The Intuit Future of Small Business Research report Today’s Hobbyists are Tomorrow’s Hobbypreneurs covers six key reasons hobbypreneurs are thriving.
All are important drivers of the hobbypreneur trend. But in my view the main reason a growing number of hobbyists are turning their passions into businesses is the costs of creating professional grade products has gotten cheaper and easier.
The price of many advanced, computer-controlled tools, such as laser cutters, milling machines, 3-D printers and computer-aided design tools have fallen to the point where hobbyists and small businesses can easily afford them.
A good example is Kilduff Machine, a maker of automotive performance parts. Its main product is a ratchet shifter that replaces a car’s manual shift and increases the speed and accuracy of shifting in performance cars. The shifter is made of metal and Kilduff Machine uses a PC controlled laser cutter to make the product.
Without the low-cost laser cutter, Kilduff Machine would not have been able to produce their product at a price attractive to the market.
And new, low cost tools that enable hobbyists seem to be released almost every day. Shapeways, a Dutch company that is a leader in providing 3-D printing services to hobbyists and small businesses, just released a new method for color 3-D printing. This greatly broadens the types of products that can be constructed using 3-D printers.
Just as laser printers connected to PCs created the desktop publishing revolution and changed the printing industry, these new low cost manufacturing technologies are changing how things are made – and creating opportunities for hobbypreneurs.