You’ve been practicing your hobby for years on weekends or whenever you could find a few extra hours here and there while working and running the rest of your life. Now, you’re nearing retirement age and you’ve been thinking about all that extra time you can spend with your hobby. And then, suddenly, the idea hit you – what if I turned my hobby into a business? The more you thought about it, the more your enthusiasm grew for the idea.
But should you really turn your hobby into a business when you retire? Will you still get the same enjoyment benefit out of your hobby if it becomes a money-making venture that you need to start marketing, doing taxes on, etc.? Before you retire, and launch your lobby headfirst into a business, here are some suggestions you might want to nail down before doing so.
1. How skilled are you at your hobby? This aspect should be honestly evaluated first before even looking at marketability. Do you just enjoy doing your hobby or are you really very good at it as well? Being skilled enough that people would pay you money to do it for them is a key prerequisite in determining how marketable your hobby is.
2. Does your hobby have a viable market? You might be good at making crafts, repairing technological gadgets, fixing cars, or maybe you’re a skilled musician or artist, but if you went “professional” at your hobby, would you be able to make a viable living from it? Or is the market saturated (at least in your area) with similar businesses or services?
Determining the sustainable marketability of your hobby before you jump feet first into making a business out of it can save you a lot of frustration and disappointment later. But, if you’re also planning on moving to a small town when you retire, check out if your hobby/skill may be more viable in that area. Repairing techno-gadgets, growing/selling organic vegetables (or whatever your hobby is) in a small town where the next repair person, or organic market, is an hour away drive, may set a successful stage for your hobby to happily prosper.
3. Do you have the commitment to make it work? It’s one thing to “play” at a hobby in your spare time and quite another to work at it full-time as a business. Ask yourself honestly if you really have the commitment, and passion for your hobby-to-work skill, to make it work.
4. How big do you want your hobby/business to grow? Many people start businesses out of hobbies thinking that they’ll just make a comfortable, quiet living doing something they really enjoy. And then get surprised, mentally and physically overwhelmed, when their fun little hobby/business takes off like a rocket and they’re suddenly thrust into the “big” time of manufacturing and shipping products on a large scale, or showcasing their talents nationwide. Figure out ahead of time if you/your spouse/family will be okay with having a sudden “hit” business on your hands, or becoming a nationally recognized “star” from your hobby, and how all of you will handle that change in direction, and will you be happy with that if it occurs.