Whether you’re a business professional, engineer, teacher or something else, you may be dreaming of turning your part-time hobby into a full-time career. For example, many private or hobby pilots have caught the flying bug, and aspire to turn their passion for flying into a full-time, rewarding job, and ditch the 9-to-5. If you find yourself daydreaming about a new profession while you’re stuck in your cubicle, or fantasizing about your hobby during yet another meeting, it might be time to consider how you can craft a new career path focused on your passions. In this article we will give you 12 tips for turning your hobby into a full-time job.
If you’re ready for the next step, here are twelve crucial tips that will help you get ready to take off in your new career.
1) Research Your New Career Path
You may love your hobby and want to turn it into a full-time job, but that doesn’t mean you should turn in your two-weeks notice just yet. Spend time researching your hobby, the barrier to entry, average salary and employment rate. Reach out to other professionals in the industry and see if they’ll provide you with advice about getting into the field.
2) Make a Practical Plan
Once you’ve done the appropriate research and determined that it’s your new career path has success potential, you can begin planning your exit strategy from your 9-to-5. In your new hobby-turned-career, you may find that you have to start at the bottom in a new industry. While that may not be a bad thing if you’re doing what you love, it may be wise to transition from your current career into a hobby career by starting out part-time, on the side, and then slowly moving more time and attention to the hobby. For example, pilots that want to get paid to fly could work during the day and get their flying hours in at night as they pursue their commercial certificate.
3) Simplify Other Areas of Your Life
In order to succeed, especially if you’re going to keep your day job while you pursue your hobby professionally, it’s essential to simplify your life. To do what you love, you must stay focused on your main objective—this will get you there faster and ultimately, make you more successful in the end. This may mean rearranging your social life, keeping finances in check or foregoing other hobbies in pursuit of your goal.
4) Consider Similar Careers
Sometimes, turning a certain hobby into the specific career you want is just not worth the time. For example, you may dream of becoming a commercial airline pilot, but looking at the cost of training and the hours needed behind the control wheel (at least 1,500) may be intimidating. Of course, if that is your goal—nothing should stand in your way. However, you could consider a job on the business aviation side of the industry, which will still give you the chance to work within a field that you love, but provides a lower barrier to entry.
5) Talk to Family, Friends, Peers
Before jumping into a new career, speak with those close to you to iron out all the details. Listen to their feedback, constructive criticisms and any advice, as it may be possible that your passion is keeping you from seeing any pitfalls that come with such a decision. This will also provide you with a supportive group of people that know about your pursuits and can help you in the face of hardship.
6) Get Social and Network
Sometimes it’s not the skill you have that makes you successful in a given career, it’s the people you know. Begin by researching networking events in your area and given industry. Attend professional seminars, professional happy hours, conferences and trade shows to connect with others. You can even reach out to influencers and other industry professionals on social networking sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to connect with those that are passionate about the same things you are.
7) Redo Your Resume
While you may think your 9-to-5 and your hobby have nothing in common, that’s probably not the case. There are likely areas where your skill set and experiences can crossover into your new career path. With that being said, it’s important to redo your resume to shine a spotlight on those transferable skills and success. That way, a prospective employer can see your potential within the relevant field. This may provide the boost you need to gain something beyond an entry-level position.
8) Never Stop Bettering Yourself
Every aspect of creating a career from scratch requires inventiveness and imagination, whether it’s how you approach a job interview, handle on-the-job pressure or learn new skills. No matter how successful you get, you should never stop coming up with ways to be better. Throughout the process of turning your hobby into a job, it’s crucial that you never stop learning, exploring and practicing new facets of the profession.
9) Get Creative
While you may absolutely love your hobby, it might be difficult to find work doing it professionally right away due to lack of experience. Try to think of creative ways to advance within your hobby so you can reach a professional level faster. For example, while you can’t accept money to fly as a private pilot, you could volunteer for a charity flight to help you build up hours behind the control wheel and support your ultimate goal of becoming a paid pilot.
10) Persistence Pays Off
Pursuing your hobby professionally means being persistent. A little bit of work every single day will add up over time, contributing to your advancement in the new profession. While everyone has a dream, only a few have the perseverance to make it a reality. Develop a schedule and stick to it—even 15 minutes a day focusing on your career goals can contribute to your success.
11) Consider the Loss of Benefits
While your day job may not be your ideal career path, the protections and benefits it provides, from healthcare to life insurance to 401Ks can make it worth it to stick around in some cases. If you do decide to pursue your hobby as a career, you may risk losing these things, so make sure that you can swing quitting your job financially before taking the plunge.
12) Strike a Balance
Sometimes, the hardest part of making the transition into a new hobby-turned-career is striking a balance between work and life. As you pursue your passion, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the minutiae of the day-to-day work, especially since it’s interesting to you. However, you need to also figure out the best way to maintain your other commitments, such as family time, while still maintaining focus on your new career path. Overall, this will keep you—and everyone in your life—much happier and more fulfilled.
Best of Luck with Your New Career!
If you truly want to transform your hobby into a full-time career that you’re passionate about, there is no better time than now to turn your dream into a reality. By following the tips above, you can turn your 9-to-5 into a rewarding job that you will love for years to come.
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