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Turning Your Hobby Into a Successful Business

BBC & Small Business Saturday 9th December 2014

Jo-Malone-S.jpg

Small Business Saturday, a grass-roots non-political initiative, took place last weekend (6th December). It encourages people to shop local and support small businesses. It has two notable backers in Right Honourables: David Cameron & Ed Milliband, who want to encourage us, to not only support local business, but actually start one. With 99% of businesses in the UK being either small or medium sized with the former accounting for 47% of overall private sector employment, it is easy to see its value and importance to the UK as a whole.

People start businesses for lots of reasons ranging from identifying a gap in the market (and not missing your chance) to simply wanting to make a lot of money. If then, your reason for starting a business is your hobby (whatever that is) and it becomes lucrative then you are in a very fortunate situation indeed.

In the lead up to Small Business Saturday the BBC Online reported on London based Alice Barrow and Tom Green who made candles with different scents and colours in their spare time at home. It developed to a point where they were able to sell on a market stall resulting in strong sales and growing a loyal fan base. It was at that point, and reflecting on what they had achieved they thought they could “really create a luxury product, and that's where it... began." Wick & Tallow have gone from strength to strength, having had to outsource production due to major increases in demand while also landing a contract to supply a major high street retailer.

Other success stories include Levi Roots, and his memorable fund raising appearance on Dragon’s Den, who had previously made his sauce at home to sell at the Notting Hill Carnival; Fraser Doherty who started his jam empire from his kitchen who now supplies over 2,000 supermarkets around the world (incl. Tesco, Asda Wal-Mart, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Waitrose); Kanya King whose passion for music, and feeling that urban music was underrepresented at the time, lead her to start The Mobo Awards from her bedroom and Jo Malone who mixed bath oils at home in the early 90s only to sell it a relatively short time later to Estee Lauder.

Confucius say: “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”; certainly is an alluring prospect. You may not sell your business for millions but chances are you’ll be happier, be your own boss, be able to deal with the tough days better when they come up and help the UK economy to recover at the same time. 

Sounds pretty good doesn’t it; so what’s stopping you?

Figures from Small Business Saturday who reference The House of Commons, July 2014 for its information.

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