VistaPrint Hobby to Hustle Report: What it takes to turn your passion into a business

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Hobbies can be so much more than just pastimes. They provide a refreshing escape from our daily routine, allowing us to express our creativity and find joy in what we love. But what if that passion could also become your livelihood? From cooking to photography and everything in between, turning your hobby into a thriving business can be deeply rewarding. But is passion alone enough to build a successful business, or do you need additional skills and resources? More importantly, does our fast-paced culture provide the space, support and encouragement for hobbies to turn into something more?

In exploring these questions and recognising the fundamental importance that hobbies play in our everyday lives, we’re thrilled to introduce you to the VistaPrint Hobby to Hustle Report.

The VistaPrint Hobby to Hustle Report is a research piece that aims to uncover the entrepreneurial spirit of Australians. We’re diving deep to unpack the hobby culture in Australia, factors that drive people to turn their hobbies into businesses and the challenges that they face along the way.

We interviewed 1,000 Australians in May 2024 to explore all things hobby-related. Whether you’ve already launched a hobby-driven small business or are considering it, our research reveals one key truth: if you’re truly passionate about something, you should explore it to its fullest potential.

Are Australians content with their 9-to-5 career?

We wanted to find out more about Australians and their attitudes to work. 47% of our participants expressed feeling somewhat satisfied with their current employment situations, while around 11% felt dissatisfied. This implies that the role that hobbies play in our lives to provide a source of creativity and stimulation might be more important than we realise.

Is a hobby culture on the rise?

47% of participants said they have a hobby and 39% of the cohort felt passionate about their hobby. These covered a range of interests, from travelling to cooking, photography and more. Interestingly, 19% of participants expressed their commitment to prioritising their hobbies as a new year’s resolution. Overall, this indicates a growing trend of people who recognise the value of pursuing creative interests in their daily lives.

Our research paints a vivid picture of the hobby culture in Australia – travelling (40%), reading (38%) and cooking (37%) were among the most popular pastimes. Interestingly, 38% of hobbies leaned towards traditional analogue activities like painting, singing and writing, while only 15% were related to digital pursuits such as gaming and 3D design modelling. Additionally, we noticed another significant trend: many Australians are embracing hobbies early in life. Around 44% of our research participants reported developing their hobbies between the ages of 13 and 24, indicating that creativity begins early.

Digging deeper, our study uncovered the driving forces behind hobby adoption in Australia. 44% of respondents were driven by personal passions, closely followed by 37% who mentioned the desire to de-stress as their primary motivation. These findings showcase that while hobbies serve as a source of relaxation for many Australians, they can also provide avenues for self-expression and fulfilment.

Can hobbies turn into full-time businesses?

Our research suggests that Australians are finding ways to turn their hobbies into sources of income. One-in-seven (15%) among our participants said that they have already turned their hobbies into businesses. And, over a third (36%) of participants reported that they have a secondary income, often stemming from their hobbies. Remarkably, over half (53%) of these individuals said that their secondary income is directly tied to their hobby, showing a strong tendency towards monetising passions. In fact, around 15% of respondents said they feel motivated to start a side hustle to generate additional income. 

The hustle mindset doesn’t stop there. 44% of respondents either considered or actively wanted to turn their hobby into a small business. This shows a widespread desire to integrate hobbies into their professional lives. And overall, this positive outlook suggests a promising environment for hobbyists to explore and expand their passions.

But in today’s fast-paced world, can hobby-led brands blossom?

While Australians love their hobbies, 31% of our participants agreed that balancing them with daily responsibilities can be tough. Plus, starting a business can be daunting. 38% of our respondents said that it is the fear of failure that holds them back. Considering the economic uncertainty and cost-of-living crisis that many Australians are facing, it’s no surprise that around 54% of respondents said that they are hesitant to start a business.

Practical issues also make starting a business hard. For example, about one-third of participants (29%) felt that they didn’t have the flexibility to start their own business. 34% said that their current workload stops them from starting a business. And, going digital is another big challenge. Over a fifth (22%) of the business owners and side hustlers didn’t know where to look if they needed design and marketing support.

However, there is also significant hope and optimism surrounding hobbies and the possibility of turning them into side-hustles or small businesses. Almost 33% of our participants said that government incentives or support programs would make them more likely to start a business. 

Hobby meets hustle meets marketing 

The entrepreneurial spirit is strong, yet the question remains – is the message of the  hobbyists-turned-hustlers reaching the right audience? Surprisingly, only 9% of participants use digital advertising to promote their side hustles, and an even smaller 6% resort to print materials. 

The side-hustlers among our participants rely on social media (40%) and word of mouth (39%) to market their business and build their brand presence. Websites also play a big role, with 29% of participants using online platforms to showcase their ventures.

Despite this clear drive to succeed, 33% of respondents expressed a lack of confidence in their branding, marketing and design skills. This suggests a potential barrier to the promotion and growth of side hustles, highlighting the need for more accessible resources and support.

Let your passion shine through and turn your hobby into a thriving business

From the beginning, VistaPrint has championed small businesses, helping brands bring their visions to life. And now, in 2024, we’re the go-to marketing and design partner for small businesses worldwide.

VistaPrint’s Hobby to Hustle Report celebrates the many inspiring hobbies that are ready and waiting to become thriving small businesses. 

Whether you’re a chef ready to publish your first cookbook, a fitness enthusiast wanting to open your first studio or a painter looking to showcase your art on canvas, VistaPrint has the marketing and design solutions that you need to turn your passion into a brand.

So, what are you waiting for? The data is clear: with the right spirit and resources, you can turn your hobby into a hustle. 

Do you have a hobby that you want to turn into a business? Then you’re in the right place! We’re on the lookout for people with unique, inspiring hobbies that have the potential to become successful small businesses. Enter our hobby to hustle competition (you can win a share of $30K’s worth of prizes!)