Turn Your Hobby into a Profession
What do you do for work? What do you do for fun? How good would it feel if your answer was the same for both?
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We often think of hobbies as something we do outside of work to relax. At least, that’s how the dictionary defines it. But there are people making money doing what they love, and you could be one of them.
Sure, not every hobby is a winning business venture. But considering people earn money playing video games on YouTube, the options are pretty vast.
Consider these ideas for turning your passionate pursuit into profit:
· Sell products. Sell creative creations locally or online — from candles and soaps to jewelry and clothing. Thanks to online marketplaces, your virtual storefront can sell anywhere in the world.
· Provide services. Some people struggle doing what you love to do. Do it for them! Love to write? Try copywriting. If organizing makes you happy, become a professional organizer. Offer services in graphic or web design. Take pictures. Edit videos. Or help others with weekly meal prep.
· Teach skills. Share your hobby skills through blogs, videos, podcasts, e-books, or online courses. Teach others how to grow a lush garden in the desert. Give guidance on repairing things around the house. Show easy techniques for beginning painters.
· Entertain. You don’t need a stage to entertain. Share what you’ve got online. Create videos of your comedy or funky dance movies. Record your music. Post your poetry. With video or web ads, you can make money without even selling.
If it all sounds exciting, and maybe a bit overwhelming, take a breath and head to the library. Libraries are incredible, money-saving assets for entrepreneurs. Access free equipment, training, and business resources. Plus, get professional guidance on starting and running a business. Talk to your librarian about what your library offers.
Learn from Business Experts
Check out library-hosted workshops, courses, and networking groups. You’ll connect with other entrepreneurs and gain insight from experienced business professionals.
Countless libraries partner with SCORE to offer guidance for small businesses. From financing to marketing, learn how to make your business a success from people who have done it. SCORE’s business mentors share their expertise through in-person and virtual presentations. You can even score personal, confidential business guidance.
Oregon’s Deschutes Public Library offers weekly one-on-one mentoring. Plus, live webinars showcase topics like starting a food truck or researching your competition.
For more online options, visit your library’s website. With free access to training sites such as LinkedIn Learning, you can create your own business curriculum. Get help to develop your business plan. Gain time management skills. Learn the ins and outs of small business taxes. Discover how to market to your customers. Be sure to look for training specific to your venture like podcasting, blogging, or selling products online.
Workspace, Equipment, and Studios, Oh My!
When you turn your hobby into a profession, your needs change. Don’t stress about extra space or equipment to keep up with your business needs. As you might have figured out by now, the library has you covered.
Settle into a quiet workspace with computers, software, and high-speed internet. Book a meeting room to chat with clients or investors. Check out a laptop to get things done on the go.
A growing number of libraries also offer production studios. Book studio time to record a podcast. Shoot high-quality videos. Take photos of your products using professional equipment. Where else can you do that for free?
Makerspaces are another exciting offering at many libraries. In these creation labs, soak up inspiration surrounded by other creative makers. Many sites boast equipment for sewing, screen printing, welding, woodworking, and more.
You’ve got an awesome product or service. You’ve created a business plan. Now what? Build your brand. Research your industry. Find customers.
Give your brand an identity that’s all yours. Use graphic design software to create a logo. If you’re not sure how to use the software, your library may offer training or access to free online courses for help. You can even print business cards using on-site printers.
For the inside scoop on customers and your industry, explore databases, directories, and trade magazines. You’ll be able to find out what competitors are doing and track trends. Plus, use demographic data to find your ideal customers and guide your marketing plan.
Madison Public Library offers a robust database for researching businesses and consumers. Entrepreneurs also can look at thousands of example business plans in its virtual reference library.
Remember the Joy
Growing a business can make your hobby feel like, well, a job. Stay connected to the joy by continuing to grow and learn in your passionate pursuit.
Check out a book for fresh ideas. Read magazines to enjoy hobby stories, pictures, and trends. Learn new techniques in an online course. Have fun trying new equipment in a maker’s lab.
Surrounding yourself with other hobbyists is another great way to reignite your excitement. At library clubs and classes, you can share ideas, creations, and the love of your common pursuits.
If find you need a hobby break from your hobby job, consider adding a new pastime to your days. For ideas, check out 6 Ways to Develop Your Hobby Using the Library. Happy hobby-ing!