We’ve all been at that point in our lives where we have to question ourselves: is this what we want to do for a living? Many enthusiastic college and university graduates leave behind the academic life in exchange for a promising job thanks to their degrees and qualifications, but many of them are left panicking when no one hires them.
Unfortunately, the job system is, in a nutshell, broken. Many business owners hire on experience which is something that very few graduates have. The education system focuses more on qualifications and paper records than valuable real-life experience. Ironically, someone that leaves school early to focus on a job could probably work to fund their university studies later in their life, and they can both work and learn while being able to sustain a family. On the contrary, a university student isn’t guaranteed a comfortable living and there are student loans and debt to pay off.
Breaking the Mould
Many budding entrepreneurs and motivated individuals are omitting the academic period of their life, opting to focus on their job, business or nurturing an idea thanks to the internet. Almost anyone with a revolutionary or interesting idea can make it big on the internet with a combination of patience, dedication and luck.
With some motivation, you could turn almost any passion or hobby into a business idea to give you a comfortable living. So whether you’re a budding digital artist, amateur music producer or an aspiring writer, here are some ways that you can turn your favourite pastimes into a fully-fledged job.
A Word of Warning
It should be said, however, that there are some inherent risks when turning your favourite passions into a job. Turning them into profit is great, but when it becomes a job there’s a chance that you’ll start to loathe your hobbies. For example, someone that draws for fun has a completely different mindset to someone that draws for a living. Once they start to receive commissions from paying clients, they’ll have to work on improving their craft to meet the demands and standards of people that hire their services—you can’t draw whatever you want anymore.
Because of this, it’s a good idea to build on your passion to create a separate skillset that can be marketed. If you love to write fictional material, then it’s a good idea to reconsider writing fiction for a living. Instead, you can put your knowledge of your chosen language to use and write blogs, articles and technical material for various publications instead of stories. You can keep your love for fictional writing as a hobby, but you’ll still be able to put your writing skills to use in a different industry.
Of course, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t at least attempt to turn your hobby into a job. There are some people living the dream and doing things they absolutely adore. For example, there are people that travel around the world, eating food and writing about their experiences and they make enough money to sustain their hobby.
Get Good at What You Love
You can turn pretty much anything into a job. Let’s take Poker for example. Did you know that Poker players can make a comfortable living playing in casinos as well as online websites like CasinoUK.com? And it’s not just from winnings either. Some professional players are sponsored or have deals with casinos and other companies. One of the most accomplished Poker players in the world, Dan Bilzerian, has amassed millions of dollars, sponsorship deals and global recognition.
The important thing here is to get good at whatever you consider a hobby or passion. No one is going to pay you for your services if you haven’t established yourself as someone worthy of being paid. If it’s a video game that you want to be paid for playing, then you better be extremely skilled. If you want to get paid for your art, then your drawings need to be top-notch. Never let your skills dull, keep practising, and always look for ways to improve.
There are thousands of online websites and resources where you can learn something new. Lynda, for example, has thousands of courses and tutorials that are written by industry professionals. You can learn about photography, design, websites or even business. It’s a good idea to make a few friends that know about your industry as well. If you write for a website as a side job, then get involved with the editor and make friends with them so they can offer you advice. If you’re a budding artist, get involved with communities that can offer you hints, tips and critique on your works of art. There are many ways to improve yourself everywhere you look—it’s just a matter of getting involved and asking for help.
Learn How to Turn Your Skills Into Money
Your skills alone won’t land you a job or create a business. You need to know how to effectively market your skills so that they can be turned into profit. Advertising is extremely important, but getting noticed by a community is equally as important for your exposure. If you write blogs and want to make a living from it, you better start networking with other bloggers and content creators to get your work noticed. Utilise social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and engage with your readers to create a loyal following.
Let’s use video games as an example. There are games that you can play competitively, such as Dota 2 or Counter Strike: Global Offensive where companies pay players salaries, they get sponsorship deals and there are prize pools that exceed millions of dollars. However, you aren’t going to reach this level unless you’re extremely good at the game and can get noticed. The other option to market your skills is to broadcast your gameplay on YouTube or Twitch.tv. These video services allow you to show people your personality or skills, and you get ad revenue every time someone watches your videos.
As another example, let’s take a look at the world of blogging. As a writer, you can pump out several articles a week, build up a following and place adverts on your website, but that alone won’t make you enough money unless you have thousands of viewers coming to your blog on a daily basis. In other words, you’ve built a fanbase, but you still need to learn how to utilise the many ways you can actually make money from your popularity.
This is when you need to learn about how to make money from blogging. One of the most common methods is to write an eBook to sell. Let’s say you have a blog about vintage candy and chocolate. Your expertise could be condensed into a book that you can sell. Another option is to use affiliate links. If you run a popular website, you can contact companies like Amazon to set up an affiliate program. They’ll give you a special code or link that your users can use to buy products from Amazon, and anytime they use it you’ll get a small commission for referring the customer to Amazon.
Spinning your passions into a job isn’t an easy task. There are thousands, possibly millions of people around the world that are trying to do the same thing as you. There’s no doubt that there’s a bit of luck involved, but you have to remain persistent and motivated enough to continue working. It’s a good idea to work together with friends or family members when attempting to turn a passion into profit because you can help motivate each other, keep each other interested and spread the work.
At the beginning, you might become frustrated at the lack of people who are willing to work with you or pay you for your work. This is normal, and it’s the same thing a budding freelancer goes through. Before you make money from your passions, you need to understand that no one is going to work with someone who can’t promise consistent work. You might have written daily blogs for a week, but how does a sponsor or advertising company know that you won’t suddenly stop writing after a couple of days?
The same applies to your fans. If you make excellent content but only release a single video per month when you feel like it, then you’re going to get fewer fans than if you put out consistent content. Unfortunately, this sometimes means that you might put out sub-par quality just to keep to a release schedule. It’s up to you whether you want to maintain good quality in spread out releases, or keep viewers entertained with more videos or articles per day. This will greatly depend on the type of content you specialise in, but it’s one of the key components to learn if you want to turn a passion into a job. As long as you remain persistent and consistent, you’ll have no trouble building up a loyal following.