Where do ideas for new products and services come from?

English: Marske beach Gentleman metal detectin...
English: Marske beach Gentleman metal detecting on the sands. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One evening when we were down at the coast we went into the sea at Fish Hoek beach corner and saw a couple with a metal detector combing the beach. When we came out of the water, had a shower under fresh water, walked back to our sitting place on Jaggers’ Walk where we dried ourselves. Next to us, sitting alongside on a bench was the couple who had the metal detector device. They got talking to us and we found out a whole lot of interesting things about metal detecting on the beach. They had started the hobby when they had been in the UK, saw one of their family members over there doing it and got bitten by the metal detecting bug.

It’s amazing what one finds on the beach. They have even detected a digital camera buried beneath the sand. Other items of value include jewellery and coins. They have also been called to find valuable items by beachgoers who have lost them. Are they allowed to do this? Well, it seems they are. Yet they told me that they take a valuable items to the local police station where they leave particulars should anyone who has lost something on the beach enquire at the police station. If the item over a period of months has not been claimed, then they will keep the valuable for themselves.

What gives them the greatest satisfaction is when they find something valuable and are able to locate the owner. For example, they once found a medical bracelet and were able to track down the owner in another country. I don’t know how valuable the medical bracelets are but apparently they cost a lot to replace.

A hobby like this can be much fun but as a source of income it’s rather iffy. We all love a treasure hunt and this sort of hobby satisfies that motivation. But any proceeds from metal detecting on beaches doesn’t provide any sort of income to speak about.

Yet some people are able to take their hobbies, scale them up or with a twist change them into something that people are prepared to pay for. One such original hobbyist was a woman who started out making clothing on a very small scale for family and friends and then branched out into a professional fashion design boutique and now is doing exceedingly well.

What do you need to look for in hobbies that can be scaled up, given a twist or transformed to become income generators? The first thing is the obvious one which is market demand. Take the woman who started her hobby making clothes. Everyone needs clothes. It’s a big market. If you can make something for a specific niche or segment of the market, even better. You might find an underserved segment of the market or even an underserved segment of the market that you can exploit. Today there is a large national chain of clothing stores that supplies clothing specifically designed for children. It started out as an entrepreneurial venture and now has been sold to a large fashion retailer.

Another area to tap into is a growing trend. If your hobby forms part of a trend, you might be in luck. Remember how well computers did in the 80s and then cell phones in the 1990s. Health foods, eco-living meals and appliances and convenience whether it be preparation of food, paying online or even buying online are all part of trends. If you have a hobby such as selling a product that could be a hand and body lotion, it may do well online too.

If you are looking for ways to turn your hobbies into sources of income in 2015, consider a new resource,”Breakthrough Ideas”. This resource shows special ways in which you can take your hobby and with a twist, bypass conventional thinking and come up with ideas that that are practical and profitable. Here is the link.

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