Short stories of hobbies that become successful businesses

  • A number of years ago, I decided to start a blog and write up the projects I was already messing with for other people to learn from, with the end goal of maybe making a few bucks from advertising to fund hobby supplies. It wasn’t long until a random stranger found my blog and sent me an e-mail. “Hey, I saw you fixed a radio. I have that same radio, and money. Can we work something out?” So I took my first commercial job.

Fast-forward to today and now I own a stereo repair shop serving customers across the country, and I write a magazine column based mostly on my blog posts.

My local competition is all about to retire (not to mention most non-local competition)….things are going to get interesting in the next 3-5 years.

  • I’ve been getting professional airbrush tans for a long time … They always turn out so much better than regular spray tans and rarely look orange or obviously fake.

Over the course of several years doing this I became very knowledgeable about DHA, the active component in the solution, and the process. After paying $50 a pop, I realized I could turn a huge profit doing this myself and offer a better level of service than I was accustomed to.

I bought a mobile spray tan unit, a pop-up tent, and the necessary solutions to custom blend my own for a unique shimmer look. Started spraying my friends, then their friends, and put out ads for beauty services on craigslist. Did well enough to open a salon location adjacent to a hairdresser that would reciprocate referrals.

Sold the business as I’m moving out of the states permanently, but 10/10 would do again. The best thing I gained from the experience was the confidence to do it all again with an even bigger project.


  • Started blogging with two friends as a hobby little over two years ago. Now making $10K+ per month.

How’d you monetize the blog, and what’s your topic


Most of our income comes from ads on the page (mostly AdSense) and from several affiliate sources like Amazon. We mostly publish guides and how-to’s about Android and other niches.

Just one blog or a series of blogs. The reason I say is I’ve seen blogs that with over a million visitors per month only making a third that much

Anyone who has over a million visitors per month and isn’t making $10k/month has NO IDEA what they’re doing. I’ve had sites that only got 600 uniques per month that made $2k, and I’d be surprised if any experienced Internet or affiliate marketer got to 50k-100k visitors per month that wasn’t making over $10k. To get to 1M uniques per month and be unable to break $4k? I don’t know whose site you observed, but that person has no idea what they’re doing.


  • eBook Publishing on Amazon. Started with 1 book making about $50 a month. Realized this could take off, then published more books over the course of a year. Today I generally clear over $1K/month, and has been as high as $2k/month.

Video here on how easy it is:

I can post more if people are interested. I have some books that I published on how to do this yourself as well, but I don’t want to be too self-promotional unless people want to see it.

How long are your books typically? How many words or pages?

Really depends on what you write. I tend to do non-fiction stuff that I try to really keep to the point and not add a lot of fluff. People want a solution for a couple of bucks.

My best seller is about 10K words and 40 pages.

If you wrote fiction, that would probably be to short since people want enteratinment.

amazing!! how many books have you published to get to that level of income?

I currently have 8 published.

  • Got serious about eBay and Amazon FBA. Over 13K in 120 days. Buying wholesale in certain niches, flipping some used items and creating some of my own. Was already helping my wife run her media business, so this is gravy. I’m going to try to go big with it over the next year. Goal 100K in 2015.

Did you purchase a drop ship supply list, dig online, find common ones, or in person? I’m needing to take my amazon more seriously, think moving to partly drop ship /no inventory.

You did the pro seller account, at what point is it worth it?

Do you do fulfillment by Amazon, pay a third party, or have drop shipper send bulk?

Found QUALITY products I liked and knew something about. Researched the distributors, manufacturers, suppliers. Purchased wholesale outright. Sent some items to FBA, kept others as merchant fulfilled. Drop shipped one line of products, but stopped doing that, as I had no control over inventory or shipping fees, which were always too high compared to what I could ship myself. Pro merchant to open up some categories and after about 40 sales per month, it is cheaper than a fee on each sale. This over about 6 months. No lists, no mastermind clubs, no gurus. Just research, research, research!