CNN Money recently highlighted a day in the life of a professional “cosplay” character.
Yes, I said “professional” and “cosplay” in the same sentence.
Cosplay, for those of you like me who had no idea what that word actually meant, combines the words costume and play. Linda Le (or “Vampy” as her fans call her) actually gets paid to show up to various events dressed as specific characters and to act like them.
Think Storm from X-Men or Deathstroke from DC comics and you have the idea. Think Joe in the basement in his Batman outfit and you’re probably headed the wrong way….
Could you imagine getting paid to dress up like a superhero?
Linda began this type of role play at the ripe old age of 14 when she would attend conferences similar to Comic Con dressed in character. Ten years later, it’s now her full time job. Get this….some years she earns over six figures.
What started out as a hobby has turned into a career for Linda. How many hobbies do you think could support a six figure salary?
I like to read, but I don’t imagine that someone would pay me to read just for fun, and even if they did, I don’t think it would be enough to put food on the table. I love stories like Linda’s, but then the practical financial planner side of me thinks it’s crazy to invest 10 years of your life into a hobby with no promise of something more.
Turning Your Hobby Into a Career Can Be Dangerous
I meet with clients all the time who love to cook or love to bake as hobbies and they think that they can parlay this passion into a business. Can you really? In the book The E-Myth, Michael Gerber writes that making food isn’t the same skill set as running a business. I think also of all of the statistics of failed restaurants and bakeries. Even super chef Mario Batali has had to close a restaurant. Why do you think your pot pie would outsell Mario?
Of course we all would love to get paid for our hobby, but should we follow Linda’s footsteps or save the hobbies for the weekend?
What Makes a Successful Transition from Hobby To Career?
Take a hobby that’s close to your career if you want to be successful. You’ll need contacts, professional help and an audience. Your career probably provides much of what it might take to get moving.
I think Linda’s become so successful in converting her hobby into a full time career for that reason: her “day job” was not too far off from her hobby. Before she became a full-time cosplay character, Linda was a make up artist and stylist, and now she just makes up and styles herself.
Is there a similar opportunity for you? Maybe!
So if you are thinking about hobbying full time, perhaps you should think about how much training you are getting in this field before you make the leap.
Like to cook? Thinking about opening a restaurant? Weigh how many hours you have actually put into preparing meals first.
Want to become the next Ace of Cakes? Before you break out the flour and sugar full time, practice as much as you can on your own time.
Do you know anyone who turned a hobby into a career? What hobbies make for good careers?
Besides writing awesome stuff at Stacking Benjamins, Shannon McLay is the author of Train Your Way to Financial Fitness
Photo: Michael Mol