Testing the Waters Before Committing to Your Hobby
There is nothing I hate more than hearing somebody refer to my blogging work as a hobby. Though I didn’t mind hearing it before, whilst I was working in other employment and it was my little hobby on the side, now it is different. Now, I make my living from blogging and I silently fume when some people insist on repeating the word hobby when they describe my paying career!
I know very well the difference between a hobby and a career, it just so happens that I turned what I did for a hobby into an actual career path! Yet it wasn’t a decision I took lightly and when I’m asked, as I regularly am on this website, about the possibilities of people giving up full time paid employment to continue with their hobby, I tell them straight; It’s a great idea if you can prove it a profitable one, if not – now may not be the right time.
What You Need to Turn Your Hobby into Your Job
I usually dish out a little advice in the form of a list when asked this question. However, the truth is that this is perhaps one of the more difficult of roles to pursue and does need sheer grit and determination if you are going to see it through to completion. Be warned, this may just be the toughest role you have played to date!
- Do Not Give Up Paid Employment Until You Receive Your First Payment from Your Hobby: No matter how tough combing two roles simultaneously gets, or regardless of the many hours you must work through the night, please do not ever be tempted to give up the job which pays your bills and puts food on your table. That is until you are certain you will make up this money through your intended hobby.
- Do Your Homework with Vigor: I cannot stress this enough. Before you get carried away with the understandable excitement of doing what you love for a living, is the idea even workable? Have you done your market research, do people want what you are selling, and do you have a unique stance on it that will make people choose you over somebody of a similar nature?
- What Will You Do as A Hobby If You Make It Your Career: I know this may sound trivial at first, but when you consider that this was perhaps the one way that you could switch off from the stresses of the working day, what will you now be able to bring in to replace that? For many of us hobbyists, we crave the creativity and tranquility that sitting down to voluntary work on a task brings. So, will doing this all day for a living mean it won’t have that same buzz when it comes to working on it of your own accord?
- Consider Where You Will Work From: The problem with turning a hobby into a full-time occupation is that it is often something which has been done from the comfort of the home, therefore when it comes to working on it full time, it may seem obvious that it will continue to be your place of work during the day. Working from home is not always an easy a route to take, contrary to what many may believe, and, for some, their circumstances may not even permit this.
- Do You Have All the Equipment You Need to Get Started With: I say this because you really do not want to have to spend a massive initial outlay on sourcing your main work tools in the first few months of your venture? Materials are understandable, but if you need to plow big amounts of money into the project just to get started, what is that going to mean for your profit line and where is that money going to come from?
- Make Yourself Financially Savvy: Finally, we must not forget that when you turn your hobby to a more profitable career choice, you will be instantly recognized as a taxpayer and thereby responsible for contributing to the government. As unfortunate as it is, many people are under the impression that such hobbies cannot generate anywhere near the amount of income required to hit the tax thresholds, but they are mistaken. As soon as you start invoicing and receiving payments from customers, you are effectively earning a taxable income and there is no getting out of this one!
From Hobby to Career; Preparation is Key
What I don’t want to do is put a dampener on your ideas or aspirations. This is not my intentions at all. What I’m merely trying to do is impart some words of wisdom from somebody who has been there, done it, and bought many of the tee-shirts to prove it!
I know that sometimes the urge to just jack in the day job and just hit it full force gets to many of us at regular intervals of the day, especially when you feel that you are wasting your life working on a job you despise when you could be at home working on creating the life you really want. I get that, I really do, but force yourself to think about what would happen if you lost that monthly income tomorrow. Would you be able to keep a roof over your head and food on the table?
If you want it enough it is achievable, but only through hard work, clever research and remaining practical whilst keeping a clear head. Get the foundations right at the very start and the only way there on is up.