How to Successfully Transition from Hobby to Side Job

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Many of the things you currently enjoy doing as a hobby can be tweaked or adjusted to become another form of income. 

It might take some creativity.  It might takes some marketing.  It might just happen.  Here are some examples of things people enjoy that can be turned into a source of income:  babysitting, baking, cutting grass, blogging, carpentry, plumbing, sewing, scrapbooking, house cleaning, and tax services. 

In Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money, Rabbi Daniel Lapin writes: “Most people understand that they enjoy greater success when they feel good about their activities.”  The hobby is a perfect thing to turn into an alternative source of income.

This article is a continuation of a series on small business.  Other articles associated with this series:

How to Fund a Small Business

How to Start a Small Business

How to Evaluate Risk When Starting a Small Business

How to Make the Transition from Hobby to Small Business

Set Goals

  • How much time am I willing to give to this?
  • How much capital am I willing to offer to get things started?
  • What measurable criteria will I use to quit?  You need to know when the dream is dead.
  • Why am I doing this?
  • When am I willing to do this?  Will you give up evenings, weekends, holidays?

Identify how your ‘product’ will help people. 

People will not buy something that does not offer a service. 

Don’t talk about how great the product or service is.  Talk about how much it will help the recipient.  What will it make them feel?  What will it help them avoid?  What problem does it solve in their lives?  How does this information benefit them?

A common misconception is that what makes a good business is greed.  We won’t ever say that out loud, but we think that big, successful businesses must be greedy.  However, if you offer a service to someone and they will happily pay you, this is the small business win-win. 

Set a Reasonable Product or Service Price has a great article here about pricing strategies.  In the article they introduce four ways to price an item.

  1. Cost Plus Pricing – What is the cost of the items you need to purchase?  Add to that amount a set dollar amount or a percentage.
  2. Target Return Pricing – Your price is set by the total amount you wish to earn divided by the number of items you have to offer. 
  3. Value-based Pricing – If your item is going to save someone money, price the item based on how much it will save an individual in a set timeframe.
  4. Psychological Pricing – price the item based on how the customer will perceive the price. 

Is your price too high or too low?

Here are some ways you know if your product is priced appropriately:

  • Compare it to similar items available for purchase.
  • Are you getting more orders than expected?  Working at above 80% capacity probably means you’re not charging enough.  Working below 50% capacity means you either have poor service or charge too much.
  • At times, customers will just tell.  Listen to them. 

Be sure your product or service is either unique or 10% better or 10% cheaper than the competition.

Consider offering an introductory special.  This helps give you confidence and builds up a client base.  When you start getting more requests increase the price (with an explanation).

Establish Boundaries

I already mentioned this under goal setting, but it deserves attention again.  You must decide what you are and are not willing to sacrifice in the transition from hobby to side job.  Small business owners are notorious for giving too much time to their business.  Keep what is most important as most important.  Especially if your product or service becomes popular, you will need to learn to say “no” or reconsider your goals. 

Market Your Product

Every product needs to be marketed.  If you had a hobby that is turning into a side job you probably have a lot of samples available.  If you bake, ask people to write a review.  If you build, take a picture.  Then, depending on the nature of your business, you will need to place your services and your product where people are already gathering.

Where would a person who would use this product shop?  What groups or organizations would they be part of? 

Marketing does not have to be expensive.  For tips, check out Startup Guide to Guerrilla Marketing: A Simple Battle Plan for First-Time Marketers.

This is an edited reprint of the following article Turning a Hobby Into A Source of Income.

This post contains affiliate or advertising links – get more information.

What other tips do you have for a successful transition from hobby to side job?


  1. says

    I believe these are all good points if you are trying to generate income from a hobby. However, there is a big difference between appreciating an unexpected extra income and needing additional income. If it is not needed but appreciated, you have much more flexibility.

    Btw… there are lots of on-line opportunities to sell products like e-bay, but I found better success with for home made products.

    Rosewood…. I am jealous!
    .-= LeanLifeCoach´s last blog ..You can never earn enough, so quit trying! =-.

  2. says

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  3. says

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    It sort of feels too complex and extremely wide for
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