I am here again with a few tips and this is the most requested blog post. I will just share my story briefly and pin point some tips hopefully someone get encouraged to turn that hobby, whatever it may be into a career.
While I was doing my architecture degree, I started illustrating and was doing it for the fun of it. Eventually I got a job from a big client who wanted a proposal design for a bank. Actually a couple of banks. This was a big deal for me, I had my first contract done, got my first lawyer, got my first 6 figure, got my first misunderstanding with a client as well. I will share the entire story in another post. #teatime
Anyway, back to the main question you asked, “How can I turn my hobby, talent into a career?” Asides from being creative I knew I had to educate myself on some business ethics which were as simple as sending formal emails, creating invoices, setting up meetings, negotiating prices and the lot. This really helped me kick off my entrepreneurial skills. What I will highlight below are important tips you should work with.
One! Have a platform: Mine was instagram, back then, instagram had those ridiculous borderlines with very limited filters which I absolutely loved and over used. I made illustrations and tagged everyone that I felt needed to see it. Most of the illustrations I did at my free time were of designer clothing and my interpretations of some photographers work. All I did was put out my work. This did not only let me reach clients but also I grew a following and made great friends. Interestingly, I did not know of any other person who was doing something similar so it was a lone journey for a while. Constantly churn out work and engage with your audience.
Two! Learn as you go: I used a lot of youtube, read some books as well. Another learning style was to have a career idol, who I kind of looked up to for branding and motivation. Paperfashion and Hayden Williams were my faves back then. I might have mentioned this in some other post but skillshare and Pinterest are great platforms to learn and be inspired. I also read stories about people who have turned their hobbies to a business making venture. These things keep you motivated. As you learn, you begin to innovate, innovation brings authenticity.
Three! Invest in you: Get all the materials you need to start making that money, attend necessary events or workshops even if you have to pay for them. Buy that camera, get that fabric, buy that website domain, get that laptop. But with all the investment, have a plan. Take that big dream and break it down into workable to-dos. I advice you start small and grow organically. Invest your time, put your back into it.
Four! Plan the shit out of that hobby: The last thing you want to do is run a race without direction. Find your niche and customers. Have a plan for the year, financial plan, monthly plan, expansion plan, whatever plan, just plan. Freelancing and starting a small business is not as easy as it seems, especially if you need the money to pay rent. Especially if you want to quit your 9-5. You should have a business plan and the rest, so tax payment should not be strange to you. You may have to educate yourself on it. Make sure your finances are in order. Ha! Your initial plan does not need an expansion plan, I will say stick to a small scale at first and grow.
Five! Collaborate: This is a must! I like to look at it from a perspective of one just growing in a different direction than you would have initially planned. It also brings in a new set of audience and grows your network. Collaborating may also mean that you can do a free job for a brand with the hopes of exposure and experience. I mean, this is personal, if it works for you then why not.
Six! Talk about it: This is basically networking. Make sure you have your name in your mouth. At church, in prison, at work, getting lunch, where else do people go again? yeah! always find a way to talk about that hobby and what you can offer. You may need to create your own pop-up event or exhibition. Be your own PR. This will alongside everything else, help you find your costumers and make connections. Share your dreams with the right people.
Seven! Do small branding: You will know when you need to brand. You may not have to do this from the onset, but when you eventually do, do it well. Get a logo or use a graphic design app like canva to help with your branding.
Eight! Make sure you are original: Who doesn’t want to be authentic. This also means, making sure you are super passionate about this hobby, well enough to turn it into a career. If you want to succeed at anything, you need to be resilient and take in criticism with wisdom. Have a style in which you do stuff, it could be in your packaging or in your creative process. Being original even give you courage to teach people what you do. Look for ways to help others too. I do so with CIWorkshop
Nine! Stop and ask yourself, “Do I want to do this for the next 10years?” Even if you don’t it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it. But imagine how great this small hobby would be if you could just nurture it. If you do want to do this for a lifetime, then start treating it like a job. You can always diversify your hobby just like Cassiedaves, Grace of T2pitchy and some other fashion bloggers who sell products.
Ten! Register this hobby as a business: Make sure you have a professional outlook in the end. From bank name to invoice ids, make sure you are at the top your game. Registering it sometimes may help you take it seriously.
Omg! I will try not to make subsequent posts as lengthy. Please tell me if it was too long. Did it make sense to you? Share some tips too in the comment section. I love reading and replying comments here.