Monday, September 18, 2006

Turning a Hobby into a Career

By Christina VanGinkel

When you first decided on what you were going to do for a living, you might have been overwhelmed with decisions such as what you were qualified for, what the wages for a given profession was, and ultimately, what jobs were available in an area you wanted to live in. You might have invested years and dollars into college, and felt that there was no choice when it came to actually entering the job market, that what you had trained for was what you would do. Alternatively, maybe you never even gave your career choice much thought, just melding into a family business, or taking the first job offered. For many people, the decisions we make for our choice of career do work out, no matter how much or how little thought actually went into the choosing, and we enjoy many years doing a job that we find both rewarding and fulfilling. Sometimes though, our jobs lack in so many ways that we end up spending more time complaining about what we do, than time spent actually on the job! If you fall into this last category, maybe it is time to consider turning your favorite hobby into a career.

Many people do make money from a hobby, but most times this is on a part time basis at best, sometimes just making a few dollars that is turned back towards the cost of the hobby itself. Other times though, a hobby can be successfully transformed into a full-fledged career. If you are at a crossroads of sorts, take the time to evaluate your hobbies to see if this might be a road, you could follow.

Consider what your hobbies are, and consider the fact if you currently do bring in any revenue from them. If so, how much is profit? Is there a market for what you do? Does the hobby produce an actual product or service? Do you have the room to expand a hobby if it is a product producing one? Identifying the answers to these questions can help you identify if any ideas you encounter will be feasible.

Do not worry if at this point in the self-examination you are coming up blank. Not every hobby turned into a career is as clear as just continuing with a hobby the same way you go about it for the fun of it, and suddenly making money at it. Maybe you need to identify if there is a part of your hobby, or a specific skill, that would transform into a career. A scrapbook enthusiast might turn consultant, a person who enjoys cooking, might land a job as a chef in a restaurant or teaching baking at a local college. If you keep horses, dogs, or some other type of animal, consider becoming a groomer or animal therapist, or even opening a boarding facility. What I am getting at is, do not focus too much on the specific hobby itself, but the parts of it that you do enjoy and love. Ask yourself what those pieces, those aspects of the hobby that could be done as part of a paying job, a career.

While some people are lucky enough to grasp the concept of doing what they love for money right from the get go, others of us might be a bit slow on the uptake, but better late than never is a very good attitude to take when you suddenly find yourself looking for ways to begin or enter a new career path. I always think of the NASCAR drivers who started out racing on short tracks on the weekends, loving it so much they went on to become professional racers, or of professional chefs in A rated restaurants who enjoy nothing more than creating a new dish in their time off. Their love of what they do shows in their work obviously, and while these are extreme cases of loving your job, they are a great way to highlight that a hobby can be a full time career. Search for jobs that will employ some of the skills that you have learned to both do, and learned to enjoy through a hobby. Getting up each morning and going to work for yourself or someone else will be even more rewarding if you are working at a job you actually like to do.

No comments: