For most people, doing what they love and getting paid for it is probably their greatest dream, but many never achieve this and go through their entire life being unsatisfied with what they do for a living. A 2019 study conducted by Gallup found that 85% of the people surveyed were unhappy with their job. You might be one of those people and if there is something that you love to do then you might want to get paid for doing it.
But you need to be realistic in how you approach this and whether it is possible and you should consider any financial requirements or constraints that will be placed upon you such as loss of income and startup capital. For many hobbies that can be turned into a profession startup isn’t required. Some require large capital such as building hand-made gaming PCs, for example, as the parts required can be very expensive.
Identify What You Love to Do
One of the first things you need to do is to identify what it is that you love to do that you want to do for the rest of your life. For some, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Many people are interested in many things and while interests are a good thing, you need something that you are passionate about, or you could end up becoming bored.
Think about artists as a great example. Artists are extremely passionate about what they do. Whether it’s portraits, sculpture, or carving, an artist will happily spend 12 hours per day doing what they love. If there is something you could do for that long for the rest of your life, then you will identify your niche.
A niche is essentially a very specific topic or subject that you choose to do that you are extremely good at. To develop a niche, it’s best not to focus on too broad a term and drill down into a subcomponent of a general topic. Using photography as an example, you can’t just say you are a photographer. It doesn’t work like that. You could be a nature photographer who specializes in insects, intimate boudoir photography or an over 50s wedding photographer.
Another aspect of identifying what you love to do is whether or not you have the skills to do it professionally. It’s possible that you love comic book art and could stare at it all day, but can you draw it? To succeed as a niche-based professional, you need the skills to do it. Using photography as an example again, let’s say you are proficient with your camera and you know how to use it well, but you struggle with lighting. Given how important lighting is to photography, you cannot hope to be paid substantial income for photographs with poor lighting so skill development is necessary.
The reason why identifying a niche is important is that there is likely a lot of competition for your chosen profession. This is why you should think in specific terms rather than in a broader sense of a subject. The more specific you are, the less competition you are likely to face. As a photographer, you can point your camera at anything and shoot it, just like everyone else. But as a photographer specializing in extreme close-ups of natural materials found in situ, you have a specific niche that is useful to scientific and nature publications which are likely to have a low competition market.
Establish a Presence
As with anything, for your chosen passionate hobby or niche to become successful, people need to know who you are. This can be done in a variety of ways but it essentially comes down to establishing a reputable presence within your niche community. Without such things as word of mouth, advertising, and social media it can become very difficult to sustain a steady income. Additionally, craft-based niches such as photography can benefit from a real-world presence as much as digital.
If you craft items of value such as paintings, photographs or wooden toys for babies, these are physical items that can be displayed and sold in a storefront to customers who come and go. This is an excellent method of establishing a presence since it not only allows people to see exactly what they are getting but gives you the opportunity to physically and verbally interact with loyal and potential customers. This provides customers with a positive experience which results in word-of-mouth advertising and potential repeat business.
Becoming known online is no longer an option but a necessity when it comes to any business. A digital presence can take many forms but for most purposes, a blog, social media, or a business website will suffice. A blog is an excellent method of conveying your expert knowledge which can drive sales while actively engaging on social media allows you to engage with customers like never before and a site can act as a digital storefront or a gallery. People aren’t shy about what they say on sites like Facebook and you can talk to customers, ask about concerns and take suggestions.
Become a Brand
All your hard work needs to count for something and a crucial aspect of morphing your hobby and passion into a genuine profession is to become a brand. In conjunction with a well-established physical and/or digital presence, the power of branding becomes obvious. By branding yourself and your work, you are giving people the information that they need to make an informed decision about the quality of the service that they are paying for. As your reputation grows, people will come to associate your brand name with quality service.
Branding isn’t easy though. You need to become well known first, as per your establishment of presence, and your passion needs to shine through. This is why choosing a relevant and passionate niche is vital. In addition, people need to know that they can count on you to consistently deliver a quality product or service every time – think Rick Dale from the TV show American Restoration. Rick and his team deliver above and beyond what their customers expect, time after time, which means business is always coming through the door.