Hobbies are usually considered to be things we do for fun or leisure only. The definition of a hobby itself points this fact out very well. It can be defined as “an activity or interest pursued outside one’s regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure.”
But is it possible to actually turn a hobby into a regular occupation? That was the question I asked a group of students recently at a career fair when I was giving a speech entitled “Three steps to choosing your perfect career.”
The answer to that question is a MAYBE. One of the problems with turning a hobby into a career is that careers are often perceived to be necessary evils, the things we have to do even though we would rather not do them given a choice.
So perhaps asking whether a hobby can become a career will make the hobby itself become boring and just one of those things you have to do, but would much rather not do.
So, if I may rephrase the question a little to “is it possible to make money through your hobby?” That does not seem as daunting as making a hobby a career and perhaps it’s a little more exciting to think of it that way. After all, for most people the whole point of having a career is to make money.
The answer to that question is a resounding YES. Deep down we all want to have some fun and we hate the drudgery of working 40 hour weeks with people we sometimes don’t like and for money that hardly gets us through the month.
In advising those young people at the career fair that day I urged them that if they were considering making a living through their hobbies then they should take their hobbies very seriously. They should consider them as important as their academic activities.
That means practice, practice and more practice. It also means studying your hobby in detail and knowing as much you can about it. This usually is not very hard if it is a hobby you are good at and enjoy a lot.
There are plenty of examples of people that have taken activities we all just consider to be hobbies and made lots of money from them. The world of sports is a good example. From football to swimming and everything else in between, the huge amounts of money paid by the sports industry to its leading men and women is staggering.
But these men and women are very exceptional and it does take a lot to excel to an extent where you get paid millions for doing something others just do for fun.
What happens if you really like your hobby but are simply average at it and cannot possibly compete with the big guns?
That is where the internet comes in handy.
The internet is a medium that really levels the playing field. It does not matter what your hobby is, when it comes to the internet there are dozens of ways to make money off it.
I know of many people that have made money on the internet writing about and helping people with issues or stories around their hobbies. For example there is one person who is a tennis lover and he built a website about tennis.
Another person is a travel enthusiast and they built a website about travelling. The list is endless – the dog lover who writes about dogs, the poetry addict who shares about his experiences with poetry, and so on.
No matter what your hobby, you can become an expert at it simply by writing about it on the net. There are plenty of ways to do this too. Anything from blogs to social networks and forums can be used.
But the best way to have real credibility and control is to have your own website.
As for how to actually earn money off the website, well, let’s just say there are plenty of ways. Affiliate marketing, selling your own products and Google AdSense are just a few examples. I have managed to turn some of my hobbies into rewarding activities this way.
There’s no better way to go than to do the things you really love to do and get paid for it.