stephen Fairley,
for example, found that Entrepreneur magazine rated personal
coaching as one of the fastest growing forms of self-employment.
That sounded promising, but in researching his own book, "Getting
Started in Personal and Executive Coaching," Fairley learned
that 73 percent of all coaches make less than $10,000 in their first
year and that 53 percent of all coaches make less than $20,000 a
That didn't dissuade Fairley from coaching, but it
did show him that anybody going into coaching had to find a way
to make more money than the average coach. Fairley's method for
boosting his profits: coaching coaches and writing books.
Step 3: Take
stock of your business sense.
In addition to doing strict statistical research, you also need
to look inward and take stock of your own abilities:
- Do you have what it takes to run a business?
- Can you have your business and the lifestyle you
- Will you still love your hobby when it's a business?
"Many times we love to do something, but that
doesn't mean we love the process we have to go through to enable
us to do that thing and make money," says Leslie Ungar, executive
coach and founder of Electric Impulse Inc./Igniting Careers in Akron,
For example, you may love practicing yoga and have
the skills to be a great yoga teacher, but if you don't like selling
-- placing advertisements, convincing people to take your classes,
glad-handing at trade shows -- then yoga should probably remain
"You may love your hobby, but ask yourself
if you will love the marketing you will need to do to enable you
to 'do' your hobby?" Ungar asks.
Ungar also reminds would-be entrepreneurs that when
a hobby becomes a business, the approach to the activity changes.
"Will it still be a passion when you have to work at it?"
A bike-frame manufacturer learned such a lesson. All
went well until he decided to open a bicycle store. While he loved
designing and crafting bike frames, he hated managing people at
the store and dealing with retail customers. Two years after the
store opened, the entrepreneur closed the doors to again focus strictly
on manufacturing. "I've never seen him happier," says
Step 4: Be realistic
about how it will affect your life.
You also have to consider what impact your entrepreneurial venture
will have on your family. Keep in mind that to turn a hobby into
a business requires a lot of work, including late nights and weekends.
"You have to do a lot of soul searching before
you go ahead," says Klein, who also is president of Financial
Design Center. "What effect will having a business have on
your family and your long-term financial goals? Does it really make
If you have small children who require a lot of care
and attention, you might want to reconsider plans to become an entrepreneur.
But if your children are grown and you're close to retirement, now
may be the perfect time to start your own business.