How to turn your creative hobby into a business

Are you creative on phlow? Do you enjoy uploading your photography, illustrations and art work onto our visual storytelling community? If yes, you may have thought about starting your own creative business. Read our guide to turning your hobby into a profitable income stream.


Every day, thousands of people promote their creative work on our phlow. From manga to tattoo art, night photography to lettering – the breadth and variety of creative content on phlow is staggering.

Have you ever thought about creating a business from your creative passions? As ‘creative marketplace’ websites like Etsy and eBay have sprung up, so to have an increasing amount of creative entrepreneurs. These are ordinary people who have turned their artistic hobbies into highly successful business ventures.

However, there are a number of things to consider before you abandon the day job. To give you some pointers, we’ve created a step-by-step guide.

What to consider before turning your creative hobby into a business

Running a business is very hard work. So firstly ask yourself: “do I want to link my hobby to my work?” Consider whether that stress-relieving creative hobby will lose its appeal if you’re working around the clock to fulfil customer orders.  

One way to establish whether or not you could turn your creative hobby into a business is to ‘test’ the water by setting it up as a side hustle. This is a business which you don’t rely on for your main income stream. It’s something you do part time, outside of your main job.

If you’re certain that the positive aspects of turning your hobby into a career outweigh the negatives, the next step is to consider HOW you would like to earn income.

Ideas for generating income from your creative passions

Lots of creative hobbies lend themselves well to being commissioned to order, or alternatively, sold after manufacture. See the list below for inspiration. Additionally, there are many service-based spin off businesses which could provide an income.

Photography business ideas

Commissioned:

  • Wedding photography
  • Family and portrait photography
  • Boudoir photography
  • Event photography
  • Editorial and fashion photography
  • Product photography
  • Photography for businesses – e.g architecture, interior design, travel and hospitality etc.

Created, then sold:

  • Fine art photography
  • Photography prints
  • Stock photography

Related services:

  • Teaching (online and in person)
  • Blogging and vlogging about photography
  • Photoediting
  • Print preparation and fulfilment
  • Services related to stock libraries. For example: uploading images to stock libraries and tagging.
  • Camera repairs
  • Photography shoot direction
  • Writing books about photography

Illustration business ideas

Commissioned:

  • Murals for interior design purposes
  • Book illustration
  • Tattoo designs
  • Product design illustration
  • Illustration for graphic design

Created, then sold:

  • Illustrated prints, posters and art work
  • Illustration on merchandise products. For example: t-shirts, mugs and bags.

Related services:

  • Teaching (online and in person)
  • Blogging and vlogging about illustration
  • Writing books about illustration

Writing related business ideas

Commissioned:

  • Blog writing
  • Freelance copywriting
  • SEO writing
  • Ghost writing

Created, then sold:

  • Freelance writing for publications
  • Freelance writing for online platforms like Medium

Related services:

  • Editing, translating and interpreting
  • Blogging and vlogging about the process of writing
  • Writing books about writing

Crafting business ideas

Commissioned:

  • Wedding invitation production
  • Clothing
  • Quilts

Created, then sold:

  • Creating products to sell at fairs and through online shop storefronts (eg quilts, jewellery, knitted items and clothes)

Related services:

  • Teaching (online and in person)
  • Blogging and vlogging about crafting
  • Writing books about crafting

Jewellery making business ideas

Commissioned:

  • Wedding and engagement rings
  • Other bespoke jewellery

Created, then sold:

Creating products to sell at fairs and through online shop storefronts.

Related services:

  • Jewellery repairs
  • Teaching (online and in person)
  • Blogging and vlogging about jewellery making
  • Writing books about jewellery making

Marketing your creative business

Creative production is only one part of the equation. In reality, there are many other skills that you will need to make your new business succeed. Marketing is extremely important to any business. Without it, you are unlikely to succeed.

Creating a website is an important first marketing step. This is because you will need to direct customers to an online presence so they can order from you. If you have technical skills, website providers like WordPress and Shopify can enable you to create a storefront site pretty quickly. It’s possible to purchase ‘design themes’ which can be unpacked and implemented in minutes, enabling you to create an attractive site in hours. Should you require technical help from a developer, these can be easily sourced via platforms like Upwork and Fiverr.

Creative products can also be sold on e-marketplace platforms such as eBay and Etsy. It’s still important to sell through your own website though. If you overly rely on these platforms and something happens to your profile, you will need a back up platform to continue selling from. This is where your website comes in!

Marketing promotion

The next step is to consider marketing promotion channels, and this is where phlow can help. phlow provides you with a unique ability to craft your ‘maker story’ through a phlow journal. The idea is to give customers insight into your life as a creator.

Why bother doing this? By showing potential customers why you set up your business, and how you create your product, you will help them to feel an emotional connection with your brand. Customers with an emotional connection to a brand are much more likely to make a purchase.

Other social media channels can help you publicise your work to the masses. Bear in mind however, that many now require businesses to pay for advertising in order to reach new audiences.

Accounting and managing the finances

If you want to be successful in any business, you need to keep track of the numbers. Tracking sales and expenses will help you to produce accurate end-of-year accounts. If the thought of crunching numbers kills your creative vibe, consider delegating book keeping and accounting tasks to someone else. You could commission an accountant or bookkeeper to do this work for you on a part-time basis. This frees you up to do more of what you love – creating!

More information:

Samantha
Samantha
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