Turning Your Hobby into a Career

Nearly two in five employees (39%) are so fed up at work that they’re thinking of leaving their job to start their own business. New research out today from Towergate Insurance reveals that men are currently more willing to take the plunge and start a new venture, with 44% considering starting up their own business, compared to 34% of women.

RankTop reasons for starting own businessPercentage
1 Wanting to make their own money 50%
2 No longer wanting to have to answer to someone else 36%
3 Leaving their job to turn their passion into a career 33%

Female workers are more inclined to consider starting a business that turns a passion, such as food, design, fitness or even alpaca rearing into a career (36%), than men (29%).

Comparisons up and down the country reveal that those in Birmingham (48%), Bristol (44%), Edinburgh (41%) and Liverpool (40%) are well above the national average of those considering leaving their jobs to become their own boss.

CityConsidering leaving their job to start their own business
Birmingham 48%
Bristol 44%
Edinburgh 41%
Liverpool 40%
National average 39%
Cardiff 39%
Glasgow 39%
Newcastle 38%
Nottingham 38%
Manchester 35%
London 28%

However, according to the poll of 2,000 workers, more than half (56%) of British workers say that a fear of failure stops them from turning a potentially game-changing idea into a real business.

Yet it’s not a lack of ideas that prevents people from starting a business - 56% also revealed that they have come up with at least one business idea or invention, but haven’t turned it into a business, with more than one in five (22%) stating they have come up with as many as two ideas.

18-24 year olds prove to be the most creative bunch, with two thirds (66%) coming up with at least one business idea - compared to 57% of 35-44 year olds - yet they still haven’t tried to make anything of it.

Drew Wotherspoon, Marketing Director of Towergate Insurance Direct says: “We know that making the move to start your own business can be daunting, particularly when it comes to making a career out of a hobby. However, the health of our economy relies on people being confident enough to set up successful businesses. At Towergate, we are keen to see everyone with a viable idea given the tools to realise this ambition.”

Rachel Bridge, entrepreneur and small business author, says: "It's really exciting starting up a business of your own, but you do need to make sure you plan for it properly in order to maximise your chances of success. Don’t just start a business because something is currently on trend or seems to be popular; develop a business idea that you're passionate about and that is related to something that you’ve had experience with.”

“It is also important not to underestimate the need for a strong support network; family and friends will be key to getting you through the emotional and financial challenges ahead.”

Towergate Insurance knows it can feel like there are endless hurdles to overcome when turning your hobby into a career and as such, has worked with Rachel to compile a list of top tips to help aspiring businessmen and women up and down the country turn that business idea into a reality.

  • Research your market: Identify potential customers. Talk to them and find out if your idea is meeting a real need

  • Do a test run: If you have never started a business before, consider starting it up in your spare time while holding on to your day job until you are confident that it will be a success.

  • Keep it simple: Some of the best ideas are the ones that are staring you in the face. The more complicated your product or service, the less likely it is to succeed

  • Use what you already have: Most people have the majority of tools they will need in their business life – be it a laptop, a phone or the access to social media to begin marketing

  • Develop and plan: Test your product or service with real customers, make changes, and test it again. Keep doing this until you’re sure there’s a demand for it. Make sure you also decide who is actually going to want to buy your product or service. Too many start-ups forget to do this and then wonder why they can't sell enough to keep the business afloat

  • Get your paperwork in order: When you create a business, it’s important to let the relevant authorities know. Depending on what type of business you are starting, this might mean registering both with Companies House and HMRC in order to work out what kind and rate of tax you should be paying and also, how you should be paying it.

  • Make sure you’re covered: Taking the plunge as an entrepreneur inevitably means taking a few new risks. However, this doesn’t have to mean exposing yourself to unnecessary financial worry. One easy way to minimise your exposure is to take out the right kind of business insurance. Just as you insure your home contents and buildings, starting a business requires its own relevant business policy. How you do that will depend on your circumstances, from your number of employees to your type of premises and equipment. If you are unsure about your exact insurance needs, speak to an insurer that understands your business and can help you find the right cover.

  • Find partners and suppliers: Think about who you’re going to work with to develop and sell your idea

  • Tell people your Unique Selling Point: Attracting business interest is all about drawing in people – whether it’s customers, investors or future employees. Tell them what makes you exciting and different

  • Work out if you can actually make a profit: You need to be able to charge a price which is high enough to both cover your costs and make a profit on top, otherwise you don't have a business, you have a vanity project.

  • Get funding and manage your cash flow: Explore different sources of business finance, from bank loans to government-backed schemes

  • Be realistic: Remember that even the most successful businesses can take several years before they start to make money. Make sure you have enough savings or someone to support you until your business is established enough to provide you with an income.

  • Don’t put things off: There’s no time like the present!

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