Time after time, I am asked, how do I make money and turn the hobby that I love so much into a moneymaker? This is not an easy answer nor is it an easy endeavor. The biggest part of being able to make any kind of money is patience and lots of work. Many people seem to think that you can just quit your day job and start making a living in the wilderness. From my experience, you have to have a secondary income to keep afloat. I still have to work and I have been at this for many years. Trust me this is not going to happen for someone that wants instant gratification, or feels that the world owes him or her a favor. You need to come into this with a clear head and a level one at that.
First and foremost, you really need to have PROVABLE experience. If you do not have the years behind you of field experience, people will see through it. You may get away with being a self-proclaimed expert with a few but those that have the experience can and will see that you do not. I know of people that have done YouTube videos and spoke with an expert opinion when in fact they have only been in the field for a couple of weeks. Do not be this person. Know what you are telling people and know your subject matter to a T.
Next, it really helps to build a following. It took me eight years to reach 12,000 subs on YouTube. It could have happened a lot sooner; however, I put my time in. I built my online presence with a very strong base. This is the most important part of any endeavor. If the base is strong you can re build or even expand if need be. For me I did not really have a plan, I just did the videos and built the website because I enjoyed doing it. The benefits of putting in the work came later…Much later.
Network! That is a big part of building a business from the hobby you love and is a huge part of where the PROVABLE experience comes into play. If you are talking to people that have been in this field for many years and you have no experience this is where it will begin to come out. You want to build your network based around like-minded people. Make friends in your network. I have many friends online, some are close as family. While a lot of them I have never met, I have spoken with them for many years and we do know each other. You also want to be able to do favors for your friends. If they need a contact for a project they are putting together, take the time to find one and help them along. Be knowledgeable enough to give some helping advice along the way. The point is, do what needs to be done and do not be selfish.
Offer something to people. If you have nothing to offer then you really have no reason to make money. I took the time to write a book, 4 actually. This has made it possible for Arizona Bushman to continue even during the midst of a neck and back injury. To me this was a blessing because when I had to stop, my income did not. My books are set up electronically and delivered wirelessly or printed on demand. I do not have to do anything; the hard work was already done. The foundation had already been built in the online presence over the last eight years.
Learn other things. This means step outside your world and learn about others. I took a real liking to photography. This has helped me do many other things along the way. I learned how to edit my photos and about composition. I studied so much that I no longer need to let the camera take my photos, I set the camera and the photo can be called mine and not the devises. I also learned how to build a site, not professionally, but presentable. I also learned a little about marketing and design as well as television production. I believe that in the future these will help me with my upcoming plans. Whatever you do, do not rely on making DVDs, YouTube has ruined that market.
Photography is another market that is extremely difficult to get into. Take my snake photos, I have sold one in the last 5 years and it was turned into a phone case. The biggest response I get from the reptile photos is that they are repulsive and they do not want them on their wall. I moved into a different area of photography. I am learning to work with models. This is opening more doors for further networking and business moves in the future. The biggest hurtle that remains is a decision of what genres to pursue. I am however, finding that the broader your portfolio is the more likely you will show that you are flexible and able to do the work that prospective clients are looking for. Keep in mind that building your portfolio and hiring models to work with will be very expensive. Yes, even they are paid for their work. For good reason, I never actually knew how hard they do work til now.