Being able to do what you love as a legitimate job is a privilege not every Australian has access to. It’s a pursuit that often require accessing tertiary education, or investing your own funds into a business idea, and not everyone has the money to do that. However, that’s where the side hustle comes in.
A side hustle is a job or hobby you do in your spare time to make a little extra cash. It means you don’t have to leave your 9-5 job to pursue the idea, and the initial layout of funds doesn’t have to be quiet so high, and the risks associated with failure are significantly lowered.
According to the NBN Side Hustle report, 80 per cent of Australians are looking to this as a way of finding fulfilment outside of work, while one in four are already going online outside of their regular job to pursue a passion or earn extra income.
Furthermore, more than one in three Australians admit to having made money using the internet, with almost half of those connected to the nbn™ network saying that their side hustle is bearing financial fruit.
And thanks to things like Youtube tutorials, how-to articles and online education, starting a side hustle and pursuing a hobby with your sights set on turning it into a career is more possible than ever. Especially when all you require is an active internet connection and a skill.
How do you turn a hobby into a career?
We decided to ask someone who has turned their own crafty hobby into a career for their advice on how others can do the same things. Melbourne couple Bianca Lambert and Thomas Wilson are the masterminds behind creative homewares label Capra Designs. They turned some spare-time hobbies into a thriving business, and this is what Bianca has to say about it.
How did Capra Designs start?
“I became obsessed with plants about seven years ago but wasn't satisfied with the pot options available. Tom and I started making pots and plant stands for the house. We taught ourselves how to make a silicon moulds and researched many different types of resin. Then we experimented with different colour combinations and pour techniques. It was really just a bit of fun to master a new craft. Generally, if we wanted something for the house we would make it, and we loved spending all of our spare time crafting together.”
How did you know you could turn this into a business?
“I was a serial crafter and always wanted to turn my crafts into a business. It wasn't so much that I knew I could turn this into a business, and more that the timing of this craft was right for me.”
“We had been making pots and plant stands for well over a year when I went on maternity leave. During this time, I researched manufacturing and supplier options, built a website and created a database of retail stores I wanted to work with. It was still just an idealistic dream at that point, but I was laying down the foundations.”
“After our son Banjo arrived I realised it was now or never. There was nothing to lose in giving it a go. It wasn’t until I launched that my work was published by The Design Files and my ideal retail stores wanted my product, that I realised I had something I could turn into a business.”
What were the first 3 steps of turning your craft into a business?
“The first step is to value your product, including all materials, packaging, labels and time, ensuring you have margins for wholesale and retail. At this point you will know already if you have a craft you can sell or not.”
“The second step is to decide how you would like to sell the product, and working out where your target market is. Would you like to sell to stores, at markets, online, etc?”
“The third step is to make the product and get it out into the public. This is not the point where you quit your day job! This is still an experimentation stage. Listen for feedback and make changes to your pricing and product accordingly. I got to this stage many times with other craft hobbies before finally having one that was successful in the marketplace.”
What is the hardest part of turning a craft into a business?
“I think the two hardest parts for us have been scaling the business and valuing our time properly.”
“As a maker, we often look at the cost of the materials, but not the cost of our time when pricing our products. And to be honest, if we valued our own time properly our products would be priced extremely high and wouldn't be affordable.”
“It took me over a year of being in business to realise this and learn that if I wanted to grow my business I couldn't keep making everything myself. This was the point I truly developed a business and stopped doing a hobby.”
“Neither Tom nor I enjoy production that much. We love designing and prototyping and experimenting, so our change in business structure got us back to what we love.”
What’s your advice to anyone thinking about turning their hobby or craft into a career?
“Go for it. Just put your product out into the market and see how people respond. You don't have to risk too much to give your craft a go.”
“Also, be patient. It may look as if brands have overnight success but there is a lot of long days, months and years before the success. And lastly, love what you do! I'm a big believer that this is the key to success no matter what industry you're in.”
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