If the pandemic taught us anything it would be to expect the unexpected. While it caused hundreds of thousands of businesses to close down, at the same time applications for new businesses have been the highest since 2007 and the demand for e-commerce websites went through the roof (Just here at .me we’ve witnessed the rise of 85.36%). The numbers have certainly contributed to the rise of the gig economy due to a mix of opportunity and necessity, as the unemployment rates remain higher than they were prior to COVID-19. Whether you are in a similar situation or have been wanting to change your current job, it might be the right time to do that. So, without further ado, now is the time to evaluate your hobbies, test the waters and turn your hobby into a successful business.
Research and plan
Before you set your heart on quitting your job or investing your savings into turning your hobby into a business, approach the new venture strategically. This initially means that you need to test the waters before setting your heart on starting a business.
The very first step would be to research the market and see what opportunities lie within. Are there solopreneurs or companies with similar ideas? If so, how well is their business doing in the current climate? If your idea is unique, i.e. hasn’t been done before, gather a focus group and test your idea on them.
Upon researching the market and finding that there is a demand for your hobby, it is important to develop a business plan before you turn your hobby into a business. Start by asking yourself questions such as:
- Who are your customers/target market? What do they like/dislike? What is their purchasing power?
- Who is your competition?
- How will you stand out from the competition?
- Where can your customers find your product/service? Or: What are your distribution channels?
- How will you price your product/service?
- How will you attract customers?
- What would your monthly costs be vs what revenue can you expect?
- What are the initial costs you’ll have?
- What quantity of product do you need to produce in order to make a profit?
Completing a business plan is the best way to formalize the idea and to crystalize its purpose. Knowing the inner why will serve as the guide in any business doubt.
Turn to Social Media and build a community
Once you develop your business plan it is time to act on it. Knowing your target audience is absolutely necessary if you want to create and market your product or service the right way. However, it is also essential when it comes to building a community. Recently we’ve seen so many examples of the power the (online) community has. This is best shown by the Sticky candy store in Australia, which thanks to its online community continued to thrive during the pandemic.
But how does one go about building a community, especially an online one? Start by sharing authentic content that highlights the unique side of what you do.
We all love behind-the-scenes videos and photos, so don’t shy away from showing what’s happening behind the camera. People are tired of curated feeds and airbrushed photos and have been so for quite some time now. Social media users expect to see companies showcasing their unique personalities through their posts just like their friends do. This helps consumers to connect better with a brand and develop meaningful relationships. That way, when choosing between two similar products, buyers can choose the one they feel connected to.
Ask your followers for their opinions, engage them in the creation process and let them be your brand ambassadors. Once your community begins to form, social media presence won’t be enough. It’s time to build your website!
Get serious: Create a website
It’s not only that a website incites trust and professionalism in a business, but it also makes it easier for your customers to see your products/services and their prices, and of course, learn more about you. Let’s be honest, having a website makes all the difference. No longer will you receive your customers' orders through DMs - to be frank, with a full inbox there is quite a high chance you’ll overlook someone. Setting up an online store helps reduce operating costs, as processing digital transactions are less expensive than processing non-digital transactions.
Depending on what your hobby is and how you plan to develop your business, a different kind of website would suit your needs. But whatever type of website you choose, make sure your authenticity and creativity shine through design, content, and your domain name.
It’s time to grow: Difference making tip
Businesses around the world are taking advantage of a personalised approach towards their customers. And this is not by sheer chance, but by careful design. Understand how your audience sees your business and strive to personalise your business. Allowing the customers to get the sense of your brand’s purpose can form attachments beyond just one purchase. It’s time to make it recognizable and authentic so that your audience could have an unforgettable experience!
This is a guest post by Tijana Ostojic at .me registry.