♥ Doing what I create!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yes you can turn any Hobby Into A Part-Time Business

 If you are planning on beginning a business, your best bet is to start out part-time while you are still earning a full-time income at your present job. If you are like most people who are existing from payday to payday -- you don't have a lot of money to invest in a full-time business. No need to worry! Just use your favorite hobby as your business base and grow from there! There's no telling where you'll be at 2 or 3 years down the road. Perhaps you can even tell your present boss to "take that job and shove it." Wouldn't that be great? Using your present hobby or favorite pastime as your business base has many benefits.

 Why? Because ANY business you decide to become involved in should be doing something you LOVE -- something you believe in -- something that you would work at NO MATTER what income it would generate. This will give you the stamina to see your business through the beginning hard times and times when there is more work to do than you can handle. We all know the feeling of doing a job that we hate to do. There is no way we can give it 110% of our abilities because we procrastinate getting through it and just want to get it over with. That's why it is vitally important to dearly love the product or service you have chosen to build your business around. Do you like cooking? Start a recipe newsletter for others who like the same thing and sell your recipes by publishing a simple booklet. Do you enjoy making crafts? Sell them through mail order (be sure and mark up the price for shipping and handling). Do you enjoy working on cars? Print and distribute flyers in your neighborhood listing your prices. Offer a coupon discount for the customer to use on their first auto repair job. Do you enjoy writing? Write a small booklet or how-to manual and sell it through mail order or to multi-level enthusiasts. Do you enjoy computer programming? Write a program and sell through shareware groups or even to mail order computer owners. Yes -- just about anything you love doing can be magically transformed into a business opportunity for you.

Some items may only sell well in your local craft show, while some products and services do well in mail/online order. If you decide to sell through mail order, all you need to do is write a simple ad and have it typeset. Start out with a smaller 1-inch, 2-inch or 3-inch ad. Ask the customer to send a "first-class stamp" or "$1.00" for more information. When they write you, include a 8 1/2x11 sheet detailing your prices. Make sure you have a small order form to make it easy to order your product or service. And of course -- include a cover letter stating that you appreciate their inquiry and look forward to doing business with them in the near future. You'd be surprised how many sales have been lost because a business didn't take the time to write a cover letter and personalize the mailing.

 Also, start educating yourself by reading and researching other home-based businesses. Before I opened up my business I read national publications like "Small Business Opportunities," "Entrepreneur," "Home Office Computing," and "Spare Time Magazine." Although there were some full page ads in there filled with hype (claiming to make me $1 million dollars with a sheet of paper) -- the articles are excellent. Don't spend more than $3 for information in the beginning of your business because if a company is legitimate you should be able to call them and discuss the opportunity over the phone with them. Businesses that claim to put you in business overnight should never demand a large amount of money from you. On the contrary -- legitimate businesses have nothing to hide and will not charge you more than a few dollars in postage to learn the "whole" story behind their claims. Instead -- use these publications, as well as books from the library on starting a business to further your knowledge of the world.

Another good move on your part is to invest a few hours by attending a meeting that is sponsored by SCORE from the Small Business Administration in your area. It's free -- and the valuable information you obtain from actual people who have been in business before is something that will be extremely valuable in the months ahead. Just call the SBA to find out more information. Yes -- it's that easy! Of course, this is only the beginning. As with any hobby, it will take time (probably many months) to realize a profit but think of it this way: Most people that have a hobby know they have to spend money to take part in their hobby. It only makes sense to invest money in advertising your hobby to others so you can eventually make some of that money back in sales for your own business!

Selling online is a great resource using, or even just to name a few online venues. Check out your competitors and see what they offer and it will also help you determine a price point to sell your item(s) at.  Go search out online forums of others doing similar items and see what they say. Most importantly, remember buyers wont just come to you. You got to advertise. You cannot go with the attitude if I build it... they will come. A famous line from A Kevin Costner movie and pretty well known,  but unfortunately NOT SO for online selling.  Well, not if they don't know about it.   

Online sales is difficult for most items. Buyers can do a lot of comparison shopping so the product and price has to be the best. You must price your items at internet market value if you want them to sell. If you can't produce them profitably to sell at an internet price, then the correct business decision would be to not sell them here. In-person retail may be your best solution for profitable sales.
If your extensive research shows that your products WILL sell, then do all of the adverting your can, such as Google AdWords. But, people who find your items on a craft web site are very likely to look at the competition on the craft web site before making a decision to purchase your items, so your advertising cost may be in vain.
Just make all of your decisions on valid business data and not on personal hopes.

I see many people join online venues and after a month they get very discourage and want to quit and move onto another venue thinking it will be better. You have to give it a few months. Patience is a virtue. Honestly, it took myself a good YEAR before my shops got moving and making profit. Also, remember not to bad mouth any other shops or sellers, buyers online other other selling venues. Why? Potential customers could stumble across your posting and if they see something negative that you may have said, well it could be a turn off and a loss of a sale. 

One last thing be sure if you get any type of email that you respond back. Even if the person does not buy from you, it is very friendly and GOOD customer service like to respond to inquiries in a timely manner. Inquiries can always lead to potential sells.Have some fun and GOOD LUCK!!

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

"A very good career choice would be to gravitate toward those activities and to embrace those desires that harmonize with your core intentions, which are freedom and growth—and joy. Make a "career" of living a happy life rather than trying to find work that will produce enough income that you can do things with your money that will then make you happy. When feeling happy is of paramount importance to you—and what you do "for a living" makes you happy—you have found the best of all combinations."--- Abraham

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