Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A "Hobby" Pays Off!

Here is an example of someone who started their own busineess:

One woman knew that her ad-agency job wasn’t safe. Clients weren’t renewing their contracts, no new business was coming in, and her workload as a public-relations officer was light. Plus, she was low on the totem pole, since she’d only been there for a year. When the ax finally fell in mid-December, she regretted not starting her job search earlier. Days turned into weeks as she tried to get an interview.

And then an unexpected opportunity fell into her lap. She got a bunch of inquiries about a sideline she dabbled in occasionally: photography.
When I got laid off, I didn’t really expect to start my photography business full time,” says the 28-year-old who studied photography at a University in San Francisco. But when she got the inquiries, “a light went off when this happened. This was it. This was what I’m going to do. Ever since then, I’ve been working nonstop.”|

Her first step was to revamp a Web site she had set up, to make it more professional. She also had to make some big adjustments to her own style. For one thing, she learned to stop being passive with clients. At first, when people asked about a job, she would say, “Just let me know when you’d like to do this.” But they often wouldn’t call back. Now she says, “When do you want to do this? How about Sunday?”

She also had to get used to the lack of structure or accountability that came along with striking out on her own. “If I want, I can roll out of bed and work in my PJs till noon, but I think it’s important to create a schedule that keeps you on target,” she says. “Otherwise, you’ll waste an entire day running errands, or working in front of your computer till evening with rollers in your hair.

Then there’s marketing. She had to build a reputation in an area with tons of photographers. So, she hired a specialist to help her make her Web site more appealing to search engines. She says the move doubled her Web traffic to more than 3,000 unique visitors monthly.

Although her business is turning a tiny profit, she says she’s always worried about the future. “Are the calls going to keep coming in, or is this it?” she asks. “It’s kind of unnerving to not know.

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