Wouldn’t it be great to be able to do the one thing you really love day in, day out? Playing football, dancing or painting would never be a boring task that you are just obligated to do, rather a fulfilling activity that would keep you fully engaged at work. But making a living out of your hobby? Is this possible or at all practical? Well, some say yes some say no…
You are probably familiar with Confucius’s most famous saying ‘choose a job that you love and you will never have to work a day in your life’. So what better way to decide on a career than by taking your genuine interests into account? Hobbies are your personal experiences, the things you are probably good at and enjoy doing.
As most people enjoy their hobbies, going into a relevant profession would make perfect sense. However, many people believe that your career and hobbies should be two distinct parts of your life. While career expert Penelope Trunk would agree there are many career clues in your hobbies, she doesn’t agree that doing what you love is the best course of action. As she says, “career decisions are not decisions about ‘what do I love most?’ Career decisions are about what kind of life do I want to set up for myself?”
This implies that your career goals may not be fully aligned with what your hobbies can provide you with once they become your full-time job. In order to find out, you should be looking into what you want to get out of your career. Is it power and prestige? Money or work-life balance? Will your hobby be able to give you all of that? For example, if you are dreaming of a luxurious life, you might want to start a business. But if you want to be around your family, you should probably get a job in a company which still aligns with your hobbies.
Turning your hobby into a career is often a hard thing to do. So before you try to do it here are some things you need to consider:
Following Your Passion
The most conventional piece of career advice? In an ideal world, it would be easy to follow your passion. However, you realise that this doesn’t always work out. Instead of finding a career that you love, you need to go after one that makes you who you are. This should be the profession that’s most suited to your personality, skills and strengths.
But what if your hobby doesn’t cover all of that? And what happens when your hobby becomes your 9-5 routine? Would you be able to enjoy it as much as when it was just an activity you chose to do whenever and wherever? This is the tricky part, as you will never truly know until you try.
Turning your hobby into a job requires a lot of planning and preparation. So if you don’t want to regret your decision, it might be useful to ask yourself the following questions:
- Would you be able to enjoy your hobby if you have deadlines?
- Are you willing to take risks to make it happen?
- How committed are you to your hobby?
- Can you start a business with it?
- Are there any things that you can make and sell?
These questions should help you decide if you want to invest in your hobby and if it is possible for you to succeed in turning this into a full-time job. Unless you have the determination for it, you might end up hating what you do and as such hating your once beloved hobby.
So take a hobby that you enjoy and imagine what it would be like making it your day-to-day job. Is it manufacturing musical instruments, cycling or rowing? Once you are 100 percent confident you want to do it, these are the steps you need to take:
1. Explore Your Options
Turning your hobby into a job is one thing. Becoming successful at it and making a living from it is quite another. Luckily, there are many skills that you can utilise to help you make a living. If you are into writing, design, photography or art, you might want to consider blogging since it looks like that is the way forward. Another route you can try is freelancing. If DIY and crafts are your passion why not turn your unique hobby into a job by setting up an online business?
As you can see, the options are nearly limitless. So your biggest question is probably if you made the right career choice to start with. But what you may not know is that you can change your career at any time. You always have the choice to go back to what you know you do best; be it your hobby or your first graduate job and build on that. Just do what makes you happy.
Don’t forget that there’s always the option of getting an internship, or voluntarily offering your services to build your experience. While this takes some time, you should first focus on showing that the passion you have for your hobby can make you an expert in the field. This is the key to earning good money from a hobby.
2. Get (Net)-Working
I have already stressed the importance of cultivating contacts within your professional network as means of finding a job. But the benefits of networking don’t stop there. In a highly [digitally] connected world, there is the constant need of inclusion and sense of belonging. Without these two basic elements, you lack support. Imagine wanting to start a business, what’s the first thing you will need?
The answer is people; other professionals who will help you get there either by contributing financially or providing you with the most valuable tips and advice based on their own professional experiences. This is the same if you want to get a job. So get in contact with people who you know have been in the same situation as you and ask them how they did it.
Again, the best way to get started is by creating a blog. An account that will allow you to talk endlessly about the things that you love is an excellent way to reach out to other professionals and exhibit your work. So get your material ready and spread the word, but most importantly be willing to be ‘unusual’ and original so that you stand out.
3. Get Certified
Turning your hobby into a job is much easier when you have the relevant qualifications to back up your experience - not to mention, they will contribute to getting a bigger paycheck. So let’s say you are into diving, lifeguarding or even gardening and want to learn more in that field, the best way to do it is to get certified. This will require that you spend a considerable amount of your time attending classes, but it will be worth it as it will prove that you have the knowledge and the skills to be considered a professional in your field. It will also make you more credible compared to other people who lack experience.
In the end, life is too short, and you don’t want to be confined to a profession that you don’t enjoy. If you feel like making a career out of a hobby, be prepared to take a big leap of faith and see where it takes you.
So, what do you say? Would you do it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!