Turning your hobby into a paid job

September 13, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

It is challenging to find a ‘good’ job but it’s even more difficult to find a job that you'll love.  Of course, many of us want to get a job that we will enjoy doing every day. Something that is relevant to our skills and won’t make us feel like we are dragged into going to work. We all want to do what we love to do and at the same time get paid for it. A dream job right?


So how do you turn your passion into a career? In my case, it wasn’t my choice to become a recruiter, but it was my choice to specialize in telecommunications infrastructure recruitment since I have interest in engineering. After my first long term job after university, I received an offer to join an agency and focus on telecommunications recruitment during Telstra’s huge 3G roll out in 2006. It does not sound like a passion, but the interest was enough for me to fall into recruitment and stick with it.

Solomon Islands

My real interest and passion is actually in adventure and nature and capturing photos in those environments. Growing up near the sea and mountain defined me to be adventurous and enjoy activities in the water. I was encouraged to scuba dive by my sister who is a dive instructor, and also a good friend from New Zealand who would dive for crayfish and often give me one or two from his catch. Because I wanted to capture the beauty underwater and wanted to add challenge to my diving, I started underwater photography in 2009. I self-taught and bought an entry level DSLR and underwater housing, and started capturing shots.  My first trip as a photographer was to the Solomon Islands in 2009.   Soon after, a few of my friends encouraged me to put my shots up online. I created my underwater website and kept building my portfolio and skills. As an adventurous person, I have traveled to many different locations and have built skills in photographing landscapes and portraits for my portfolio.

Eventually, I was approached by a colleague to do some commercial photography for a client. And coincidentally in the same week, a friend asked me to do some head shot work for her company, and before I realized, it had become a second job. Customers were also approaching me for underwater photography. I had doubts and reservations about my ability at first and I owe a lot to the people that encouraged me, gave me confidence, and got me started. I think that encouragement is one of the biggest gifts you can give someone.

I also dreamed of becoming a pilot when I was in primary school, and I wanted to add a different perspective in photography, so I thought of combining my passion for photography and technology into using drones. I took up aerial photography and got myself certified by CASA. It turns out that UAV’s have many applications into telecommunications infrastructure, so it’s a great way to combine my work in telecommunications and photography. I have been enjoying the technical aspect of surveying radio base station towers, while combining my photography skills.

At first it seems like it is not easy to be a telecommunications recruiter and photographer at the same time, but when you repeatedly do the things that you are initially uncomfortable doing, you can easily overcome challenges. Having both skill sets gives me the opportunity to use both sides of my brain combining business with creativity. It also gives me variety and job satisfaction.

 

I decided to take a career path based on my interests and build my own companies. I have built Digital Life Technologies so the services offered are tailored fit to my specializations as a telecommunications infrastructure recruiter and also providing telecommunications services such as aerial survey.  And I recently launched Bondi Bird www.bondibird.com where the services are based on my passion for photography, diving, flying, and adventure.


A piece of advice for those who want to turn their hobby into a paid job - keep working on it in your spare time while you’re getting paid in your primary job. Keep updated with new trends around you and see if you can integrate your hobby into your primary job. It can all develop from there. And remember to support and encourage others, hopefully it will come back at you.


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