April 21, 2008 11:18 AM EDT
The problem with hobbies is the competition from overseas. I have a buddy in the business selling RC aircraft and he has been dealing with this kind of competition. The thing you need to know about a hobby is that most of us do it in our very limited spare time and tend to spend the least amount possible to practice it. In order to be successful in this industry, you will have to have unique products and over the top customer service. Unless you have a HUGE marketing budget, this is the only way to compete in these markets, and even then, it will be slow as most of the business may come from word of mouth adverts.
I started a company some years ago selling software I wrote for flight simulation. I quickly discovered that my target customers didn`t want to spend the money for the software even though we fairly estimated the perceived value. We eventually ended up just giving away the software for free and have had thousands of downloads from 21 countries. However, now that a reputation has been established for the software, we estimate that the addition of payware may prove profitable.
Here is the good news on running a hobby business. The passion and product knowledge is already there. You have to enjoy what you are doing to be successful at it. The hard part is imparting that passion to your customers.
---Jason Hite, President
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