1. The Model Aviator
Tommy was a fairly disillusioned call-center operator. He hated frustrated customers almost as much as he hated the company policies that prohibited him from actually helping them.
His weekend hobby was to fly model helicopters, and he was good at it too. After hearing him joke more than once about what a shame it was you couldn’t make any money doing that – I had a lucky coincidence.
One of my clients needed an upgrade of their reception and they looked into having aerial pictures taken and framed. Those turned out to be anything but cheap. (In fact, I thought taking a pilot’s license would be a cheaper alternative.)
Tom now takes pictures of every new construction and building for sale in his town and sells it either to the owner as an art piece, or to Realtors and builders as marketing materials. He also takes pictures for companies (like my clients) on request.
The great thing was that as soon as one realtor started using his pictures for marketing, many others got scared and started buying his pictures too. He not only found a way to provide something at a great value, more importantly his business created its own demand.
He is making about three times as much as he was getting yelled at all day.
These days he gets a good laugh telling people that his major business expenses are model helicopter parts and sunscreen, and he writes them both off.
2. The Fisherman
Brett loved fishing on the weekends, but like many others, the job he was doing everyday was not really making him happy. He spent most of the week half a step out of the insane asylum trying to deal with a boss he couldn’t stand.The evenings he spent in school hoping to earn a promotion away from his boss.
He had a boat, a really nice one that his father had left him when he passed away. Spending time on that boat was his great escape on the weekends. And kept talking about being a charter boat captain.
Eventually I made him a deal. If he got his licenses and insurance, and it didn’t pay for itself in one year. I would pay for it. If it did work he’d pay me my fee over the next year after that.
He started working weekends, marketing through local newspaper ads on Thursday and Friday. After a while he got a dock close to two hotels, and put a big “Charter Fishing” sign on the dock that was visible from both hotels entrance. I was there to help him nail it up and he was jokingly wondering when they would start calli… that’s when the first call came. After that, he quit both his job and his school and hasn’t looked back since.
I should have asked for a percentage instead…