Hobby vs. Profession: How To Win When Natural Talent Isn't Enough| Forbes

Blog Post created by kimberly.wilson Advocate on Feb 1, 2016

Julian Mitchell, Contributor for Forbes share great insights on taking your hobby forward into a profession and what to think about.  This is focused on music, media and entertainment, but it is definitely applicable to energy! This article was posted Janauary 31, 2016


Hobby vs. Profession: How To Win When Natural Talent Isn't Enough


The difference between a hobby and a career is consistently getting paid for what you do. The dominance of digital, coupled with a thriving movement of entrepreneurship has empowered sharp minds to take risks and build empires from the ground up.


From titles and salaries, to brand affiliations and skill levels — the term “professional” skews much broader for a new breed of freethinkers. Yet, while such ambiguity makes room for innovation, it can also blur the lines of what classifies a professional. Building a business is about services and transactions. You provide a product or service in exchange for profit, which then becomes an established source of income. The logic is fairly simple.


However, a problem with many brilliant young creators aspiring for long term careers in music, media and entertainment is that they fail to focus on learning the business of what they do. They often follow a harmful misconception that being a great talent is enough to bypass the mechanics of doing good business. Unfortunately, being great at what you do rarely exempts you from the process of doing business. Being a true professional is being able to offer a valuable product or service and properly handle the business behind it. Without the ability to be a professional, people will not want to conduct business with you.


Consequently, your services are not requested, transactions are not happening, and no profits are being made. As a result, your career aspirations return to full-time hobbies. As today’s creative class continues crafting the new economy, here are a few essential elements every aspiring game-changer must master.



It’s been said that practice makes perfect. While the sentiment and intention of this statement are true, there’s a similar saying that makes the message clearer – practice makes permanent.


The notion of perfection is an infinite process of falling short. However, the benefit of this pursuit is embracing evolution. And ultimately, how you practice is how you perform. Do your research. Study the business. Know the nuances, demands and responsibilities of your role inside and out. Trust your instincts and think ahead to be on top of sudden requests or surprises. Run through it one more time. Ask one last question. Give that extra ounce of effort, because it always pays off.



Presentation is critically important. From your style, energy and demeanor, down to your body of work or how you send an email – every detail counts. Presentation is important, because it speaks to your level of care for what you do. It also mirrors the amount of time and attention you’ve invested. More importantly, how you present something subtly expresses how hard you steadily push yourself to perfect your craft and fulfill potential. Proper presentation solidifies value, while securing respect, appreciation and further opportunity.



Another popular phrase that rings true: “failing to plan is planning to fail.” While there are different levels of planning, and the scale of some situations doesn’t demand mapping out each step, simply refusing to plan in all aspects of your career won’t assist you in crossing the threshold of professionalism. Set both short and long-term goals for yourself. Planning not only makes the path clear, it makes the path real.



Arguably the most important metrics of a professional are productivity and results. When a person or company invests in you, they’re not only investing in right now, but also the potential they see in your future. Whether being assigned to a project or creating your own, projection is key. Properly projecting makes those you work with confident, comfortable and feel like you have control. In addition, it allows any concerns to be addressed as early as possible.

The best passion you can develop is a passion for your own growth. Stay focused, remain humble, invest in yourself and learn all aspects of your business. If not, you’ll either be underpaid, dependent on a manager, or be a bitter creator allowing others to monetize your talents for you.