So many people ask me about how to start their own online business. I usually tell them to pick a niche subject that they are passionate AND knowledgeable about and start there. Passionate because you want to love what you do. Knowledgeable so you can help someone by teaching them something or selling a service they need.
Last month, my daughter, Tatym, had a soccer tournament. Her team was a few players short so the coach asked some “guest players” to play on their team. One of those guest player’s moms was Brenda Jones. I love to meet new people and usually the first question I ask is, “What do you do for a living?” Brenda’s response was the exact epitome of what I preached in the above paragraph. She said her family business started as a “little hobby that got out of hand.”
Hobby leads to business
Back in 1997, Dan Jones (Brenda’s husband) wanted to restore his 1977 Ford Bronco. He bought three more Broncos to tear down to get the parts he needed to rebuild his own Bronco. After he used all the parts he needed from the extra Broncos, he sold the leftover good parts on Ebay. His Ebay store was doing well, so he’d scour the classified ads for more old Broncos to tear down for good parts to sell.
In 2004, the Bronco business was booming, and the Joneses relocated to Norfolk, Nebraska, due to a change in Dan’s job. There they leased a building to start storing their Bronco parts for sale. They even created their own website – BroncoParts4u.com – to sell 1966-1977 Bronco parts direct to consumers instead of having to go through Ebay. Their website claims “We are not a Bronco Graveyard, we are a Bronco Hospital!” Dan had documented a bunch of his process of restoring his own Bronco, so they have good content that is great for search engine optimization.
Dan began working full-time selling Bronco parts back in 2009 and his wife, Brenda joined him 2 years ago. They not only sell Bronco parts, but they also do complete Bronco restorations and are the largest Bronco specialized restoration company in the world. They recently had to move to a larger 27,000 square foot warehouse to house their parts and give them room to restore.
Manufacturers, like Dynacorn International Inc., have even contacted them for parts that they can use as prototypes to make “new” parts to use in restorations. And the Joneses are working with a local manufacturer to even produce their own parts for resale. I was in awe of how their business has grown whiling sitting in my soccer mom chair taking notes from Brenda.
And then there’s networking
Without even looking at their site, I was explaining to Brenda how I do affiliate marketing, and we both immediately brainstormed about how they could incorporate affiliate marketing into their business plan. Beings they are an ecommerce store (they use BigCommerce), they could easily start an affiliate program for others to promote their products. But they could also become an affiliate themselves to sell to visitors who are looking for products that they don’t carry or are out of stock on.
After returning home and looking at their site, I have even more recommendations for their website, so Brenda and I may have to set up a lunch date (she coupons, too, so I think we’ll have plenty to gab about). But until then, they don’t need my input as they are doing just fine the way they are currently operating.
Do you have a hobby that you can grow into a business?