06 Feb

How To Turn Your Hobby into a Profitable Online Business

Sounds like a dream, right?

After all, who’s going to pay you for collecting postal stamps or gardening or playing with your dogs or decorating party cakes?

Hobbies are for free time, you can’t make money from them.

At least that’s what most of us have been taught by the society and our parents.

Not because they don’t like our hobbies, but because they grew up in an era where getting a college degree, learning a skill and going to work every morning was the only way to make a living.

Turning a hobby into a full-time business was never an option simply because of the costs involved in setting up a business and, more importantly, the industrial age mindset.

And that’s precisely why we are so fortunate to live in the information age, the age of the internet. (See the guide to starting an epic blog)

We don’t have any of those problems. We don’t need millions to set up a business, and entrepreneurship is not the taboo it was a decade or two ago.

Just look at the increase in the number of self-employed people across all industries in the U.S. The internet is one of the major reasons why people have started their own companies.



Source: Statista

Another research, published on Forbes, revealed that almost 53% of all small business in the U.S are home-based, with the majority using different online marketing methods to generate sales and leads.

We live in an era where the common man is much more empowered as compared to the previous decades.

So your hobbies don’t just have to be free time activities anymore.

You can create a fully functional online business, which generates multiple forms of income for you, based on your hobbies.

It has never been easier and there are hundreds and thousands of examples to prove that.

So how exactly do you turn a hobby into an online business?

While there are tons of ways to do it, I’ll focus on the fundamentals that are common in most online businesses. (Check out our guide to affiliate marketing with 50 examples to copy from)

So let’s get started.


(P.S. If you’d like to download a free list of 1,781 profitable niches click here or the image below)

1781 niches [new]


1. Evaluate Yourself and Your Passion Before Starting

Before investing your time, effort and money into a business idea, you should do a quick self-evaluation to see where you stand in terms of knowledge and expertise in your target industry.

How passionate are you about this hobby? Is it just a pass-time activity or something that you’ve really been involved in for some time?

We all dream of turning our hobbies into functional businesses because making money while doing something you love sounds much better than a business where your only motivation is money.

But will you get the same joy from your hobby when you turn it into a full-time business?

Will you be able to enjoy it even with deadlines and work pressures? Are you that passionate about it?

These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself before taking the first step. Having passion for something is great, but when you’re doing business you need to realistically evaluate all the factors.

Stuart has broken down this process really well in his eBook “Find Your Perfect Niche in 7 Steps”. He has mentioned several ways you can analyze your hobby and evaluate if its the right niche to choose.


2. Find Out if There’s a Market for Your Hobby

You want your hobby-turned-online-business to make money (lots of it). After all, that’s one of the main objectives of starting a business.

Look around and research if there’s commercial demand for your hobby. Are people buying products related to it, or purchasing training sessions and info products? Are there real world markets selling physical products?


Here are a few places you can start your research from:



Reddit is one of the largest and among the most vibrant communities on the web.

It has threads and discussions about every topic imaginable.

Search your hobby on Reddit to see what of discussions are going on.

You’re likely to see discussions about different products, services, funny pictures etc.




You’ll be surprised to find so many enthusiastic discussion on your hobby.

It will get your creative juices flowing and give you ideas for your new business.


pet rat


You’ll even find some strange hobbies, like petting rats!

For example, when I searched “what is your hobby” here’s one of the threads I found




So if your hobby is gardening, look for related discussions to get an idea of the market.

Other than Reddit, which is the most useful when it comes to research, you can visit Quora, LinkedIn groups, Google Communities and Facebook groups where you can research the depth of your idea and see what kind of businesses related to your hobby are flourishing.



Amazon and Kindle Store are both great places to find out exactly how your hobby can be converted into a business. Search Amazon for products related to your niche, read customer reviews and get an idea about the market.




Similarly, you can look for the most popular eBooks on Kindle Store related to your hobby.

Amazon is particularly useful because of the detailed customer reviews on its products.

For someone researching new ideas and trying to figure out the product gaps in the market, this is a goldmine full of product insights.



3. Develop the Right Buyer Personas

Researching the business potential of your hobby is just one part of the equation.

You also need to determine the exact profile of your target buyers so that you can focus on their needs and create a product that gives them value. (See the guide to digital product creation)

This is why smart marketers create buyer personas.

Persona is a sample profile of your ideal buyer.

It lists down his needs, interests, demographic details, occupation, average income, spending trends and any other information that you can find.

Every aspect of your business should be focused on meeting the needs of this persona, since it represents the needs of your prospects.

Research shows that targeted personas make websites and marketing campaigns 2-5 times more effective.


buyer persona1

Source: Single Grain

A well-researched persona will also help you narrow down you’re your focus and come up with a targeted solution to the problems of your potential buyers.

You can use this template by HubSpot to develop your buyer persona.


4. Determine Your Business Model and Monetization Options

You’ve done your research and you’ve identified the needs of your target market.

Now you need to decide how you’ll fulfill that need – your business model.

Since we’re talking about online businesses, there are dozens of business models you can adopt. In fact, you can go for multiple monetization modes at the same time depending on your audience.


Here are a few ways different hobbyists are making money online:

Selling Physical Products Online

You’re passionate about your hobby and you know exactly the kind of products that can help you and other like-minded hobbyists enjoy your passion even more.

So why don’t you start selling those products yourself?

Using the strength and reach of your website or blog, you can build a thriving business selling physical products.

You don’t even have to worry about the hassles of manufacturing, packaging, shipping etc.

There are startups out there just to help people like you.


Example Case Study:



Here’s a very detailed and step by step case study of how this guy converted his love for dogs into a profitable t-shirt selling business completely on autopilot.


Create Your Own Digital Info Product

Info products are selling like crazy these days. In the U.S alone, the total sales of eBooks is expected to reach $8 billion by the end of 2016

You’re knowledgeable about your hobby and you have lots of stuff to share with your readers. You can monetize this knowledge by creating eBooks, video tutorials, training programs and other forms of digital info products. This is a huge market with a rapidly growing customer base.

James published a detailed guide here on NicheHacks with all the information you need on creating a profitable digital product (even if you don’t have a huge mailing list)


Example Case Study:




Darren Rowse, the founder of ProBlogger, is one of the most respected name in the blogging industry. As a side project, Darren turned his passion for photography into a hugely successful online business, Digital Photography School. He makes more than 6 figures annually from this website selling eBooks, trainings, and all kinds of digital products. In fact, DGS is a great example of how you can create multiple businesses from your hobby.


Promote Amazon Products as an Affiliate

Is there anything more appealing than an affiliate marketing business running on autopilot? Anyone can become an affiliate marketer. But if you’re passionate and knowledgeable about your niche, your chances of success are a lot higher.

That’s why turning your hobby into an affiliate marketing business is a win-win. There are tons of highly actionable resources here on NicheHacks that’ll teach you everything about affiliate marketing.


Example Case Study:


amazon affiliate


This is one of the finest examples of turning your hobby into a strong brand and making money from it. 100DaysofRealFood is owned by Lisa Leake, and Amazon affiliate income is one of their primary sources of income from this site.

This started out mainly as an Amazon affiliate site, after they diversified their income sources by publishing eBooks and products of their own.

But it’s a great example for anyone looking to turn their hobby into a business.

There are many other business models you can consider as well, for example

  • Sell advertising space on your blog
  • Hold events and webinars
  • Add a buying/selling portal to your site
  • Become an author on Amazon Kindle Store

Or go for multiple monetization strategies like Digital Photography School. The possibilities are just endless.


5. Create In-depth Content About Your Niche

High quality, actionable and well-researched content is vital to the success of most online businesses.

But creating epic content is hard work, and most marketers struggle to do it consistently. And with increasing competition, creating content that gets noticed and drives results is going to become more difficult.

This Facebook post by Jon Morrow (BoostBlogTraffic) really hits the nails on its head.




But here’s your advantage.

When you turn a hobby into an online business, creating content is not just easy, it becomes a lot of fun. You can churn out post after post with epic content while others are grinding it out.

It’s a no-brainer really – start a blog and create epic content for your audience

When you become a trusted source of authentic and actionable advice, people will buy anything from you.

Research shows that high authority content drives more sales and generates more leads.



Source: QuickSprout


Nerd Fitness, one of the world’s most popular fitness blogs, was started as a hobby. And it was the passion of its owner that allowed him to consistently create epic content and turn his hobby into a massive online business.




Content marketing is all about giving value with useful and actionable information.

The more content you publish, the easier it will become to acquire leads and attract customers.

We have tons of resources on NicheHacks on content creation that you should definitely go through.


6. Build an Email List of Fellow Hobbyists

When you create content for your online business, you’ll start getting traffic from Google. To convert this traffic into leads and customers, you need to start building your email list from the first day.

Studies show that email marketing has the highest ROI among all the mainstream online marketing channels.



Source: Campaign Monitor

Is simple words, if you you’re not building an email list, you’re not building your online business.

And like always, there’s already some really useful content on building your email list here on NicheHacks


(P.S. If you’d like to download a free list of 1,781 profitable niches click here or the image below)

1781 niches [new]



Wrapping Up

Turning your hobby into a full-time online business is one of the best decisions you could make.

But it doesn’t come without consistent hard work. (See 31 lessons learned making $44,775.99 in affiliate commissions)

In this post I discussed some of the fundamentals of starting an online business, with different business models depending on your hobby.

Evaluate your passion research its market potential and start building your online assets. This will give you a solid foundation on which you can build a long term and sustainable online business.


The post How To Turn Your Hobby into a Profitable Online Business appeared first on NicheHacks.

Source: affiliate7

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