How do you become a lifestyle entrepreneur?

Turning hobbies into successful businesses

In my last article, I discussed the difference between lifestyle and business entrepreneurship. Some entrepreneurs don’t have the desire to create big businesses. Instead they want to run a business doing something they love to do. A business that gives them enjoyment and enough money to live the life they enjoy. They want to become a lifestyle entrepreneur.

If this sounds like the sort of business you want to own and run, then let’s get started on some basics.

Is it possible to turn a hobby into a business?

The short answer to this question is yes. The most common examples of hobbies that can generate income as a business include:

  • Cooking (How many top chefs own large restaurant chains?)
  • Photography
  • Sports or personal coaching (Ever heard of CrossFit?)
  • Brewing (Yep, craft beer is now a big business)
  • Arts and crafts (As an example, Carla Sue Greeting Cards and Gifts, available in stores across the nation)

It’s possible to create a business from almost any hobby. The question is, how do you get started?

Step #1: Figure out your lifestyle goals

You want to create a lifestyle business, so you best know what lifestyle you want. For example:

  • Do you want to travel?
  • Do you want more time at home with the family?
  • At work, do you want to be hands-on (you certainly will be at the beginning) or manage others?
  • Where do you want to live?

A lifestyle entrepreneur enjoys their work and their life. To do this, you better be a good time manager. You’ll need to organize your diary to fit in around your life, and not your work. Again, that’s going to be hard when you’re just starting out. You’ll have to get good at saying ‘no’, and committing to tasks and activities that are good for your business.

Step #2: Identify your passion and your skills

You’re great at making gifts and cards, and it’s something you enjoy doing. You can’t wait to get home after a hard day at work and sit at your crafting table. But this passion isn’t enough on its own.

You must be good at what you do. If you’re great at making greetings cards, and all your family and friends love them, then this is a good start. If you are in demand as an amateur photographer, then it’s a good sign that you could create a business from your hobby. But this isn’t enough.

You must also identify your skills and how they could help you in business. As a lifestyle entrepreneur you are likely to be:

  • Coaching others
  • Selling your abilities
  • Selling products that you make

Step #3: Develop a few business ideas

Combine your passion with your skills to think of business ideas. For example: as a keen and skilled amateur photographer, you might teach others in class or online; take wedding, portrait, or other photos; or sell photos as works of art, or to magazines.

Share your idea with your friends and family, and get their opinions. Thank them for helping you on your journey – and then seek a professional opinion. Find a business coach or mentor who has a track record of helping new businesses get started.

Step #4: Create a business plan and get financing

A business plan is your roadmap to success. It’s going to detail your revenue sources, costs, and profit expectations. In your business plan, you will provide the basis of where you will be trading, who you will be selling to, and the team you’ll need to support you.

Your business plan will also give you a good idea of the work involved, and the financing you’ll need to get started – and this is likely to be more than you think.

Step #5: Be prepared to work hard and for the long haul

No one is an overnight success. Not even those who think they are. They’ve put in months and years of effort to get where they are today. They’ve trained, learned, and listened to advice. They’ve been on the roller coaster, fallen off, got back on, and overcome the challenges of first-time entrepreneurs.

Be ready to question what you are doing. You’ll wonder why others are achieving greater success than you. Instead of being envious, be inspired. If they can do it, so can you.

Analyze your business, decide what is working well and what is not working so well – and then take the action needed to boost your success to where you need it to be to benefit from the lifestyle you desire.

Here’s what I know

It’s perfectly possible to create a business from your passion. A business that will support the lifestyle you desire. But you must be sure about those passions and that you want to create a business from them – many lifestyle entrepreneurs find that building a business from a hobby destroys their enjoyment of that hobby.

Remember, too, that no one cares about your business as much as you do. You’re the center of a lifestyle business, and you’ll be working harder than any of your team to get it off the ground and create success. It’s your passion. It’s your employees’ jobs.

Finally, get a mentor. Someone who has been there, done it, worn the T-shirt, and written the book. Accept their advice, criticism, recommendations, and feedback. Every successful entrepreneur I know has benefited from an unbiased opinion and advice from a mentor or business coach.

Are you considering turning your hobby or passion into a business? Have you thought about what skills you have, and how they can combine with your passion to create something vibrant and exciting? Does the thought of creating a business plan fill you with dread?

Let me know your aspirations and your concerns in the comments below – I’ll try to address them either directly or in a future article.

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