Two successful entrepreneurs turn hobbies into businesses

Two examples of people following their passion to create businesses this week.

One already a financially successful blog after just two years and one a new offline business developed out of a hobby.

Ana White, a mother and housewife from Alaska started writing about her carpentry hobby and woodworking skills in her blog, she started it with a dial-up internet connection from a little town 100 km from Fairbanks Alaska.  I saw the story of her success in a post by Casey Hibbard in Social Media Examiner where you can read all the details. The point is that Ana turned a hobby into an income generating blog that gets 3 million visitors a month within 2 years and all because she started writing about something that she was both good at and passionately interested in sharing. On her blog, she provides free plans for furniture that can be made inexpensively at home. Visit her blog at Ana White Free and easy DIY Furniture Plans.  

Ana also has a forum where her followers can share plans and post photos of their creations. Her Facebook page has a huge following of  over 50 000 fans.

The second success story comes from an article by Joe O’Connor in the  Saturday 14 January issue of the National Post . (I get the actual paper not the electronic version so I do not have a link).  Shannon Thibodeau is a member of the Canadian military and is a collector of vintage toys – particularly toy soldiers. Shannon noticed that there were no toy Canadian soldiers, only American G.I.Joes .

He then decided to start making his own toy soldiers with Canadian uniforms. Working with a graphic designer he produced 3 figures to represent the Canadian Army, Air force and Navy.

The toy soldiers are sold through small shops for $10 each and $1 from each sale is donated to Soldier On, a charity for servicemen and women injured in the line of duty.

To get more information on the Heroes Force story, go to the website at Heroes Force. 

What I find particularly interesting about both these stories is that the Ana and Shannon both started with something they were passionate about, knew more about than most people and realised that they could help others by sharing their ideas. In the process they discovered an audience with a thirst for information, homemakers with a desire to create furniture on a low-budget and to share their own plans and triumphs with others in Ana’s business.

Shannon used his hobby to tap into the rise in patriotism and positive feeling for the military since Canada became involved in action in Afghanistan, and the eternal attraction of small (and big) boys for military action figures. The donation to a good cause for each sale certainly helps.

This post is not meant to be a marketing tutorial or to analyse either example in-depth. The reason for highlighting them is to provide examples and to show that if we delve into our experiences and background, we all have some unique talents to offer. 

And to show what happens when we take action.

Starting a blog to showcase our talents does not have to be an expensive exercise, a few hours a week is all that is needed to get it going and to start attracting a following. All the bells and whistles can be added later.

In these days of financial uncertainty, worries over jobs evaporating and inadequate retirement funding, we all need a plan B. What better way than by writing about a hobby or skill so that we can share our expertise with others who are eager to learn and to get an income from it.

What hobbies or skills do you have?

One of the best sources of information on making money from writing is award-winning copywriter Bob Bly, check out his eBooks here:

 CTCPublishing eBooks

Wishing you success in all your endeavours,


Peter Wright



Disclaimer: I have no commercial interest in Social Media Examiner, Free and Easy DIY Furniture plans or HeroesForce. I will receive a commission should you order product or services from other links on this blog.

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