Now that I’m done with school, I’ll be starting my new job on June 2nd. I’m going to be working for a local software company as an internet marketing and communication consultant. In other words, I’ll be a professional blogger! I was hired for this job in part thanks to my experience creating Almost Frugal. What started as a hobby and a way for me to get my budget under control quickly became an opening into a whole new world.
When I began blogging, I did so for the same reasons as so many other people, to help stay motivated with a new project and to share information about my life with my family and friends. As Almost Frugal started to grow, I put more and more hours in every day as I realized that I was really enjoying what I was doing. Pretty soon Almost Frugal became a full time job in many ways, albeit a low paying one!
And now the year and a half that I have spend building this blog have paid off, in ways that I could never have anticipated when I started blogging in December 2007. Not only has it determined the area in which I wanted to get a masters degree (marketing) but it has helped to direct my professional path as well. Not bad for what was intended to be a part time hobby!
There are many hobbies that can help you earn money, and we are seeing more and more people making money of their hobbies every day- just look at the thousands of Etsy sells who knit, sew, work wood and so on and so forth. People publish their own books, sell downloads to their own music or make jam to sell. However, as different as the ways of making money can be (and this post isn’t really a list of them), there are some general rules that apply. Here are the four general principles that I believe to be the most important when if you want to turn your hobby into a job.
1. Do what you love and the money will follow.
Mrs Micah says that doing what you love won’t make you rich, and I have to agree that the one does not assure or assume the other. But if a hobby is something you love doing, you’ll do it often and presumably, you’ll get better. The better you are, the higher the chances of others appreciating your skills. Which leads me to…
2. Be good at what you do.
While you don’t necessarily have to be good at something to enjoy doing it (witness my mother’s love for singing), if you want to make money from doing it, than other people need to be willing to pay for it. Which implies that you’re good at it, unless you’re so horrible that they’ll pay you to stop.
3. Make yourself public.
Nobody will hire you based on your amazing skills if they don’t know that you have those skills in the first place. Playing your guitar in your living room won’t get you a gig, unless you have an audience you can count on to help spread the word (assuming that you want to get a gig in the first place). Developing a blog anonymously won’t help prove your communication skills, unless you can mention it on your resume. Being on a school committee (if being organized is your hobby) can only help if you make your involvement public, instead of helping behind the scenes.
4. Match what you do and what you want to do.
Take a look at your hobbies and try to analyze the skills you have and the qualities you need for a chosen job. When I applied for my new job, I talked about the kind of community around Almost Frugal, the message that I tried to write about, the tools that I used and so on. Every hobby can bring something to the professional table, from the creativity involved with designing and sewing a new product to the communication tools that you need to successfully promote an Etsy shop.
Many people look at the commercialization of a hobby as just a way of earning a little bit of extra money, certainly useful in these hard times! But another way of doing what you love and getting paid for it is to turn those skills into into a job, and make a career out of it.
And what about you? Have you ever turned a hobby into a job? or carried over skills from your personal life into your professional life?