Need a job? Turn your hobby into one!
HOUSTON Starting a business may sound like an expensive process that's not profitable right away, but the barriers may not be as tough to break through as you think. We have spoken to a lot of people who have been out of work for months, even a year or longer. For them, and really for anyone, creating your own job maybe your best option. If you love flan, or even if you hate it, you'll probably like the story behind Signature Flan and the woman who turned the dessert into a business. "She whipped up a batter, got in her car and drove to the Austin headquarters of Whole Foods, begged a receptionist to get it into the hands of the dessert buyer. She is now in every Whole Foods throughout Texas," said Tory Johnson, CEO of Women for Hire. Johnson, who gives advice to women looking to start a business, says Signature Flan is an example any entrepreneur can follow. "Be creative. Don't assume you have to plunk down a whole lot of money before you have even dabbled in your concept," Johnson said. Johnson would also be impressed with Ali Santano, who organizes trunk shows to sell jewelry. She started her business with just a $200 investment. "I fell into this as a hobby really," Santano said. "It was just something to do fun on the side to take away, the distraction from the day job, and then I started to see the business opportunity." Like Santano, Jessica Defeo is a using a love of jewelry to earn extra cash and using social media to do it. "Facebook has been incredible for me," Defeo said. "I am able to post things about new products coming out and new incentives for hosting shows and it just gives me more business." Both women have embraced social media and say it is driving business. Johnson adds Facebook and Twitter are inexpensive tools every business owner should master. "Women don't necessarily need a whole lot of money to get going," Johnson said. "You can compete with the big guns or lots of other small guns right now." Johnson also points out that it does take a lot of work to make your business successful, but not a lot of money. Again, Johnson points to Signature Flan. "She needed a commercial kitchen, and she went to churches and she used the time on off-hours when a church was not using its kitchen, which was plenty of time -- nights and weekends," she said. Johnson is giving our viewers a chance to see her top 50 tips on how to use social media to build a small business. Just send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. What if you need money right now? It could take time, but if you've been looking for a job for six months, think of how things would be going now, if you started six months ago. Many small businesses fail, so be careful, do your research and don't give money to someone who promises they have a plan to make you rich overnight.