Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life, or so the saying goes.
For most people, however, a dream job remains just that: a dream. So how do you turn what you love doing, for example a hobby, into a full-time profession? CNN asked five people who did exactly that for tips on how to get started.
Get the skills
Anna Jane Grossman was a New York Times-published freelance journalist who had a love for dogs and a knack for training them. So when the financial crisis of 2008 affected newspapers’ budgets, she decided time was ripe to finally pursue her lifelong passion and become a dog trainer.
Grossman says that one of the most important steps toward her new career was taking a six-month training course that was crucial in steering her in the right direction.
“I really knew nothing going in. I was lucky to find my program,” she said. “As soon as I stared this training, I thought, ‘clearly, this is what I should be doing with my life.’ Everything clicked into place.”
Spot the potential
Geraldo De-Souza designs flamboyant bow ties, but he spent the first 20 years of his professional life selling insurance. He didn’t think he could make a living from his hobby until his wife pointed out that people would stop him in the street asking to buy the neckwear he was wearing.
“So from that standpoint, it was happening to me without me knowing it,” De-Souza said. “I didn’t realize the potential until my wife told me, ‘I know of 10 people that just bought what you made off of your neck. You know, you might have a career here.’ “
Market your product
Beatrice Tsang was a Los Angeles-based actress with a passion for baking delicious goodies before she decided to make her hobby her career. Tsang’s Baby Bea’s Bakeshop is located in Beverly Hills and caters to a celebrity clientele.
“I started posting things online to show my friends, and they started placing orders,” Tsang said. “And that’s when I realized that there might be a market for it. So I put up a website, I started getting more orders, and when I put up a Yelp page, even more orders came in.
“Through referrals and a lot of online marketing, we became one of the most reputable decorative bakeries in town,” she adds.
Grab the opportunity
Jennie Dundas acted since she was 9 years old and appeared in hit series like “Desperate Housewives” and “Law and Order.”
But when her friend, who was to become her business partner, moved to Brooklyn and noticed that the area was packed with young families, the pair decided to turn it into a business opportunity.
Her partner said, ” ‘we need an ice cream shop here, Jennie; what do you think?’ ” Dundas said. “I thought, ‘anything to do with ice cream, I’m in.’ “
So the pair set up the Blue Marble Ice Cream shop, which has now rolled out to several locations in New York and Massachusetts.
Just do it
Lawyer Marjorie Liu had always dreamed of writing a novel, and after passing the bar, she was struck with an impulse to finally fulfill her dream.
She closed herself in her apartment for a month, writing for 14 hours a day, and produced her first book — a paranormal magic thriller called “Tiger Eye.”
Nine years after her debut, Liu is a New York Times bestselling author with 17 novels to her name.
“I had my dreams, and even though everyone told me that they weren’t practical, I knew in my heart that this is what I had to do. Even if it ended up being a failure, I had to make the attempt,” she said.