How to Turn Your Hobby Into Your Job (Without Losing Your Passion)
It’s the dream, isn’t it? We all want to wake up excited on Monday, enjoy the work we do and come home invigorated to do it all again tomorrow. The obvious answer is to turn your hobby -- the passion you already have -- into a career or a business, into your main source of income. If you did that, then work and play would become one and the same. You’d enjoy your Monday-Friday just as much as the weekend and your entire life would revolve around doing the things that you naturally love doing.
At least, that’s the idea. The only problem is, as one naysaying contributor over at YourStory concludes, “When that hobby becomes a job, it becomes too tedious and you will not enjoy it as much as you did when it was just a hobby.” But I disagree. I believe you can turn your hobby into a career or business without losing your passion. Here’s how.
1. Pursue every lead you have.
There’s no such thing as a bad lead, especially when you’re just getting started. Beggars can’t be choosers, and the best way -- the only way -- to turn your passion into your job is to follow up with every lead that comes your way.
Consider Sarah Riccio, a writer and team member for Sleepopolis, an online review site for sleep tech that helps their audience “catch better Zzz’s.” “When I found the job listing to be a writer for Sleepopolis,” Sarah explained to me over the phone, “I was working as a bartender with a bunch of other English majors struggling to find their place in the big city.”
When she discovered the opening, she thought it might be too good to be true. In her words: “I was certain that the call for a ‘charismatic sleep-lover’ who wants to personally test pillows on camera was Craigslist-code for, ‘Looking for young lady to pose suggestively on mattress.’” But she threw caution to the wind and decided to apply anyway. "What do I have to lose?" she thought to herself. Sure, her lead was a little weird and unclear to begin with, but she followed up with it regardless, and now, Sarah explains, “I'm a bonafide bedding expert who gets to explore my two favorite hobbies every day: writing and sleep.”
2. Never stop innovating.
When your hobby becomes your career, perhaps the easiest way to maintain your passionate attitude is to keep learning, keep mastering and keep innovating. That is, after all, what typically keeps a person interested in their hobbies -- the fact that there’s an endless amount to learn and to master.
Jeff Bezos, a strong advocate for following and monetizing your passions, believes that your passions, if harnessed, can drive innovation in the workplace. He explains: “Invention comes in many forms and at many scales. The most radical and transformative of inventions are often those that empower others to unleash their creativity -- to pursue their dreams.”
In other words, constantly innovating will not only keep you impassioned regarding the hobby that you’ve monetized, it will make you a more effective and forward-thinking worker.
3. Put your own projects first.
When a hobby is just a hobby, it’s all fun and games. You do it because you love doing it, not because you have to do it. But when that hobby becomes a job, you have to work on it regardless of how you feel. The good news is, you can maintain your inner passion for your monetized hobby with just a little bit of intentionality.
Mike Blankenship, freelance writer and owner of Get Your Gusto Back -- a blog that aims to help people reclaim their childlike joy -- has a passion for writing and for self-development. And he told me that making sure his own projects come before client work helps him maintain his passion for his hobby-based career.
“To make sure that I keep engaging with my passions, I start every day by working on my own projects, whatever that is at the time," he elaborates. "I don’t work on client projects until the afternoon each day so that I make sure I’m prioritizing my own projects and passions before anything else. Ironically, when I do this, I also usually do a better job for my clients because I’ve started the day with something that excites me.”
Sounds like a dream come true.