We’ve all heard these stories – home bakers who turn their creative output into businesses or a guitar lover who teaches music. They have fun and derive satisfaction from doing what they love and being paid for it. But for many people, taking that first step requires courage and is filled with uncertainty – Where do I start? How do I go about it? What do I need to do?
Here’s a quick guide to find a way to turn your hobby into a business.
This is true for any job, but when you are gunning for a job that you’re passionate about, you’ve got to be hypervigilant.
Find ways to get into the industry. Look at job postings online and offline. Approach headhunters in your chosen field. Otherwise, get creative about making inroads towards your dream career.
Take Poon* for example. He had his heart set on becoming an interior designer but only realised this after graduating in marketing. He didn’t fancy going back to school for another four years, so he started looking for jobs at interior design and architecture firms.
But without qualifications, he couldn’t land a job in the industry. Undeterred, he found a job as a writer in a home decor magazine.
As a writer, he not only covered the industry but also got to meet many players. He networked. He attended architecture and interior design conferences. He made friends and soon landed a position with a prominent firm. He is now studying interior design part-time while working on projects at work.
Be good at what you do – really good
Everyone can have a hobby, but only the exceptional ones stand out.
If you like to bake, become the most creative baker out there. If you like to write, hone your craft.
If you like music, become the best instrumentalist. If you like to sing, become the best singer. In this age of social media, YouTube and instant stars, we have seen many people who are good at what they do, but they need to be exceptional to become “an internet star”.
You need to work to rise to the very top. Once you do, you will then have the power to create a path that no one else has walked before.
Michelle Phan started out with makeup tutorials at www.michellephan.com in 2005 but today, her YouTube channel has more than eight million subscribers, 1.1 billion lifetime views, and 385 uploaded videos.
She turned a love for cosmetics into a career by sheer hard work and creativity.
Give away your time – free!
Interning and volunteering are great ways of getting a foot in the door and learning about a job.
Newspapers and magazines take in interns all the time. As do most professional firms. Many internships are not advertised though, so you need to keep a lookout and network to find out about them.
List the companies you would like to work for and send out query letters to their human resources manager. Follow up with a phone call.
Internships are usually unpaid or paid minimally. You’ll get some meal and travelling allowances. But what it offers is a chance for bosses to get to know you.
If they like your work, you might be asked to stay on as permanent staff. That way, you would have jumped the queue on the hundreds of job applications still gathering dust on the HR manager’s desk.
The same goes for volunteering. Mei-li* was interested in getting into retail, particularly mall management.
She applied to a few prestigious malls but was told there were no vacancies. She didn’t want to settle for lesser malls as she wanted to learn from the best.
Her chance came when she went for a weekend bazaar at one of the targeted malls and saw that they were looking for volunteers to run the next bazaar.
She signed up. She volunteered at three bazaars before she finally got her chance, when the retail operations manager was so impressed with her work attitude that she was offered a post in her team.