Focus at Four: The first steps of turning your passion into profit

As the Bryan Rotary Club honors the 10 fastest-growing local businesses, hopeful entrepreneurs are asking, "How do I do that?"

Whether you bake the best muffins on the block or always find a way to fix friends' broken smart phones, turning that hobby into a marketable product is a different story.

Kelli Hollinger, director of the Center for Retailing Studies at the Texas A&M Mays Business School, says first, do some market research.

"Ask yourself, 'Will anyone pay me for this?'" Hollinger said. "Talk to friends and family. Find a mentor who's already in the field."

Hollinger says appearing professional is also key. "This isn't a hobby anymore," she said. "You can't just snap a photo with your iPhone and post it online and hope to sell that product right away."

Denise Fries, winner of the Anco Insurance Award for Lifetime Business Achievement, started Fries Financial Services at age 23.

Her advice to anyone starting out is simple: "Don't quit your day job right away."

Fries says she's always had more than one venture bringing her a paycheck.

"Don't quit your day job, but work hard to build your business dream on the off-hours," said Fries.

For more from Hollinger, Fries, and the Bryan Rotary 10 winners Exothermix, see the video player above.