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?


London, EC3R


Guildford, Surrey