There’s a new work reality for many of us of working age and that is to parlay our passions into money-making ventures, often in conjunction with a main job; or, as a way to take the pace out of previously hectic lives.
A study released on Tuesday by Britain Thinks and Investec Click & Invest suggests that there is a very definite social trend for this kind of career reset with many of us taking hobbies a step up and turning them into income generators.
Chances are you’ll know of someone who is already fulfilling their dream of a life fantastic. If you live in a City, considering whether or not you can make a go of doing something else is often part of the daily commute.
When you're wending your way home after a long day, on a crowded tube or train wedged under someone’s arm pit, dreams come fast and furious.
Many are now taking the plunge and turning those dreams into realities. Judging their success not solely by a level of income, although it is a key consideration, but also by how happy they feel.
Going to make a change: the new career paradigm
According to the report, around one third of the British population have chosen to reset their career and a further 32% are considering making a change within the next five years that will lead to a rewarding career, involve setting up a business or turning a hobby into a profit-making venture.
There are a number of factors that are sparking this change but certainly, shifting work patterns and the increasing gig economy are key motivators.
It means that many of us are willing to explore making a change. We are no longer wedded to the idea that a) you only have one job and b) that it has to be for someone else.
There is a reason for this and Viki Cooke, founding partner of Britain Thinks, points to stronger 'can-do' attitudes and renewed confidence in our abilities to control our lives.
Cooke said: “Our research identifies that across the population there is a move towards empowerment as people recognise that in a world of increasing uncertainty, they need to take control of their lives and ‘reset’. This has implications for work and careers, lifestyle and financial planning. We see this as a societal trend which is set to continue.”
Who are the brave souls?
There is no age limit to those who choose to reset. Millennials have been exhibiting this change as many have turned social media and technology into a new frontier but increasingly more over 50s are also pushing through new barriers.
There are lots of examples of in the digital sphere with businesses like Digital Mums founded by Nikki Cochrane and Kathryn Tyler, which aims to retrain mothers in social media skills in order to achieve the work/accomodating life balance.
Now over 50s who have already had a career and a lifestyle change at least once, are becoming just as likely to have yet another reset. Generally these folks are looking for a similar balance but with the emphasis squarely on life.
As part of the report's analysis a poll conducted post the snap general election revealed that 30% of existing ‘resetters’ have created businesses. Another 22% are using their hobbies to generate an income - a new group of entrepreneurs the report calls ‘Hobbypreneurs’.
More people are also changing careers to do something more rewarding and have become more focused about financial planning and investments than the population as a whole.
Moving from hobby to fully fledged business
Jonathan Parke, is old enough to not consider Facebook as something he grew up with, but he and his partner Annette Frere have taken their passion for riding motorbikes and turned it into a comfortable and self-sustaining online business called Rugged Roads and, yes, they use Facebook.
Like many of those turning their hobbies into business, it's often because they find they can fill a need.
Parke says the business began when they often couldn't find parts for their bikes so they would make them. It wasn't long before other friends would ask if they could have the same and the business grew from there.
Rugged Roads, which is ran by Frere and another partner, is a global specialist company that manufacturers and supplies parts for a specific range of bikes such as the Honda Africa Twin, Yamaha, KTM and BMW.
In addition, the company is as a one-stop shop stocking premium brands on everything you can put on your bike from top to exhaust. About 60% of their business is from overseas custom.
Making creative pursuits pay
Karen Roberts sews, has done it all her life, and it's something she enjoys. She is also the owner of NeatPleats, a bespoke curtain-making company in rural Shropshire. She turned her hobby into a sideline again out of necessity.
Her previous job as a cook at a local restaurant meant a change to her work hours from day time to evening. Robert's husband is a farmer and he works long hours sometimes late into the night and the new timetable could not accomodate their child care needs.
So Roberts decided to look to her other skills to generate a bit of income to supplement what comes in from the farm. She started her business making handmade curtains in 2011.
A primary driver for people like Roberts and Parke is the ability to have their businesses fit around their life rather than vice versa.
Flexibility and balance is the key
For Robert's her business needs to be flexible because her husband is a farmer. She has always made sure that her work fits around the busiest times during lambing and harvest.
From the start Roberts thought about how her business would work around the family and the farm.
She says, "I always tell my clients if we are about to be busy that they might have to wait but they are usually understanding, after all I'm offering a bespoke service and I strive for high quality and that takes time!"