Ever had a hobby, an activity that you enjoyed so much you found yourself spending all your free time pursuing this interest? Maybe it was reading, or sketching or playing board games, or whittling… I’m sure most of us have taken immeasurable pleasure in something that we never seem to have enough time for… and, somewhere along the way, we began to realize that this activity could actually become a source of income for us… who hasn’t dreamed of having a job that was, in fact, doing our most favorite thing in the world…

It seems such an easy transition, few of us realize what is really in store, in order to make this hobby a profitable, income generator… aye… thar’s the rub… it’s NOT as easy as growing beautiful flowers to our heart’s content, then making extraordinary arrangements out of them and voila… suddenly we are rich and making a generous living off our most favorite activity, something you just know you are good at and could never get enough of…

Take my brother-in-law, eg, Harley Guy… more than a dozen years ago, when he and my sister first got together, he needed a kidney, hers fit, so she donated one of hers to him… it worked for him for those dozen or so years, but now, he’s used it up and is on the list for another transplant… but, now he is unable to work, and he pretty much was one of those guys that lived to work… he loved his job and now that he can’t work, he’s at a loss as to what to do with himself… my sister, the Virgo, still has to work, of course, maybe even more than usual, since she’s now the sole breadwinner of a recently “spend, spend, spend” two-income family… so now Harley Guy has no one to play with (they were both avid golfers) and desperately needs something with which to occupy his time, to make himself feel useful and a productive member of society…

Well, he found a perfect outlet – working with wood and making beautiful cabinets, porch swings, plant stands, canes, chairs, etc… together, in the recent past, Harley Guy and The Virgo really enjoyed all the DIY shows on cable and even The Virgo made a very well done and cute small child’s chair…
So now, Harley Guy makes some of the nicest house accessories, which suddenly it occurred to him he could sell and make some money from… well, all of us relatives are dirt poor, so we certainly aren’t a good market to try to sell to… he has lots of friends who could afford many of his functional and very well made works of art, but… he feels funny making money off his friends, so he barely asks enough from them to cover the cost of the materials…
The other day, he called me to see if I would take one of his canes (which I’d already advised I couldn’t afford to buy, much as I’d like to) and use it, and, in effect, model it, show it off… I told him I’d be proud to do this for him, as I really think he’s an excellent craftsman, and just seeing it in use could be enough to generate interest… of course, I told him I thought he should also have some business cards that I could then hand out to anyone who oohed and aahed over his wonderful work… he then said something that got me to thinking… because he doesn’t have a clue about making or getting business cards, that seemed like a big task for him and he complained “he didn’t want to make this be like work”… so, I thought to myself, no, it’s enough that he made the darn thing and he’s not prepared to do any other “work” involved in the showing, marketing and advertising for him… so, if people do like what they see, it would be up to me to make sure they have his contact info (dig in my purse for a notepad, or a pen, or whatever) look up his number (on my cell cuz I never dial it, I just enter him from my contact list, so I have no idea what the number is), then whilst juggling all this stuff, get his number written down on a scrap of paper, which, as we all know, goes directly into a pocket and comes out nice and clean once it’s been laundered with the jeans, or the jacket, or…,
Well, my sister picked up on this nice and quick, and being an executive admin for the head of a hospital, she has a plethora of stuff at her fingertips to whip out plenty of cards for him, and for me to use… so now we have a plan… the fact is, I too, could have made some business cards for him, but, being the perfectionist I am, it would have taken me weeks to decide what color card and font to use, not to mention the actual design of the card – what kind of logo? how much info (name and phone + address or?) what size fonts, and then I’d have to print out several sheets worth to make sure they were aligned up symmetrically and felt balanced and all those other artistic factors that I could not just “let go”… and of course those formatted business card templates are NOT cheap… so that was a relief that The Virgo would take care of all that… so, in the end, all I have to do is use the cane, which I do anyway, having one of my own and the orders will just come rolling in…

So, if I may, let’s roll this up into a practical point… if you have a skill or product or anything to market, please be sure to study all the ins and outs, all the work that will be involved from getting your product/skill known/promoted (word of mouth, personal use, website, use of established websites like ebay or Etsy)… then there is the issue of distribution, ie go the Girl Scout Cookie route where friends take orders for you, deliver for you, collect for you, then get all the funds back to you, or…? do you really want to have all this work done for you for free by friends and relatives?

Lastly, I really want to promote and support the “small” business persons of the world… for example, I know a few folks who bake items to sell during the holidays and I’m way more moved to order theirs, than pick up the factory made cookies, etc. at the grocery store… for all your holiday shopping (if you do any) and all other needs from handmade greeting cards to scented candles and all the rest… whether it be a one only brick and mortar store, a small personal website or someone you know, or a friend of a friend of a friend, let’s support that small business person out there on his/her own among the giants trying to be seen and heard among all the clamor of the BIG stores, now and always…

YAAAAY private enterprise!!!!!

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