More than half of Aussies are turning their hobbies into businesses

New research by VistaPrint reveals that 59 per cent of Australians who have a hobby have considered, or have already gone about, turning it into a business.

The 2024 Small Business Report highlights the fact that 86 per cent of Australians have at least one hobby and15 per cent of them have already turned those hobbies into a business, while 44 per cent are either willing to, or have thought about, turning their hobby into a source of income. This adds to the 36 per cent of working Australians who already have a side hustle, with 53 per cent linked to their hobbies.

With only four per cent of working Australians having a clause in their work contract that prevents them from starting a side hustle, the research notes that many Aussies have taken this opportunity to start a business, at least on the side. It also points out that Australian society and workplaces appear to be conducive to business ideation, with 15 per cent of side hustlers and business owners having come up with their entrepreneurial idea while at their previous job, and 28 per cent doing so through talking to family and friends.

Despite this enthusiasm, 38 per cent admit that they anticipate a fear of failure when starting a business in the current landscape, and 54 per cent anticipate economic uncertainty and instability. Furthermore, the research noted a significant skills gap that currently exists, with 55 per cent describing themselves as “not skilled at all” or only “slightly skilled” in branding, marketing, and design, and 22 per cent saying they don’t know where to look if they need design and marketing support.

The research highlights that these challenges are creating a significant barrier to starting and growing a business.

“Australians are clearly passionate about their hobbies and are eager to turn them into legitimate businesses,” CEO of VistaPrint Australia and founder of Bondi Joe Swimwear, Marcus Marchant, said. “Our research does, however, highlight a design and marketing skills gap and other barriers that are getting in the way of people feeling confident to start a new business.

“As a small-business founder myself, I know how rewarding it is to nurture a hobby into a successful business venture, and I’m grateful for the journey it has taken me on,” Marchant added. “I now want to help others in the same position.”

In relation to the report’s release and to support Australia’s rising entrepreneurs, VistaPrint has launched its inaugural “Hobby to Hustle” competition that will help Aussies turn their passions into thriving businesses. Participants will be in to win prizes including $15K, $9K, and $6K worth of credit and logo design, alongside access to and support from industry experts Marchant and former COSBOA CEO, Alexi Boyd.

To join the competition, participants must submit a two-minute video explaining what their hobby is, why they want to turn it into a business, and how they plan to do so. The entries will then be judged based on various criteria, including the potential for the idea to be turned into a successful business; the credibility, charisma and business potential of the entrant; and their reasoning behind wanting to start a business.

Submissions are open until 25 June 2024 at 6pm AEST.