By day, you're a mild-mannered math teacher. By night, though, you're a professional portrait photographer. If you're like many people, you have a job that pays the bills, and a passion that feeds your soul, and rarely do the two merge. So why not put your passion to good use and make it into your professional career? It's easier than you might think. Turn your hobby into your job with these tips.
Do some digging
Sure, you love collecting vintage stamps and want to turn it into your next career, but that doesn't mean you should give your boss your two weeks' notice just yet. Take the time to do some research to determine if your hobby really has the potential to become a full-fledged career. Look to see if other people are working in the same field that your passion lies in and uncover how they did it before changing careers. You can even try reaching out to them on social media to see if they can offer you any tips about turning your passion into profit.
Once you discover that there are indeed job opportunities within your desired area of interest, you might want to get a full-time job ASAP so you can do what you love all the time and score a salary for it, too. But it's important to be practical when considering switching careers, even to a field you're passionate about. You may discover that you have to start at the bottom in this new industry, even though you hold a management position in your current career.
You might not mind working in a lower-level position (or even as a paid freelancer) if you're doing what you truly love. Many people transition from their current career into a hobby career by starting out part-time, on the side, and then slowly moving more time and attention over to the hobby as a career.
Look for the similarities
It might seem like your day job and your passion have nothing in common, but that's most likely not true. Chances are, you might already have several skills in place from previous work experiences that can be applied to your desired career choice. Try to see if you have any transferable skills that can help boost you up beyond an entry-level position.
In fact, you should redesign your resume to spotlight those shared skills and successes you've achieved practicing your hobby (such as any awards that you've won or if your work has been featured somewhere). That way, a prospective boss will not only see your passion, but your potential, too.
Think outside the box
While you absolutely love painting landscapes, it might be difficult to find work doing just that out of the gate. So think of ways in which you can incorporate your passion into a paycheck. For starters, you could always teach like-minded folks about your passion and get paid for it. You might also give lectures about your area of expertise. Envision all the ways you can monetize your hobby (from teaching, training, repairing, etc.) as a way to launch your new career.
Get social and brand yourself
Many successful people followed their passion-and took it to the Internet. Depending on the type of hobby that you have, you might create how-to videos to post on YouTube. You might even try becoming an online expert, posting and answering questions that pertain to your industry. Once you've established an online presence, you can connect with companies you're interested in working with (via social media channels like LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter) to see about working for them.
You never know; if you create enough of an online buzz, you might discover that instead of trying to land a flexible freelance job, companies will actually come to you to have you represent them. If you're serious about trying to turn your hobby into your job, there's no time like the present to turn that dream into a reality. By taking the necessary steps to turn your hobby into your job, you could be working in a career you're passionate about for a long time to come.
Jennifer Parris is a career writer
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