littlepilotdude: This is sort of like asking about the meaning of life. It is a huge topic. I'm sure you already realize that a simple Google search will reward you with a mind numbing list of information. If you are trying to turn a hobby into a business, I would suggest you TAKE IT SLOW. Don't spend a lot of money or take out a SBA loan just yet. Try to volunteer your talents to your church, school, scout troop, etc and treat THAT like a business without charging. Do several "jobs" where you have real expectations, a shot list, people depending on you, etc. Find out about equipment limits and failures, dealing with people, trying to get all the shots that are worth selling in the time given, etc. Being able to work with an established professional as an assistant would be ideal but hard to find. How much time can you devote to this?Doing shoots for others is fun but also hard work and it can be stressful.
If it isn't, you either don't care how your work is received or it's not that important in the first place. Believe me, shooting a wedding for money is stressful when you consider the stakes. Thank God there are a million other ways to be a professional besides wedding photography! (For me at least.)
I don't pretend to be an expert by any means but I can tell you based on the many photographers I've known over the years, I know the business and every pro out there will tell you that you'll never get rich and it's a hard business.There is a lot of yourself in this business. It's a people business first and foremost
. You're not selling pictures, you're selling yourself while you make pictures. People will use you because they LIKE YOU, not just for your pictures. The pictures do have to be decent but you could be the best photographer in the world and if you make people feel uncomfortable, they won't come back. OTOH, if your pictures are passable but people really like you, they usually won't care because they enjoy working with you to get their pictures done. Take a look at most of the successful photographers and you see a common theme - they are laid back and easy to be around. They get invited back and sometimes famous people like to hang around them.
There are many true professional veteran photographers around that are leveraging their vast experience to sell training, educational workshops and seminars and books. Joe McNally, David Hobby, Scott Kelby, Darren Rowse, Bryan Peterson, Joel Sartore, Nevada Wier, etc. The list is endless and these names are only the most popular "rock stars" among many successful and talented artists.
Try watching these...http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/At_Close_Range/70063298?locale=en-UShttp://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/National_Geographic_The_Photographers/22305499?locale=en-US&trkid=439131&fcld=true
Try this website for some good simple advice...http://digital-photography-school.com/25-great-photography-tutorials-and-links-from-around-the-web
Good Luck! Let us know what you find or what is working for you!!