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Jaclyn Lutanco-Chua, Contributor
 
January 31, 2011

Job Satisfaction Leads to Better Mental Health + 5 Tips on Turning a Hobby into a Career

Earn your paychecks by doing what you love! FN shares some ways you can make money from your hobbies and interests. By Jaclyn Lutanco-Chua
career_mental_health_inside.jpgThe old adage “It’s not ‘work’ if you love what you do” has never been truer, as confirmed by a study conducted by the Australian National University (ANU). Results showed that a satisfying job—meaning a job that challenges and rewards in equal measure—contributes to better mental health.

“Research suggests (that) getting people into any job may not necessarily lead to mental health improvements,” says Dr. Liana Leach of the Centre for Mental Health Research at ANU. “Instead, people need good quality work to gain and maintain better wellbeing.”

So if your current place of employment feels more like a prison or your duties leave you feeling listless and unchallenged, it may be time for a change. Ask yourself: What gets you excited? What challenges you? What activities could you spend the whole day doing without getting bored? Once you have the answers, try and make a career out of your rediscovered passions. Here are some ways to get started:


1. HONE YOUR EXISTING TALENTS OR INTERESTS.

Just because you like doing something doesn’t mean the product is good enough to sell. If you enjoy designing and making clothes or cooking gourmet meals, make sure that your skills are up to par with the best. Scour newspapers, magazines, or the Internet for schools, training centers, or, seminars that offer classes on the skills you want to develop. Customers everywhere what the best, and if what you offer isn’t up to standard, your business will fail.


2. DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

Find out exactly what’s out there for you. Research and plan your new career choice thoroughly so that you won’t end up being disappointed. Let’s say you love taking care of animals; unfortunately, dog-walking or cat-sitting won’t earn you mega-bucks anywhere. But what you can do is explore your options. Pet spas and salons are mushrooming all over the city, and after training and certification, perhaps you can lend your expertise to one of them—or even start one of your own!
 

3. START SMALL AND SLOW.

If you are planning to put up your own business, it may be a good idea to start from home. This way, you can minimize overhead expenses (i.e., rent, utilities, etc.) and earn more. Gaining experience is a key factor in growing your business, so it might also be a good idea to apprentice for someone who is in the same line of work. Work hard and be quick to adapt to changes. If you keep learning, it won’t be long before you’ll be the one teaching skills to business newbies.


4. NETWORK.

Review your Facebook friends list and interview those whose current careers are similar to yours. Join online forums or e-groups to interact with people who share your interests. Not only will they be able to offer tips on how to get you going, but they might also be your link to your dream job.


5. FINALLY, HAVE A BACKUP PLAN.

If this article is inspiring you to quit your job right now and spend the rest of your life crocheting booties and mittens—don’t do that just yet. When you start something new, you should also be aware that many things can go wrong. So have contingencies for every foreseeable stage, and have an alternate source of income until you are sure that your hobby can sustain you.


Read these articles for more business and work tips:

(Photo by lululemon athletica via Flickr Creative Commons)
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