Hobbies into business: Selling collectibles

Wouldn’t it be great to spend each day doing your favourite hobby, and make money at it too? In this article we lone way to turn a hobby into a business. Having a passion is a key to success when you start a new business. Basing your business on a hobby you love can be a real winner. You get time to spend on your activity, improve your skills, get feedback from people who love what you make, and even earn money.

If you have been doing a hobby for years you may already have feedback from people who want to buy something from you. It isn’t always straightforward to go from making something for fun to selling it for profit. There are regulations to follow, and you need to reach out to lots of potential customers to sell your items. Plus, profits on handmade items can be low. Work out your prices carefully so you do not end up working for nothing. On balance, though, turning a hobby into a business can be a fulfilling way to earn pocket money and more, and it is a great way back to working. Read on to find lots of ideas for business based on hobbies.

Selling collectables

Whether you are an avid philatelist or have hundreds of Beanie Babies, there is an enormous market for selling collectables. If you collect something, the internet gives you massive scope forgetting in touch with other people willing to part with cash for your finds. You will need to constantly search for more stock, but that is usually a pleasure rather than a pain for collectors. Getting the price right is harder – you need to buy bargains which you know will sell for more. From autographs and programmes to cigarette cards and phone cards there is a market for every collectable. Search www.ebay.co.uk on ‘collectable’ for around 50 more ideas of what sells. There are more specialist buying and selling websites such as www.abebooks.co.uk for books: you will probably know where you search for additions to your own collection. Check out the chapter on internet businesses for more on setting up your own online store.

Sue has collected school stories for all her adult life, and says, “As with all collectors, I acquired duplicates as I upgraded or forgot I already had a particular school story. For several years I sold those duplicates to dealers. It struck me that I might sell them myself and take all the profit: so I advertised in Exchange and Mart, produced a short list, and that was the beginning”. Sue combines bookselling with a career in teaching, and spends less time selling books when term is in full flow. She continues, “At the peak, I was spending an average of about 12 hours a week selling books. The work was actually concentrated into short bursts when a sales list went out, which I always did in the school holidays. Then I’d spend about 12 hours a day on it for around two to three weeks”. Sue points out the downside of selling something you love to collect: “I don’t really make much money, actually, as all the really good stuff goes straight into my collection; but the best thing is being able to buy books without feeling guilty! One also ‘meets’ a lot of other collectors via email, letter or phone”. If you want to get started, Sue advises building up a mailing list of enthusiasts. After her initial ad she advertised in the Book and Magazine Collector. She concludes, “It’s got hard to find stock now. I don’t have much time. If you want to make a business out of collecting, I’d say either change from being mostly a collector to being mostly a dealer,or recognise that you’ll never make much money”.

 

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