Hobbies are those things that we do to distract us from our work lives – for many, it’s just a pipe dream that they would ever become anything more. But the bravest among us are those that take the leap and decide that what they do in their spare time is worth using their full time to do.
And whilst passion and determination are a big part of making any endeavour successful, there are some ways to ensure that you’re definitely on the path to success. Lara Scolari, leading Australian contemporary visual painter and full-time artist, shares her advice for turning your hobby into a successful career.
Make sure what you have is different from what everyone else does
Being passionate about your brand or product will do a lot, but you need to have some point of difference. If you’re a visual artist, that’s easy to do – no one is producing what you’re producing. But if it’s a product or service you’ve come up with, you need to work out what makes you special. That’s OK if what’s different is you yourself – just make sure that comes through in your brand.
Be prepared to be in it for the long haul
It’ll probably take years for your hobby-business hybrid to really get off the ground. It might even mean that you’ll have to go part-time at your old job in order to maintain a steady income. You’ll probably be working all hours under the sun – but it’ll be worth it in the end.
Take criticism on board
You’ll probably get a lot of it, and while some of it you might disregard, remember that criticism given by family, friends and trusted advisors is advice given from a good place. They want the best from you – so heed what they say.
Much of my work comes from commissions, and I like to invite whoever’s commissioned me to come into my studio halfway through my painting process to have a look at what I’ve done and see where the piece is headed. At this point, I love to get feedback from them about what they do and don’t like about it, and then change direction accordingly. It’s a great way to ensure I’m staying on-brief and that the client will be happy at the end of the process, but it also means I need to make sure that I stay thick-skinned to criticism!
Stay true to yourself
Bear the criticism in mind, but if you feel like you’re straying away from your vision, be wary. The only way you can stay passionate about your venture and make sure that it remains as fun as it was when it was just a hobby is by making sure you’re at its heart.