Thursday, April 7, 2016

Can My Hobby Turn Into A Career?

Hobbies are activities that we enjoy doing when we are free. Imagine indulging in our hobbies all day long and without any feeling of guilt. Such luxury can happened only if the hobby has become our vocation. I bet this is everyone’s dreams. But how many of us can do that? In reality, most of us dragged our feet daily to a place or activity that we dread and hope the day will be over soon so that we can return to the activity that we enjoy doing. That’s why we have “Monday blues” at the beginning of the week and “Thank God it’s Friday” when the work week is finally over. The line between work and play is thickly defined for most of us.

But in recent years, we witnessed a wide range of jobs churning out from hobbies and not only that, these vocations has the potential to provide good career security too.  In other words, it’s possible to have pleasure, fun and money at the same time.

So, what are some hobbies that had turned out successfully to great careers or businesses?

  • Crafts/Design/Painting to Designers/Artists/Gallery Owners
  • Cooking to Chefs
  • Gardening to Landscape Designers/Nursery Owners
  • Keeping pets to Pet Groomers/ Pet Shop Owners
  • Outdoor games/sports to Professional Sportsmen/women
  • Photography to Professional Photographers
  • Singing/Playing musical instruments to Music/Voice Instructors and Pop Singers
  • Journaling/Blogging to Full-time Writers
  • Playing and Spending time with kids to Child Care Center Owners

But before you ditch your day job and jump into your “hobby-vocation”, it would be helpful to run through a check-list such as the following:-

  • Are you really passionate about your hobby? For instance, a person may think his hobby is keeping pets but in actual fact, the time spend with his pet is lesser than his time watching TV series. In this instance, the person’s “real” hobby is probably watching TV more than taking care of pets. You got to be honest about your true passion. Some hobbies are merely for therapy purposes and you have no wish to indulge in it on a regular basis.
  • Your hobby has to be “employable” or “marketable”? In other words, there must be a demand for your skills, services or products that you made.
  • Can it give you the income to meet all your current commitments like putting food on the table? This is a crucial point and that’s why many who already had a family with kids to feed may not even think about entertaining such notion. A solution to it is to start out on part-time or freelancing basis first. Some photographers started out that way. When they first began, it was merely shooting for their friends on weddings and special events but as their work slowly speaks for itself, the demand for their services grow and suddenly the idea of a full time business became feasible.
If it has to be a business venture, do up a business plan first. And make sure you have enough cash to sustain for at least six to nine months. And if you wish to be employed, be ready to start at a lower salary than what you are getting right now. A Project Manager in IT wanted to switch her career to being a Make-up Artist would have to be willing to sacrifice her five-figure income initially. There is no guarantee that you are able to earn similar income in the future. So be ready for monetary sacrifices. But if this is what you are willing to risk, go for it!

Do your homework. Research the pros and cons of your vocation. Talk to people who are already in the industry. You may like pets but to be a pet groomer, how prepared are you to have a full schedule of appointments on your weekends and public holidays? There might be things that you cannot compromise such as your family time during weekends. In such situations, your hobby probably should remain as hobby.  

Patience, patience and patience. Endurance and perseverance are traits that you need to have because the primary reason of turning hobby to career or vocation is usually not due to the economic feasibility but the desire of doing things that you enjoy. Therefore, money is never the main motivator and as such, success may take a while to savor.  Having said that, the old adage, “love what you do, and the money will follow” may still come true.

So, how crazy are you about your hobby? Enough to turn it into your career? For those who had weighed the pros and cons and have decided to take that plunge are indeed the happy lot that can truly experience the wisdom of this quote, “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”