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Offline danhughesTopic starter
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« on: May 25, 2009, 10:03:33 pm »
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Have you ever thought that maybe you could make a living in the treasure hunting field? Perhaps by charging money to find lost items ("Have Detector Will Hunt"), or by finding underground pipes or property markers, or by finding lots of valuable jewelry at the beach?

There are lots of books that recommend you turn your hobby into your career, but in our case that's easier said than done.

Four times I've tried to turn my metal detecting hobby into a business, but not by finding things.

Here's what I did:

The first time was by writing articles for the treasure magazines. It was a ton of fun writing and taking photos for the articles. I had been a wedding photographer and newspaper photographer, so the pictures were easy. I had been writing all my life, too, so writing about treasure hunting came pretty naturally.

And the editors liked my stuff and bought it all and even printed it without changing anything, which was great. But it took so long to get paid, and the pay was pretty low.

Yes, it's a real hoot to see your work in print, but I quit doing that when the main magazine I wrote for went out of business and my real job (teaching radio broadcasting and writing and hosting a TV show) took up more and more of my time.

The second time, I became a part-time detector dealer. Didn't make much money with that one (couple thousand bucks my best year), but I didn't lose any, either. Which is better than a lot of people who try something like that can say. I enjoyed having a lot of detectors to play with, too, and I learned a lot about all the different brands. But I finally quit selling detectors when my distributors' prices went up, and Kellyco was selling them cheaper than I (as a dealer) could buy them.

The third time was writing my book (

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). Rather than submit it to a publisher and wait six months to hear back, and then another year or two for the book to be published, I just published it myself. And rather than let distributors, dealers, and bookstores take most of the profit, I decided that the only way for anyone to get it would be through my website. If Amazon or Borders wants a copy, they pay the same price you pay, and they have to buy it directly from me.

The result of this rather unorthodox method of bookselling is that I sell far fewer copies of the book than if I sold it through regular channels, but I earn about four times as much money on each copy that I sell. AND, I had it on the market just two weeks after I finished writing it, instead of the normal two years.

I don't make a lot of money from the book, certainly not enough to live on. A major weakness of my business model is that I have just one product - the book - so I can't generate repeat business. (Though once in a while a customer comes back to buy another copy for a friend or relative). It sells slowly but steadily, and that's fine with me. I love being an author, seeing my book in print, and especially hearing the positive comments I get from readers.

The fourth way: I give seminars on metal detecting. I did it through my college when I was teaching, and now that I'm retired I do it in my wife's art studio classroom. Complete details in podcast number 015 here:

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Which brings me to my fifth endeavor, my treasure podcasts. I don't make any money from them, since they are free for anyone to hear.  Some people earn money from podcasting by selling advertising or charging to listen or by putting ads on their web page, but I decided not to do any of that (though I do make a quick reference to my book at the beginning and end of each show).

When I retired from radio I missed the microphone, and my internet radio show feeds my addiction in that regard. It also keeps my writing skills up, because I fully script every show. And I get a lot of positive comments on the program, which keeps me going.

Why do all this if it isn't bringing in enough to pay all my bills? For the same reason we metal detect! We love it!

That is one of the wonderful benefits of retirement - we can finally do what we want to enjoy life!  (And I don't mean sitting in front of that TV set 24/7, like a lot of my fellow retirees do).

---Dan Hughes

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Offline Sue
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« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2009, 11:00:45 am »
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I knew a gentleman who used his detector as a prop for his workman comp detective surveillance work. He'd buy silver dimes and quarters, give them to property owners living near the person he was watching, and was welcome to "detect" their yards as much as he wanted. He could easily return to his vehicle if he wanted to snap some photos.

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