How cool would it be to earn a living from your hobby?
I was thinking about this recently as I watched Olympic champion Shaun White fly his way up and down the half-pipe to a gold medal.
Talk about a lifestyle career! Shaun has transformed his love of snowboarding into a mini-empire complete with endorsement deals and celebrity status; all while having the time of his life in the process.
While most of us will never attain an Olympic level of stardom and fame, we can still aspire to be like Shaun by turning what we love into what we do.
If you've been itching for a refreshing career shift, here are four different resources to help you explore business models and resources that can inspire you to create a living from your favorite leisure activities:
There are magazines devoted to a multitude of hobbies ranging from pets to golf to knitting to cooking. As you browse through those magazines, peruse the articles for information about trends, companies and challenges that you might be able to leverage into a career opportunity. Pay attention to the advertisements as well - they can provide you with helpful insights into products and services designed to appeal to this market.
Did you know that there are associations for virtually every hobby and field of interest? Contact them to learn about industry-related career opportunities, training programs, conferences and vendors.
To find an association in your hobby of interest, go to the Gale Encyclopedia of Associations, or just run a Google search using the name of your hobby and the word "association."
Even if you have no interest in buying into a franchise, it can be quite helpful to learn about franchises that provide services and products to people who share your passions and interests. Investigate what is out there by going to sites like Entrepreneur.com and then brainstorm ways to customize a similar product or service offering of your own.
It is amazing how many books and e-guides are available to help you learn about the "nuts and bolts" of running specific types of businesses. I ran a quick search on Amazon for the search term "hobby business," and it generated over 1,000 results under the book category. Take advantage of those books to learn more about novel ways to turn your passions into profits.
Finally, don't forget to pursue employment opportunities with companies, associations, and entrepreneurs in your field of interest. They all have paid staff positions - shouldn't one of them be yours?
There are many sources of information and communities of like-minded people available to you to serve as sources of information and inspiration. They key is keeping your mind open to the idea so you recognize a good opportunity ("I wish someone would...") when you see it. The need you see may also be an opportunity for you.
Nancy Collamer, M.S.,is a career coach, speaker, and author of the new book Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement (Random House, 2013). In private practice since 1996, Nancy gained national prominence in her tenure as the Career Transitions columnist for Oxygen Media. She has spoken at venues ranging from Harvard Business School to the California Governors Conference on Women. Please connect with Nancy on Twitter @NancyCollamer and on her website at MyLifestyleCareer.com.