Not all entrepreneurial ventures need to be grandiose, million dollar money makers. In fact, many of the successful entrepreneurs I’ve worked with over the years are moonlighting in small businesses to help fill gaps in their family budgets. A part-time business might be just the thing you need to bring in a few extra dollars for your family too.
Starting a business for your spare time also has some major advantages. For one, you don’t have to quit your day job so your regular paycheck and other benefits aren’t going anywhere.
Second, starting a small business in your spare time allows you to bootstrap the business. If your goal is to earn extra money, starting with a small amount of seed money, allows the business to grow at a pace that is equivalent to the money you earn so you invest in the business instead of making loan payments. Plus any money you don’t pay the bank for interest on a line of credit is money you get to keep.
When thinking about what kind of business you might be able to bootstrap in your spare time, I would suggest you start by evaluating your current hobbies. My guess is that you probably already have a basic kit of tools and know a little about the industry which will make the jump from hobby to business easier. For example;
- Festivals – If you love going to festivals in the summer time, consider becoming a vendor. Since you know what events are planned and what is usually offered, you could find a niche novelty food or product and set up a table. (Like the Kettle Corn tent in this articles masthead)
- Second-hand items – If you simply can’t pass a good pile of junk without picking up a few treasures, consider re-selling. Options include selling vintage items on Etsy, eBay and other sites online or getting space at your local flea market.
- Teach a class – Maybe you’re a world class knitter or have another special talent you can share with the world. Sites like Betterfly and the lessons section on Craig’s List can help you find customers.
- Hunting and Fishing – Since you already know all the best spots in the area, why not let someone tag along?
- Repair services – take all those pleas for help you get from your family and friends and set up shop repairing computers, small engines or anything else you know you can fix.
Of course the list is only limited by your imagination.
One pitfall of turning a hobby into a business is to change your mindset about what you’re trying to do. One common mistake most part-time business owners make is treating the business like it’s still a hobby.
Learning business basics isn’t limited to those who want to quit their job and start a new career. If you want to keep what you earn, and grow the business you’ll still need a plan, know how to keep your books and keep your fledgling business from faltering along the way. You might also have to get insurance, permits and collect sales taxes.
The good news is that most of this can be learned in the Hard Knocks Business Academy. I’m also here to help you along, so don’t hesitate to contact me or schedule an appointment (the first appointment is always free)