Love taking photographs of parents with their newborn babies? Thrive off teaching your children Shakespeare monologues? A total pro at turning a bag of stuffing and some scraps of material into a gorgeous set of cushions? Then it could be time to turn your hobby into a career!
Many of us feel like turning the things we love and are passionate about into our full-time jobs isn’t possible. Whether it’s a lack of confidence or concern that it won’t work out, we tend to be our own worst enemies. And there is no point transitioning into doing your hobby as a career until you’re totally ready and committed.
Once you’re passed this point, however, the fun begins! Before you dive straight in, however, there are a number of steps you’ll want to take. Some you’ll need to do in advance, others once you get started.
1. Find a Mentor
Finding a mentor is a must if you are serious about learning more about your trade. Many authors began their writing careers with the help and support of a mentor. A mentor is somebody who is a step or more ahead of you in the area you are focusing on. They then pass the experience on and help you find your way. Richly rewarding for them, it gives you a point of contact when you are struggling or need support. It also puts in touch with someone who understands, and will celebrate with you when you hit a milestone or achieve something new.
2. Find a Group of Like-Minded People
As valuable as a mentor is, a group of several different people in your field can be just as reliable. This is because some hobbies rely on taking many different opinions. Research groups in your local area, or if there isn’t one, set up your own. Put out a free advert in the local newspaper, and one on Gumtree too. Social media will also be your friend here. Put the word out on Facebook and Twitter
3. Take a Course
Nobody in the world is entirely perfect at anything! It’s true! There will always be ways that you can improve your techniques, challenge what you know and build upon your knowledge base. This is why it is so important to continue learning once you step from hobby to career. Take a photography course to learn new skills. Take a playwriting course to give yourself access to people who will read your work and critique it. These types of courses also act as things to add to your professional CV. They show that you are dedicated to learning and to improving what you do.
4. Research the Practical, Boring things
If you turn your hobby into a career, the chances are that you be able to start making money from it. But sure you’re not breaking the law by doing so, however. You may well need to declare your earnings or register as self-employed. As long as you know the rules and follow them, however, you will be fine.