Building a Small Business from Your Hobby
Owning a small business is a great way for someone to transform a life in which their mostly static income is arbitrarily defined by an employer who controls the employee’s status in the industry that they work in. One of the biggest reasons that many people do not venture off to build their own small business is that they hold concerns about discovering that they are doing something that they dislike more than their regular employment. Building a small business does not have to be this way — if its foundation is built upon doing a hobby that the owner loves. Here are five hobby inspired small business owners that made that happen:
Richard Pawlowski has been an avid bike riding enthusiast for decades. In order to stay fit, he would ride his bike around town when he was not working as a real estate broker. One day, at the age of 60 (that’s right, 60), he decided to monetize his hobby by attaching full-sized mobile billboards to the back of his bike. Not only did this enhance his workout, but it allowed him to pull in $250 per client. His small business, which has now been running for over a decade, has transformed into the fastest growing segment of the outdoor advertising industry.
Richard was able to build his business by selling the value of a mobile billboard that stands out in a crowd and will be brought straight to customers.
Topiarius is a multi-million dollar landscaping business. The company’s owner, Craig Jenkins-Sutton however, was not a landscaper when he first started the business–all he had was the naturally green thumb of a Minnesota farm boy and an affinity for plants. He started out in 2003 by placing a simple gardening ad in the Chicago Tribune. After a deluge of phone calls, he only closed one sales lead. That was all that he needed to get started. He almost immediately founded Topiarius and the business now earns over a million dollars in annual revenue.
For Dave Olejnik, coffee is a passion. He developed the very American habit of idling in coffee bars while working at one while living in Seattle, Washington. Seeing an opportunity to turn his passion into something profitable, he opened a Laynes Espresso coffee shop in the UK in 2011. Laynes Espresso is now a profitable coffee shop and Dave firmly believes that his success is rooted in the fact that both he and his staff have a passion for brewing and enjoying the bitter brown beverage.
West Point Thoroughbreds
Terry Finley did not like his job as an insurance salesman. In fact, he felt trapped by the job. One of his favorite ways to get away from the drudgery of his job was to visit the horse racetrack. One day, he saw a winning horse that he had to own. He got an investor to help him gain part ownership of the horse, and he has not looked back since. Now earning $6.5 million dollars in annual revenue, West Point Thoroughbreds is now a successful race horse breeding and management company.
Longtime vegan Ethan Brown loathes the idea of eating chicken–or any other form of meat for that matter. In 2009, he walked away from his green energy career and combined his passion for vegetarianism, his desire to help the environment (livestock create deadly gasses) and his farm boy upbringing to bring deceptively meat-like veggie products to the world. Soon after, his foods became known for their health benefits and their meaty taste.
Does your hobby have small business potential?
Being a small business owner is a possibility that anyone can achieve. When one pursues this goal, however, it should not be a chore; that is why a business should be doing something the owner loves and has passion for.
You may be asking yourself if your hobby can be transformed from a fun activity into a source of solid income. The only way to know is to do what Ethan, Dave, Terry, Craig and Richard did and find out for yourself.