"We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society."
Many people pursue their passions and interests as careers. And for those who do, their jobs feel less like work and more like something they are getting paid to enjoy. As more people begin to dissect the nature of work and the possibilities of enjoying their craft, you may be wondering if this is something that you can do as well. How do you determine if your passion could evolve into a full-fledged career? In this article, we will explore the key factors that help you distinguish between a hobby and a potential career path.
Level of Commitment
Think about when you get to sit down and crochet that sweater you’ve been meaning to finish or break out your paints and work on your painting skills. Is this typically only for a couple hours after work or on the weekends? Hobbies are something that you only manage to do in your free time. Whereas things that would be more in the realm of careers are done consistently. Careers typically demand a higher level of commitment, often involving regular work hours, deadlines, and long-term dedication.
You should ask yourself if you are willing to invest more time and effort into this activity consistently and if it feels like something that you would be willing to keep up long-term.
Check Your Finances
Before you quit your job to become the next big thing, take some time to consider the financial implications of going on this journey. Hobbies are usually self-funded and don't generate income. In contrast, a career typically involves generating income and may require financial investments for training, equipment, or business expenses.
Therefore, you need to consider the initial costs of setting up your hobby as a career and its profitability. Is your market already saturated or is this something that you create a unique spin on to attract more customers early on? Does the demand for your service or product wax and wane depending on the time of year, what will you do during those slow periods?
You should also consider the nature of your hobby. Hobbies are usually a great way to unwind and relax, but when you add the pressure of making rent and paying your utilities, the nature of your hobby will change. When you have a hobby, all that matters are your personal feelings about the work you put out. When you need to attract paying customers, however, it becomes more about what others would want and pleasing your target audience.
Keeping in the realm of our previous point, hobbies often allow you to explore the craft at your own pace without the pressure of being the best there is. But there will always be a need to improve yourself professionally if you are going to make this work as a career. Career development in any field is essential.
Think about if you are willing to invest the time and money it takes to gain more knowledge in this area. How invested are you and how much do you see yourself growing and advancing as time goes on?
Networking and Connections
Make sure that you have connections with other people who are industry. In a career, you'll often need to connect with others in your industry, collaborate with partners, and build a professional network to advance. You never know who may know someone who can promote your business to the right people or give you lucrative opportunities. Hobbies will not typically provide you with networking opportunities.
How open are you to finding ways to promote yourself and connect with people doing similar things?. What’s the market like where you live? Will you have to travel?
Distinguishing between a hobby and a career involves a thorough evaluation of your commitment, financial considerations, skill development, market demand, and networking opportunities. While this may be a solid guideline for some, everyone's situation is different. This is not a checklist. There are plenty of other factors that may go into making this decision and those may play a far larger role when it comes to making a hobby a viable career option.