If there is one thing in this hobby that we need it is aquarium entrepreneurs. Ones that have a vision and stick with it, ones that know what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur and ones that are more product or service based. The kind of aquarium entrepreneurs we need are serious. Keeping corals as frags and occasionally selling them on the side is not what we are talking about here. Usually in this hobby you go through the following scenario:
You are addicted to this reef keeping hobby and you need to find a way to make more money. How can you profit from these two major motivations? “I’ll become an aquarium entrepreneur” you say, I’ll combine my love of keeping reefs with running a business of some sort. I’ll Frag and grow corals!
Fragging corals will not make you financially independent, please get that out of your head right now. Have you noticed how long it takes for a coral to grow? It is not a quick process, one that is a balanced art form of lighting, water flow, and proper water chemistry. You know who does a really good job of this? The Ocean. Besides that though, there are large coral farms across the world that specializes in this type of thing. A few of them go belly up from the high cost of capital needed every year.
Please do not start a coral fragging operation and for pete’s sake do not start a chop shop or ones that involves acquiring a Photoshop license. You might have already discovered that growing out corals is harder than it looks. It’s time to move on.
The next logical step is that you want to start a business online. But what can you do online? You ask this question over and over to yourself. This can go one of two ways; the first is to sell products online such as selling your fragged corals online. The other option is to start a community based forum. If there is one thing that this reef keeping hobby does not need is another community forum. Please do start a forum. Literally hundreds of these fail every several years, with new ones every year to take their place. Community forums are incredibly hard to get going and a large investment in your time is needed. Few, if any are profitable.
The largest need this hobby has is more entrepreneurs that are product based. This hobby is relatively new. It has not been around for that long such as other hobbies that you could take up, such as radio controlled vehicles or knitting for example although the human race has been keeping fish as far back as the 1800’s. However, we have a need for better technologies in water chemistry, lighting and water flow to develop and over the years we have several examples of new companies doing a great job of reinventing the hobby. A great example of this is Ecotech Marine.
Ecotech Marine changed the hobby for the better by inventing a new way to push all our water around. The idea is actually pretty simple involving a magnet connected to a motor that transfers the energy across to the propeller. This novel idea has blossomed into a multi-million dollar empire. Reported sales in 2010 were said to be in the neighborhood of 4 million dollars. That is a serious amount of money. Ecotech Marine is a real example of being an aquarium entrepreneur.
Do you have what it takes to be the next aquarium entrepreneur? Do you have a killer idea that you need help with? I would love to hear about it via email (ryan DOT gripp AT reefbuilders DOT com)