GUEST BLOG: Mayadisa.com founder Neema Shah mixes business with pleasure

Creative businesses

Our American cousins have inspired many cupcake bakeries on this side of the pond. While we may be reaching saturation point with those particular confections - although personally, I don't think there'll never be enough cupcakes in the world - traditional baking is definitely big business.

Look at Lorraine Pascale, owner of London bakery Ella's Bakehouse who now has her own BBC2 programme Baking Made Easy. After her modelling career ended, Pascale took countless short courses to discover something she could be passionate about and create a business from. Luckily she decided against car mechanics (true story) and finally settled upon baking.

Meanwhile, the internet is making it even easier for craft-based businesses to prosper. From sewing to painting, people with craft skills are able to reach new customers using the likes of Etsy.com, without the massive start-up costs that entrepreneurs may otherwise face.

Knowledge-based businesses

Another area where the internet has leveled the playing field is knowledge-based businesses. Many bloggers, for example, start by writing about things they are interested in, from fashion to film. Get it right and you could make money from advertising on your blog, receive freebies from companies who are eager for a namecheck or even get a film made about you, as was the case for food-writer Julia Powell in the film Julia & Julia.

You don't need to have qualifications to make money from a number of fields. Self-taught make-up aficionado Lauren Luke began her internet career giving make up tutorials on You Tube. Millions of viewers later, she's had regular beauty columns in the Guardian and now sells her own make up kits online.

Retail

It's well publicised that people interested in vintage clothing have been turning their interest into cash with vintage shops and online retail sites.  Even celebrities are getting in on the act, as demonstrated last year by Lily Allen who turned her love for vintage fashion into a business with Lucy in Disguise, her new London vintage shop.

In fact, I'm another example of turning a passion into a business. Despite having a law degree and a career in marketing, it was actually my interest in fashion, travel and other cultures that inspired me to create an East-meets-West fashion site, Mayadisa.com. I can still use many of the traditional skills I've learned to build the business but it's my love of fashion and travel that will keep me motivated and inspired.

So next time you pick up a paint brush or cake tin, think about all the endless money-making possibilities…

Find out more about Mayadisa.com

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