Turning a hobby into a successful startup

Posted by Carmelo Romano

Most of us enjoy spending our time one way or the other: photography, cooking, painting, archery, solving puzzle games, etc. Only some of us have what it takes to turn their hobbies into successful startups.

Let me give you a few examples and then I will ask you if you think you’ve got what it takes to turn your hobby into a flowering business. Is it guts, money, ambition or determination? We’ll see in a moment.

Successful startups from hobbies

Terry Finley is one man that saw that his passion for horse racing could bring him money, satisfaction and the possibility of quitting his dull job of selling life insurance. As Jane Porter writes for the, Terry Finley turned his passion into a thriving business.( Read more…).

His first horse, Sunbelt, won a few races and attracted an investor who paid $5000 for partial ownership. Within two months, Terry had 2 horses and he continued to invest in his business. So, he quit his job and founded West Point Thoroughbreds, a race horse syndication management company. In 2011 they had a revenue of $6.5 million, which has grown from $2 mill. in 2005. Now, the purses they’ve won up to the present rise up to almost $22 mill.

Another hobby mentioned by Jane Porter is sewing. Megan Duckett worked with an event-planning company, as she wanted to work in the entertainment industry. In her free time she was sewing, making bedding, drapes and costumes. In 1996 she was earning more money from her sewing than from her full-time job. So, she quit and started working at a successful startup, with only 3 hired seamstresses. In the first year she generated $80.000 in revenue. She is the founder of 2 thriving business: Sew What? and Rent What?.  Now she has over 32 employees and Sew What? had a revenue of $5.2 million last year, while Rent What? another $1.5 million.

Do you have what it takes to turn your hobby into a successful startup?

Though there can be no book of rules you should follow in order to achieve success, there are some questions you should answer if you want to know if you have what it takes. Asheesh Advani offers you “5 questions to answer before you make the leap from hobbyist to full-time entrepreneur” in her post for Entrepreneur. I believe her explanations and questions provide useful insight into what being an entrepreneur means. She shows that in order to be a business person you must be “committed to excel” and “not waver when the going gets tough”.

Another suggestion is that being a successful entrepreneur needs “confident optimism”. If you think about it, how could you push your employees further if you didn’t believe in any of your business plans and your every failure would seem the end of the world, not that which it is: a mere failure.

Asheesh Advani also highlights the importance in building a successful startup from hobbies of being a decision-making person and having enough money to encourage your business to thrive. You also need to know how to sell your product, so if persuasion and charisma are what defines you, you’re heading in the right direction.

What’s your hobby and could it bring you money? Do you think you have what it takes to transform it into a successful startup? Write me in the comments below.


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Carmelo Romano- .

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