Resolutions

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How to turn a hobby into a career

The end of the year tends to be a time to reflect on the previous 12 months. Many people are inspired to find a new career at the dawn of a new year. Some might find it possible to turn hobbies and other interests into ventures that can make money or even serve as new jobs.

Earning a living doing something you love is the ultimate goal for many people. However, before a person tries to turn a hobby into a career, he or she first needs to analyze the situation and give such a momentous decision ample consideration. All hobbies cannot be adapted into lucrative businesses, especially those that are very niche-oriented. The following techniques can help people turn their hobbies into careers.

• Streamline and perfect your skill. Before trying to turn a hobby into a career, obtain further training or education, if necessary. Just because you're qualified to do something as an amateur does not mean you can do it as a professional. Research if you need more schooling and pursue that schooling if you find you do.

• Appeal to other hobbyists. Hobbyists tend to be quite enthusiastic and passionate about their work. Therefore, your first client base may very well be other hobbyists. Attend street fairs, carnivals and any other gatherings that tend to bring hobbyists together. This can help spread the word about your ventures and open up your work to an extended network of like-minded individuals.

• Listen to all feedback. Take criticism and other feedback from as many people as you can. This will help you to really fine tune and professionalize your hobby. Try brainstorming with people, remaining open to what others have to say about your potential business.

• Start small and simple. Getting your feet wet in the business world takes an investment of time and money. It's easy to follow the mentality "go big or go home." But with the goal of turning a hobby into a career, you may want to start slowly — taking the bunny hills before skiing down the expert-level slopes. Start selling items or services in the community. Expand to a website. Keep track of your profit margin before you grow your business even further. You must be realistic in your ability to make money that can fully support you and your business.

• Write about your interests. You may be able to make money through your hobby without performing the hobby. Become a freelance writer and share expertise through a blog or by contracting with newspapers and magazines. Sharing your expertise can be a lucrative and less costly way to turn a hobby into a new career.

Turning a hobby into a profession may not result in instant success. But with dedication, the dream may come true.