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Earning an Income From Your Hobby

Thinking of moving to Bulgaria but don`t have a clue about how you will earn a living?

Maybe you have already purchased your dream home but with all the doom and gloom of the financial crisis you are reluctant to give up your current job and take the plunge to move abroad.

For the majority of expats when thinking of how to get a wage of some kind, their preferred option would be to start their own business. Although the thought can be quite daunting, starting your own business in Bulgaria is not as difficult as one would imagine.

Quest Bulgaria takes a peek at the best locations for some popular activities suitable for establishing your own tourism business in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria is highly suitable for this expanding individual tourism marketplace, with cheap property and land, providing low entry costs combined with untamed beauty and stunning scenery. Also, holidays are the one thing which Britons are unwilling to give up, even with the current financial difficulties.

- Horse Riding

Horse riding in Bulgaria has roots steeped in long tradition. The terrain in the country is very suitable for horse riding and trekking, providing anything from flat plains, through rolling woods and streams to steep Rocky Mountains. The land allows you to provide a good selection of horse riding options, catering for beginners, intermediates and the experienced horseman. The most popular areas are Stara Planina mountain range and parts of the Rhodopes. Both areas offer good trekking routes.

- Rafting

The most popular places to establish yourself for this water activity are Strouma, Yantra and Danube rivers, although rafting is available on other smaller rivers in Bulgaria.

- Trekking and Hiking

The main hiking destinations are Rila and Pirin National Parks, Central and Western Rhodope, the Northern part of Vitosha, and Stara Planina, depending upon the type of terrain you are looking for. This is an extremely popular activity for adventure holidays not only with Brits but also with other foreigners and Bulgarian locals. There is a well developed network of marked trails, covering some 30,000 kms, which makes the country safe for hikers and walkers.

Small family run hotels and bed & breakfasts can achieve very good occupancy figures during a large part of the year. Choose your location well; so that you are as near to as many marked trails as possible. Another valuable tip here is to not just target expats as your paying guests. Bulgarians from the cities just love to get away from it all in the countryside. If you market your accommodation properly you will find that it will become very popular with Bulgarian people of all ages, especially for weekend breaks.

- Rock climbing

Rock climbing is increasing in popularity and the best places to base your business are around Vratsa and Veliko Turnovo.

- Skiing and snowshoeing

The Pirin and Rila mountains are the best areas for these sports with steep and mountainous terrain. Many of those practising these sports enjoy circular tours with a stopover along the way, so team up with another guest house in your area. Snowshoeing has not been available that much in Bulgaria so this is an unexplored market. It's main advantage is that if the routes are too difficult for skiing, then snowshoeing is an alternative.

- Cycling and Mountain Biking

You could offer guided tours or just rent bikes so that holidaymakers can make their own way (although providing them with maps is a must). This has become enormously popular over the last few years as it can be as difficult or easy as you wish. There is enormous choice of paths and tracks suitable for this activity in Bulgaria, especially in the Stara Planina area. Routes which take in some of the pretty mountain villages are the most sought after.

- Paragliding

The town of Sopot is the most famous in Bulgaria for this sport, so basing yourselv in this region will reap rewards. Alternatively, Bistritsa, not far from Sofia is less well known for the activity and is easily accessible from Sofia international airport for holidaymakers.

Of course, for the less adventurous traveller (or partners who don't wish to participate in their other half's activity), you can establish many other niche holidays to attract them. The possibilities are endless.. cooking, painting, arts and crafts, writing, wines.

Tips and Hints for a Successful Business in Bulgaria:

- be realistic about much it will cost to start the business
- have enough money to cover operating costs and living for one year
- know your potential clients; research the market
- do a business plan and be honest with yourself about income and outgoings
- ensure you have full insurance
- use the skills you have
- set aside a marketing and advertising budget
- get a professional web site created
- work like stink!

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Owning a Bar in Bulgaria

A Bed and Breakfast in Bulgaria