How to Turn your Hobby Into a Business the World Wants

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Have you ever thought of turning your daydreams into a business? The economic climate may be stormy, but now might be the perfect time to do it − depending on where your interests lie. Justin Jones-Fosu, leadership trainer and host of WEAA's "Listen Up!" explains.

His first piece of advice: see if your interests line up with what the world currently wants. If they fall into one of the following areas, you may be in luck.

  1. Social media networking (for all you Twitter addicts)
  2. Local products (for the neighborhood-centric)
  3. Green business (for earth mothers and fathers)
  4. Technology (hello, tech nerds!)

According to a wide range of sources (including a recent Cone Business in Social Media study and Steve Strauss, author of "The Small Business Bible") those four areas of interest are most likely to succeed right now as small businesses.

Other advice: have a business plan, look into which businesses might be eligible for government funding, and surround yourself with people who know what they're doing.

Small business owner Lee Zukor did all of the above when he started his blog, simplegoodandtasty.com, less than a year ago (inspired by his love of local food and social networking). The site − which connects foodies, restaurants, and local food growers − has been so successful that he's been able to turn it into his full-time job.

Lee's advice: do what you love. If you manage to succeed, you'll be doing it for a long time. And never underestimate the importance of a solid plan.

Guests:

Lee Zukor

Hosted by:

Todd Zwillich

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Contributors:

Justin Jones-Fosu

Comments [10]

Justin Jones-Fosu from Baltimore, MD

Thank you all so much for your comments! They are great. I not only contributed to this story, but I also turned my hobby into a business. I would speak and conduct trainings for fun, until someone asked me if I would write down my prices. That led me to launch www.justininspires.com. My advice would be to check out the E-Myth and the 6 Week Business Start-UP Guide. I teach graduate students how to turn their hobbies into businesses every semester, so if you have any questions I am open to answer them. You can contact me at info@justininspires.com. Much success to you on your journey!

Feb. 16 2010 03:57 PM
Mark Gothelf from New York, NY

After 25 plus years in IT, I was laid off from my job as a project manager for a software company in August. I combined my high-tech background with my love of architecture and design to create a new business - Virtual Renovation. We use software tools to create 3D animated models of homes and apartments to help architects, contractors, realtors and individuals visualize what their home might look like with a little imagination. Check out our website www.virtualrenovation.net.

Feb. 16 2010 09:24 AM
Nelson from Miami, Florida

I started a club at University of Florida in my college days. Even though I chose an electrical engineering track, I also had a passion for consciousness studies. The Science of Self Club was a success -- I accumulated experience in event organizing and promotions. Today I continue to pursue this interest as a volunteer for International Academy of Consciousness and International Consciousness Research Laboratories. Perhaps, in the future, I can dedicate full time to promoting events related to science and spirituality.

Feb. 16 2010 09:23 AM
FitPro from NYC

After 9/11, I spent so much time at the gym trying to reduce anxiety that I soon gave up my day job, got certified as a trainer and starting a business training cancer survivors. Going from avocation to vocation was the best thing I ever did.

Feb. 16 2010 09:03 AM
Bryan H from DC

Todd, your former colleague and my buddy, Joel Finkelstein, turned his coffee roasting hobby into a successful coffee shop in DC's Petworth neighborhood. Check it out -- http://www.freshofftheroast.com/qualia.html

Feb. 16 2010 08:59 AM
David from detroit mi

ornj bags are created out of re-used construction fencing, pulled out of abandoned fields in detroit. i've had sales internationally but am looking to increase volume. www.ornjbags.com

Feb. 16 2010 08:59 AM
Bobbi from Marlboro

I'm a very good photographer and EXCELLENT Photoshop artist. I love to enhance portraits by using my skills to take them beyond ordinary photographs.

Feb. 16 2010 08:51 AM
Andy

Great story! Always fun and encouraging to hear about successful, cutting edge, small businesses . . .

Feb. 16 2010 08:47 AM
Peg Mallett from Wayland, MA

This winter we started an indoor Winter Farmers Market in a beautiful garden center in the Metro West (suburban) area of Boston, in the town of Wayland. Farmers and specialty food producers have come from ALL OVER THE STATE to participate, and shoppers have come out in DROVES to meet the person that produces their food. Best of all is the incredible happiness in the air, on the part of all involved! It's like a party every week! The colorful, warm greenhouses bring out the best on a cold day!

Feb. 16 2010 08:46 AM
nancy from chelsea, nyc

Seven years ago, in just as difficult an economic climate, I turned my hobby into a business. It's still going strong! http://nymag.com/listings/stores/downtown-doghouse/

Feb. 16 2010 07:04 AM

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