Ask Anna: How can I make my hobby a full-time job?

For her first advice column of 2019, our resident agony aunt Anna Higgs advises a reader with a passion for short film on how to turn her side hustle into a full-time job

Illustration by Sean McSorley

Dear Anna,

I am a freelance shorts producer and short film programmer for a pop-up cinema. I also work full time in marketing but would love some advice on how to make my hobby my full-time job, and be able to live off it!


Dear Earleatha,

Well, the good news is you’re in the right full-time job right now to make your hobby your paying gig – because the success of something like a cinema depends entirely on audience engagement, and that is always down to great marketing. In terms of how to get there – as is annoyingly always the case with most of the best stuff in life – there’s no set single route. The good news is that there’s a whole range of tools that you can leverage to pave the way; and the great news is that you have all the answers already. I promise.

First of all, I’d start with a vision. What does success look like to you here? Is it having a thriving pop-up cinema that’s your sole focus? Or a combination of shorts production and the cinema?  Whatever it is, set that out as your goal – on a wall, in a notepad, in images – get the goal down in the way that works best for you.

It’s not always easy to make a clear goal so consider asking yourself questions to make sure you have it as refined as possible: how will you know when you’ve reached your goal? What will reaching your goal give you? What’s most important to you when you think about this goal?