Whether you have become a self-taught master of needlework or crochet, an innovative genius on the graphics tablet, a hotshot photographer, legendary storyteller, or the sort of “home cook” that is inundated with house guests everyday around 6pm, the inherent value of pursuing a creative hobby is something to which millions of us can attest.
Even when you are making precisely $0 out of those long evenings spent doodling by the fire, or those humid afternoons dipping candles in your garage, there is a reason why you continue to go back to it at every chance you get. The opportunity to explore the bounds of your own creativity, and to indulge something that depends entirely on your own skill and commitment, is something that will never lose its novelty – whether it is your career, or dedicated to those quiet Sunday afternoons.
Still, many of us have felt that draw toward turning a hobby into our livelihood, eschewing the stress and fatigue brought on by a regular 9-5, and instead relying entirely on our own craft to pay the bills.
In theory, it seems ideal. The ability to take something we find genuinely enriching, and to turn it into a steady income. And, while this is entirely true, there are a few things you ought to know before you quit the day job. Read more below.
Understand that Not Every Hobby Needs to Generate Income
You are, of course, already well aware that a hobby can be, and remain, incredibly fulfilling even when you are making no money from it, so we will spare you the lecture here. Instead, we will just leave a gentle reminder that hobbies are incredibly valuable for your mental health – particularly when you are able to maintain them amid the rush and stress of fulfilling professional and personal responsibilities each day.
Turning your hobby into your primary source of income will inevitably change the way you perceive it. But, if you’re ready for a change in dynamic (and still have one or two hobbies for the sake of it) then read our tips below.
Focus on Building Your Authority, and Making Your Mark, Online
First, you will need to begin carving out your own space on the web. This is, without a doubt, where you will be able to make your strongest mark, and getting into the groove of developing your presence online sooner, rather than later, will prove invaluable going forward.
As a creative, utilizing a quality platform to build your own portfolio website to showcase your brand, work, and uniqueness will represent a significant step toward turning your hobby into your career. Within the parameters of that site – and, to a lesser extent, on your social media pages – you can put forth a professional face to the world, and begin to establish the high standard to which you will consistently work for the years to come.
Prepare for the Long-Haul
Rome wasn’t built in a day, success doesn’t come overnight, all good things come to those who wait…whichever adage you choose, embarking on a new venture – particularly when you are, in all likelihood, the sole driving force behind it (at least, for now) – means committing to a certain amount of patience, as well as plenty of commitment, resilience, fortitude, and dedication.
Building a business rarely turns out to be a linear process. There will be ups and downs, as well as plenty of quieter moments and, in turn, plenty of chaotic periods of growth and change.
Don’t Commit to Too Much, Too Fast
When you begin to see that initial wave of customers or clients making their way through the digital doorway, it can be tempting to respond by upping your product lines, or increasing the range of services you offer. It is all too easy to commit far more time than you have at your disposal to diversifying your offerings and, in the end, spreading yourself far too thin.
Not only could the quality of your work begin to suffer, but you will quickly feel yourself growing resentful toward something that has always brought you joy.
Keep it simple, and focus on building a core range first.
Don’t Fall into the Trap of Under-Selling Yourself
When we begin a new business venture, we are, in general, keenly aware of the fact that our business is new. Customers are likely to be a little more wary – and it is all too easy to feel compelled to lower your prices in order to (a) compete with bigger companies and (b) give prospective customers a reason to “take a gamble” on us.
This is something all the books for solopreneurs will teach you: competitive pricing is one thing, but chronically underselling yourself, and attempting to match bargain-bin prices to top quality goods and services, will only ever harm you in the long run, and make it significantly harder for you to break out of that “amateur” mold in which you began.