As the old saying goes, “If you love your job, you never have to work a day in your life.”
That may be true in many cases, but take a second to think about your career. How did you come by your job? Was it a job you chose because you loved it? Did you choose a career out of necessity? Did you choose your career based on your interests or hobbies?
There’s a good chance you didn’t choose your career path based on your hobbies. While hobbies are things that we all love doing and things that brings us a job, you may think they’re the way to go when making a career.
If you’ve thought this before, take another look. Looking at your hobbies can provide you with plenty of clues as to careers and vocations if you’re in the market for a new job. By looking into jobs based on your interests, you’ll feel more fulfilled and more passionate about your career pursuits.
So how do you go about making a career out of your hobby, here are a few ways to pull it off successfully.
If you love to cook or play guitar, one option you have for a career is teaching. You can easily make this possible by teaching through a continuing education program, or perhaps even teaching at a community college.
If you’re set on turning your passion into a business, you can create teleseminars or webinars online. If art is one of your passions, you can easily create a series of online art classes for kids at an affordable price. Since you’re able to create webinars and teleseminars, you can be as creative as you want in creating your content. These days, it’s never been easier to connect with people online and you can use teleconferencing software such as Zoom to hold virtual classes.
Another option you can consider is offering private lessons. By teaching others, you’ll not only be able to pass your passion for your hobby onto other people, but you’ll be able to keep your skills sharp too.
Invent Or Craft Something Around Your Hobby
It’s been said that necessity is the mother of invention. With that in mind, another way to make a career out of one of your hobbies is to create something that your hobby needs. If you, for example, are an art enthusiast, you can create fun T-shirts to sell online based on your art. If you really want to get your creative juices flowing, you can create something for your hobby. Maybe it’s a new table to put all of your art materials on; maybe it’s finding ways to turn your paintings into other works of art, such as 3-D gifts or clothing.
As an enthusiastic about your hobby and you can create something that’s fun or unique, other folks with the same hobby will be willing to spend money on your products.
Teach The Business Of Hobbies
There are more than 30 million small businesses in the United States and many people have found success making a career out of their hobbies.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to find a niche teaching people the business behind a hobby. For example, if cooking is your passion, you can make a career out of teaching people who work in the food industry how they can get cookbooks published. If you love to travel and to shop, you might consider making a career out of teaching people how to import products.
If restoring cars is your hobby and you’ve got experience as a car salesman, you can teach others how to make a living offering used trucks for sale. This way folks can fix up cars and sell them, further fueling their passion for cars and trucks.
Talking And Touring
If you’ve ever considered making a career out of a hobby, then you might consider touring and talking about your hobby. If you’ve got a hobby involving a how-to topic, or a compelling story, enthusiasts who share your hobby will pay to hear about it.
Let’s say your passion is auto maintenance. There are a lot of easy do-it-yourself things that people can do right in the comfort of their own driveway. You can make a career out of touring the country, teaching people the ins-and-outs of auto maintenance. If you’ve got a flair for showmanship, you can create a brand for yourself and make a career out of being “Joe the Mechanic.”
Let’s say your passion is working out and you’ve used different strength training programs to get yourself in peak physical condition. If you’re passionate about working out and staying healthy, you might consider making a career of traveling around to schools, teaching kids the importance of working out, eating right, and staying healthy. You can show them easy exercises they can do at home and get them started on a path to staying in good shape.
As you can see, there are numerous examples of how you can make a successful career out of a hobby. But finding success doesn’t usually happen overnight. Quite often, it’s the result of hard work and going through some ups-and-downs.
With that in mind, here are some tips for successfully navigating a path for making a career out of hobby:
Any business has to start somewhere, but one of the most obvious things you’re going to need is money. To really make a go of things, you’ll need at least a few months of startup expenses. You’ll obviously need to make sure you have money to live off of and you’ll need money for any equipment you’ll need to get things rolling.
Bottom line: you need to start small and a good way to do that is to start your business while you’re still working at your old job. This will give you a much better idea of what your expenses might be for running your business. That way you can figure out if it’s something you can turn into something bigger and better down the road.
Connect With People
No matter if you’re an expert in making handmade furniture or you want to teach hobby welding classes, you need to connect with people. Thankfully, social media has made it incredibly easy to make connections with anyone, anywhere. If you’re trying to find people who might be interested in buying your furniture, or take your welding classes, you can use Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or even Craigslist to market yourself.
One thing to keep in mind about making a career out of a hobby is to take things slow. There will be some people who are thrilled with the product or service you want to offer, and there will be some who couldn’t care less about what you have to offer. As such, you should seek out specific groups or communities online specifically dealing with what your hobbies or interests are.
Don’t Be Afraid To Research
Even if you consider yourself an expert painter, an expert guitarist, or an expert furniture builder, you need to do some research before you turn your career into a hobby. You need to a rough idea on whether there are places that offer similar products or services in your area, as well as what they charge.
If you want to keep things simple, you can do some online research to get an idea of the landscape, and how your business fits into that landscape. What kinds of goods or services do your competitors offer? Do you have many competitors to start with? How can you stand out from them?
Make A Workable Plan
When you think about it, a business plan might be one of the least glamorous parts of starting a new business, but it’s nonetheless important. It’s especially important if your business is going to require any funding from outside sources, such as someone covering the cost of a rental space, or a company paying for a sponsorship.
Even if you’re planning on making a career out of your living room or your garage, you need to stay organized and prepare for any and all possibilities. Let’s say for example that you’re wanting to open up a car painting business. By planning out where you’re going to work, what your business hours may be, and what you’re going to charge, you’ll have a workable idea of how to run your business rather than jumping in with both feet and no plan.
Square Away Finances
A big part, perhaps the biggest part, of your business plan needs to pertain to your expenses. After all, you’re going to need to calculate your monthly expenses, as well as your startup costs, and your projected income. As if that wasn’t enough, you also need to consider putting money aside for membership fees if you join professional organizations, or if you need to cover fees for posting things online.
Don’t forget about taxes either. If you’re going to be making a career out of your favorite hobby full-time, then you need to plan on paying self-employment taxes as well as quarterly taxes. You may also have to decide later on if you want to remain the only operator of your business or if you want to form an LLC if your business grows.
Taxes can be tricky to square away and if you do start a new venture, it’s a good idea to meet with a business lawyer and a tax lawyer. A tax lawyer will help you get all of your tax obligations squared away and a business lawyer can help you navigate a path toward getting your business start, or, later on, expanding your business.
Assess Your Goals
Even if you have the most well-developed and well thought out business plan, turning your hobby into a successful business is going to take some time. You won’t really know if it’s going to work until you do it for a while. Because success likely won’t be instant or guaranteed, you need to reassess what your goals are periodically.
To start, your goal might be to open your business. Once you’ve done that, your goal might be to reach a certain level of profitability by a certain date. By constantly reassessing your goals, you’ll learn what works about your business and what doesn’t. That way you can evolve, and focus on the aspects of your business that work.
Make Yourself Known
Once you’ve got a business plan in place, and money to get started, you need to get the word out of your business. The Internet makes it easier than ever to let people know you’ve started offering wood chips for sale as part of your own landscaping business, or that you’ve started offering your own cooking seminars.
You can certainly use old ways of advertising such as billboards and flyers, but you can really get yourself out there by using social media to your advantage. Not only can you create a page for your business on Facebook and you can create engaging content that’s going to pull people in.
Simply put, you need to let people know that you’re open for business. If you can get the word out, you never know who will reach out, or how many people will reach out to you. Your business page is also a great place for people to leave reviews, which can go a long way in helping you keep business coming in.
If you’ve got a fun, exciting hobby that you think people would benefit from, now is the time to showcase it. By making a career out of your hobby, you can offer something different and unique to customers, all while pursuing the thing you’re most passionate about. If you’re feeling like a career change is in order, making a career out of your most favorite hobby might just be the best career decision you’ll ever make, and you’ll never feel like you’re going to work again.