Some entrepreneurship inspiration for your week

By Samantha Garner | August 19, 2017

"Stop chasing the money and start chasing the passion"

Wise words, we think! It’s estimated that about 60% of new business ideas are related to the entrepreneur’s hobby. Passion is one of the elements of psychological capital needed to run a successful business — why spend your time on a business you don’t like?

You probably know quite a lot about your hobby, which will be an advantage if you choose to make a small business out of it. So – what are you passionate about?

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Small business blog posts we liked this week

By Samantha Garner | August 12, 2017

small-business-workplaceWe hope you had another fun week of entrepreneurship. Here are some small business blog posts we came across this week that we wanted to share:

Did you read anything recently that inspired you?

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6 Examples of Hobbies That Became Legitimate Businesses

By GoForth Guest Blogger | August 5, 2017

We may not always see them, but opportunities are all around us. Traditional jobs are just one way of earning a living; now there are myriad ways to make money, whether you’re freelance, self-employed or contracted. You don’t have to get all Walter White to make the most of a lucrative business opportunity. Below are six examples of people who transformed their hobbies into legitimate, profitable businesses. Could you do the same? First, here are 13 questions to ask before you start a small business.

Photography: Karen Wiltshire

Karen Wiltshire made her mark in business by photographing newborns, a skill that she honed by practising on her own young children while working full-time at a magazine firm. Karen had always enjoyed photography, but it had remained a hobby for most of her life. However, when she was made redundant, she was given a chance to pursue the craft more seriously.

Karen has since been awarded The Guild Photographers Photographer of the Year – so clearly, she made the right choice. She attributes much of her success to social media, as it helped her to network with customers and others in the industry. She also believes it’s important for creative entrepreneurs to seek guidance with the business side of things. I doesn’t matter how brilliant or talented you are at crafts, painting, sculpting or whatever – without good business acumen, it can be hard to sustain success.

Gardening: Craig Jenkins-Sutton

Much like Karen, Craig Jenkins-Sutton was no industry professional when he started out – just someone with a natural talent for landscaping, helped by growing up on a farm. When Craig first started working for a landscaping service, it became clear to him that he preferred not to work for someone else. So he decided to start his own garden design company – Topiarus.

It began with a series of ads in the Chicago Tribune. Gradually, Craig built himself a customer base and was able to get the business off the ground. He puts his success down to trial and error. Certain forms of advertising seemed to work wonders (door hangers, for example) and the whole venture snowballed from there. Topiarius now generates millions of dollars in revenue every year.

Blogging and writing: Jeff Goins

Back in his old job, Jeff dreamed of writing all day long. Now, that’s exactly what he does. Jeff started writing regularly on his blog and gradually accumulated an audience of fans in the hundreds of thousands – all of this possible because he promoted himself effectively on social media. For some while, Jeff remained at his day job while writing for his blog on the side, but it soon became clear which was the more profitable. On releasing his first e-book, Jeff earned $1500 in just one week.

Since then, Jeff has written five best-selling books, including The Art of Work and Real Artists Don’t Starve, and continues to write often on his blog about life, writing, and working in the creative industry.

Tennis: Christine Watanabe

Christine Watanabe was (and still is) a big tennis enthusiast. Out on the court almost every day, she became frustrated at the lack of good scorekeeping solutions, until one day she decided to invent her own. She designed the concept herself, with the help of an engineer for the more technical aspects. Over the course of three years, the result was Score at Hand, a professional tennis racket scorekeeper that keeps her in business – whether she’s on or off the court.

Flipping websites: Chris Guthrie

Chris Guthrie is an investor – of websites. Website flipping, much like property flipping, can be a very lucrative game if you know what you’re doing. It seems safe to say that Chris does. For more than 10 years, Chris has been buying and developing websites, keeping those that turn a good profit, and selling those that would only generate a few hundred dollars a month.

Chris understands that to make money from flipping websites, you’ve got to know which websites are worth buying and how you’re going to make them profitable. One website – netbookreviews.com – he sold for six figures. It’s not uncommon for him to make at least five figures in profit just from flipping one website, but he’s still hoping to hit that seven figure milestone. With website flipping marketplaces like Exchange, it’s easy to buy and sell an online business – but something else to perfect the art, as Chris has.

Cell phone accessories: Nadia Shuaib

Nadia’s Canadian husband had made a hobby of out selling cell phone accessories from home, something Nadia liked to help him with. When they first started listing these products on eBay, they found that they sold incredibly well – mostly to local retailers at first. But it wasn’t long until the market for phone accessories grew, and with it, their competition.

Nadia and her husband decided to diversify their channels and start selling via their own website, as well as through online marketplaces. They also decided to start building a relationship with their suppliers over in China, giving them a full view of the purchase and shipping process. The company has now moved its operations to Toronto and serves both online and walk-in customers – always maintaining its ties with Shenzhen, China, to catch the next big mobile accessory craze.

After a long day in the office, what is it you like to do? Do you have any hobbies or skills that you could turn into more than just a pleasant pastime? You may not become the next Bill Gates (few have, except Bill Gates), but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a respectable living doing something you really love. Sometimes, opportunities arise in the most unexpected ways.


Patrick Foster, ecommerce growth consultant

Ecommerce consultant with 10+ years experience in the industry. I’m currently writing as a side hustle – I love to create content for entrepreneurs and business owners that helps them scale and succeed. The aim? Turn that hobby into a legitimate business.

Read my previous article: 7 Ways Your Ecommerce Start Up Can Combat Cart Abandonment

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How to engage your customers in person

By Samantha Garner | July 29, 2017

customer-engagementThese days, many small business owners talk to their customers online through their websites and social media. It’s important to be in touch with your customers in many different ways, but face-to-face customer engagement is still important. After all, according to Eric von Hippel, economist and professor at MIT, 77% of new product innovations come from the very people who used them.

Here are some tips for making great connections with your customers:

  1. Craft a compelling story before you meet customers. Make sure you have a great elevator pitch that explains why your business is so special in 60 seconds or less.
  2. Look for opportunities to tell your story and share your expertise. Instead of paying for a tradeshow booth, why not give a keynote address?
  3. Make the first move. The purpose of meeting customers is meeting customers – don’t be shy. Be friendly, approachable and above all, be authentic.
  4. Always be passionate. Shaking 1,000 hands can be exhausting, but if you’re not passionate about your business, no one else will be!
  5. Create a cause or invest in one. It’s not always about selling. An investment in social entrepreneurship tells your customer you want to make the world a better place too.
  6. Deliver on the promises you make to people you meet. Get business cards from your customers and enter the info into a customer relationship management (CRM) database. Continue the process of engagement by delivering value in the form of newsletters, blogs, social media, and relevant and timely emails.

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Small business blog posts we liked this week

By Samantha Garner | July 22, 2017

small business blog postsWe wanted to share with you four articles and blog posts we came across recently that we hope will offer some small business inspiration or useful advice. Let us know in the comments if there’s something you read this week that you want to share!

Topics: Entrepreneurial Inspiration, Entrepreneurship News, Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

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