Turn Your Hobby into a Career

Turn Your Hobby into a Career

  Don’t we all dream of taking something we love and making a living out of it? Hobbies are activities we enjoy doing, and we are good at. Many of them have good revenue potential, but you might have to get a bit more serious. Talent is fine, but you will need to acquire some new skills like marketing, inventory and time management. So, don’t rush to quit your current job just because you had a moment of revelation. Think about which necessary skills, contacts and experience you already have, and which do you lack. The art of craft Are you tired of taking photos on a family get together and high school reunions? Photography is quite common as a hobby today and it requires little effort to turn it into a business. While many photographers like the studio work, others prefer the career of a freelancer. Weddings, stock photos, corporate work, it can all turn out to be a profitable and enjoyable business. Don’t let the high upfront equipment costs discourage you, as it pays off in the long run. If you like to spend half of a day crafting in solitude, you should consider earning some green from it. Sell your work online or in local shops, and attend craft shows. Etsy, for example, is a great website where you can offer your products to the customers around the world. Some make a profit just importing and selling finished products, while others make them from scratch. Homemade and vintage items seem to be quite popular here. People who have spent years collecting things like sports cards, stamps or antique items are faced with the problem of how to support their hobby. They often start selling some collectables, and that is when they realize one thing. You can make a pretty penny here if you buy in bulk and sell smart. This market has huge potential, and you can offer products on sites like eBay. Beauty and the beast Many people today don’t have time to cook a nice healthy meal. They are prepared to pay good money for someone to do it for them. Those who like spending hours in the kitchen can thus consider becoming a personal chef. Another option is to sell delicacies like cookies and cake pops locally or online. If you like being your own boss, you can also sell your goods as a catering service at various events. Come up with a nice logo and unique packing, and witness the food frenzy. If you, on the other hand, like to do make-up for yourself and friends, have you considered becoming a make-up artist? Decorated salons, soothing spas, booming fashion industry- does anything of that sound inviting? Don’t fret if you lack some skills. Take a recognized course in aromatherapy and learn how to melt people’s stress and worries away. If you find high-paying clientele, your career could skyrocket no problem. Passion is not enough Pursuing a career in something related to your interests and preferences is rewarding in a more than one way. Teach others to do what you love, and sell the products you enjoy making. To generate income from it, however, passion does not suffice. Also, not all hobbies are business-worthy, so be cautious. Organize and promote yourself, keep innovating and stay persistent. That way you can have not only a meaningful career, but a meaningful and fulfilled life....

Dressing Up for Less at Work please

The workplace has seen a culture shift in recent years. Employers are working hard to turn the office into a welcoming place. High definition televisions, stocked bars and recreation areas now occupy space in offices in an effort to improve employee morale, excite prospective employees and foster a positive workplace environment. Often included in that culture shift is a relaxed dress code for employees. Gone are the days where finding work clothes meant buying a new suit for every day of the week. Workplaces are trading in suits for jeans and a t-shirt. While the relaxed dress code may be a benefit for some employees, it never hurts to maintain the old status quo and wear clothing that shows you mean business. Thankfully, dressing well is not as expensive as it used to be. While everyone would like to wear an expensive suit, not many people can afford to spend a whole paycheck on one. A store like Nordstrom is a great place for working professionals to go and choose from a large selection of business casual clothing. You can find slim fit shirts, polos and formalwear, all in a great selection of choices. For men looking to enhance their wardrobe some, there are custom style boxes that feature a range of ties and pocket squares. There is even casual wear for when you decide to step out of the office for a relaxing weekend away with friends or family. If Nordstrom still seems a bit pricy, remember that you can also find items for your wardrobe at stores like JC Penney or Kohl’s. While known for being on the less expensive side, these stores still provide clothing options to help you dress like a million dollars, without spending a million dollars. JC Penney has a nice selection of shirt/tie combos in a variety of colors and patterns. So why does it matter how you dress as long as you are in dress code? For one, dressing well shows your boss that you are serious about your position. A well-dressed individual is ready for anything that may be sent their way, from everyday work tasks, to important meetings with clients. Imagine the command you will have over the room if you are dressed well for a company-wide presentation. Bosses notice the appearances of their employees and well-dressed employees stand out in a positive way. While you may not think that dressing well means much in the long term, it is noticed by bosses and other employees alike, and thanks to stores like Nordstrom, it is easier than ever to achieve. You might want to check out Knits & Knots, they make some of the most amazing hand-crafted pocket squares....

Ask Your Boss: I am Going on Vacation Either You Let Me or Not!...

“I have an employee that on several occasions since she started here almost three years ago gets very defensive and combative at times. It seems to happen when I’ve had to speak firmly to her or inform her of something she doesn’t like the answer to. The most recent was when she came in and told me what days she’s taking for vacation (without previously getting the ok, and I also found that she had already booked tickets) I let her know she did not have sufficient vacation to cover the days. Next thing you know, she’s telling me I’m rude, this has happened in the past. She informed me she already booked the tickets and she’s going with no pay regardless. I let her know I was not being rude just giving her the information. She told me I’m supposed to be her friend and I should have asked what she was doing. I told her that I’m her office manager. She then used the f word. This is not the first time this has happened.” Have you told her how she makes you feel? Have you talked to her in the past that she comes across as a jerk and a huge pain in the ass? I assume you have talked to her (for you own sanity!) about it because if you have not, then you will have to start NOW. No more delays. I can see a few issues in your situation (to be honest, there is a whole bag of pretty shitty issues here): you are friends with an employee whom you also manage; your employee does not recognize your authority as a manager nor does she respect you as her friend (but the latter is personal, and I will leave it up to you to deal with that); there is a huge insubordination issue; oh, and don’t forget the “f” word. No one, and let me repeat it again, NO ONE, should speak like this to their manager (or anyone really.) I am sure you have already thought about this: you don’t need a friend like her, AND you don’t need an employee like her either. I am usually not that harsh or mean or evil, but in this situation you need to let her go. However, it is easier said than done. This is what I recommend or, let’s say, this is what I would do if I were you: I would write down our conversation (the one you described to me.) I love keeping notes because they come in handy when it comes to firing people. I would talk to this woman, and tell her that you do not appreciate her language, her attitude, her conduct and her work ethics. I would then proceed to explain that as her manager I have to write her up for insubordination and disrespect. I would hand her our organization’s policies and procedures regarding scheduling time off. I would calmly tell her that she has not asked for the time off and has not followed the outlined procedures (I would highlight the steps in the procedures for her – people like to see highlighted stuff.) I would advice her to re-visit our policies and procedures. I would lay out my expectations as her manager (also, preferably in writing) and state very clearly what I would like her to change and by when. I would give her a month to correct her behavior if I wanted to...

How Some Mormons Run Small Businesses in Utah...

Story One My friend wants to quit her job. She barely started it a few weeks ago, and she already cannot stand it. It is not the job per se that drives her to the edge of insanity. It is the people. Or I should rather say, it is the business style of the company. As soon as my friend started her new job, she began to suspect that something was not quite ordinary, not entirely professional. For a few days she could not put her finger on it, until the day her company had a holiday party. On the day of the party, the food was cooked to perfection, neatly assembled on the plates, and ready to be consumed by hungry employees. People gathered around the table. The anticipation of something significant was lingering in the air. My friend, starving and salivating, dared to ask a co-worker if she could eat. A woman, gave her a startled look, and explained that everyone was waiting for the owner to come in, say a prayer and bless the food. A few days later, my friend called me from her tiny cubicle and whispered feverishly: “I am ready to walk out. We just had to pray in our staff meeting. I kid you not! I was expecting people to bear their testimonies.” For a split moment, I could not believe what I was hearing. Then I remembered my own experience, from a few years ago. Story Two  My former boss, during an annual review, asked me if Lithuania (where I was born and raised) was predominantly a Catholic country. When I answered affirmatively, he dug deeper, wondering if I, myself, was a Catholic. This was where I made the crucial mistake of telling him that I was agnostic. As soon as my confession of being a non-believer was verbalized, his eyes lit up with maniacal determination. I could almost physically feel that salvation was upon me! He put aside my annual review, and pulled up the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints website on his computer. This marked the beginning of a very long and boring lecture about the Mormon religion, its teachings and values. Now, imagine me, flabbergasted, wondering what the hell was happening. Was my rejection of Mormonism going to be taken in essence as the rejection of my possible future career with this company? Was he going to ask me to repent? I was at work, in a (so-called) professional business environment, and my boss was lecturing me on Mormonism. What in the world did it have to do with my work performance? I stayed, and I listened to his lecture to the end because I desperately needed the job. I left his office loaded with a Book of Mormon, a few religious CDs and some other printed material about the Mormon church. My head was exploding from his speech on building the Kingdom of God on Earth. I returned all of the religious material a few days later, and politely but firmly said that I was not interested. If I ever decided to blossom spiritually I would go to a Russian Orthodox church in Salt Lake, not a Mormon temple. Back to Story One I told my friend to do what I did years ago: suck it up for now and start looking for a new job. I wonder, however, if my friend decided to worship Allah, or talk to Buddah or pray to some other...

Ask Your Boss: I Don’t Want to Look Like a Know-It-All Jerk...

“I am a new employee and was hired because of my experience working with so many different companies. I have a lot of good ideas to improve productivity and quality.  How can I give my input to my boss without seeming like a know it all jerk?” It is less tricky than you think, especially because you were hired due to your experience and knowledge. You are, probably, expected to give your input anyway. Just remember that it is all about your attitude, the right choice of words and your tone. A good, friendly attitude combined with the right approach can solve pretty much anything. You can start by saying something like this “I noticed you are doing this…and I was wondering what would you think about this approach instead?” God forbid you say something like “you should do this” to your boss. If you’d come to me and start your sentence with “you should…”, all I would be thinking “and you should go back to your cubicle.” I would not be hearing a single word you said after that. In other words, do not act that you know more than your boss. Do not say “I am an expert and this is what you should do.” Another approach that I can recommend is an assumption approach. Pose a question with a plan. You can throw an idea in a form of an assumption that implies that this idea was either discussed before or at least mentioned. Sometimes a simple question like “Is there a reason why you are not doing this?” helps to start a good discussion. Your tone also matters. As long as you maintain a friendly tone and not a condescending, know-it-all tone, your boss will listen. Make sure to show that you’ve considered the current process or procedure. You know what works well? Positioning your boss and yourself on one side, and a problem, you are tackling, on the another. Use “we” instead of “I” or “you.” In this case, you are in this together. You are a team. Good Luck! Let us know how it all worked out for you. Want to ask Your Boss a question? There is a form on the top of the right sidebar. Fill it in and submit it. I will write a post in response....

Ask Your Boss: How Should I Prepare For an Annual Review?...

“Year end reviews are just around the corner at some workplaces. What does my manager do in the next month to prepare for the review process? What can I do to prepare for the review process? For next year, how can I take the feedback from my coming review and prioritize my improvement efforts?” We don’t do annual reviews at my workplace. We used to do it, but not anymore. I never liked it anyway, so I embraced this change quite enthusiastically. I am one of those who prefer to give feedback as we go, not once a year. Let me give you a few pointers of how I would prepare myself for an annual performance review. Make a list of your responsibilities and grade yourself in each area. Be objective and honest with yourself. What’s the point of lying, right? Make a list of goals that you would like to set up for yourself for the next year. What do you want to achieve in the new year? What would you like to change? Think about it as your career development plan. Make a list of your accomplishments. Match them up with your job description. It always helps. Did you work on any ambitious projects this year? Write them down. Make a list of any conflicts and/or disagreements with your boss that happened in the last year. Be ready to discuss them. However, don’t bring it up yourself. It might never be mentioned, but it is always a good idea to be prepared. Make sure to be as detailed as possible. I, personally, love detailed examples. Make sure to address last year’s feedback you got from your boss. It shows that you are willing to improve. It shows that you care. Are there any problem areas you would like to address? This is the time to do it! Most importantly, take your time to prepare for the annual performance review. I always feel better going into one, knowing that I can address pretty much any question that might arise. By the way, any manager goes through the same process that I listed above for you. this is exactly how I was preparing myself. We make lists of things we want to address. Sometimes we make these lists throughout the year, so that we remember everything that happened. We keep notes. At least, I do. I have a (locked) file drawer where I keep files on every employee. I keep my notes and emails. I am sure most managers do the same....