Turning Your Hobby Or Skill Into A Home Based Business

So ya want to start a home based business, huh? More and more people today are turning to the internet as a means of starting their own online business. And with virtual retail space being so cheap (hosting packages under $10 per month), why not give it a go?

However, there are a few things you must consider before taking the leap of starting your home based business. Taking these considerations into account can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

Can you turn your hobby or skill into a viable business?

Most successful online business fall into one of three categories: health, wealth and love. But what if your hobby of selling baseball cards does not fall into one of these categories? Don’t fret, all hope is not lost. Many of these niches can still be created into full blown viable businesses. All you need to do is a bit of research!

Start looking into what others in your related industry are doing:

  • Do you notice a demand for your product (or service)?
  • Are these businesses making money?
  • Are they getting traffic?
  • Check their Alexa ratings and see what kind of traffic they are getting.
  • Do a Google search for your hobby and see how many others are monetizing on a similar concept.

If your niche is unique you may want make ensure that there’s a demand for what you have to offer. Consider setting up some social networking accounts and conversing with others and see what they think about your product or service.

Who is your target market?

Determining your target market is going to be a key step in your home based business. If you are not clear on who you are targeting, how do you plan on reaching them?

Again researching potential competitors using tools such as Alexa can help you determine the target market for your niche.

For example, if your hobby involves home and gardening, doing research on a competitor such as Home Depot can give you some ideas on who to target. OK, bad example but you get my drift :).


How much is it going to cost me to start a home based business?

There are three types of business you can start:

  • Product-based
  • Information-based
  • Service-based

The type of home business you are looking to start is going to determine your costs. Here are some costs to consider:

Shipping – If you are going to sell physical products you need to consider the cost of shipping supplies such as boxes, labels and tape. If you are going to use a shipping service, you will also need to factor in monthly service fees.

Software – Some businesses may require you to purchase software in order to conduct your business effectively.

Office supplies – Printing paper, pens, letter-heads, business cards, are just a few of the supplies you may need to get you started.

Business papers – In some cases you may need to apply for permits to conduct a business in your home. Also, once you determine you have a viable business, you may want to consider incorporating your business in order to qualify for certain tax breaks.

Merchant Fees – Selling physical products often times involves setting up merchant accounts. There can be some hefty fees involved with some of these services so make sure to do your research prior to choosing one.

Hosting Fees – Although hosting fees is going to be one of your lowest expenses, nonetheless they are fees that are going to add to your bottom line.

There may be many more costs to consider than what I’ve mentioned here but you’ll get a good idea with this comprehensive list.

As you can see from the questions posed that starting a home base business, although easier today than ever before, is still going take a bit of planning. Do your research, get clear on your plan action and then go get’em!

Are you ready to start your home-based business? Have you done your research?


Michele Welch works with entrepreneurs and small business owners to get the edge in business and life, develop their passion, and create a results driven marketing roadmap! One way I do this is to share with them how to use streamlined and effective online strategies to market their business online. Where I thrive at is in breaking down techie concepts into bite-sized nuggets where others can understand and easily implement what they've learned. Michele is also the creator of The Edge Codeβ„’ - Living Your Life & Business by Design! Please feel free to connect with her on Twitter& Facebook.

29 thoughts on “Turning Your Hobby Or Skill Into A Home Based Business

  • Hi Michele. Totally agree with you. It is much easier today to set up your own home based business than before. It is my opinion that the internet has given the opportunity for many to embark on this venture and with a little bit of planning and lots of determination, I think that it is possible to have a successful home based business. Thanks!

    • Hi DiTesco,

      Absolutely… a lot of determination! No easy task for sure, but for those with the eye on the prize and realistic goals, it is more doable than ever before.

      Talk soon. And thanks for the supportive comment! πŸ™‚

    • OH MY, just noticed the watermark on the image…love it!! I had plans in the works to do a tutorial on adding watermarks to your images in the next few weeks. How funny is that? Unless you beat me to it of course. =)

  • Hi michelle,
    Turning a hobby into a home business is definitely easier than ever. Overhead costs are low nowadays for hosting and you can start with an interest that you are already fMiliar with. Since it’s already a hobby, you cab start with a blog and present information about that niche to build up your site.

    • Exactly Richard. With the flexibility of WordPress you can even start an online shop and just boot-strap it with open-source software if you like. It’s quite amazing what you can do if you are willing to put the time and effort into it.

      Great thing about hobbies is there really is little loss if it doesn’t work out for you. Just do it in your spare time and see where it takes you. =)

      Thanks for the comment…appreciate your input!

  • Hi Michele

    I am just starting out and I think all the points you have made here are valid for starting a home-based business. Is important to do due diligence before embarking on a business whatever it is. I looked at traffic, searches and my competition before I started. Thanks for sharing. Great read.

    Patricia Perth Australia

    • Great to hear you did your research Patricia! I have to admit with my first online site, I didn’t . It was a lesson learned that for short. But hey, sometimes we have to learn the hard way. =)

      I’ve seen you around for some time Patricia and I want to make a request if you don’t mind me doing so.

      I want to you to take on that you are no long “starting out” but rather an expert (which I know you are =) in your field. Coming from a place where you are the BEST at what you do! I think you may notice by doing so you may notice a shift in your conversation.

      I get you are still learning the “how to’s” …we are all still learning. I learn something new every day! But even in the realm of not knowing everything and being new to the “online” thing, my guess is that what you DO is NOT new to you and making the shift of your business online is just symantics, can be a powerful place to stand.

      Don’t worry, you don’t have to keep doing it if you don’t want to… it’s just a game to play. =) It’s just like trying on new clothes, if it fits than buy it, if not put it back on the shelf.

      Thanks for the comment Patricia! Great to hear from you. Best of luck.

  • Excellent article. I have never ever thought of starting a home based business mainly because I was never ever interested in the same. Also, I think that it has a very limited scope here at our place. Anyways, thanks for this useful and informative article. I did learn a lot from it.

    • Hi Aswani,

      Glad to hear you learned something. I always say if you can take one thing new away from something, than it was worth the time.

      Take care. =)

  • Michele, I really appreciate your realistic approach here. I know a lot of people who try to start businesses both online and off, but they don’t do their homework to evaluate whether or not the business is potentially viable. Some make it. Some don’t.

    • Thanks John. I’ve been so lucky to see your face all day! πŸ˜‰

      Yeah, it’s a bit like Russian roulette…OK maybe not that dangerous. =) There’s something to be said with jumping in with two feet without looking, the problem is you may not know how you are going to land.

      Talk again soon I hope!

  • Hello Michele,
    You did a constructive and viable plan on how to start an online business, i liked your approach about turning your hobby/passion into a business and not start a business on what you think is the most sought after products/services etc.
    Many people start business about things they dislike but thing would monetize good and quickly end up abandoning because they don’t like it and they soon find that without passion it doesn’t have any success.

    • You hit the nail on the head Alex…Passion!! From my OWN personal experience I can say without a doubt, if you don’t at the very minimum truly enjoy what you are doing it’s going to be difficult to keep the momentum going.

      Of course, there two trains of thought. Some say go where the money is and others say follow your passion and the money will come. It would be ideal if you can do both! =)

      Thanks for the awesome comment Alex!

  • Hey Michele,

    I totally agree that starting a business has never been easier. One should not get fooled that making money is easy as 1-2-3 though. Starting a business is one thing and making it sustainable is something totally different.

    The research part is undoubtedly valid. If you really want to gain recognition and get a good client base, a deep research is an absolute must. Not knowing the competition and which your potential clients are will inevitably bring you one step closer to failure.

    Other than that, the details you have given on starting a home-based business are definitely interesting and informative. Thanks for sharing and have a great day! πŸ™‚

  • Absolutely Daniel! Well said! Making it SUSTAINABLE! That’s where all the marketing comes in; the networking, advertising, guest posting, SEO, etc.
    It’s a process just like opening a brick and mortar store. Heck sometimes I think I spend more time on my business than most “real” world business owners. πŸ™‚
    Anyone starting a business, virtual or real, needs to be aware of that. That all being said, it’s still a lot easier. πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for you input Daniel!

  • Although it is fairly low cost to get a domain and set up hosting, the reality is everyone likes to get further and further into it, so be ready to spend more then just that, having said that every bit of money that you put into your website business in some way or another usually pays itself off and of course eventually makes you money

    Nice post πŸ™‚

    • Hi Dan. Can’t agree with you more. BTW, it is still not fancy or anything and just I said, it started some three days ago so it will definitely need some more “vitamins”. Care to give it a peak and let me know what you think I can do to enhance it. Will love your thoughts about it.

      Keyword Plugin

      • Sure please add me on skype: dannbkk , give me your ftp and I can have a play around for you πŸ™‚

    • Hi Dan,

      Aaaahh, yes, the spending just keeps on coming! I’ve been fortunate so far though (cross my fingers πŸ˜‰ ), any investments I’ve made so far have helped me move my business forward. As long as your investment is strategic and calculated than I absolutely agree that putting in the money will/can result in a larger return in the long run!

      Thanks for your input…much appreciated!

  • The other option is to get the experts to help you put it all together. There are companies that offer these services ( you need to search for a good and trustworthy one). It can be a steep learning curve, so it’s always good to have expert advice on hand.

  • Hi Michele! Thanks for all your tips. It is helpful for us who are just starting make our own business online. For a person like me who likes to make gift baskets, I should probably use my skills on that field to make it as my line of online business. I think I should research more to be able to compete with my competitors well. It is indeed very important for us to find our target market and niche online.

  • Hi Michele,

    This is a terrific post I like the references that you included such as Alexa. Two other tools that I love for free, quick, and robust market/competitor research is Quantcast and KeywordSpy.

    If I can piggy back off of the theme of this post I’d say that the wealth of online research options along with the endless ways to affordably promote your services combine to make now the best time in history for online businesses.

    Great article!

    • Hi Benin,

      I agree! It really is the best time. NOW is always the best time!

      Quantcast – another great tool. As well as Compete, which I failed to mention. I’ve heard of KeywordSpy although never used it. Will have to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation.

      Thanks for your input. πŸ™‚

  • Great article, Michelle! Home based business is truly just more than a hobby, it is already a real business. Thanks for sharing

    • Now that’s the attitude I like to hear! πŸ˜‰ Thanks for the wonderful comment!

  • Great article, but I will also point out you can make extra money online (Home Business) from your skills or special talents – Writing, Graphic Design, Website Building ext. and offer those talents for money. I been marketing online for 10 years, and now outsource most of my work to those who can do the jobs. Do they make money? You bet they do. All you need to do is get yourself known and get the word out what you can do. There are marketers who will pay you for your talents.

    • Absolutely Ed and that’s exactly what I do! Amongst other things. πŸ˜‰

      10 years huh? You must be really good at what you do to get to the point of outsourcing your projects. You’re an excellent example of the benefits of turning your skill into an home based business. πŸ™‚

      Thanks for your input!

  • thanx for sharing this info., Well, as mother o f two it would be great big help to put up a home based business to earn more. Your post right here is very essential. Please do continue posting some business strategy or tips. Have a great day!

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