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Starting a Business on the Side—What Lessons Have You Learned?

Have you created a side business that is replacing the income from your job?

If so, what is one thing you've learned that can help the rest of us do the same?

Please share a link to your side business website (if you have one) and share a little of what you're doing on the side.

Your example will encourage others to follow your example.

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BTW. Here is the link to the beautiful home page Allan put together. We're still tweaking the copy but the structure is gorgeous! http://www.lifewisefuture.com

About 30 years ago I started writing inspirational poems for people.  I just finished my 6th book.  I didn't start down this path in search of profit, and I'm the first to suggest that poetry is generally not the road to profit.  Lately I've been starting to create memorial prints and focusing primarily on Military, Police and Fire.  I'm currently working on setting up relationships with suppliers who specialize in memorial items for uniformed services.  I've learned that there are specific suppliers that are already setup to provide for these types of events.  Generally what I create is not something someone goes looking for because there are traditional items like flowers that people gravitate towards.  You really have to understand that people aren't always buying the way you are selling.  I'm working on moving my sales approach from targeting individuals who might be shopping to sale channels that are already to setup to support individuals when they are already committed to a buying decision.

http://www.sacredpoems.com

I'm currently targeting some specific designs, but continuing to create unique designs to see what people like.

Enjoy,

Rob

I especially love the "Free Inspirational Poem" written especially for you. Thank you for sharing.

One small piece of advice: you could consider making a stand-alone subscribe page with your poem offer. You might consider testing the custom poem offer on Fiverr.com. If you can sell them for $5 and get testimonials, you can surely charge more. It may never become incredibly lucrative, but word of mouth might help you make some real money.

Thanks!  I continue to tweak things so a stand along subscriber page is probably in the future.  I have struggled with the idea of Fiverr.  Most of the gigs are considered work for hire. Almost everything I write gets repurposed as a book, print, card, etc.  I don't want to extend the rights to the work along with the work itself.  

That's so awesome, Rob, that you have managed to turn poetry into a business.  Congratulations on your six books of poems.  I understand your instinct to keep the rights to your work. I know how it feels to be a writer.  I love writing, and all the tow trucks in northern Indiana couldn't drag me away from it.  I have done plenty of work for hire (freelancing, everything from content mills to writing content for friends' websites), and when I know something is for hire I tell myself not to get attached to it even before I set fingers to keyboard.  It's tough sometimes, though.  You definitely can;t do that with something as personal as inspirational poems.  Anyway, I just wanted to say I think it's amazing that you have found some business success with your creative work.

Thanks.  It's still got a long way to go - part time income at best for the moment.  I've spent too much time building product and not enough time selling.  But at the time I really wasn't thinking business, it was just something that I found I could do for people and it just sort of snowballed over time.  It's actually one of several businesses I have going on at the same time.  For the time being, the others make more money so they get more attention.  But I'm trying to get away from the dollars for hours model and this is an actual platform that I can see doing very well perpetually once I get the sales channels in place.  

I can totally relate about wanting to get away from the dollars for hours model.  Another reason that you are wise to protect your rights to your poems is that copyrighted books really can become a source of passive income.  If your book becomes successful, it can become like a tree that bears fruit season after season.  As an example of how books can generate passive income, Anthony Burgess wrote "A Clockwork Orange" and several other novels in only a few months because his doctor had given him a poor prognosis and he wanted his family to have a source of passive income if he wasn't there to provide for them.  (He ended up recovering and living a long time.) You are also wise to invest your income in other income-generating activities, as well.  There are lots of well-written books out there, and only a few of them gave their authors true financial independence.

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