This is a guest blog post by Heidi Akpaette.
Confession: I’ve never worked 40 hours a week at one job. I just can’t do it….I think after I reach the 30 hour mark my soul starts to die a little. Okay that’s dramatic, but it’s honestly how I feel. I have always had multiple jobs at a time, which keeps my soul alive, but also because I am a person of many interests! How could I just commit to one thing?? Can you relate?
I was doing some reflecting around my 30th birthday and looking over my career choices. There had been many paths since college, including multiple certifications and licenses, continuing education, and jobs. However, there was one thing I had been doing consistently: wedding hair. I started doing updos for everyone in middle school and high school, and then sometime in college I had a friend ask if I would do her wedding. Though nervous, I wasn’t charging anything so I said yes-why not? It went well, was really fun, and I was excited that everything turned out! Not long after this time I had another friend get married and ask if I would do her wedding, so I did. There was the beginning. I started to do a lot of my friends weddings for fun, and eventually decided to charge a little bit to cover supplies and make a bit of side money. After a few years of this, I started advertising on craigslist to give me some extra cash on the weekends, as well as to continue to do something that I loved! It was a great hobby. A hobby I had been doing consistently for over 10 years. A hobby that brought in enough money to pay some bills. A hobby I was good at. A hobby I never got sick of. When I realized this, a lightbulb went off for me. Maybe this was my dream job! But I could never make it work for a “career”, so I set it aside.
Not too long after this reflection, I had another huge moment that came in the form of a question. My new husband asked me “What would you do if you could do anything full time?” Without skipping a beat, I answered “wedding hair!” Deep in my heart of hearts I was waiting for someone to ask me this question, and that was the push I needed to begin the process of pursuing my dream job.
I had a lot of fears, a lot of doubts, and a lot of uncertainties. But one thing was for sure: this “hobby” of doing hair for weddings fueled my soul more than any other job I’ve ever held did. My creativity and passion came alive when I thought about it, and I always came home from a wedding filled to the brim with joy and oh so satisfied. I kept those thoughts at the forefront of my mind as I began my journey, and I want to encourage you to do the same as I share with you 5 ways to start the adventure of turning your hobby into your dream job.
A hobby doesn’t have to be professional, but a career does. For me this meant updating my website to be my own domain name, creating a separate business email address, choosing a business name, registering my business with the state, and getting clear on my services and prices. It meant opening a separate business account at my bank. If this was going to be my career, it needed to look like a legitimate business. What things can you do to make your hobby start to look professional? Is it a website? Is it business cards? Is it creating a website? Pretend you are your own customer and imagine what you would be looking for. Use that as a starting point.
I was terrified to invest in myself. (Hence, craigslist=free). However, once I invested a little bit in professional advertising this changed everything. I started to get more clients, therefore bringing in more revenue, therefore having more to invest back into the business. Yes, it takes some risk-but I am not advocating that you quit everything else and invest your whole savings into your new passion. Maybe you keep your other jobs for awhile, and everything you make in your business you invest back into it until you’ve hit the financial point you need to sustain yourself. Consider what areas would be beneficial for you to invest in and then make a plan on how to do it. You will never have the chance to reap the rewards until you take the leap and invest in yourself.
Speaking of investments, I encourage you to invest in yourself educationally. The first thing I did was take an advanced updo course out of state, and that not only boosted my confidence in my own skills but fueled my excitement further for what I loved to do. From there I have eaten up every free resource, class, podcast, download, webinar, blog post, etc. that I could get my hands on. Once I started to make a little more money, I set some aside to invest in business education for myself-which has helped immensely. What is out there in your field? Are there thought leaders you can follow? Others who do what you do that you can learn from? Start searching the internet and making a list of resources for yourself. Take someone out for coffee locally and pick their brain. Those who have gone before us can offer such valuable lessons for our own journeys.
Don’t wait. Tomorrow is not promised, and your dream job will always remain a dream if you don’t start now. Even if it is just making a list of the things you need to do to start the process, that is step in the right direction! I would never be where I am today if I wouldn’t have said “yes” to my dream and then stepped out in faith. It helped me so much to have a husband who pushed me, so I highly recommend reaching out to those closest to you for support. Share your dreams and goals, ask them to hold you accountable, and ask them to encourage you. Having a community on your side not only will help keep you on track, but it can also remind you of why you are on this journey when it gets hard.
My biggest obstacle to overcome was my own mindset. I had been operating in a hobby mentality for years, and I needed to switch my mind to a career mentality. Starting to treat your hobby as a career is a huge step in the right direction. What does this mean? It means prioritizing it. It means investing in it. It means talking about it in such a way that if no one knew anything about you or what you did, they would think that you were talking about your career-not just something you do on the side. It means pricing yourself with confidence and not selling yourself short. It means working hard for it. It means waking up everyday and saying “yes, I can do this!”.
I have one final question for you, my friend. What would you do if you could do anything full time? Let this question fuel your passion for what you love and be on your way to taking what you love and making it into your dream job. I believe in you!
Hello! I’m Heidi and I’ve been doing wedding hair for over ten years. I started my business, 139 Hair by Heidi, with the intention of providing onsite wedding hairstyling to brides and I haven’t looked back! In the last few years, I have been able to grow to offer talented makeup artistry as well as an intimate team of stylists. I am passionate about serving brides and honored to be with them on their wedding days. Read more at http://www.theupdocollective.com.