Imagine the scene. It’s 7 in the morning, your head rises from a peaceful slumber, and as you slowly regain consciousness, your heart begins to sink as you realise it’s Monday morning and you need to head into work. Why are weekends so short? Getting out of bed, you regret not spending more of your weekend doing the things you enjoy doing – your sofa was just too comfortable, and your Netflix watchlist wasn’t going to go away without a little binge watching – and you resign yourself to the start of yet another weekly treadmill. Deep sigh!
Perhaps next weekend you will finally get round to that book you have been meaning to write, and maybe you will spend more time on your days off practising your favourite sport. If only you had longer to concentrate on the things you enjoyed beyond work. Unless… and here’s where your brain starts whirring. You remember reading something on the internet about turning your hobby into a career, and you wonder whether it’s finally time to give up your job and concentrate on making money from the pastime you enjoy. It’s a no-brainer, surely! Well, yes and no. It makes a lot of sense to give up your day job if it’s getting you down and pursuing something that you are passionate about could be the answer. Still, there are a few things you need to consider before doing so. You may start to enjoy your working life more, but then again, you may be headed into disaster.
Think about the following before you jump ship and head into the uncharted waters of your career-defining hobby.
- Is now the right time?
Quell your excitement for a moment, and look at your life. If you are reliant on an income coming in, you don’t want to give up your job too early. Starting again is a risky proposition, no matter how passionate you are about your hobby. Whatever your big idea, be it selling cakes at the local farmers market or becoming a personal fitness trainer, you need to consider timing. If you have debts to pay, a family to feed, or other major life events coming up, it would be worth postponing your plans until you know you are guaranteed a similar or improved income. On the other hand, if you do have a plan in place, flexibility to do what you want, and enough financial savings in place as a backup, maybe now is the time to take the plunge.
- Will you need training?
You love your hobby, and you are probably very good at it. Still, no matter how experienced you are, you will probably need some training or qualification to give you the accreditation to go forwards. This depends on what you are looking at, of course. Something as simple as selling your crafts online or writing a blog, won’t require much training if you are already good at it. On the other hand, if you are looking to become that fitness trainer we mentioned earlier, you will need some level of training, especially if you want to work in a gym or leisure centre. On that note, think about first aid qualifications – do personal trainers need it? You may not if you work in a gym but in your own business, you definitely will. Whatever line of work you are looking to go into, do your research before you go into anything blindly, as retraining may be necessary. And hey, if you are selling your cakes to the Farmers Market, you may still wish to brush up your baking skills at a night school class, too!
- Are your dreams realistic?
It’s easy to daydream and imagine what could be. What if I could become a writer? What if I can inspire others? What if I could become famous? All good questions, and ones you are liable to think about when contemplating your life and future. The answer lies within you. Do you have the skills, the persistence, and dedication to turn your dreams into reality? If not, then those fanciful notions should remain daydreams. On the other hand, if you have what it takes, then yes, anything is possible. Well, at least within the realms of reality. You might have a love for all things science-fiction, but the chances of you becoming an astronaut are probably slim!
- Could you go part-time?
You don’t need to ditch your current job just yet. Many jobs can be done on a freelance and part-time basis, without you having to rethink your career plans entirely. So, if writing is your thing, take the time to build up your portfolio. Take on freelance writing jobs that won’t eat up a lot of your time, and build up a body of work that might eventually take you to the next level. If you are interested in sports coaching, you may be able to coach a local youth team at the weekends, on a voluntary or paid basis, giving you the experience to go further afield in the future. In the meantime, you can still go to work on a 9 to 5 basis, bring in an income, and live comfortably while working behind the scenes turning your hobby into its own career opportunity.
- Will you still enjoy your hobby?
You might think this is a silly question. You love your hobby, so why would turning it into a career change anything? Sadly, it can, as when you are balancing your books, handing over your taxes, and managing deadlines, your hobby can quickly become something that is a source of stress and a chore. Again, working part-time on your hobby will give you some insight into whether this is true for you, or not. Taking the time to explore your passion as a job on weekends and evenings will give you a feel of what the future might hold. If you still enjoy what you’re doing, then that is a positive sign. If, on the other hand, reality takes a hold and it isn’t as easy as you imagined, then you may prefer to keep your hobby as a simple past time before your love and passion run thin.
- What will other people think?
On the one hand, it doesn’t matter what other people think. If you want to turn your passion into your dream career, then you do have the right to follow your heart. Hopefully, people will support you and give you all the encouragement you need. On the other hand, you may face criticism. There may be family members worrying about the stability of the avenues you are contemplating. You may have friends who think you are doing the wrong thing. Your partner may be concerned about financial issues that may arise from following a new path. You need to listen to the feedback you receive, no matter how stubborn your resolve. If what people say makes sense, then it may be right to reconsider, despite your self-pride. Alternatively, if you have clear vision, have done your homework, and are confident you can succeed in this new endeavour, then reassure your doubters and carry on regardless.
- What are you leaving behind?
As you look to the future, it’s always good to look at what you may be leaving behind. For starters, there is a salary you may be living comfortably on. You may have made steps up the career ladder too, and it’s possible a higher job within the same industry may be more stimulating than your current position. Of course, there are also the people you work with, and while you can stay in touch with them, you may miss their company. On the other hand, does any of this matter? You may have good reasons for starting again, and it would be a shame to drop your ideas of a dream job if it can become a reality for you. You need to weigh up the pros and cons before coming to a decision, and then make an informed choice regarding your future.
So, question, question, questions. There is so much to consider, and it would be nice if life were a lot more simple. Unfortunately, you do need to get your thinking cap on. The idea of turning your hobby into a career is a wonderful notion, and one rife with possibilities. Fame and fortune are the least of it, as job satisfaction has to be paramount. Finally writing that novel, starting your own business, and pursuing your dream will give you immense pleasure. On the other hand, you do need to listen to qualified advice. Perhaps part-time is the answer, or perhaps you should concentrate on your hobby as a pastime and not a career after all. Only you have the answer, and it depends on what you have in mind. Seek advice from others, consider the path you need to go down to get to where you want to be, and do all the research you can before you come to a final decision. Whatever you decide, we wish you every success and happiness.