Hobbies are good for us, which is why we spend so much time on them. Most of us have a hobby of some kind, but few of us consider the fact that so many of those hobbies can be monetized. In some cases, your hobby could even be a lucrative replacement for your current career.
It’s never been easier to turn your hobby into a successful e-commerce business, and with a little planning, you could be earning a lot more than you think. If you’re looking for ways to earn some extra cash, here are the first steps you need to take to turn your hobby into a successful business.
Do Extensive Research
All businesses need to have a business plan, and an e-commerce store is no different., That’s going to mean research. Not only will you have to look at your budget, your growth strategy, and your product selection, you’re also going to need to do extensive research on two additional areas: your customers and your competitors. Look at who is most likely to buy what you’re selling, and then investigate who your main competitors are going to be. By focusing on customers and competitors, you will have a bigger picture of the kind of work you will have to do.
Learn About Branding
Using what you’ve learned about who will buy what you’re selling and who you’re competing against, you will then be able to build your brand. Never underestimate the importance of branding in the online selling space. It can be the key to reaching out to new customers and is a proven way of making your business more memorable. The more impactful your branding, the more likely that customers will think of you when they need whatever hobby item it is that you’re selling. Consider your logos, slogans, and even your company tone of voice. The more effective your branding, the more likely your hobby business will generate the hoped-for income.
Choose Your Platform
This can be a tricky area to get right simply because you have so many options. You could build a website using your extensive coding knowledge or use a dedicated website builder such as Wix, Shopify, Magento, or WooCommerce. There are almost endless options to consider, and each platform offers different pricing structures, resources, and features. That means looking deeper into the pros and cons of each to fine-tune exactly what you need from your digital store. This will be the foundation of your e-commerce business.
Your website is up and running, and you’ve got well-written product pages with professional photos of what you’re selling. However, you don’t have to limit yourself to only using your website to sell. You can quickly and easily set up business accounts on additional platforms like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay, which means that your brand will be visible to the millions of people who use those platforms. Amazon can be particularly useful because not only do they have lower fees than eBay and Etsy, they also have a wide range of additional features that you can take advantage of. The most recent addition to the e-commerce arsenal is Amazon posts, which will put your products in front of a lot more people than you can achieve through more organic growing methods.
Once you’re all set up, you should next be looking at learning a little more about marketing. Digital marketing is a big subject, but even learning some simple basics can see you boost your online visibility and improve your sales figures. Do some research on the importance of keywords and how to find yours, do some reading about SEO and how to make it work for you, and never forget social media. Your customer research should have indicated the social platforms that your target audience spends the most time on, and those are the platforms where you need to have a highly visible presence. Social media is particularly useful to an e-commerce brand, especially since the introduction of shoppable Instagram posts and Facebook marketplaces. However, remember to also look at email marketing and how it can be the most effective marketing tool in your toolkit.
Measure and Adjust
You should by now be in a good position and growing your list of customers. That hard work to get launched should be paying off, but you still have more to do. Regularly, you need to use your analytics to identify common issues that are causing customers to abandon shopping carts mid-purchase or to spot the pages that people are bouncing away from before looking any further at your site. Those analytics, which you will have access to a lot of, are a goldmine of information that you will only benefit from. Identify the slow-loading pages that are turning people off, the payment methods that you aren’t offering that mean your customers can’t pay in the ways that they want. Measure everything, and adjust as necessary.
To grow your e-commerce business, you will then need to offer more products or to change the way that consumers buy them. This can be a fun stage of the business growth process because you’ll be researching aspects of your hobby. Think laterally about the kind of products that your customers might want alongside what you already sell. There has also been a rise in the number of companies now offering some form of product subscription service. This can be a useful way to sell because you have a clear idea of how much your baseline profits are going to be every month. While not an option that will suit every business model, it’s certainly a trend that’s worth exploring.
More people are setting themselves up an online business than ever, simply because it’s so much less costly than a traditional business model. However, so many of those e-commerce businesses falter or fail in the first year because of a lack of preparation. E-commerce selling is not a get rich quick scheme, and it will take time and effort to make it work. Put that work in, though, and your hobby could be earning you more money than you ever thought possible.