Six Ways To Turn Your Hobby Into A Career

Your Hobby As Your Next Career

Think it's impossible to make money doing what you love? Here are six awesome career ideas that could take you from passion to profession.

By Andrea Duchon
Confucius had it right: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. It's true that work is much more enjoyable when you truly love what you do. But figuring out what you want to do day in and day out is easier said than done.
You may want to look to your hobbies for clues, says Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder at FlexJobs, a company that helps people find telecommuting, freelance, or part-time jobs:
"If you're struggling to find a career path that feels right, look for inspiration in your so-called hobbies or what you enjoy doing in your free time. You might be surprised to find that your passion in those areas could give you skills and mindset that transfer well into a related career."
Ready to find out if one of your favorite pastimes could become your next career? Keep reading to learn about six common hobbies that might transfer into a fulfilling job. 

#1: From Volunteering To Nursing

If you love sharing your free time to help those who are less fortunate, you may be perfectly suited for a career as a nurse - where you could help people in need in a different way. Why? According to Sutton Fell, "Helping people on their path to physical wellness is a cornerstone of a career as a nurse."
Making It a Career: Sutton Fell says in order to transition into this career, you will need to have excellent communication and management skills to care for patients. But above all, she says empathy and patience are critical traits to possess if you hope to be successful as a nurse.
Why will all these skills be needed? According to Amanda Augustine, career expert and author of the weekly career advice column Ask Amanda, as a nurse, you will be expected to "monitor patients, take and record their vital signs, maintain and update patient reports and records, prepare patients for different procedures, and assist with patient exams and treatments."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Nursing Program.
Education Options: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, registered nurses usually pursue one of three educational paths: a diploma from an approved nursing program, an associate's degree in nursing, or a bachelor's of science degree in nursing. In all states, registered nurses must also be licensed.

#2: From Art To Graphic Design

Did your parents nickname you Picasso as a child? Maybe you should consider taking your raw talent and love of design to the bank by pursuing a career as a graphic designer. Augustine says this transition will involve channeling your natural creativity and artistic abilities into a more corporate setting.
Making It a Career: But if you want to professionalize your creative hobby, Augustine has these words of advice: "It won't simply be enough to just have some natural artistic ability. Whether you work at an agency or in-house for a corporation, you will be expected to listen to your client's requests, translate their needs into project requirements, and then sell your clients on your vision."
In other words, you'll need customer service, sales, and marketing skills in addition to your design abilities, she says. The good news is, the work won't be dull: "You will work in a variety of mediums, designing creative assets ranging from logos to websites, and working with design software such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop," says Augustine.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Graphic Design Program.
Education Options: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a bachelor's degree in graphic design or a related field is usually required for graphic design positions. "However, those with a bachelor's degree in another field may pursue technical training in graphic design to meet most hiring qualifications," adds the Department of Labor.

#3: From Playing the Stock Market To Financial Advising

Can't stop checking the stock market ticker and yelling "SELL, SELL, SELL" into your phone? Sutton Fell says that dabbling in the stock market is one factor - albeit an important one - in being a personal financial advisor.
Making It a Career: When you look into transitioning this hobby, you should take into account whether you're willing to do comprehensive research on companies and keep up to date on new technologies, says Sutton Fell. Why? "You'll need to understand what stocks are good for short and long-term investment, as well as the individual needs of each client."
And having the ability to "think quickly and be a whiz in math" will also serve you well in your day-to-day as a personal financial advisor, says Sutton Fell. Some of your duties could include designing a "customized financial plan for individuals or families," and focusing on "money management strategies as well as possible investment opportunities."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Finance Program.
Education Options: The U.S. Department of Labor reports that typically, personal financial advisors need a bachelor's degree. Studying fields like finance, accounting, business, economics, math, or law could be good preparation, although employers usually don't require a specific major. Certifications such as CFP (Certified Financial Planner), can help enhance client prospects, says the Department of Labor.

#4: From Watching "Law and Order" to Working as a Paralegal

Okay, so maybe watching TV isn't one of your more productive hobbies. But if you're finding that you can't quite pull yourself away from "SVU" and "Criminal Intent," you might consider pursuing a career in an actual law office as a paralegal.
Making It a Career: And while binge-watching "Law and Order" for a month probably won't prepare you for this role, Augustine says enduring the costs associated with law school isn't necessary either.
But a career as a paralegal will offer an inside look into the legal system, she says.  Augustine says as a paralegal, you'll play a key supporting role in a law firm by assisting the firm's lawyers in preparing reports, drafting legal documents, coordinating court appearances and client meetings, and doing research.
In order to do all of this, you'll need to be detail-oriented with strong written and communication skills, she says.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Paralegal Program.
Education Options: Most paralegals have an associate's degree in paralegal studies, or a certificate in paralegal studies and a bachelor's degree in another field of study, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. However, the Department of Labor also says this: "In some cases, employers may hire college graduates with a bachelor's degree but no legal experience or education and train them on the job."

#5: From Tutoring To Teaching

Were you the one helping your friends through algebra or working with the neighbors' son to get him through summer school? According to Sutton Fell, a love of learning - as well as instructing others - can really help transition a tutoring passion into a licensed career as a teacher.
Making It a Career: "A pure passion for teaching will really help you in your career pursuit," she adds. "You must be patient and love the subject matter you're teaching - whether it's math or P.E."
Excellent communication and listening skills are also necessary as a teacher, notes Sutton Fell. Why? "You'll also need to create and execute lesson plans, instruct your students (no matter their age) and learn to communicate well with parents as well as the administration to help achieve curriculum goals," she says.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Education Program.
Education Options: Kindergarten or elementary school teachers are required to have a bachelor's degree in elementary education, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Additionally, the Department of Labor notes that public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license.
Those same requirements also exist for public high school teachers, though the Department reports that most states require them to have majored in a specific content area.

#6: From Animal Care To Veterinary Technology

If you feel the most satisfied after you've rescued a cat or fed a stray dog, a career as a veterinary technician could be the perfect path for you. Sutton Fell says that a love of all animals and a concern for their well-being makes you an ideal candidate for this role.
Making It a Career: According to Sutton Fell, your day-to-day will consist of assisting the veterinarian during checkups and administering dental care to the animals. "Techs also perform blood work and conduct urine analysis, and can practice on animals of all sizes, ranging from pet rats to horses," she adds.
But she also notes that it's not all cuddles and cuteness. "You'll need to flex your muscles as a vet tech, since restraining scared pets is a big part of this job."
Patience with the animals and their human owners is also very important, says Sutton Fell. "Often times, pets and parents are scared during procedures and tensions could run high. Plus, animals can't verbalize what's bothering them, so it may be up to you to help determine their needs."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Veterinary Technology Program.
Education Options: Vet technicians typically take a credentialing exam and must complete a postsecondary program in veterinary technology, says the U.S. Department of Labor. Most of these programs offer an associate's. Depending on the states, vet technicians must also pursue certification, licensure, or registration.

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