sunflowercufflinksIf you have a hobby you love, producing things your friends say are great, can you turn it into a business? This week my blog is about the 4 tips I wish someone had given me when I started



1) Get financial advice first
It is tempting to let your hobby grow organically, mixing your income and outgoings with your normal household costs but this could mean that you won't get a good understanding of the profit you are likely to make, incur costs which could be offset against tax and underpay tax on the income you make.

A discussion with an accountant BEFORE you set up your business will get you off on the right foot and make sure you understand how to manage the finances for your new business.


2) Cheapest is not necessarily best
When you turn a hobby into a business you can find yourself being reluctant to spend any money on it at the beginning. This often leads people to choose the cheapest possible way promote and sell their produce or service. Free business cards and DIY website can seem like an ideal way to get started for little or no cost but you run the risk of spending a lot of time on something which won't be suitable as soon as your business has grown a little. Many customers have told me that they loved my work but they ended up placing an order because my website looked so professional – it gave them confidence in my products.

3) Maximise your local networks
Doing some pay per click advertising or booking some online banners can seem essential when you want to get your message out, but don't forget all those friends who encouraged you in the first place. Presenting your business to them and encouraging them to pass it onto their networks can get you off to a flying start.

4) Have confidence in your skills
Because your business started as a hobby you may find yourself being less confident when you talk to people about it. It is easy to think of yourself as an amateur rather than a professional at what you do. Whilst you may still be running your business and making your product from your kitchen table, keep reminding yourself that you are running a business and charge a realistic price which includes the time you put in. (check out my blog on how to price your work).

Those are my tips, what else would you tell a newbie setting up their own creative business?