Featured Photo by Benjamin Child
Does your hobby feel more like a calling—a business calling?
You’re even pretty sure you can monetize this passion and turn it into a viable business. The only problem is you’re short on cash and you’re not sure you’ll qualify for a traditional bank loan. What can you do?
Graduation from Hobby-Land
This is the part where you have to try your best to be practical. If you haven’t yet proven that you can monetize this passion project, this is not a great time to ditch your day job. Instead, work on turning your passion into a side gig during your evenings and weekends. Working on it part-time allows you to save up money so that you’ll be able to stay solvent when you are ready to make the leap into full time entrepreneurism. It also reduces your start-up costs. Instead of needing to take out a large loan, you can often get going with one of the shorter term installment loans online. These loans are easier to get than traditional loans and they’re much better for your budget than a payday loan.
Choose a Payment System
If your services are digital, this is pretty simple: you can simply invoice online through PayPal or one of the free bookkeeping/accounting programs like Wave. If you make physical goods or offer services like plumbing, handyman services, etc., you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a way to take credit cards. The most popular choice on the market right now is Square. You can also sign up with Stripe. PayPal offers card readers as well. The biggest benefit with Square, though, is that if you need to, you can set it up like a register, with a catalogue of your inventory saved to your account. It can also work offline, which is helpful if you can’t find a solid signal.
Start a Blog
We know, that sounds so 2005, right? Here’s the thing: blogs work. When you have a blog (or a website that also has a blog) you have a platform on which you can demonstrate your expertise in your chosen field. Starting a blog (or a website with a blog attached) is extremely affordable. There are even free portals through which you can set up your site. We recommend, though, that you spend the money required for buying a domain name and hosting services. You can usually get all of this accomplished for under a hundred dollars. Blogs help you build an audience for your products or services, which will be important in a minute.
Another important benefit of having your own site and/or blog is that these are platforms that you can monetize. You can sell advertising, take requests for topic coverage (for a fee, of course!), etc and, before too long, start earning a nice chunk of change. You won’t get rich or anything, but you could offset your hosting costs.
Ask Your Audience For Help
Once you’ve built up an audience (sometimes called a fan base or a community), you have the best possible resource for getting your business off the ground. Your audience will want to help you and will want to support you. If your passion is digitally based, like writing, making music, design, etc. you can set up an account on Patreon and ask people to pledge a small amount of money to your company every month. You can also try to raise bigger amounts as one-off projects via Kickstarter, GoFundMe, or IndieGoGo. Even if a member of your audience can’t afford to contribute monetarily, they’ll likely be more than happy to help promote these campaigns to their own communities.
If your business is centered around physical goods or services, don’t worry–you can ask for help with these too! One-off crowdfunding campaigns can help you secure office or retail space, purchase inventory or supplies, etc.
Build Your Credit
Building business credit is more complicated than building personal credit, though the basic concept behind it is the same. Still, it is something that you will want to do as soon as your new business starts turning a profit. Make sure you shop around for the best deal–some of the bigger banks require you to bring in a certain amount of sales every month, but there are companies out there that will extend credit to startups with fewer or lower deposits each month. As you build your credit, you’ll build your reputation. This way, when you’re ready, you’ll have built up a good enough credit history and reputation to qualify for those larger loans that you couldn’t get when you started out.
Going slowly might not feel exciting or fun, but trust us: it’s the way to go.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
That we have to all appreciate the little things and to not take anything for granted.
2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate within yourself and/or life?
I’m blessed to have loving family and friends in my life.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? And what makes YOU most proud? Any goals and dreams that you still have?
Graduating from Arizona State University in 2013
4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?
Nobody’s perfect and it’s been hard to accept it. I’ve learned to embrace my curly hair, my curves and my quirky personality.
5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my unwavering intensity. Everything I do is 100 percent.