Every week I get tons of questions from my readers regarding blogging, business, and projects. So, I decided to start a new series of guest blog posts that aim to answer some of the most frequent questions you guys send me! This week, John Malecki is here talking about one of the most popular questions I get – how to turn your hobby into a business.
I get this question quite often, ever since I ended my football career and began living my life on my own terms. For those of you that don’t know me, I played football since I was little, and was fortunate to play 4 seasons in the NFL, mostly with the Pittsburgh Steelers. You can check out my bio on my website if you have more interest in that. So, as we all know, you can’t play football forever. So, what was I to do when I was done? Well, fortunately for me I developed some skills around making furniture. And was able to start a business using that skill.
I started out in my garage living in the city with very very minimal tools. I needed a coffee table and bought the necessary tools to get that done. That is where my addiction began. For 3 years I was a garage woodworker and hobbyist, I was in a garage up until about 15 months ago actually. But being in a garage does not mean you cannot monetize your passion. Some of the biggest issues with making the leap from a weekend warrior to a full time business come from having no sense of how to run a business. Which is understandable, because for most people, you haven’t ever owned or ran a business.
So, I want to talk about a few items to help you get from a hobbyist to a business. First, getting organized. For me, this is still a work in progress and it constantly will be. I have terrible habit when it comes to keeping my shop, workflow, and overall process organized. But recently I have been using more tools to supplement my issues. For instance, Sketchup. Now if you don’t know what Sketchup is, Google or YouTube it. I watched a few courses on Lynda.com and on YouTube that literally changed the speed and efficiency of how I order and approach projects. I usually would just go in the shop and make something in my head come to life, that was killing my productivity. So, give Sketchup a look. See if it’s something you can learn to supplement your work flow.
Two, marketing. You have to incorporate this into your business model. When you’re a hobbyist you are building whenever you want and sharing it on your social media outlets as the project comes along. And this is fine, until your life depends on it. Which is what happens when you begin running a business. Providing beautiful and attractive photos of your projects and process is exactly how you build a brand and grow. But this takes work. For over a year I did all my social media postings and engagement via my phone one at a time. But now I use a few tools. Hootsuite, Coschedule, and Latergramme are three products that help to schedule your social media and save you some time to keep your hands on projects. Use these tools and I promise you will find yourself doing more productive creating instead of punching keys on your computer.
My last tool is going to be the most important. And that is you. If you really love your hobby enough to want to do it full time, you need to do it full time. This may sound like something that would be easy and not as obvious. But seriously, take a good long look in the mirror and get ready to go on one hell of a ride. Being your own boss is great, but it is also terrifying. It takes a lot of mental stability to handle the fact that your world will depend on your hands and your will. Have a plan of attack and legitimate goals for yourself. Stay grounded and humble, be self aware. Have a gameplan for investing in yourself, whether that is in new equipment or in an assistant or help, whatever you need to get yourself mentally in the right place. Maximize the tools you have available to you and push yourself and your work. Just be conscious that this stuff is scary. Be ready for it. You will literally be terrified. Especially when things are slow. But stay the course, believe in yourself, believe in your skills, and don’t let the fear of failure destroy your dreams. Every great person in the history of mankind has failed at some point. You will struggle too, and you will be fine. I promise.
For more project ideas and building tips, make sure to visit John’s website!