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Can a Hobby Become a Business?

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zeke.:
hello all

I'm curious if there are people on the forum who turned their electronics hobby or some other hobby into a business. Anyone on hear have some stories to share? Just looking for some inspiration to start my own side gig or the reality of chasing your dreams lol

CatalinaWOW:
There is another thread on this subject.  The answer is yes, but there is more worth reading.

David Aurora:
Yep, it definitely can in my experience.

My story was that I was doing electronics as a hobby and kind of out of necessity too. I was a musician/music producer making fuck all money, and aside from always wishing I knew electronics I had also gotten sick of getting way overcharged by shit techs for shoddy work. After fixing some of my own gear and building some of my own designs I started doing the same for family/friends etc, though it was still just a hobby.

Then I changed cities with the intention of getting whatever temporary shitkicking job I could to pay the bills for a few months while I set up a new life and decided what to do next. After a few weeks of job hunting with no luck a friend of a friend here needed a bit of audio gear repaired, and when I did that he sent his bandmate in straight away with more gear (at this point I was working from the kitchen of my shitty little unit). When the phone kept ringing after they spread my name around I rented a tiny workshop a few streets away, then a bigger one, then a better one, and I'm about to come up to 7 years in business here.

So yeah, in my case it was a complete accident, but it worked out. I think the key part of it successfully going from hobby to business was that being a hobbyist allows you the luxury of obsessing. When you're not charging (or you're charging peanuts) you can spend 10 hours digging into an obscure fault or honing a particular skill purely for the learning experience (it gets reeeeeeally hard to do that when it's a business you're running). Those niche skills become major assets in business. For example, one thing I got pretty good at as a hobbyist was cleaning up hacky repairs other people had done- things like PCB track repair, identifying and correcting poor quality mod work, etc. I took a bunch of pride in not just half assing things like the techs around me seemed to be doing, and customers really seem to appreciate those efforts now that I do this professionally.

zeke.:
Would you know the name of the thread?

CatalinaWOW:
I used the forum search feature (upper right corner of the page) and found several mentions and short discussions of hobbies becoming professions, but did not find an entire thread on the subject.  Apparently I was remembering some other forum or media that I follow. 

From memory, here are some things to think about.

1.  Often a hobby is a vehicle to escape from the pressures of life.  Think about whether it has this purpose in your life.

2.  There is a risk of turning a hobby you enjoy into the mill stone around your neck.

3.  Think about the business prospects.  What are your financial goals from this business?  Spending money?  A full time living?  Wealth to retire early?   Is your goal realistic giving the market, the competition and the available profit?

4.  If you plan to keep doing the hobby aspect while adding a business aspect think about how you will legally and financially handle the situation.

5.  Can you maintain the dispassionate assessment of expenses, opportunity selection, pricing and all of the other things that a business requires when making decisions about an activity you love?   (Think about pilots running airlines).

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