Should You Pursue Your Hobby As A Career?

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We all have our interests, hobbies and dreams but how do you identify if that goal is realistic, viable and achievable?

I’ve been there and done that.

Approximately 6 years ago I felt that I needed something else to focus on rather than my day job.

Don’t get me wrong, I was most happy in my day job but needed something else to set my mind to. I needed a challenge and if I could make some money on the side from it, then that would be a bonus!

I decided that I needed a product that I could sell at local markets and much to my husbands disgust, we set out to explore markets week in week out to gain some inspiration. Rather than simply purchasing our regular eggs and sourdough and returning home, we sat and observed and watched people’s buying habits to gain an insight into what product would sell.

After many months of research (and way too many market treats!) I had narrowed it down to the fact that I needed to make a food product.

I did my research and this was my first step to success.

Many of us have hobbies that we would like to turn into businesses, but my one recommendation to you is to do your research. Although I’m sure you are a big believer in your product / service, question if it is actually something that would interest others and if you are likely to have a lineup of customers willing to purchase your product.

With this thought in mind, I ‘surveyed’ all of my family and friends and identified cupcakes as my product for two reasons.

  • Feedback from the majority surveyed was that they would likely purchase at least one of the flavors I had in mind so I had a large target market.
  • But more importantly, it was a product that I enjoyed making. Ever heard that wise old saying ‘choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ Remember this when you are choosing your next job / career move or pitching your business idea. Ask yourself ‘is this something that I could do day in, day out?’ If you are looking for a long-term prospect, you must enjoy doing it!

Over the next few months, I refined my recipes. My ‘surveyed’ family and friends were most happy to be taste testers and I jumped through the many hurdles of compliance when it comes to registering a home-based food business.

This included registering my home kitchen with the local council and developing a market stall set up that was compliant to food regulations.

This was quite a process.

Remember when you are researching your product/service idea, look into the many factors and expenses that you might need to comply with before you can even get your idea up and running.

Six years have now passed and you can still find me on my days off developing new recipes, cooking hundreds of cupcakes for my next market or scheduling my marketing posts.

This however, is something I love doing on my days off and I still love having a day job and not relying completely on the income of my hobby.

For me, I identified early on that although cupcakes are a great interest and passion of mine, they will always be a hobby and compliment my career.

When you have a concept that you would like to turn into a career I encourage you to ask yourself a few questions.

  • How much money do I need to make to be comfortable? Remember that income from a new business can fluctuate and if your idea takes an investment of funds to get off the ground, it may be a little while before you see any rewards. Consider if it is possible to continue to work, perhaps at reduced hours, while you get your concept up and running. Just because you love doing something, you shouldn’t put pressure on yourself by making it pay you.
  • Is this something that is sustainable? Have you created a business model/product that will continue to make you income or is it likely to be a short-term prospect? You can have the best idea in the world but if no one is prepared to pay for it – you have an expensive hobby. Not everything you love to do can earn you a living. Some things are best left as a side hustle.
  • Is this something that you could do every day? For me that one was simple – no! You ought to see how many dishes I have to do on baking day! It was clear to me that I would not enjoy living my life being a dish hand. Remember your concept might be fun for a short period of time, but would you enjoy doing it every.single.day?
  • Is it an idea that you can grow/develop? If the answer is no, then as the world evolves, it is unlikely that your one business model will continue to be a success if it doesn’t have the flexibility to grow and develop as times change.

I hope that this gives you some food for thought.

Remember, although we all have passions and ideas, some things are best left as hobbies or as concepts to supplement your day job, rather than attempting to turn them into careers.

I’ll leave you pondering this while I go and do THE DISHES…..

 

Rachael Brown has close to 10 years’ experience in human resources, with a particular interest in recruitment and career coaching. Rachael is passionate about inclusiveness and providing everyone with a fair opportunity, regardless of the barriers they face. She encourages people to be the best version of themselves by coaching them to promote the skills and knowledge that they have to offer.

 

Disclaimer: The material contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is intended to be, legal advice. If you wish to act based on the content of this publication, we recommend that you seek professional advice.

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