hobbyWhile the old saying 'do what you love and the money will follow' is true in some instances, in many cases your art should stay your art.

So, how do you know if you have the right mindset to turn your hobby into a business?

Anna Pino, CEO of Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre - a business primer for start-ups on the road to commercialisation, offers FIVE tell-tale signs that indicate you have the right mindset to turn your hobby into a business.




  1. You want to make a profit not simply support a hobby – Businesses are structured to make profits not simply provide you with a job or with the funds to support your passion. While entrepreneurs are inspired by their passion, they are in business to make money. A sure sign that you're not thinking like a business owner is if you have trouble charging a realistic price for what you offer.

  2. You introduce yourself as a business owner – If you still introduce yourself as 'a graphic designer' or 'landscape architect' rather than saying you run a graphic design studio or a landscaping business, then you're thinking like an employee not a business owner. If you're still not sure, ask your suppliers or your customers how they see you. Do they see you as a freelancer or a business owner?

  3. You realise there's more to running a business than just the fun stuff – Running a business is hard work. Along with the fun stuff, there are plenty of other things that you won't enjoy and unless you have a lot of money to pay someone to do it you will be doing everything from the sales to the bookkeeping.

  4. You respect your time – When you have a hobby you are happy to indulge as much time as you can on it and there's no accountability for how long something takes. However, with a business there's a cost related to your time even if it's only an opportunity cost. For every hour you spend on Facebook you need to be aware there needs to be a return on investment.

  5. "Real artists ship" – This is an old saying of Steve Jobs at Apple, meaning you actually have to deliver. It's not so important when it's a hobby, but when you run a business it's vital.


About Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre
Lighthouse has a strong track record of supporting entrepreneurs, researchers and inventers on the path from concept to commercialisation. Since July 2008, Lighthouse has worked with over 990 distinct enterprises and provided group and peer based services to over 3400 enterprises and individuals. For over five years Lighthouse has successfully delivered business advice, education, mentorship and networking opportunities to help these businesses commercialise their ideas and grow their companies. Lighthouse also delivers programs such as the ACT Microcredit Program for the ACT Government. Visit www.lighthouseinnovation.com.au for more information.

Photo:"Our Stall - Mazey '10" by Tiffany Terry