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3 tips to turn your passion into a profitable business

Earning money off your favourite pastime is easier than you might think, and these 3 tips can help along the way.

Compilation image of people playing chess passion and $100 notes
You don't need to be an expert at your passion to start earning money off it. (Source: Getty) (Samantha Menzies)

Do you have a passion, hobby, or even a favourite pastime that you want to earn money from? It may seem overwhelming, but with some careful planning and strategy, it's definitely possible. I’ve seen, first hand, careers made out of the most random hobbies.

Here are three simple tips to help you turn your passion into a profitable business.

1. Decide who your ideal customer is

The first step for turning your hobby into a career is to figure out who your ideal customer is.

Who are they and what are they looking for?

The easy answer is… you are your target customer.

If your passion, hobby or favourite pastime is an activity that you’re passionate about, it makes sense that you should be at the epicentre of your target market.

So take the time to learn what people love and hate about this hobby. The goal is to gather as much information as possible about your target market so that you can create a product or service that meets their needs and solves their problems.

Once you have a clear understanding of your target market, you can create a marketing plan that speaks directly to them which will help you attract the right customers and increase your chances of success.

Here’s an example: I’m deeply passionate about Chess, I could go almost as far as to call it a healthy addiction. It’s a strange hobby for a 22-year-old, but let's use this as our example going forward.

2. Create a business plan

Before you start your business, it's important to create a business plan. This will help you clarify your goals, identify potential obstacles and create a roadmap for success.

A business plan should include a detailed description of your product or service, a breakdown of your target market, a marketing plan, financial projections, and a plan for growth. It should also outline your mission and values, so that you have a clear sense of why you're starting this business and what you hope to achieve.

I have a personal philosophy that there are only four main options when it comes to monetising a hobby - there are products and there are services, and inside of these there are two options to choose from: to entertain or to educate.

Now let’s go back to my chess example. Using this strategy my options could look like this.

For services, I could start a YouTube or a TikTok channel and produce either educational content where I explain theories and unique ideas, or I could decide to entertain and produce comedic skits about my games and the industry.

Or I could produce a product to entertain others such as an online chess platform or a business that helps educate new chess players.

The route you decide to go down when monetising your hobby lies in your own strengths and abilities, where the problems in the industry are and also what interests you the most.

Social media is far less complicated than producing a product which is why many people sway in that direction.

3. Build your online presence

In today's digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for any business. This means creating a website, social media accounts, and other online marketing channels that will help you connect with potential customers.

Essentially, building an online presence is a game of patience, and persistence.

Your social media accounts need to be active and engaging, and could be used as an easy way to showcase your products or services. The goal is to nurture a relationship with your followers and in doing so, create a community for your brand.

For example, the biggest chess YouTube star in the world is a creator named GothamChess with 3.2 million subscribers. Last month he produced 150,000,000 views on the platform where an average CPM (cost per mile) for YouTube, otherwise known as dollars made per thousand views, could be anywhere from $2 to $4.

GothamChess is a great chess player, but he’s far from the best in the world. But the irony is that he has three times as many YouTube subscribers as the nine-year-running world champion, Mangus Carlsen.

The takeaway here is that the biggest creators don’t have to be the best players and likewise, you don’t need to be an expert in your hobby in order to make money from it.

Turning your passion into a profitable business requires a deep level of planning and strategy, but it is certainly not impossible.

As the saying goes: “Shoot for the moon, if you miss you’ll still land among the stars.”

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