January is National Hobby Month, a celebration of the pastimes that engage us creatively and feed our souls. Whether you’re thinking about your next career step or just looking for new ways to enrich your life, now is a great time to reconnect with an old hobby or try something brand new.
As many older workers are finding, capitalizing on their hobbies can be an opportunity to become an entrepreneur, or augment their retirement income. According to Motley Fool, almost 44 million U.S. adults have taken a secondary gig to help supplement their income.
To find a hobby that serves as a creative outlet, narrow down your choices by pursuing an activity you’ve always been curious about, or that taps into a passion. If you’re new to the hobby and need to build your skills, look into free or low cost courses at your local rec center or community college. Of course, there’s also a YouTube channel for every topic under the sun. You can learn something about anything from photography to how to become a fitness trainer. Other in-demand skills are cooking and pet care, and sites like ChefXChange and Rover match providers and consumers.
If you’re thinking about taking your hobby to the next level, either as a new career or as a side gig, Inc. writer Jessica Stillman suggests asking yourself the following questions:
- Will I enjoy doing my hobby on a deadline? Creating a product to meet consumer demand may mean artistic compromise.
- Will I enjoy doing this with a financial gun to my head? There’s a difference between doing something for fun and doing it to pay the rent.
- Is this hobby my outlet for relaxation? Because it may not be relaxing anymore when you’re doing it as a job.
- Am I up for a challenge? Entrepreneurship has its share of difficulties as well as rewards.
- Am I willing to sell myself? In order to be successful, you’ll need to hone your networking, marketing and sales skills.
Once you’re ready to take the leap, Entrepreneur magazine contributor Larry Alton recommends establishing an online presence by building a website and creating social media profiles for your business. If you’re selling a product, sites like Shopify let you integrate an online store into your website, while platforms like Etsy provide not only a way to display your wares, but also provide a community of buyers and a secure payment system.
Whether you’re pursuing a hobby for fun or as a way to make some extra cash, the material payoffs can be amazing. And when it comes to finding meaning and purpose in your next chapter, the creative rewards are beyond measure.
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