When we say hobby, what comes to your mind? Coin collection? Playing on PS4 or Xbox? People have all kinds of diverse and exciting hobbies.
But are there hobbies that could help enhance your business skills?
The answer is yes. And I call them a hobby majorly because, you could do them during weekends or free time. And they could also be a potential revenue source for you. What’s better than making money from something that you are passionate about. Isn’t it?
However, the primary intention of this article is not to teach you how to make money using these hobbies, but rather tell you how these can help you improve your business acumen.
So here we go.
1. Business blogging
You have heard about blogging. And it has become so popular in the past 6-7 years with higher internet penetration. It provides an opportunity for anybody with an internet connection to express his/her views. But you might have never seen this as an avenue of self development.
If you are a business professional, an entrepreneur or business student, it is very likely that you are enthusiastic about business topics. And blogging on those topics helps you immensely to build and grow your business knowledge.
For example, if you are writing an article on ’10 ways to grow your business’, you would start with your research. You read academic research, text books, other related articles online, and much more to understand the typical growth factors in a business. In the process, you explore and learn. And putting together your thoughts in the article ignites your creativity as well.
When you do this over and over to write more blog posts, you end up adding to the wealth of your knowledge and creative thinking.
There are a lot of platforms like WordPress, Blogger, Medium etc. which let you start a blog/website for free. They are very easy to use with close to little learning curve, and provide an array of plans to suit your requirements.
2. Freelance consulting and market research
If you believe you have some business skills and are capable of giving valuable advice to budding businesses, you should try freelance consulting and market research.
You don’t have to be from a McKinsey or BCG to become a business consultant. First identify a few areas you are good at, say sales or customer relationship or human resources management. Then go to platforms like Freelancer, Fiverr, or Upwork where you can find projects or jobs around branding, creating business plans, market research etc.
There can be no doubt that consulting jobs will help you understand better how businesses work. Market research on the other hand, will help you learn what’s happening in the business world, market dynamics, latest trends etc. So gear up with all your skills if you wish to become a freelance business consultant.
3. Get active on answering platforms
These websites provide a platform for you to ask and answer questions in the areas of your interest. They let you browse your favorite categories and subscribe to them to receive questions pertaining to those categories. Both these platforms have analytics layers – which improve over time – that display the most relevant questions on your feed.
You will enjoy using these platforms as you spend more and more time and answer a lot of questions, since people start noticing you. If you consistently give quality and useful answers, your credibility will increase. Make sure to spend enough time consistently to get the maximum out of these platforms.
4. Become a trainer or speaker
This needs you to be an expert in a subject. If you are not one, you can develop your knowledge and skill by working on it for some time before you attempt to deliver a talk or seminar.
Once you become an expert, the next step is to look for platforms where you can share your knowledge. You can try contacting forums, agencies and non-profit organizations which conduct motivational talks and training sessions for students and business professionals. The Outstanding Speakers’ Bureau based in India is an example for such a forum. You can explore similar groups in your country.
However, many such entities look for people who have established credibility in their respective areas, which means you might not be able to just knock at their door and say “hey I wanna deliver a speech”. Instead, you can work on increasing your popularity and acceptance in your industry. Following are a few ways in which you can do this:
- Author books and publish journals. You can also write articles on platforms like LinkedIn, where you get a lot of visibility.
- Conduct webinars: You can use online webinar services like ezTalks Webinar, Zoom, Anymeeting etc, to host your webinar. With some social media advertising you should be able to attract some audience. Try to get the most relevant audience to attend your webinar to increase your chances of success.
It might take some time for you to become an established speaker. But you will definitely enjoy the journey, if you love public speaking.
5. Join online and offline business forums
Depending on your area of interest, you can choose to be part of various online and offline communities that provide support and advice on business issues. They also form a platform for interacting with business enthusiasts and entrepreneurs around the world. Meetup.com is an online platform where you can find such hyper-local communities focused on entrepreneurship, business development, networking etc.
You could also look for communities created by large companies like Microsoft, where there are hundreds of thousands of people sharing their wisdom.
Communities and forum are a gold mine for those who seek knowledge and wish to meet people in world of business. Interactions in these can help widen your thoughts and enhance your skills.
I hope this article was useful. Try some of these out, and if you plan to take either of these as a profession, plan it out properly before you start.
Let me know which is your favorite from the list in the comments section. Also, please feel free to share your views and opinions.