How Do You Turn a Hobby into a Business?
Turning a hobby into a business is a dream for many, but how does it actually happen? We’ve gathered eight inspiring stories from founders, CEOs, and other professionals who’ve done just that. From the birth of a new app to the evolution of a sports podcast into a media company, these individuals share their journey from hobbyists to business owners.
- Productivity Hobby Births a New Application
- Software Development Fuels Company Creation
- Unexpected Request Sparks Profitable Artistic Venture
- Calligraphy Hobby Morphs into a Teaching Business
- Travel and Art Transforms into a Business
- Turning Limited Resources into a Successful Blog
- From Travel Enthusiast to Business Owner
- Sports Podcast Evolves into Media Company
Productivity Hobby Births a New Application
I’ve always been a bit of a productivity nerd, especially as someone who struggles a lot with akrasia—or in simple terms, procrastination. So any new productivity tool or app that came into the market instantly became a subject of fascination.
But every such product I’d see would be missing something. It finally clicked that what I was looking for was a human touch. So I decided to create Boss as a Service, an accountability partner app that helps you stay productive by making you answerable to real, live bosses who help you beat procrastination and achieve your goals.
Software Development Fuels Company Creation
My friends usually facetiously call me a “computer scientist”, but that’s not true. Actually, I’m having a hard time with common programs like MS Word, Corel Draw, Photoshop, etc. It is only software development that I am skilled at. I have been doing it since I was very young (15 years old). It was indeed a hobby back then.
I started working on a regular job from 8 AM to 5 PM, and several years later we decided to launch our own business with my brother. Nothing has changed to this day; developing software is still my passion. Working with what I love and mentoring people with similar interests and ambitions makes me feel fortunate.
Unexpected Request Sparks Profitable Artistic Venture
It all began as a pastime and an escape from my daily grind. In those moments of pursuing my deep passion, I found solace and joy. Over time, as my skill kept on developing, my creations got more recognition from my friends and family.
Everyone encouraged me to explore my potential, and the turning point arrived when I got an unexpected request from a stranger to do my work online, and he was willing to pay for it. That was the first time I understood that my work has a unique value. This motivated me, and finally, it was time to transition my hobby into a business, and then the venture began.
I always tried to embrace my skills and also learn other skills like pricing, management, marketing, and scaling up my production. Also, I ensure that I am constantly embracing my skills by attending workshops and collaborating with other people who are better at it. This testament is proof that you can leverage your passion into profit.
Calligraphy Hobby Morphs into Teaching Business
I turned my hobby of calligraphy into a business by offering classes and workshops to teach others. I initially started by teaching friends and family, then began posting about my classes on social media. As demand grew, I rented out a space to hold classes and eventually opened up a physical location, offering a variety of art classes.
This allowed me to make money from teaching and from selling supplies and equipment. The turning point for me was when I had a waitlist of people wanting to take my classes, and I realized that I had a viable business on my hands.
I continued to expand my offerings and now have a thriving business with a loyal customer base. By teaching others, I was not only able to turn my hobby into a business but also share my passion and inspire others to pursue their own creative endeavors.
Travel and Art Hobby Transforms into Business
My hobbies are traveling, taking photos, and painting. Since I was young I have loved going to different places and taking pictures of beautiful sceneries. Then, I paint these sceneries and give them to my family and friends. I usually give this as a gift on their birthdays or during Christmas.
I realized that I can turn it into a business when one of my aunts commissioned me to do a number of paintings of beautiful scenery for her friends. This was the time that I knew I had to be better to earn more. I enrolled in professional painting and photography classes to hone my skills.
I then used what I was earning to fund my travels and get new inspirations for my photos and paintings. I invested heavily in myself and my skills, attending classes and seminars, and learning from fellow painters. This is how I turned my hobby into a business.
Zoe Wallace, Chief Content Officer and Travel Author, Culture.org
Turning Limited Resources into a Successful Blog
I come from an average Nigerian household that never understood the power of the Internet. I had to work with a limited power supply, limited data, and a laptop that had no battery.
Despite these dire circumstances, I was not deterred from pursuing my goal to leverage the Internet to generate income.
I devoured every free online marketing material I could find. I would spend 12 hours daily studying free courses, as much as my limited data would allow. I remember only reading blogs instead of watching YouTube videos, so I wouldn’t exhaust my data.
The pivotal point in my story was when I decided to act on everything I learned. I saved up to buy my first domain, which was a six-month hosting package from Hostgator. After a year, I made my first few dollars through affiliate marketing.
That was the first of many. Fast forward to five years later, that blog is now earning five digits monthly, among three other blogs. That blog was Khrisdigital.com, a self-branded domain inspired by Neil Patel.
From Travel Enthusiast to Business Owner
Twenty years ago, I loved to travel and experience new things—I started blogging as a hobby to virtually explore those places and it bloomed into a series of businesses. My wife and I now manage a network of travel and lifestyle blogs, as well as a travel agency, and are continuing to look for opportunities to invest in travel businesses where we can leverage our skills and passions.
The turning points in our hobby-to-business path have always been discovering opportunities to make money. It started with “Oh, I can get free stuff and save money on travel” but I still had to have a “real job”. Then it became an “I need money so how do we make this a real job” and that required that I make specific concessions to the site design and editorial calendar.
More recently, it became a realization that it would be more profitable to sell travel rather than just accept advertising dollars from brands to promote their product. This cycle continues today of chasing revenue opportunities to grow the business.
Sports Podcast Evolves into Media Company
I started a sports podcast about my favorite team as a hobby. As my following grew, I added more podcasts on different sports topics. I also started writing articles and producing video content. I turned my hobby into a business when I realized I could monetize through sponsorships and merchandise sales.
I now have a sports media company with multiple revenue streams and a dedicated team of writers and producers. The turning point was when I signed my first major sponsor and was able to invest in hiring a team to help me expand.
Submit Your Answer
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