Business or Pleasure?

Research for Guardian Money by the Start Up Loans Company and YouGov says that 28 per cent of British adults have considered turning their hobby into a business. However, fewer than one third have gone on to try, the poll of more than 4,000 people found. For those who did start a new hobby-based venture 86 per cent of those surveyed said it gave them greater job satisfaction.

Other research by Axa, however, found that the majority (60 per cent) of people who developed a business from a hobby in the past three years didn’t earn enough to do it full time. The research also calculated that the average income from a hobbyist’s start up was £762, compared with an average monthly figure of £1,113 from other businesses set up in the past three years.

Research from Towergate Insurance says that almost two in five employees (39 per cent) are so fed up at work that they’re thinking of leaving their job to start their own business. Men, it seems, are more willing to take the plunge and start a new venture, with 44 per cent considering starting up their own business, compared to 34 per cent of women.

Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life is what they say, but it may not be quite that straightforward.

Doing it all

A business needs marketing and that’s something you probably haven’t thought about in terms of your hobby. You may be able to make enough paintings, cupcakes, curtains, or customised bikes but then you need to sell them. Once you’ve sold them you have to do your accounts, pay yourself and pay any tax you owe. You need to keep on top of everything from finances to the competition.

With the right tools and attitude, you can learn how to sell yourself and your business from building a website to collecting what is owed to you. When you start a business, you need to notify HMRC and you may need professional advice in respect of tax and other financial commitments. You also need to think about business insurance to ensure you are properly covered.

Remember most successful businesses will take some time before they start to make money. Ensure you have enough of a cushion to support yourself until the business is established and able to provide you with an income. Turning your hobby into a successful career will depend on a number of variables, such as your strengths, weaknesses, determination, and willingness to be practical and plan ahead.

Not so much fun

This is the most important question of them all. You may love making pottery but will you still love it when you’re doing it every day, with deadlines, while marketing and trying to make a profit? This applies to talent jobs too, it’s great for the performer who wins a first role but after three years on the road with a touring company the glamour wears off, however, it probably still beats working in an office. The salary for a talent job or a creative career may not be what you are used to and there’s no job security.

An important thing to take into consideration is that sometimes turning a hobby from part-time to full-time can take all the fun from something you once loved. Take time to explore what it’s like doing your hobby for several hours every day or all weekend to check your level of enjoyment.


Posted: Thursday 16 August 2018

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