150: 5 Steps to Turn a Hobby Into a Business

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Merry Christmas! We’ve reached 150 episodes of The Side Hustle Show and I’m excited to introduce my favorite side hustler of all-time.

Yes, I may be a little biased, but by popular demand, my lovely bride Bryn is joining me this week.

She’s a mechanical engineer by day and a side hustling photographer evenings and weekends. What started as a picture-taking hobby quickly evolved into a pretty healthy side income stream, and in this call we break down the five steps it took to get there.

Three years ago, Bryn and her business partner Brooke had each made less $500 from photography — far less than they’d spent on equipment. Fast forward to this year, and they shot more than a dozen weddings and booked top-line revenue in excess of $40,000.

Listen in to hear what happened in between.

Remember, every professional starts as an amateur, and there are parallels in this conversation I think will apply to any freelance service-based side hustle.

(Brooke and Bryn’s business also had a cameo in my TEDx talk last year.)

Plus, we have an announcement to make. We’re expecting a new addition to the fam, a son due next month!

pregnancy announcement web

Wish us luck!

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Bryn’s 5 Steps:

  1. Find a support group, mentor, partner, or apprenticeship.
  2. Build a portfolio.
  3. Find ONE paying customer.
  4. Raise your rates.
  5. Invest in yourself, invest in the biz, and hustle.


  • How this hobby turned into a business almost by accident.
  • Why partnership could be a cure for inaction.
  • How Bryn and Brooke quickly (and freely) built an online portfolio to showcase their work.
  • Where they found their first paying customers.
  • The surprising reaction potential customers had to their initial rates.
  • How word of mouth, local events, and SEO have driven growth each year, despite exponentially increasing prices.
  • Bryn’s #1 tip for Side Hustle Nation.


What do you think? Could you apply these steps to your business? I think the hardest part is putting yourself out there along with a price tag and saying, “I’m worth it.”

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Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Financial Times, Bankrate, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, Bigger Pockets, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

8 thoughts on “150: 5 Steps to Turn a Hobby Into a Business”

  1. Hey Nick! I was catching up on your podcasts and just heard how you and Bryn are expecting (or maybe have the baby by now) so I wanted to say congratulations to you both and I wish you a healthy, happy baby (and mom).

      • Things are going well with the site, just trying to keep up with my goals, haha. If only there were more hours in a day. Hopefully I can share something substantial soon :)

        My unsolicited new parent advice is, you’ll hear a lot of different advice, but do whatever works best for you and your family. And take a lot of pictures and videos (which I’m sure Bryn will), it’s crazy how quickly kids grow!

        Have a great day!

  2. When starting the business what level of business insurance did you obtain? Did this change as time has gone on? What model camera/gear did you start out with?


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