The idea of achieving the perfect work-life balance is something most of us aspire to. It can, however, feel like something of a fruitless search given the pace of modern day working life.
Finishing later than intended on a consistent basis, arguing with spouses and dreading stepping foot in the office are all signs that you may need to make a big change. And why not? The grass may well be greener on the other side.
When careers begin to become more trouble than they are worth, the most common practice is to head straight for online job boards. If you’ve done that yourself recently but have a nagging suspicion there’s a different path available, you could be right. You may be harvesting a hobby which, with some extra effort and structure, could become your next career stepping stone. It may even be bigger than that and present an opportunity to pave the way to a very financially secure future.
You’ve just got to sniff it out. Below are 5 telltale signs that your hobby could become a viable career.
1. You Enjoy It
The late Steve Jobs once said that, if you’re unable to look into the mirror and tell yourself consistently that you want to do what you’re about to do, it’s time to look elsewhere. And he’s right. Our careers should be enjoyable. If you have a hobby which you deeply enjoy, you’re probably rather adept at whatever it may be; anything we spend considerable time on and enjoy will usually turn into a talent.
That talent could be a commodity in which others are willing to invest. Imagine working for yourself doing something you love and which others will pay for. Now that is the perfect work-life balance.
2. You’ve Already Made Money From It
“Oh, I don’t do it for the money.” How many times have you said that when someone delights in your tale about making extra cash from your hobby? Why not flip that sentence around? Why not do it for the money? If you’ve sold the output of your hobby to a person or organisation already, you’ve discovered a market for it. You may feel a little reticent or even presumptuous about the idea of exploiting that revenue opportunity further, but doing so could turn your hobby into a career.
One of the hardest challenges faced by fledgling businesses is devising a unique selling point and generating sales leads. If the passion for your hobby has resulted in both of these things (no matter on how small a scale), you’re a step ahead of most startups.
3. It’s A Niche Hobby
If you’re struggling to find others who indulge in your hobby, there’s a good chance you’ve hit on a niche area. Successful businesses are all about niches. If you can carve one out and tell the world about it, you’ve got a greater chance of succeeding. Your hobby may feel very personal at the moment and somewhat special given the knowledge that few others partake in it, but it may well be time to uncover the veil and show the world your hidden talent. The rise of ‘upcycling’ is a brilliant example of this in practice. Someone got there first!
4. You Started A Blog And It Is Gaining Traction
The age of content marketing has forced something of a paradigm shift in the world of marketing. Solo entrepreneurs and startups can now reduce their reliance on expensive advertising by growing a subscriber base and feeding them with regular content. You may already be doing this with your hobby. If your personal blog is attracting a sizeable audience, you may be inadvertently building a potential list of customers. This form of marketing takes time, but the great news is you’ll have made some headway already; your readership probably already likes and trust you. It’s time to think how you could turn them into customers.
5. People Won’t Stop Talking To You About It
Irritated by everyone taking a seemingly intrusive interest in your hobby? Don’t be – this could be an important sign. Whatever it is you enjoy doing clearly interests people. If they won’t leave you alone and ask endless questions about how you do it, think of them not as irritants, but as potential customers.
Even if you can put a tick against each of the telltale signs above, you may still be unsure about taking the leap from hobby to career. What if, in doing so, you lose the very essence of what made it enjoyable in the first place? Remember that few businesses hit profitability immediately. In fact, many accept that there will be no income at all for a period of time. The benefit you have is that your hobby, while not profitable currently, may already be a fledgling business!