Tips to possibly turn your hobby into a business without going into debt

Many times we start a hobby and figure out very quickly that this is something we would like to do professionally. We feel happy, relaxed, and very motivated. Nevertheless, whatever the new interest might be, doing it as a hobby would be more cost effective than having one’s own business in that field. Material and equipment can all add up and make the step of becoming your own boss a lot harder. For someone just starting out buying all those things could be a financial burden, which would either push that dream of independence further away or force them into debt. Both outcomes would be bad, since no one wants to lose their dreams, or be in debt up to their ears.

There are some options though how a hobby can be turned into a business cost efficiently, it might not be over night, but it would safe from having the stress of debts.

Rent your equipment

Renting the equipment can be a bit of hassle, but it will avoid the commitment of buying expensive equipment, not knowing if the business will even bare fruits. Motivation alone does not bring customers in, and before you have a list of customers lined up and your work cut out, it would not be wise to invest so much money. Many times when the business goes under the person gets stuck with the expensive equipment, having to sell them for much less than what it was purchased for only months ago. Renting is a short term solution of course, and as soon as the work pays out and the budget is done correctly, one can purchase the equipment without having to take a loan.

Lease your equipment

Although renting is a better solution than buying the equipment new while still establishing your business, it can become expensive as well if done for a long period of time. That is when leasing your equipment would be a better solution. With a lease one can negotiate a time period and price. This would enable you to make a budget plan and work towards it. The lease could go for as many months as you would need to make enough money with your business to buy the equipment.

Purchasing equipment second hand

Making the initial investment into equipment can be very expensive. If renting is just not a possibility, and you chose to lease but your lease is almost up, buying the equipment used is advisable. One can cut the equipment cost in half by buying the equipment second hand. There are plenty of outlets to buy used good equipment online, as well as on city auctions. The goal is to establish the business, make a good profit, and not be in debt at the end. I mean after all the choice to turn the hobby into a business was made because of the fact that it made you happy. Stress of debt can definitely ruin that happiness, turning into a rat race to pay loans.

Make your equipment if you can

Making your own equipment if possible is probably the best advice because it cost almost nothing, since you would be using things that you have laying around at home anyways. Of course in many cases this is not possible; however, in some cases it is. There are plenty of DIY’s on YouTube on how to do things, cutting out the equipment cost to almost nothing.

For example: I had gotten into photography years ago as a hobby. Of course camera and lens is not something I could make out of things I had laying around at home, I had to purchase them. At first it was a small inexpensive camera, then years later my husband purchased me my Nikon. A couple of years after that, when photography had become my business, I purchased another lens, which was used and focused manually. My tripod was also second hand and a bit outdated.  Although my field of photography was mainly outdoors/landscapes, I still had the need to take pictures of objects indoors. I had looked into studio lighting, backdrops, flash, etc.; nevertheless, I did not want to invest money for new equipment just yet, and decided to wait. Not too long after I found a DYI online on how to make a light box. So I figured I would try this first before investing money.

The only things I needed was:

A cardboard box


Sketch Paper

Paper (white, black, any color really) to use as backdrop

(Scissors or carpet knife to cut the box and desk lamps or flash lights to shine in to the box)


I had everything except the box, which I got from a little shop in my area. I laid the box on the ground with the opening pointing towards me. I cut out three squares, one on each side of the box and one on the top of the box. I taped sketch paper over those three cut out squares and put the white and black paper inside the box as the backdrop. I took two desk lamps I had in my home and positioned one on the side and the other to shine through the top square, and my light box was finished. See the pictures below.


copyright Cristina Tarantino