Turn your interest into income
Glenford Smith, Career Writer
Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow, says the title of a best-selling book by Marsha Sinetar.
But surely, this is nothing but a pipe dream, isn't it? Is it really possible to make money doing what you truly love, like a hobby?
Isn't work a necessary evil we endure so as to earn the money to enjoy our hobbies, interests and passions?
For many people, the answer to the last question is a resounding yes. For an increasing minority, however, making an income from their interests and hobbies is an exciting reality.
From aligning their hobbies with their choices of traditional jobs to creating their own hobby-centric niches, many people are discovering the joy of turning their interests into income.
For instance, Kevert Johnson, a visual artist and Edna Manley College graduate, told me, "As a teacher, I'm happy to be able to share my love of art with my students and get paid to do it.
"But I also make money by doing paintings in my free time as well, and selling them. The extra income is especially welcome in these times."
So you may be wondering how exactly you can make some money from your hobby, right? Well, here are the four factors that will enable you to earn real money with your hobby.
1. Adopt an entrepreneurial mindset
To make an income from your hobby, you have to stop thinking of it only as a hobby. You have to start thinking of it from a business perspective. This is crucial.
The hobby mindset is one focused on your enjoyment and fun; doing what you love. To make money at anything, however, you have to focus primarily on your customers, solving their problems, fulfilling their needs, making them happy.
This often requires discipline and can sometimes be dull and frustrating. But that is business.
2. Market research
Find a ready market that is actively searching for a specific product or service you can offer based on your hobby. Conduct surveys and/or online research before developing a product or service.
Just because you love your hobby doesn't mean people will pay you money for it; what you offer has to be of value to them first. Don't make the common mistake of creating something you think is fantastic, then trying to sell it. Find the market first.
3. Market yourself
To make money from your hobby, marketing is essential. No matter how good your product or service, you have to promote yourself and persuade people to buy from you.
Do classified ads; start a blog to build a following; ask your customers for referrals; give out business cards.
Offer to demonstrate your product or service for a test group and get testimonials from them. For example, give friends and co-workers a sample of your special, original cheesecake, and put their compliments up on your blog.
4. Create business systems and routines
Establish and stick to routines of when you work, market and plan. Always seek to improve your customer service, as well as win new customers every day.
Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. Check out his Smart Career Success Strategies newsletter at www.CareerBizAcademy.com. He is the author of a new book, 'From Problems to Power: How to Win Over Worry and Turn Your Obstacles into Opportunities'. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Jamaica Employers' Federation workshop 'The Changing Role of Today's Secretary', at the JEF Training Centre, 2A Ruthven Road, Kingston, 8:30 a.m.
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