“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”
While some lucky people love their jobs, most are stuck in their current career based on convenience, profit or necessity. How many of us really get to do what we love and generate a solid income from that? And even if we do have the idea, how many of us really go ahead with it? Needlessly to mention, it is quite a risky step to leave our 9-5-day jobs (no matter how much we hate it), and start something new, something we have no idea about how will pan out. But it is absolutely possible to follow your passion and turn it into your career. You just need to have dedication, the right plan and most importantly, patience!
Again, let me mention, transitioning your hobby from part-time to full-time and getting paid for it is no easy feat. But if you have the will, here are the ways to make it happen:
Keep Innovating – On every step of professionalizing your hobby, you’ll need an added speck of innovation. You will need your imagination at its peak, whether it’s how to create your product or how to market and expand it. E.g.- Say, as a hobby, you used to make earrings and you turned that into a business. A certain style of earrings was very popular in the last year. But suddenly some other trend catches up and replaces it. What do you do? You innovate and come up with other designs to keep up with what’s in vogue. You can even creatively rebrand the old style of earrings (call them the ‘retro style’ maybe). Every phase of creating a career from your hobby will need constant inventiveness and creativity. No matter how much your business booms, you can never stop brainstorming!
An added advantage is, the constant brainstorming and innovation will help you to never lose your zeal for your hobby.
Focus on financial feasibility- Businesses take a certain sum of money to start and to remain in the market. For that, it’s important to evaluate the risk before jumping into starting a new venture. George Bernard Shaw wrote, “Happy is the man who can make a living by his hobby.” Notice the phrase “make a living.”? Following your passion is the dream, but to make that dream into a source of income you need to research a lot on the subject. Things like the market value of the product you have to offer. Sustainability of what you have to offer is another thing to keep in mind.
A few things that might help:
· Research your potential audience
· Determine their pain point
· Find out how you can distinguish yourself from your competitors. Others have passions too!
· Follow SEO practices, it will increase your visibility and generate more traffic.
Be Persistent- It is incredible that you have decided to turn your hobby into a source of income, but deciding and dreaming alone won’t make it happen. You have to take action on your dream, every single day. Persistence is the key here! So how do you get started? According to people who have successfully turned their hobbies into businesses, the best way to learn persistence is to stick by a schedule. Be sure to work, at some part of your business, for at least 30mins a day. Now if you are really serious about turning your hobby into something you can earn a living from; you are eventually going to need to ramp up that time. But even then, stick to a schedule. It’s essential in making sure that you don’t feel burnt-out from trying to follow your passion.
Listen to feedback and criticisms – Feedbacks from people, more importantly, criticisms will help a lot in professionalizing your hobby. It will help you understand the shortcomings in what you have to offer, leading to improvement and in turn, the growth of the business.
More often than not, our enthusiasm and passion keep us from seeing something that might be a looming obstacle. Feedbacks and remarks from family, friends, trusted peers and even your target audience will help with that. And while criticism might be a little harsh on a person who is just starting their endeavor, it is one of the most effective ways of negating mistakes and refining what you have to offer. Be open to both feedbacks and criticisms!
Sell your creation- One of the most important steps while you turn your hobby into a source of income is to know how to sell your product. No matter what you have to offer, you have to know how to make it look attractive to your target buyers. And for that content marketing might be one of the easiest choices. Play with words and glamourize your product or service. You have the power to do so with the content you put up. You can create a compelling website with all the essential information about your product/service. Most people search the internet prior to making a purchase, they might end up on your website. Plan to perform keyword research and incorporate the results into your website’s content. This will generate more traffic to your website, leading to a thriving business. A great business is nothing without proper marketing. Social media is a free marketing tool, so take advantage of it!
📷 Stay true to your brand- It’s easy to feel competitive with other businesses out there and to compare your success with theirs. But staying true to your vision and your brand is the surest way to succeed. It is advised by people who succeeded in turning their passion into a brand, to never compromise your brand, no matter how big the opportunity. It is the only way to keep your ‘hobby-turned-profession’ something you love to do, and not something to have to do.
Last but certainly not the least
Ask yourself, will you still enjoy it?
‘Sometimes when you turn a hobby into a job, it becomes work.’
This is the most important point of them all. You might enjoy dancing, or baking cakes, or making short videos. And occasionally you do your friend or family a solid favour, and make something for them, bake them a cake or gift them a beautiful painting. But will you still love doing all of those things with a deadline hanging on top of your head like a sword, with the pressure of marketing your product, with the stress of making sure that you generate enough money from the business you just started following your passion and then generate profit? Sometimes bumping up your hobby into a full-time job can take the fun out of it. Your hobby should, foremost, give you a space for relaxation. Before jumping into any decision, take time to explore what it’s like doing your hobby for several hours every day or all weekend to check your level of enjoyment. If the fun is lost, it won’t be your hobby anymore. It will be just another daytime job (just like the last one you quit, to pursue your passion and turn that into your living).
All things considered, I still believe it is absolutely doable, turning your hobby into an earning source. And vitally, in the process not lose your love for the activity. It might seem daunting but just go for it. If you don’t take that leap of faith, you’ll never know what could have been!
In the moments of doubt, remember what Maya Angelou had to say:
“Pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”
And also, you have all the above-mentioned steps to help you figure out at least some of it!