Everywhere you look online, you see stories from people who claim to have turned their hobbies into businesses. But is it real? Can you actually make a living doing something that up until now has just been an “in your spare time” type of thing?
Let me tell you about three people who have actually created successful businesses out of their hobbies. If you blend your passion for your craft with a desire to succeed, it can be done.
Nicole Snow, Passionate Knitter
Nicole Snow used to be in the Air Force, so she’s no stranger to discipline. When she left the Air Force, she decided to combine her passion for helping others with her creative talents—and Darn Good Yarn was born. Nicole imports recycled silk yarn from Nepal and India. She’s worked with her suppliers to create an improved product, and has realized a phenomenal 2,900% growth in just four and a half years. Currently, she employs more than 300 women in countries that before, had no sustainable jobs. Her employees have seen an incredible increase in their standard of living, and Nicole’s business continues to grow.
Christine Watanabe, Tennis Maven
Christine Watanabe loves being on the courts. She’s also highly competitive, and accurate scorekeeping is important to her. There were no scorekeepers on the market that satisfied her, so she decided to design her own. She started with a drawing, kept working on it until she had the concept just right, and then hired a plastics engineer to help with the manufacturing. From start to finish, the project took about three years, and today, Score at Hand is on the market. Christine is still on the court, but she’s also in business.
J.T. Smith, Board Gamer
J.T. Smith helps people make board games without having to have thousands of copies manufactured. He firmly believes that even in the age of X-box, Play Station and Wii, there’s still a market for conventional board games.
He began by writing a web app that would help people upload and proof their artwork. This way, a process that used to take weeks could be condensed into less than an hour. He never really intended to make money with the app.
The thing is, it caught on, and just last year, Smith helped people manufacture and sell more than 36,000 board games. He never forgets that he’s in business to make money, but he also never forgets that making money isn’t the only reason he’s in business.
Maybe after reading their stories you’ll think about your own hobbies and interests and ask yourself … could you turn it into a business?