SUCCESS STORIES / OCT. 17, 2015
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5 Entrepreneurs Who Turned Hobbies into Business

Opportunities are all around you. Who said that people only get rich by working in an office and generating impactful and great networks? Come on, that is archaic thinking. Nowadays, people have been known to make money very easily and in a legal way. Yes, everyone thinks the only people who have it easy are maybe drug lords, like Walter White (those were too many barrels of money), or thieves because their money comes easy and bulky within a short time. Well, you are wrong! There are people who have made a lot of money just by having a passion.

See Also: 5 Unique and Easy Jobs for Pet Lovers that Can be Turned into a Business

Basically, what you do when relaxing your mind and having fun with friends could be the key to a very wealthy future. For example, look at music and film producers who have made millions of dollars for doing what they love and enjoy, establishing record labels and having fun while making money. Easy and fun money, right?

Here are five people who translated their hobbies into incredible Benjamins.

1. Walt Disney

We have all watched Disney movies and a visit to Disney land is every child’s dream. How did Cinderella, Snow White and the seven dwarfs, and sleeping beauty among others come about? A young four-year old talented boy, Walt Disney really loved drawing. He was so entrepreneurial that by the age of seven, he was already selling these drawings to his relatives and friends. Later on, Walt decided to attend an arts school in Chicago after which, he launched his career in film production, animation and theme park design. Currently, nearly 50 years after his death, Disney, the multi-million business, still stands.

If you love doodling and sketching, do not be shy to be innovative and build a career doing what you love most.

2. Bill Gates

We are pretty sure that your computer is running Microsoft Windows operating system, uses Microsoft Office Word 13 for document creation, and uses Microsoft Office Outlook to send your emails. Additionally, you probably use your Microsoft Windows phone to call your girlfriend and invite her for dinner. Did you know that all this started with a 13 year old boy who had a rare programming hobby, and dared to dream big?

Currently the world’s richest man, Bill Gates has built an impressive business empire. The funny thing about him though is the fact that very few boys have a programming hobby at the age of 13, unless they want to be viewed as nerds or weirdos by their friends. Imagine a 13 year-old struggling to understand how a computer works? Who cares anyway? All that always matters is having the computer that works and opens facebook smoothly using the web browser.

Bill Gates became inquisitive and innovative enough and proceeded to write a tic-tac-toe game that allowed users to play against the computer. He later proceeded to Harvard University and devised an algorithm for pancake sorting, then dropped out to start Microsoft, a multi-million company that defines technological advancements in the world of computers.

3. Bella Weems

We all hate birthdays and such special occasions for one simple reason: getting a gift. Finding the perfect gift especially for very close loved ones is a daunting task and the pressure is increased when every year a fresh and creative thought must be put into the gift idea. Fortunately, Bella Weems through her company, Origami Owl , has made these instances easier.

Bella loved going to bead stores over the weekend and enjoyed making jewelry for fun. At first, this was just a past-time that did not translate into money. With her mum’s guidance, who is also her partner, she started her business that specializes in customizable lockets. Their first business was selling to friends and family who purchased separate chains ranging from $12-$22, lockets from $16 to $42 and charms at $5 each. They would then put them together to create individual stories.

4. Christine Watanabe

We cannot all become the next Serena Williams- running back and forth in that court like we are powered by some super fuel. Even gym instructors who are ten thousands fitter than the average person, cannot do it just like Serena does. But, that should not stop me or you from playing tennis. It is a good pastime and better still, you get fitter.

Christine Watanabe was a very enthusiastic tennis player who used her free time to sweat on that court. She, however, had one major challenge that prevented her from fully enjoying the sport- she needed a scorekeeper that she could use while playing in order to keep track of her points. Of course she wasn’t training, so you are excused to think that she was maybe overdoing her hobby by needing to check her progress. But, don’t you always check the time whilst doing your morning runs?

After an unsuccessful search of a scorecard in the market, Christine decided to design her own. She engaged a plastics engineer who helped convert her dream to reality. Today, Score at Hand, a tennis racket score keeper is enjoying great sales, both online and offline.

Do not sit and give up when you need to create solutions to your problems even when they do not seem big enough. You never know, you could be bulking your account with millions just like Christine.

5. Craig Jenkins-Sutton

Who loves getting dirty working in the garden? Imagine soil bugs, earthworms, dirt and stinky manure as the order of your day. Who even does this as a hobby? Do they eat meat after seeing earthworms? EEEW! Well, one man, Craig Jenkins-Sutton, really loved gardening. He grew up on a farm in central Minnesota where he developed his gardening skills.

Craig worked for a landscape service but he knew he wanted to be self-employed. His hobby in gardening had taught him important tenets of garden design and best plants to incorporate depending on weather and climate. In 2003, he took a leap of faith and began offering his garden design services by placing an advert in the Chicago Tribune. 40 calls later, and only one translated into a customer. This one-time business helped him launch his company, Topiarius, that same year.

Craig’s major challenge was that most people thought they would landscape for themselves. What we unfortunately forget is landscaping is an art, which can only be done by passionate people. The quality of work really differs. For example, you can make your chicken but not the way McDonald’s does. That is why you find yourself packed with the whole family just to get a piece of that chicken.

Currently, his gardening hobby is giving him revenue of more than $1.2 million. I guess dirt is money, right?

See AlsoTurning your Passion for Gaming into a Career: How to Succeed in the Current Industry

After a hard-day’s work at the office you probably decide to go swimming, play pool, drink beer or meet up with friends. This time could be your opportunity to be the next Bill Gates or Walt Disney. As seen, a simple observation such as required items that could make your hobby experience even better could change your life. You could start a restaurant founded on qualities your favorite restaurant lacks when meeting your friends, and create the best dining experience for others. Do not over think to start a business. The solution could be in what you extremely love doing, even if you think it is useless.

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