Turn Your Hobby into a Career

Man pouring paint into pan

f you’re stuck somewhere between “just a job” and finding a meaningful career you actually enjoy, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Tons of people have no idea what they want to do with their lives. Figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life is tough, but have you considered mining your passions for a job you love?

Hobbies allow us to explore dimensions of our individuality and personalities. They showcase our passions and take hours and sacrifice we may not have invested elsewhere. For many folks, the photographer who’s in demand started out as a hobbyist. The same thing goes for the kid who was great at art in high school and now has a months-long waiting list at his tattoo shop.

Just because you’re way into playing cards doesn’t mean you can’t parlay that into a full-time gig. There are a lot of side businesses that exist, not for just professional poker players, but the folks who support those games, too. People have to build those sets for the big television shows, don’t they? Someone has to build the lighting rigs, plan the food, even get the dramatic music pumping in. There are a lot of jobs out there waiting for the next generation of workers to impact the industry.

When you’re considering making your hobby a full-time gig, it’s important to weigh all your options. Here are a few hobbies that hold a lot of promise as a career.

Carpentry

Remember the thing I said about poker? Someone has to build those tables, and many companies have made a lot of money to create those custom tables. That’s where a skilled carpenter comes in.

Carpentry is a skill that’s in high demand. At the higher end, a professional carpenter can make $35 or more an hour. If you’re the kind of person who loves crafting things, seeing an evolution with your hands, carpentry might be the job for you. Millennials are especially fond of handcrafted things, so why not leverage the market toward pop culture tastes?

If you can build or repair furniture, you can make a killing. If you have the woodworking skills, you can restore antique furniture. Have you seen HGTV? People are willing to spend a lot of money on a chair that “really ties the room together”.

If you live in an area that has a thriving entertainment scene, there are all kinds of trade jobs (set building, set design, etc.) that are needed to keep Hollywood making magic. Same for plays, and concerts, too. People have to build those stages.

As more people are spending time in front of computer screens, there are a lot of old school woodworking shops who’d love to bring in some new talent to learn the tricks of the trade. This could be you.

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Fixing Cars

Getting your car fixed is expensive. No matter what make or model, we all cringe at the thought of car repair. If you’re a sharp mind that can take something apart and rebuild it like a conductor moves through a symphony, an auto mechanic might be a fulfilling job.

Everyone’s got that friend who can work on a car in their garage because it “just makes sense” to them. Most of us aren’t equipped with that kind of brain. If you’ve got new people coming to you every week with a car problem, that might be telling you that you’re in the wrong business.

Once you establish a good relationship with people for being honest, the sky’s the limit. Everyone loves an honest mechanic. From small jobs like brakes, oil changes, or spark plugs, there’s a level of expertise for everyone when it comes to fixing cars. But, if you’re passionate about old school cars and love car culture, who says you can’t make your bones fixing classics? There’s a whole world of people who live for classic cars, 65’ Impala’s, 54 Bel Airs, and only certain shops fix those cars.

Cooking

Love to cook? Why not jump on a line? If you love preparing dinner for entertaining large groups, you might belong in a kitchen. Whether you’re a traditionalist or a foodie progressive, there are a lot of culinary spots in between that are always looking for capable cooks to get on the line and help feed the world.

Towns all over America are seeing an explosion of food truck parks, and because of this, many chefs and line cooks alike are living their dreams of serving their food, on their terms. Even if you’re not the owner, you could help facilitate someone’s dream while simultaneously living your passion for creating fun foods.

Painting

There are many ways to make a career while getting some paint on your clothes. There’s painting portraits and then there’s painting houses. Say what you will about painting houses in the summer, but it can be an excellent way to make a living. In the highest paying states, a house painter can earn between $43K to $57K per year.

Painting is tricky because it requires a steady hand and an eye that can see when lines aren’t flush. Custom house painting with the ability to craft designs while using unique techniques is a specialized skill that transcends a simple, “paint my room green”. A skilled painter can age walls, create depth, or add logos. For those with the artistic spirit, house painting could be a great way to exercise that specialized skill.

If there’s a way you changed your life by turning your hobbies into a career, we’d love to know about it. Comment, share or like. Shout us out on Twitter, or whatever your favorite social media channel is.

And as always, for everything else, there’s the ScaleFactor blog.

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