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How to Turn a Hobby into a Job

Confucius said "Find a job that you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life."  Doesn't that sound amazing?  Imagine looking forward to work each day because your job is intertwined with your passion.  There are people who have managed to make this happen.  Do you have a hobby or an interest that you would love to turn into a career?  Here are a few tips that could help you make that a reality:

Try to identify opportunities.  There are almost always job opportunities within a hobby but you need to actively look for them.  Pay attention to anyone with a job related to your hobby and ask yourself what they do.  Is there an opportunity to teach?  Could you sell merchandise related to your hobby?  Could you write or speak about your hobby?  Be creative and keep your mind open to all the possibilities.   

Network like crazy.   Networking is always the best way to get a job, particularly when you are trying to break into a new industry.  If you have already been actively pursuing this hobby, then you likely have at least a few connections.  Reach out to them and let them know that you are hoping to get more involved.  They may tell you about an opportunity that you hadn't even considered. 

Come up with a strategy.  If you are just waiting for a door to open, you might be waiting for a long time.  You need a strategy to get you on track.  Set a goal for yourself and then make a plan to achieve that goal.  It doesn't need to be anything elaborate.  If you are an avid tennis player, you could ask the club manager if you could help out with the children's lessons.  The key is that you are doing something.

Take small steps.   It's probably not a good idea to abruptly quit your job and try to make a living as a concert pianist.  Even if you are extremely talented, it will take some time for you to build up your reputation and your network.  A better plan might be to reach out to some venues in the area to see if you can get a few gigs.  Eventually, you may be able to do it full time but there is no need to put so much pressure on yourself right away. 

Go outside your comfort zone.  By trying to make a career out of your hobby, you are going off the beaten path a bit.  If you want to actually make this work, you may have to do things that you wouldn't normally do.  Don't be afraid to boldly ask people for opportunities or to try something new.  You are carving a new path here.  

You will always be more successful in your career if you are passionate.  When you love what you do, you put your heart and soul into your work effortlessly.  Finding a job that you love is not easy, but once you find what you are looking for, you'll be glad that you didn't give up. 

(Written by Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of TiveryLucky at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)