How to turn a hobby into a career ?

I myself am one of those who did it and i am actually helping others on that path as well, because it is the most beautiful thing that can happen: practice your hobby, make your living with it and then help others getting there as well.

Myself i studied Medicine and International Public Health and worked for a large international research institute (Royal Tropical Institute based in Amsterdam). I thought it was my dream job but found out quickly that it was not for me: very very long days and nights of working, most hours spend behind the computer. At that time i was practicing Yoga and meditation myself and those hours during the week were the most important for me: they would carry me throughout the day and the week.
I was very inspired by my Yoga Teacher at the time who was a young woman in her early 30’s (at that time i myself was 24 years old). And as i was feeling more depressed working for that organization i felt more dedicated towards diving into Yoga and teaching that. Simultaneously because of my yoga practice i started feeling better physically and mentally and went through many changes wich inspired people around me: people started to ask me what i was doing and if i could share that with them.

RIght now, 5 years later i live in India and i run a Yoga School Parimukti (www.parimukti.com) in two locations: Dharamshala in the Himalayas and in Goa in South India. I organize Yoga Teacher Trainings year round and am really living ‘the dream’. I have time every day for my own practice, then i teach yoga for a couple of hours a day to dedicated people and in the afternoons and nights i meet good friends or i spend time on my own reading a book or make music. So i really managed to turn my hobby into a career.

Here’s some tips that i can share:

1. Keep living costs low.This is one of my most important tips. Usually it is hard starting of making a career out of your hobby right away. Starting any business takes time and dedication though and in order to not having to do other work aside just make sure you dont need that much of money. Untill now i have been sharing appartments or renting a relatively low costly room. I dont buy new clothes (i actually hook up with friends every 3 months and we exchange clothes). This was and still is very very useful to me. Also it allows you to invest the earnings that you make initially right back into the business, which brings me to number 2

2. Reinvest initial earnings: dont go and spend all the earnings right away. Especially the first months/years can be a bit shakey and you want to be prepared to a dip in income. This will prevent you from getting stressed out and having to go back to your other job

3. Ask for help. Many many people and friends and family especially have a skill that they are happy to share with you. You can aks for help and in exchange give them (like i did) free yoga classes, or a complete free yoga course. I would give students a large discount on the course in return for them taking professional pictures or making a professional promotional video: important marketing tools that cost a lot if you would hire someone externally

4. Share whatever you are doing on social media. Facebook, twitter, google+ they generate lot of buzz

5. Stay inspired and keep practicing your own hobby: it is a trap to not be practicing your own hobby once you start making a career out of that. I see this happening a lot amongs fellow yoga teachers. Most important and inspiring for others is that you are practicing yourself. So however you feel like, however many emails are awaiting your response, make that hour time for yourself every day to do your own hobby

So I hope this post helps

Merel Martens l Parimukti Yoga & Meditation l www.parimukti.com

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