turning a hobby into a business

It has been pretty obvious what I’m actually trying to do, however, everything looks much different from the surface, as always. Since summer 2016, I have this burning passion to the subjects of photography, cameras, modeling and etc., which led me to build my own little part time job.

Before we begin, I can assure you that this has nothing to do with the saying by Joker (as far as I can remember, at least) that goes “If you’re good at something, never do it for free.”

That’s kind of right, but I have my own reasons, okay?

So without beating around the bush, literally anything that provides value to others, can easily be turned into a business. But like every other aspect of life, this brings serious responsibilites that are required to be taken as soon as the work begins. The problem is that many of us are afraid to take action, even when we know we have a marketable skill, because we are afraid of failure. This includes me as well. We fear that if we attempt to monetize a hobby and fail, we’ll no longer feel joy or satisfaction from the activity at all… or others will regard us differently.

First of all, that clearly is not the case. And second of all, if you find yourself in a friend group that makes you feel like you eventually won’t be able to succeed or doesn’t support you, I’m here to tell you that ain’t nobody got time for that negativity in their lives.

Creating your own business or job, whatever you want to call it, has to be taken into consideration as if it’s your newborn baby. You literally have to pay attention to every obstacle, feed it, make sure everything is in order, love it unconditionally and of course think about it 24/7. This brings the constant need to write things down, build up new ideas and accept the upcoming journey.

My number one advice would be to carve out time to work on your hobby. Read about the industry, learn about marketing and dedicate yourself to steady improvement. This is how to achieve positive results. Also, everybody needs an online presence to generate activity. This means creating and maintaining a website, social media profiles, and everything else that goes into branding yourself as a professional.

Of course looking back now, photography is not the easiest way to build up a business since this subject is something tremendously expensive. Whether you’re interested in shooting film or digital, the cost rarely changes. So I’m not the one to talk about shooting film since I never used an analog camera other than shooting one or two pics with it. But for DSLR, oh boi if only I had a dollar for every time I wished upon a star to bring me that 24-70 lens, I probably had it by the time I write these words.

Getting personal, my biggest problem was the payment procedure in the last year. Since I usually did shoots with friends, I never had the balls to even put the topic on the table of getting paid, so after all those hours of hard work and traveling, the only thing I could hold onto was the final product that gave me ultimate satisfaction.

Other than that, it never felt like “working”, at least in my case. As time flies by, you start seeking results on your hobby/business, and this brings the hunger to get more done, also to cherish the fact that you’re doing what you love, and you’re getting better at it every other day.

To conclude, here are my 3 main advices:

Stand out. Find or do something that has never been done, make people believe that when they have the privilege to be working with you, something will be different than the other times, and this will eventually make them thank themselves later.

Be open minded. Look for inspiration everywhere, and never hesitate on trying new things out. When you have an idea that you feel confident about, say it out loud, let people know that being an amaetur sometimes brings the best ideas around since you don’t have those classic molded mindset that something can or can not be done, yet. So yes, being a beginner makes you a little more creative, in my opinion.

Be very patient. Birds fly not into our mouth ready roasted. Don’t expect people or companies to run to you. Work with your friends and family first to have at least something to show as a base.

Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.

Lots of love,


Zeynep KaraliComment