Kim Lavine was making microwavable heating pillows as presents for her kids’ grade school teachers in 2001, putting them together at her kitchen table in Grand Haven, MI, with a corn kernel filling. But when her husband was laid off, she felt prompted to consider turning her pastime into a hopefully steady income source.
She advanced from selling pillows out of an old truck to setting up kiosks in malls and then incorporating her company, which she named Green Daisy, in 2002. Within two short years, Lavine’s Wuvit pillow brand was in national retail chains, such as Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bed Bath & Beyond, and four years later, in 2006, it had generated over $1 million in sales.
Who says you can’t turn what you love doing into a paycheck – and more than just a paycheck? What’s your dream hobby? Do you collect stamps, write poetry, or whittle bird calls? Whatever you do in your spare time, away from work, can become a steady source of income and a dream career!
Here’s a few examples of what people have done to successfully turn a hobby into a greenback (or two):
1. They put their dream career in writing
Make it a positive statement. Such as “I will sell my wooden bird calls at flea markets and farmer’s markets every weekend from now on.” A written goal becomes a reality. An unwritten goal stays a dream.
2. They turn a vice into a business if they don’t have a hobby
Terry Finley liked betting the horses. Some people think that’s a weakness, but Terry was good at it and never jeopardized his work salary. He bought his own racehorse in 1991, and soon parlayed that into a stable of thoroughbreds. Today he’s worth over $6.5 million.
3. They pursue it, and do it – to the max!
Half-hearted won’t get you loved, paid, noticed, or happy. Uber poet Maya Angelou says:
“Pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”
4. They don’t think ‘job’; they think ‘fun’
Whatever you can think of that appeals to you, you can find a way to do it and get paid. Even lying in bed all day.
5. They use their green thumb to hitchhike to their own successful business
Craig Jenkins-Sutton liked messing with garden stuff. He was working for a lawn service when he decided to put a small ad in the paper offering his own services. He now has his own thriving garden design business.
6. They work at home sweet home
A surprising amount of people dream of working from home. No commute. Work in your bathrobe. What’s not to like? You can do customer service or sales. Or even a healthcare job, 10 different types of which you can find at Anna Maria College. If that’s your dream, go for it – and use a website like Rat Race Rebellion to find dozens of long-term legitimate at-home jobs.
7. They look beyond their ‘dreams’
Megan Duckett dreamed of a Hollywood career. She was thrilled when she got a job as secretary to an event planner. But she started making more money in her spare time by sewing costumes and other clothing props. She didn’t abandon her dream; she saw the bigger opportunity and went for it. Today her sewing company gives her a fantastic 7-figure income.
8. They take it one step at a time and still reach their dream career
Forbes staff writer Jacquelyn Smith suggests that you can keep your daytime job and still pursue your hobby passion simply by teaching it in your spare time. People want to know about woodworking, playing an instrument or writing haiku. Take on some pupils and see how it goes; it may just be a satisfying part-time money-maker, or it may lead you to bigger and better things like full-time entrepreneurship!
Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com