How To Turn Your Hobby Into A Business

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How To Turn Your Hobby Into A Business

How To Turn Your Hobby Into A Business With Sean Si

Sean: Hey, thank you for being here. We have a couple of questions tonight. I’m excited. I’m excited. Oh yeah. This is going to be a solo episode. It’s not going to be an episode with guests tonight. Yeah, we want to keep some solo episodes going as well, but we do also want to keep inviting guests over. For those of you who are wondering, is that going to continue on, we are, we have scheduled some guests. It’s just that for tonight, I’m going solo.

I’m going to jump right ahead and answer some questions that we have. How do I know when it’s possible for me to quit my job to focus on turning my hobby into a successful business?

You’ll know when it has the income. For me, when it has to replace the income of your day job, then it might be a good idea already to do the business full time. That’s because it’s going to be able to pay for your expenses, your livelihood, and you know, that it’s a proven market.

Also make sure that it has been able to sustain itself as a profitable business for a year or so before you actually quit your job. That’s a really good idea too, just to play it safe. Because businesses have curves. Sometimes the business is going strong and sometimes it’s not. So you have to know and realize when those times are, and you have to save up for the rainy days. Emergency fund, it’s very important.

My episode with Marvin Germo and Toni Aquino, we discussed how important emergency funds are. That is if emergencies happen, you have to quit, someone got sick, you have to pay for those bills, which you can’t really escape, then you have something to use and you have something that will not make you stressed and still have to ask someone for money. So that’s very, very important.

Next question. How do I know when it’s possible for me to turn my hobby into a business?

When there is a viable market. When they actually want to buy from you. When what they want to buy from you is something that you can source or produce. So speaking from one of the experiences that I have, I turned my aquascaping hobby into a small micro business. So I sell aquatic plants and livestock on the website, making the price very competitive by checking out what’s in the market and it’s doing quite well. It’s doing quite well, I would say.

Before I turned it into a business, I had an overflow of stock. And I know I’m going to have a weekly overflow of stock that I’m not going to use and I’m just going to throw away. So I decided to start the website so as not to throw away those plants and those fishes, because they’re overpopulating already. They’re overgrowing the tanks that I have and it would be a waste. So instead of throwing them away, I put them for sale on the site. And I don’t run ads. I don’t want to oversell them. So I don’t run any ads. It’s just SEO. People search. They find the website. They add to cart, checkout, and we got a sale going for aquascape.ph.

So for me, that’s how I turned it into a business. I realized there’s demand. And I realized that the competition is not really that great. They don’t have their own website. They’re not organized. And I figured that might be something that people would want to shop from, a really good website, good experience on mobile and desktop. And it just so happens that I have SEO hacker, and it’s something that we can do. So there’s my competitive advantage there. And we just shot at it, you know, gave it a shot and it’s working pretty well. That’s what I could say.

What do I need to upgrade my passion from a hobby into a business?

You need to be able to sell. That’s the first thing. So for me with aquascape.ph, that is a platform for me to be able to sell my aqua plants well and to sell them perpetually. I’m not going to be a salesperson that will peddle my plants and livestock. I’m not going to sell them on any other platform than the website, because I want to sell passively. I don’t want to keep selling, running ads, posting on Facebook.

So this is how the website looks like. We have the products for sale here. When I have products for sale, it’s usually because I have an overgrowth of them. I’m overstocked already. They’re growing too fast and I want to get rid of them. Or I want people to just buy them outright immediately so my tank would look fresh again. I have to cut them and pack them and ship them.

So needless to say, I take really good care of my plants. And we have the fertilizers there, really good substrate and stuff, and we make it super easy for people to just buy. So all the stats are here. Is it CO2 required? What’s the growth rate? What’s the propagation, light? And yeah, you know, we put the stock here. We have reviews going on.

So you need to sell and you need the platform to sell. That’s what you need to upgrade your passion from a hobby to a business. Because when it’s a hobby, you’re not selling, you’re not doing anything to sell, so you need a platform. How are people going to know about your products? How are people going to know that you’re breeding shrimps and you’re selling them, right?

So these blue shrimps, they’re actually all here at the tank right behind me. And I bought like 10 of them. They’ve bred like crazy. There’s now like, I don’t know, a hundred of them here. We’ve sold a good number of these already. I don’t want to sell them too fast as well because it’s not like I’m farming them. It’s a hobby. I’m not really growing them to be big and fat in a small, short amount of time. I take care of them well. I make sure that the color pigmentation is really good. And that makes for a really high quality product.

Selling and shipping is not that hard as well. I’m not limiting the packaging, so I bought a really good packaging for them and made it also consistent with the look and feel of the website that it’s organized, it has good branding and good name to it and so on.

What made you want to turn your love of aquascaping to a business?

So I guess I mentioned earlier that I have overgrown and overstocked plants. So instead of throwing them, I do throw them to my aquaponics pond. I have a lot of Red Tilapia and they actually eat the plants. So sometimes I cut the plants, I throw it there, and  they eat it because Tilapia is a cichlid type of fish and they just eat pretty much anything. So they eat it and that’s fine for me because they’re plants. They’re actually quite healthy for the Tilapia and we eat the Tilapia. Yeah. So I’m happy about that.

So it’s an overstock. I have an overstock and overgrowth and they’re overpopulating already, so I decided to turn it into a business. Also, I spent money on it, so I want to make that money back. You know, I want to make that money back. I don’t want it to be an all expense kind of hobby. So I figured turning it into a business is a good idea, which my wife supported.

How can I compute how much money I will need to turn my hobby into a business?

You just have to compute the initial investment. So for me it’s a website. Since again, I own SEO Hacker, it didn’t really cost me a lot. So we did the design. We did the write up. We did the images. And yeah, with the website, it didn’t really cost me. But if you’re going to have a website built, you have to add that in your capital investment.

So it depends. It depends on how you want to turn it into a business. For me, it’s a website. Other people would want a front facing store, they want brick and mortar. So that’s actually going to cost a lot more, right? So just compute how much capital you’re going to be using up. If it’s a brick and mortar store, you have to compute the rent, the rent contract. You have to compute the, if you’re going to hire an architect, an interior designer, an engineer for building the space, so all of that has to be considered. But if it’s just going to be a website or a Facebook page, usually hobbies start from a website or a Facebook page, so it doesn’t really cost a lot. You just have to have a marketing budget, a working website, and that’s it.

How can I find finances that can help turn my hobby into a business?

For me, if it’s your hobby and you can just do it online, turning it into a business like Facebook or websites, just don’t go looking for a financer, because you love it. It’s your hobby. You will know how to sell it best and you probably know the market best. Like for me, aquascaping is not really a broad market hobby. Not a lot of people have an aquarium tank at home that they want to scape, that they want to take care of. So it’s a niche hobby.

You have to know your market. You have to know what they like. You have to know what’s important to them so that you can serve them well. So for example, with the aquascaping hobby that I have, when I turned it into a business, I know that what’s important for them, the buyers, would be having free plants that are different species.  And so since I have an overstock, I always make it a point to put in free plants for them. So you have to know your target market. For me, if it’s a hobby, you don’t need to really look for financers.

Is crowdsourcing a good way to turn my hobby into business?

Well, for me, if you’re going to use crowdsourcing to ask them if they’re going to buy, mostly for surveying, that’s what I’d say. If you’re going to survey people, hey, are you going to buy this if this is how much it’s going to cost, then it is a good way. But if you’re talking about crowdsourcing for financing, again, for me, just don’t look for financing if it’s a hobby. Because you’re going to know how to do it best, so don’t look for financing anymore. Just do it yourself. Start small. Learn how to react to your market. Learn how to serve them well. Learn what’s important for them and keep on doing that.

So with the aquascape.ph example earlier, I know it’s important for a lot of the newbies in the hobby to know what plants need CO2. It’s a hassle to need to have CO2 in your tank, carbon dioxide. You’re going to have to get a DIY set to make sure you have carbon dioxide in your tank. You’re going to need to turn it on at a certain time, turn it off at a certain time. Or if you don’t want to do that manually, you have to buy the automator.

So there are a lot of intricacies and a lot of people would like to know in the hobby which one of the plants are CO2 required because I don’t want to buy them, because I don’t want to use CO2 for my tank because it’s a hassle. So you have to know all of these pain points for you to turn your hobby into a business. And I think crowdsourcing is a really good way to find out, to ask people if it’s going to work or not like price points, pain points, how you’re going to be solving it. And just gathering that information and feedback is very, very important for you when you’re starting out a hobby business.

What are the common hobbies that you think can be turned into a business?

I don’t have a lot in mind, but I do know that there was a time where board games were, you know, it really boomed and we have board game cafes. That’s a hobby that turned into a business that went crazy. Because the rent of those places I know is expensive, but they were still making money, selling the board games themselves and selling food to make sure that you have a good experience playing the board games.

And I have visited a board game cafe and they provide a really good experience. You can eat there, their food is not bad. They have beverages and the people who serve you, they know how to play board games. It makes for a really good experience, because there are some, there are a lot of times actually that you’re just fumbling in how to play a certain game and you’re not sure and you need someone to help you or guide you. And that the board game cafe experience did well when it was on its heyday.

So, yeah, I couldn’t think of a lot right now, but yeah, of course aquascaping is one, the board game is one, definitely. A I think there are so many other hobbies out there, like the “plantitos and plantitas” as well who crop up during the pandemic. That’s a hobby and a lot of people turn it into a business and they’re actually doing quite well right now. Even today, they’re doing quite well.

So there’s actually a lot, you know. I just can’t enumerate a lot from my head, but I know there’s a lot of hobbies that can be turned into a business. If you’re really passionate about it, you have energy, you can sacrifice sleep, you can sacrifice money for it, so I think you can turn it into a business.

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