Written by: Cally Worden
Think of your very favourite past time, the activity you turn to for fun when work is finished and all your chores are done. Now imagine that this activity is your job – wouldn’t that be fab?! Who hasn’t fantasised about getting up each morning and dreamily going about the day doing the things you love most. Well, in many cases this fantasy can become reality if you approach it with the right attitude. Here’s how to turn your hobby into a career.
Take a Reality Check
Not wanting to dampen your enthusiasm before you even start, but this point is key of you are going to succeed. Unless you have a backlog of cash in your bank account you will need to make your new dream-job pay, and fast. And that’s going to take a lot of hard work and effort. If you are to succeed in your new role you will need to do a few things in advance – planning, research, and a whole lot of other preparation besides.
So when you decide to go for your dream-job, be it on a self-employed basis or working for an established organisation, remember these points and you’ll be fine:
- You can’t shift careers overnight – this will take time, but the sooner you get started the sooner you will reach your goal
- You may need to retrain to get the right skill set
- Even your dream job will involve elements that you may enjoy less, like admin and preparation
Now you’re mentally prepared, it’s time to get working!
Make a Plan
Embarking on a wholesale career change involves many little steps that are all vital in leading you to your goal. Trying to hold all everything you need to do in your head is impossible, so it’s time to get it down on paper – or on the PC.
This step is especially crucial if you are starting a new business. You need a business plan and a savings plan laid out so you can assess your financial position. Most budding entrepreneurs don’t make money immediately, so it’s important to have some savings to see you through the first year or two until you start turning a profit.
For those looking to shift careers and work for someone else, a plan is equally valuable as it helps to map out a path to success that may involve training, employer research, CV preparation, interview coaching, and talking to those already doing the job to make sure it really is for you. Internships offer valuable experience and exposure to the realities of a job too.
The path to success is so often about who you know, as much as what you know. Getting to know people inside a company you want to work for can provide a valuable insight into life there, and also help you to secure an interview. There are always business networking events going on, so get yourself some business cards and put yourself out there.
For those following the self-employed route, networking is a great way to start building up a client base. Market research is also essential in defining whether you have a viable business proposition, and you can meet some valuable contacts in the process. A support network is also helpful, and there are local entrepreneur groups all over the country that you can tap into for help, advice, or support.
Spruce up your CV
Your CV needs to be adapted to show how your current skill base applies to your new role. When I quit my role as a Commercial Business Consultant to become a Freelance Writer I played down my corporate skills, and focussed on the creative aspects of my former job. I was writing reports daily, and often interviewing clients about their businesses – both great skills for a writer, so these were at the top of my CV. Take a broad view of your skill base, and pick out those elements that are relevant to your future role.
You may not be able to jump directly into the job you really want, but taking a similar role, or a position that is more junior, can put you in the perfect position to slide into your dream-job a little later. Avoid becoming too focussed on one specific job, and you may find yourself drawn to other possibilities you had never considered before. You may even enjoy these more!
Self-employed dream-job seekers can always supplement their income with part-time work whilst building their business. This also diversifies your income stream, and helps to protect you from the unpredictability of the economic climate.
If you feel you are ready to take the plunge, then go for it. In hard economic times it is easy to be safe. Admittedly this may be sensible too, but there is nothing to stop you planning from the comfort of your current job, and only when you are as certain as you can be of your future success make that leap into the unknown. Trust me, it’s invigorating!