Do you have a talent that you dream about turning into a business? Opening your own bakery, launching on online store, throwing pots? How do you know if it will be sustainable, worth pursuing or just literally a hobby? I didn’t have a hobby as such, I had a burning obsession with interiors, and if anything I’m lucky to have a good eye. I can spot something a mile off be it a bit of junk in a flea or a product in a trade show amongst a sea of rubbish. I just know it will work. Instantly! Don’t ask me how I just kind of trust my gut and buy what I love.

So I leveraged upon that skill and opened a store. I select products from the heart because I want them at home, not first and foremost because they are commercial and make me the most money. That is one of the reasons our business has been so successful because everything we select has some sort of narrative and reflects my own aesthetic. Obviously we have come along way from those early days and are now producing our own range (definitely the most scary, challenging yet exciting thing we have done to date). I wanted today’s post to inspire anyone who spends their down time thinking ‘I wish I could turn this passion into a business’ to do just that!

Do it I say.

Before taking the plunge though read this, it will help you figure out if your idea is feasible and if it turns out it isn’t do not give up. Tweak it! Working for yourself, having no boss, no regulated hours, steering your business through rough and smooth waters, growing it and expanding it into a global brand is one of the most exciting things I have ever done.

First UP

Action stations! What is your big idea? Define it into words, what are we buying into. Is it something you’ve produced, seen and want to highlight and how are you going to sell it. Online, bricks and mortar? Also what about the name? Your name, something else? Figure it out, write it down.

Look at your competitors

Is anyone else selling this already? If they are who are your competitors, what are they charging and why would people want to go to you. I’m asking you to do this for the simple reason to prove that there is a market for what you want to do. No point otherwise right?

Write a business plan

You cannot start a business without one, or you can but I will lay money on it that your business is not a very successful one or even worse you’re not pulling a very decent wage. A business plan is fundamental it’s one of the best things you will ever do for your business. It’s a pain in the ass to think about but it forces you to look at the big picture thinking about your marketing plans, operational and financial plans as well as staff planning. Not just that it’s how your drive your future. In business you don’t just open the doors, stand back and wait for it to happen. You can’t hope people will spend and somehow discover you; you have work at that and have deliverable goals.

Goals like at the end of this year I expect to turn over a million or two which actually isn’t as hard as it may sound (more on how to do that in another post)!

So you can’t wait for customers to rock up and spend, you lay out plans and targets. Targets that actually turn into performance goals. No business plan- no goals and no proper business I say. Write one pronto!

Have you got what it takes?

Early starts, late finishes, no security, physical exhaustion coupled with emotional meltdowns. Check! Yes I can tick all of the above but when you are passionate about something you’ll find that you’ll bounce back up pretty quickly question is how passionate are you?

Give yourself a goal

It’s so easy to loose motivation if you’re dream is years down the line. My advice jump sooner that you think, put pressure on yourself because I promise you there will never ever be the prefect time.

Sell yourself

I fell into this trap in the early days, opened a store, one of the coolest around I felt and yet where was everybody? Why weren’t they queuing up and sleeping out over night eager for me to open the doors each morning. Top tip if you’ve built it, they will not come. You have to make them come. You can’t be modest and expect people will find you or here about you, you have to work at it.

Write a blog, embrace social media, market your products, hold a press event, and be prepared to sell.

I happen to feel that having a job is more than simply something we have to do; it should be something we love to do. Sometimes it takes courage and strength to take the plunge and follow your dream but I leave you with this quote and regrettably I can’t remember where I saw it (on some site about becoming your own boss I think)

“Lions in the wild are ten times more alive than lions in the zoo”.

There is no better time to put those wheels in motion than right now! If anyone’s made the successful leap from hobbyist to business owner do let me know!