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Thread summary:

Generating supplemental income from hobby, retirement fixed income, woodworker photographer, cottage industry shop, rental income, tax write-offs, international procurement, financial problems

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Old 11-02-2007, 08:12 AM
 
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I'd be interested to know if any of you talented people out there have been able to make a significant amount of supplemental retirement income from your hobbies. To avoid specific figures, I'm going to set a random definition of 'significant amount of supplemental income' at 15% of your total income. I'm a woodworker and photographer who is due to retire just a few years from now, and I'm wondering how realistic it is to think I could sell at local arts and crafts fairs successfully. To be honest, I don't think I'll need the income, so it's not about that, but I've dreamed of my hobbies becoming my work for way too many years of 9 to 5's, and I've been wondering lately how profitable a little 'cottage industry' type shop can be. So, those of you who are doing it, how about sharing your stories? What do you do? Have you found any tricks to making it all work? Did your hobby deteriorate into the dreaded 'WORK' and lose it's appeal? How much of your time does it occupy?
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Old 11-03-2007, 09:06 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
30,677 posts, read 49,430,310 times
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I husband bees.

We have chickens, and sell eggs.

My wife makes soaps, and sales it.

I still have one apartment building, which brings in a bit.

We have been fostering and adopting children so we have had both the fostering 'stipend' and the child-support coming in, our youngest will be 18 this winter, so that child-support will soon end.
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Old 11-03-2007, 11:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Counting Down View Post
I'm a woodworker and photographer who is due to retire just a few years from now, and I'm wondering how realistic it is to think I could sell at local arts and crafts fairs successfully. and I've been wondering lately how profitable a little 'cottage industry' type shop can be.
Without knowing your skill level with both hobbies, I'll assume you're good with both ...If that's the case; I'd lean towards photography. It seems like something that would easier to do part time ...and you wouldn't have to turn into a "production animal" to keep inventory up, not to mention the cost of maintaining an inventory. If you are into video; then why not try sports video. This is a hobbie of mine. I can make money for it, but I feel good volunteering my time making sports recruiting videos for college prospects. I'm working on the top video on following page right now for a kid in the Sacramento area. College Sports Recruiting Network (http://sportsrecruit.ning.com/ - broken link) With your photography you can also book jobs and sub out if you decide to go somewhere to play. Also, with a production/sales enterprise you have two JOBS. I'd bet you'd be happier just buying something kewl and selling it at your leisure ..perhaps at special events.
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Old 11-03-2007, 11:28 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
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Yes, do something very innovative, and hard to duplicate. The woodworking is best left as a hobby, tho some of it could supplement and allow tax write downs on capital equip. You want to find something that takes minimal amount of your time and skills,otherwise it might become a burden. Also consider stuff that you can do while 'on-the-move' (computer based), unless you are REALLY happy hanging around home. It is nice to be "free' in early retirement.
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Old 11-03-2007, 02:19 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
30,677 posts, read 49,430,310 times
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Originally Posted by janb View Post
Yes, do something very innovative, and hard to duplicate. The woodworking is best left as a hobby, tho some of it could supplement and allow tax write downs on capital equip. You want to find something that takes minimal amount of your time and skills,otherwise it might become a burden. Also consider stuff that you can do while 'on-the-move' (computer based), unless you are REALLY happy hanging around home. It is nice to be "free' in early retirement.
I can see being 'free' in retirement assuming that your career field had very little travel.

If you have spent decades bouncing between time zones, travel is not a big benefit to retirement.
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Old 11-04-2007, 05:11 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,546 posts, read 39,924,861 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forest beekeeper View Post
I can see being 'free' in retirement assuming that your career field had very little travel.

If you have spent decades bouncing between time zones, travel is not a big benefit to retirement.
I did international procurement, so traveled ~ 26 weeks / yr, unless stationed overseas, which I did several times, then I was always going between adjacent countries. So... now I need to use up a bunch of free miles... Good thing I have 'wanderlust"

but... I've seen folks get tied down in early retirement, then have health / financial problems which curtailed later travel desires. There is often a very short opportunity between kid care and elder care demands.

I am very glad to meet folks that love to stay home, as we travel using 'guest home directories', so it is good someone is home... but being on a dairy farm 24x7 as a youth, then having many yrs of elder care, I appreciate someone else doing the milking at the moment.
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Old 11-04-2007, 06:48 PM
 
42 posts, read 128,202 times
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Default Thanks for the replys...

Let me add here that the 'computer based' idea may be good for many people, but I've been working as a programmer for years and want something very, very far away from one! And as far as the travel vs staying home... I think I'd probably do both. This kind of business I'm envisioning, would not interfere with dropping everything and traveling, but when I'm at home I'd have something to occupy myself.

I guess what I'm thinking of is not so much something to replace my job, I really don't think I need much income from this, but something I love doing that can pay it's own way. I'll probably be moving to an area near a national park, where a lot of people pass through, and the town has a crafts fair/farmer's market for 5 or 6 months of the year. I'm hoping to take pictures for my own pleasure of local scenes, then perhaps capitalize on the vacationer by selling them at the fair. Maybe frame them in quality frames I've built too.

I also like the idea of working in my shop building quality furniture and displaying/selling it at the same time. I met a gentleman when I was vacationing there several years ago who was building bird houses and selling them like crazy. I'm hoping he's not reading this, but I have to say, they weren't that good, but were still selling like hotcakes! I wouldn't infringe on his business, but rather would do more 'arts and craft's or 'mission' style furniture. The nice thing is, I could do the work late at night... early in the morning... in fact, anytime I like. If I had something better to do on a given day, I wouldn't even have to work. The joy of retirement, eh?

The payoff for me would be a small added income as well as covering the expenses of my hobbies, and perhaps more important, a chance to meet people and make friends. I'll be new to the community and am not the most outgoing guy. I think a chance to become part of the community... a local artisan if you will, would be a big help. I'm sure many who I'd meet would be tourists, but I'd also meet a lot of locals this way... at least that's the thought.

Anyway, thanks for the replies... and I hope for even more input!
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Old 05-06-2008, 12:56 AM
 
10 posts, read 36,562 times
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[quote=Counting Down;1893752]".........So, those of you who are doing it, how about sharing your stories? What do you do? Have you found any tricks to making it all work?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Counting Down View Post
".........So, those of you who are doing it, how about sharing your stories? What do you do? Have you found any tricks to making it all work? Did your hobby deteriorate into the dreaded 'WORK' and lose it's appeal? How much of your time does it occupy?
Hi:I am not yet retired so I'm not sure if my story qualifies to help you, or not. Before I tell you what I do -- I'll tell you that one of my husband's former bosses used to make good money by video taping weddings. He started out by doing it free for friends until he got really good at it, but you really have to be good because no one wants mistakes in their wedding photos. Plus, you have to have a back up man in case you would get sick and not be available on the wedding date. RE: "What do you do?" Now, I'll tell you that I turned my hobbies into a business. I self-published books about my hobbies and how I did them. My first book was on how I do coupons and rebates I added a chapter on how to effectively complain and another one on how not to be ripped off in mail order.My second one was on how I win sweepstakes, and my third one was on how I win Slots jackpots. I've done everything for my business myself. We had several wrecks in the meantime and several disasters, so I had to overcome many obstacles. I had grown my business form one $5 ad to distributing them in 37 states, from the good word of mouth advertisements from my satisfied customers. They had earned free National publicity that extended to some Foreign countries. My biggest mistake was expanding my business to the Internet because when I did an Impostor stole my identity, and she listed an ad directly under mine on the Barnes and Noble Web page using my original book title, the name of my original company name, my address, and she just substituted herself as the author of my original manuscript. She bragged in her post that "my" title was "her" eighth largest Best-Selling Title on month, and "her" seventh largest Best-Selling Title two months later. I had an FBI agent assigned to me to catch her, but they had to be taken off my case when 9/11 happened. They advised me to take my books out of the stores until she could be caught. So now I only sell them though my publishing company.RE: "Have you found any tricks to making it all work? " Yes. the same tricks that helped me to succeed in every business I have ever owned. Still work for me today. Give the customers what they want , at a fair price, and give them fast delivery, and friendly customer service after the sale. In return my customers have always helped me to expand my businesses by their good word of mouth customer comments, which is by far the very best form of advertisements any business can get! Also, I believe that I should never stop improving my education. Some people insist on learning the meaning of a new word a day. I try to learn a new skill at least once a week. I hate TV because except for a few programs there is very little that is educational on it. I watch what I read, and must come away form reading learning something constructive. One example where this will pay off for me is that over the years instead of reading romance novels , or celebrity rag magazines, I read IRS laws, and that I earned me my CAF number that certified me to argue tax law in any court of the US. Now when I win my case the IRS will have to pay me the same hourly rate for my time all these years as if I were an attorney, plus, if the Judge so desires they could award me an even higher rate because of the complexity of my case and the fact that there was no expert advise available to me where I live. RE: "Did your hobby deteriorate into the dreaded 'WORK' and lose it's appeal? " No, because I love what I do, and enjoy spending my time doing it. The only thing I have not liked about my business is that I have had to take too much time fighting the IRS. They don't like it when they know people are enjoying their work to make money from their hobbies. I had to spend some of my time form my business to become certified to argue tax law in any court of the US . I've taken them to several courts, including all the way to the Supreme Court without an attorney. They have given me grounds for a Multi -Million Dollar suit that is now pending, I now even have grounds against them for a criminal case for fraud, evidence tampering, evidence suppression, evidence deletion, and violations of almost all of Congress Taxpayer Bill of Rights III, Part IV, and over eight pages of outer law violations they committed against me. I learned that the reason they kept ruling against me was that our LA courts never updated their RULES to include Congress' Taxpayer Bill that became law in 1999. For years they kept ruling against me for Lack of Jurisdiction, but Congress gave them that right in 1999. Finally a Judge recognized that. They filed a Motion for Summary Judgement to try to get eh Judge to throw out my case, but he denied it, plus he told them they had failed to prove their case, and that he could see no justification for their imposing some penalties on us, and that he was going to want to know why the Commissioner had abused his discretion. He then suggested to me that I give them an opportunity to accept my earlier offer for a Settlement Offer. I should know something in about two weeks. I mention all of this, because before any of you attempt to turn a hobby into a business, you should have a good knowledge of business administration, bookkeeping, insurance and taxes; otherwise, you will have to hire professionals who do. If you have to do that you have to generate more income than what they are going to charge you for their time. My suggestion for succeeding in business is to become good at what you do, and liking what you do. Don't expect to make a fortune if you are only trying to learn a trade. You can expect those result only if you do what you already know and what you have attained a certain amount of expertise in that area.You mentioned that you had spent form 9-5 on computers and you didn't want to do that, but could it be that you didn't like the wages you were being paid for what you knew, or what you did, or for the hours you put in? If you received your just rewards of being your own boss doing the same thing might bring an entirely new enjoyment from what you had been doing for years, and at which you had become good. Many men today retire, then go into business for themselves consulting, and even have their own old businesses at the jobs they used to do,as one of their customers, and get paid more for doing that , then when they worked at their old jobs. If you have computer experience there are any number of opportunities out for you. Selling on E-Bay is one, and several other ones that comes to mind are companies that provided direct drop ship marketing. For years I'd been taught to set goal, and to write them down, dream about them, and to work to achieve them. For years I thought that was all hogwash, but I've leaned that it is possible if you set your goal higher than even you would think that you might possibly achieve, that even if you miss your goal -- that you can still achieve a higher income that even you would have ever thought that you might. Good Luck with whatever you decide to do!Mrs. M.I1UAN2@AOL.COM
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Old 05-06-2008, 01:03 AM
 
10 posts, read 36,562 times
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HI: I'm sorry I didn't inde, but i had skipped a line between paragraphs, but when it posted it all ran together. I forgot to tell you'll thast I have a hacker who plays tricks on my settings. Sorry.Mrs. M.
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Old 05-06-2008, 05:00 AM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,819,531 times
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We love movies, so my husband designed a movie theater for our basement. It's pretty cool, like something you'd see on HGTV. A couple of the neighbors hired him to build one for them, so now he's started advertising in the local paper. Not a huge supplement to the income but every little bit counts, right?
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