What is the difference between running a business or a hobby online?
Surely if you're making money from selling crafts online it's not a hobby?
A hobby is where you simply do it for fun, right?
These people have a successful hobby, but it's not a business.
A business requires strategic thinking, learning, growing, marketing, sales, branding, copy-writing, photography skills, self development.....it's so so much more than owning a Facebook page and posting in craft groups for sales.
Here is a run down of the main differences between a hobbyist and a business owner.
Hobby v Business
A hobbyist will make products they love and hope that they sell.
A business owner will make products that are a blend of what they AND their ideal customers love. They will have researched into the best niche and know who will become raving fans of their products. They then target them and only them online.
A hobbyist will spend a large percentage of their time creating, the rest touting for sales through social media and updating their Etsy page.
A business owner will spend less time making, and more time with business activities such as marketing, branding, photography, copy writing, sales, research, guest posting, networking and forecasting.
A hobbyist will create items that require being made from scratch each time or lengthy tweaking such as personalisation - all for a low price point to seem "competitive".
A business owner will streamline their product range allowing them to free up more time for the above tasks. Think of an artist who offers both digital prints as well as hand painted one of a kind items, but the latter will be at a much higher price point.
Reproducible items are smart business sense.
A hobbyist will enjoy the small scale, low demands on time and the simple pleasure of someone occasionally purchasing their makes.
A business owner will approach each step of the process unemotionally, striving to learn and increase exposure. They may have high goals such as quitting the day job, paying for the annual holiday or brand new kitchen.
A hobbyist will have minimal structure, be approaching each day or week as it comes with regards to social media scheduling or marketing.
A business owner will have a plan mapped out for the coming weeks and months. For example, they will know which holidays/national days they will be the most profitable for their business, they will have a social media campaign set in place working backwards from these dates (for example Valentine's Day) to make sure they are warming their customers up for a sale when the time comes. Nothing is knee jerk.
A hobbyist will be very emotive about their makes, they will use the phrase "heart and soul has gone into making these products" and find it hard to face rejection. They will ask themselves "why do people not want to buy them? I love them!".
A business owner will still make from the heart but will learn to become detatched to enable growth to happen. When a business owner receives feedback, whilst it may sting they will look to seek out the truth and validate & apply to their business. Emotions are still there, but a logical approach takes presedence. They've separated themselves slightly from their makes rather than them being an extension of them.
Moving your creative passion from a hobby to a business is absolutely, unequivocally doable.
But it takes time, passion, enjoying the rollercoaster and learning new skills daily.
There are successful hobbyists out there, and for some that is absolutely enough. Not everyone is suited to run a fully fledged online business. But for those who would like to dip their toe in the water, this may get your creative cogs turning.
- Jackie xoxo