Whether you’re searching for a new career, or just trying to a supplement your income, turning your favorite hobby into a paying gig is one way to reach your goal.
If this is something you want to do on a full-time basis, it’s best to test the waters before taking a leap. Understandably, your boss is highly unlikely to hold your position open while you run off to chase your dream.
However, if you’re the adventurous type and want to throw caution to the wind, make sure that you have a substantial amount of money in savings, or make sure that your parents will let you live in their basement rent free in the event that your venture doesn’t turn out as planned.
Also, you need to understand that everything changes once you move from hobbyist to professional. For starters, if you expect to be paid for your services, you need to be good – really, really good. Not a novice, not so-so, not average, not mediocre. You need to be good. Friends and family members have a much higher tolerance level when you’re tinkering around at no cost to them. However, clients and customers don’t pay you to tinker, fiddle around, and experiment when they’re paying you to perform a service.
In addition, you need to make sure that there is a demand for your services. Just because you love catching butterflies doesn’t mean that customers will be lining up to pay you to perform this service for them.
Initially, there may also be substantial costs associated with turning your hobby into a paying job. For example, you may have consumer-quality equipment – which is fine for occasional use. But, as a professional, you should have higher quality, more durable equipment that won’t break down from continuous use. Also, some jobs are performed at a client’s home, but for those that aren’t, where will you meet clients or perform your work?
Finally, you need to consider that a hobby can be performed whenever you feel like it. However, a business has a much more rigid and repetitious schedule. You may love doing something once a week, but will you still be as passionate about doing it 10 to 20 times a week?
If you’re not deterred by these questions, keep reading to discover 5 hobbies that you can turn into paying jobs.
If you take your camera everywhere you go and have a good eye for composing and capturing subjects, you may be able to turn this hobby into a paying gig. Freelance photographers are in demand to photograph weddings and various types of religious ceremonies, but freelance photographers are also needed for other types of photography.
For example, commercial and industrial photographers take pictures of buildings, landscapes, people, and products, for use in newspapers, magazines, and on websites. News photographers capture images of people, events, and places, while aerial photographers take photos from airplanes and helicopters.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), 60 percent of photographers are self-employed, and 33 percent work part time. A college degree is usually not required for photographers, although some take college courses to learn the basics of photography equipment and photographic techniques. Photographers earn an average mean hourly wage of $17.47, according to the DOL.
A leisure pursuit of gardening offers paying opportunities doing landscaping and groundskeeping work. Landscape workers are employed by both residential and commercial clients to plant flowers, trees, and shrubs. They may service homes, shopping malls, office buildings, apartment buildings, and hotels. Some also install lawns or build patios and walkways.
Groundskeepers care for existing landscape, which includes fertilizing, watering, and mowing the lawn, raking leaves, and trimming hedges. Groundskeepers are usually hired to work on athletic fields, parks, and university campuses. Greenskeepers work on golf courses and while their work is similar to groundskeepers, they may also relocate putting green holes and repair tee markers. Most landscape and groundskeeping workers do not need a formal education. The DOL reports the average mean hourly wage of landscape workers, groundskeepers, and greenskeepers as $14.72.
Volunteering to teach or tutor others can lead to employment as a self-enrichment teacher. These instructors may be self-employed, or they may work part-time at community centers, elementary and high schools or technical colleges.
Classes range from martial arts, cooking, and swimming, to foreign languages, dancing, and horseback riding. They teach noncredit courses that students take for personal enrichment. Most self enrichment teachers do not need a formal education, although they must be able to develop program objectives and lesson plans, and they should be able to combine teaching and demonstrations. Self enrichment teachers earn an average mean hourly wage of $19.40, according to the DOL.
If you’re always fixing whatever is broken around the house, consider becoming a general maintenance and repair worker. While some of these workers are self-employed, most work in such places as real estate rental and leasing companies, hotels and hospitals, apartment buildings or colleges.
They may repair mechanical equipment, machines, and electrical switches, and they may also paint and perform plumbing work. General maintenance and repair workers don’t need formal education, but they need a good understanding of basic repair work. The DOL reports the average mean hourly wage of general maintenance and repair workers as $17.88.
There’s not much of a demand for your poems and novels, but other types of writing can command pretty good money if you have other writing skills. The Internet is driven by content, and almost every industry needs some type of written material.
For example, heating and air conditioning companies need knowledgeable people to write do-it-yourself (DIY) website articles on this subject. Auto repair shops need writers to create DIY online troubleshooting tips. Appliance repair websites need DIY articles on washers, dryers, refrigerators, etc.
While most companies would prefer to hire expert writers, many people who are experts in their field are not necessarily good writers. Also, many experts who possess good writing skills don’t have the time or patience to write website articles. And this opens the door for writers who may not be experts in a particular field, but are able to effectively communicate with the reader.
Most professional writers need a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, or communications. However, writers without a formal education can also find plenty of work as long as they have good writing skills. According to the DOL, writers earn an average mean hourly wage of $32.90.