Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
Do you have a hobby? Or several? Many job applications and resumes list “other interests” or “hobbies” or something of the sort. The hobbies or interests you list can tell prospective employers quite a lot about you. They can also provide more opportunities for you to promote your business, and in some cases, your hobby can actually be your business.
What do you think if someone says their interests are “gardening, jogging and raising money for the ASPCA?” Or “bird-watching, racquetball and Thai cooking?” How about “collecting Elvis memorabilia and backpacking in Europe?” Or, “collecting pre-WWII political buttons, knitting and growing heirloom tomatoes?”
Hobbyists network with each other frequently and if your product or service can benefit any particular hobby, it would be a good idea to look into these groups as marketing possibilities.
If you don’t have any hobbies, how do you pick one or two or three? Think about what you enjoyed as a child, what you enjoy reading about or watching television shows about. What kind of things do you like to see in a museum? What would you love to create?
And, if you are a business owner, what hobbies could your business help or support? Even general business owners can find ways to interact with hobbyists, thereby increasing your field of prospects. It’s a great way to meet people and a great way to learn something new.
If you still have no idea, just jump in and experiment! Take some beginner courses in knitting, needlepoint, quilting or other craft. Sign up for drawing or painting or voice or tennis lessons. Attend a meeting of a local ham radio club. Visit some antique and specialty shops. Learn to make soap or play poker or brew beer or grow orchids or fly a kite or cook Indian food or rollerblade. Sample a variety of things until you find one that excites you.
Hobbies are a way to bring new interests into our lives. Work and family can consume most or all of your time and after a period of years, many people find themselves “burned out”, stressed and depressed. (People who own small or home-based businesses seem especially prone to this burnout!)
Hobbies, while not a panacea, can relieve some of that “no time for me” stress. Your hobbies can bring different elements of your personality and character to light and add to being “well-rounded”, something that employers look for in applicants, but also things we look for in people we consider doing business with.
Hobbies and outside interests give you the opportunity to meet new people and make new contacts, and often can bring insights that help you solve business problems. Plus, they can help you gain skills that will be helpful in your career.
Many people take up a hobby just because it is so helpful in business. Many people play golf for the business relationship-building opportunities it provides. Others follow certain sports teams or play another sport for the same reasons. And, if it’s something that you truly enjoy for its own merit, go for it.
Some people also find ways to turn their hobbies into businesses or full-time careers. In that case, you’ll then need some new hobbies!
Golf for Dummies and other Dummies Books are an inexpensive way to learn about individual hobbies.
You can also explore magazines for hobby ideas. Check out these Hobby Magazines for inspiration.