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Could you turn your hobby into a career?

Nathaniel Sillin | 6/15/2017, midnight
You can break personal finance into three broad categories: income, expenses and savings. Your personal cash flow statement lists your ...

You can break personal finance into three broad categories: income, expenses and savings. Your personal cash flow statement lists your income and expenses and a

common goal is to end each month with a positive balance – with money left over to

put into savings.

We often tend to focus on how to make the most with what we have, but don't forget the third category. With planning, dedication and an understanding of how your skill

set could benefit clients, you could make the transition to a more entrepreneurial role and increase your income.

A friend recently shared her experience. She started working out while looking for a way to release stress. Soon, exercise became her hobby. And then her passion.

Several years later, she got the necessary training and certifications to go into business for herself as a fitness instructor and personal trainer.

Others have similar experiences. A photography or coding course sparks intrigue, which leads to exploration as a hobbyist and an eventual career or part-time income

source. Or later in life you may decide it's time for something different and start by exploring your interests and then setting off on an entirely new path.

Acknowledge that you may be giving yourself a new job. First, consider whether you really want to turn something you enjoy into a financial pursuit. Some people find

that the transition can "ruin" their hobby in a way – it could feel like a chore or job rather than an enjoyable outlet. As long as it doesn't require a substantial upfront financial investment, testing the water before diving in fully could be a good idea.

With the proper clearance, you can stay at your current role and start a small side business or offer your services as a freelancer

[http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/learn/life_events/landing_a_job/working_from_home] to see what the experience will be like (and how much money you can make). You might find that a profitable, or cost-covering, hobby is enough.

Identify ways to make your offering uniquely yours. No matter how hard you try, you can't will money into existence. It will take a lot of work to make a business

succeed and even with a driven entrepreneur at the helm, many businesses don't make it past the first several years.

But whether you're creating and selling a physical product or offering a service, you bring a unique set of skills and experiences to the table. Try to figure out how these can distinguish your offerings or add a unique twist that will help potential customers meet their goals.

Businesses succeed for a variety of reasons. They might create something entirely new, figure out how to make something less expensive or more luxurious, put their

efforts into customer support or figure out a fun and creative way to advertise their product.

Figure out who your target customers are and what they like. If you're going to make money you'll want to identify a target market. Generally, this will be a group of people who want and can afford your offering. Both qualifiers are equally important.