How I turned my hobby into something more

For many of us during full-time work, or when we've got kids at home, our hobbies and passion projects tend to take a bit of a back seat. In our later years, as our time gets freed up and we head into retirement, there's often the chance to invest more time and energy into those hobbies and passions we love. From writing to photography, personal training to craft making, there's the opportunity to start making money if the need, and desire, arises.

Jill Weeks has seen plenty of older Australians engage in hobbies and volunteering opportunities instead of settling into a more traditional type of retirement. Through her travels, Jill ended up co-authoring a book, Retire Bizzi, which profiles some of the many amazing people who wanted something to help give them a sense of direction and purpose during their later years.

"Many people have said to me that they still want to work, not only for the money, but also for something meaningful to do," says Jill. "A reason to stretch the brain, meet new people and learn new skills."

Jill's seen plenty of people turn a lifelong hobby into a money making venture, mostly working out of their homes or selling things through markets.

"People enjoy themselves and feel they are making a contribution to society," Jill says. "Some people underestimate how important their work is to them, not only in terms of their health, but also in terms of structure, self esteem, making a contribution, and social networks."

The lazy runner turned trainer

Marie, who is 54 years old and living in Tasmania, turned her hobby into a way to connect with others and now runs a small business with workshops, writing and book tours. This was all after she realised that, as a self declared 'lazy runner', there were probably plenty of other people out there who felt the same.

"I started running after my second baby was born (30 years ago), just to get fit, but after a while I found it great for all sorts of things," says Marie.

Later in life, after moving to Noosa Heads and working part-time in a gym, Marie's clients kept asking if she could teach them how to run.

"It started me thinking about all the people who couldn't run but would like to learn how, so I started a running club and called it Lazy Runner (after me!)," says Marie. "I put a small ad in the local paper and ten lazy runners turned up to the first session. Now, there are lots of Lazy Runners clubs across Australia."

As well as the running workshops, which have Marie travelling to lots of places to show people how to get into running, she has also written two books and spent time touring these in Australia, the US, NZ and the UK.

"I've talked to so many wonderful people. I love travelling and running so it was an amazing journey," says Marie.

While the business side of things is giving Marie purpose and keeping her busy, Lazy Runner is also a way for her to keep up with her own personal mission and harks back to why she started the clubs in the first place.

"I am on a mission to run a marathon on every continent," says Marie. "Six down, one to go – the biggie, Antarctica!"

When asked what advice she'd have for others who might be thinking of turning their hobby into a money making venture later in life, Marie says it's important to "do what you love and know."

"It makes it so much easier to work in a field that you are passionate about and know lots about – that way, you become a real guru in your field."

Whether it's running or photography, or maybe you're an avid crafter, there's no reason you can't explore the possibility of making some money from your hobby or passion project, while also getting to meet others who love it too!

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