Turn Your Creative Hobby Into A Full-Time Career
If you can make it, bake it, or create it, you might be able to turn your hobby into a proverbial pot of gold. In 2021, 5.4 million people started a business, showing us that taking a leap to pursue a hobby might not simply be a far-fetched pipe dream. But starting a business can be intimidating as there are a number of considerations to be made before pulling the plug on your current profession. If you’re willing to learn from others and take it step by step, however, you stand a fighting chance of making it big with your hobby. Here are some practical ways to turn a hobby into a career, according to those who have accomplished it.
1Get the Word Out
Good advertising is one of the best ways to show people who you are and what you can do. Rely on social media, hobby groups,and other networking platforms to get your name out there. If you’re selling an edible product, get involved in your local farmer’s markets, for example. Whether or not you’re comfortable marketing your own product, getting the word out is essential.
This was a big part of the success story for Thuy Pham, a hairstylist living in Portland, OR. When the pandemic stopped her primary business, she turned to her second love: vegan cooking. She started livestreaming her meal creation on Instagram just for fun, but quickly realized her mock pork belly was a huge hit among previous clients. Pham quickly gathered more than 100 orders over the course of the first week. The rest is history.
One of the biggest differences between a side hustle and a full-time business is its level of professionalism. If you’re going to dedicate yourself to creating a business, you need to treat it like one. Take time to get everything in order, be it creating a website for yourself, setting up business bank accounts, LLC documents, etc.
This was the case for Kevin Caron, a full-time truck driver for more than 13 years. Caron created works of art in his spare time before realizing it was something he wanted to pursue professionally. It didn’t take him long to create a website, open a separate bank account, and keep records of sales. Today, Caron builds and sells artwork for clients all over the world.
3Continue Building Your Skills
Investing in yourself is a big deal. As you start transitioning your skills into the business world, you’ll start to see your mastery pay off in a very tangible way.
With years and years of practice under her belt, Tiffany Dangerfield had perfected the craft of chemical free soap mixtures. So when the time came to supplement her income while staying at home, moving into the soap business was the obvious next step. Dangerfield fulfills dozens of orders every single month, and is continuing to quickly grow her business.
4Find Your Audience
Let’s rip the band-aid off early. Not everyone is going to be interested in your hobby — and that’s okay. But it does mean that understanding the market, your audience, and your buyer’s persona is absolutely essential to making money.
This was key for Bianca Lambert, an Australian clay enthusiast who loved making crafts in her spare time. As she became more and more invested in creating pots, she began to realize that there was a huge market for potted indoor plants. She created Capra Designs as an outlet for creativity, and started outsourcing production within six months.
5Put in the Hours
No matter how you look at it, there’s just no substitute for hard work. Turning a hobby into a full-time career is no small feat, and the transition will require hours of time, gallons of sweat, and at least a few months’ worth of sacrificed weekends. I know – it took me three months.
When I launched into the writing business full time, I worked 16-hour days for almost 12 weeks straight. My naïveté in the business world, coupled with a lot of paperwork, forced me to work virtually round the clock. Nearly a year later, I can truthfully say it paid off.
The Bottom Line
No matter what your hobby is, if you put in the time and effort to take it to the next level, it will pay off. Remember to rely on your support network, and to pull in people who can help fill the gaps where your own business skills might be lacking. For example, a business or career coach can be a great place to start. Regardless of the path you take, if it’s your passion and you don’t let up, you will get there.