Everyone wants to have a job that they love. But what if you could actually turn your favorite hobby into a real career?
It sounds too good to be true, but with the amount of resources that are available today, it’s entirely possible to turn your passions into a sustainable and profitable career. Side hustles and portfolio careers are becoming increasingly common, and many women are using them to explore the plausibility of a career change.
If you daydream about what it would be like to pursue your passions full time, we’ve got your next steps covered. The below tips will get you closer to turning your hobby into a career that you truly love.
1. Ask yourself if you can combine work and fun.
Before you make any significant investments, you need to know whether you’ll still enjoy your hobby once it becomes your work. This isn’t a decision that you should make lightly; take the time you need to come to your conclusion. You’ll be moving from doing your hobby whenever you feel like it to doing it on a deadline and for a profit. If that’s something you won’t be comfortable with, then you should reconsider your next move.
2. Make a plan.
You already have a long-term goal (to make your hobby your career), so now it’s time to set short-term ones. Figure out where you want your business to be in six months, and work backward to figure out the specific steps you’re going to use to get there.
3. Have a weekly schedule.
If you’re going to balance your hobby with full-time work, family, a social life, etc. — you need a plan for how you’re going to maximize your time. Initially, you may have to sacrifice some free time (and some sleep) to help your business grow. Planning what that looks like ahead of time will save you stress down the road.
4. Research the market.
It’s crucial that you know what your new industry is like before you enter it. Look at your local market for potential competitors, industry trends and resources you can rely on. Is there a small business network that you can join? Is there a need within your community that hasn’t been met? Do as much research as you can so you can figure out what other businesses are using to succeed — and how yours can stand out from the crowd.
5. Test out your services.
The first step to treating your hobby like a job is to figure out what that looks like. For an example, if you’re pursuing photography, how long will a photo session last? What kinds of packages will you offer? What range will your prices be?
An easy way to figure out answers to those questions (aside from research) is to test out your services. If you have a friend who is interested in your services, offer to provide them for free in exchange for customer feedback. You’ll gain insight as to how your run your business as well as proof of concept for your business.
6. Get social.
Social media is a free marketing tool, so take advantage of it! Publicize your services to your network, make a branded Facebook page and get the word out any way you can. Don’t be afraid to interact offline as well. Meeting other business owners in person and attending local events is a great way to promote your business and expand your network.
7. File paperwork.
Once you’re ready to transition your hobby into a legitimate business, you need to file the appropriate paperwork with the IRS. Now that you have a business plan and a stronger understanding of the market, you should know what kind of organizational structure you’re going to use and what paperwork that requires. No, it’s not the most exciting step on this list, but officially filing the paperwork to legalize your business will make you feel like you’ve accomplished a big step — because you have!