Title Card - Hobbies To Hustles

Hobbies To Hustles: Avoiding Losing The Passion

The logic is pretty straightforward: if you have a hobby that you really enjoy doing and you see a way to make a living out of it, why aren’t you doing it? Obviously if you enjoy it enough as a hobby, then doing it as a job only makes sense, right?

Well, no, not always. While turning a passion into a job could mean a potential passion-filled career, it could also result in the total opposite effect, losing all or most of the passion you had when you were doing it for nothing. But why? Shouldn’t the prospect of making money make you that much more motivated and passionate to do something you love? It’s not really that simple. In theory, this is true, but you may be missing the bigger picture here and some of the reasons why it doesn’t seem quite so fun anymore performing your hobby as a hustle.

Problem 1: You’re on the clock.

Hobbies are meant to come with little to no pressure, where you don’t feel as though you have to do something if you don’t want to. Understandably, there will be some days where you don’t feel like doing something, even if you had been enjoying it the previous day. Maybe you want to spend your time going out for a walk instead, or spending more time with the kids, and that’s okay! That’s your choice, and your hobby! This problem occurs when you feel as though you HAVE to do it because otherwise you won’t get paid, and then you are doing it for the money, not for the enjoyment of it.

The solution to this is remembering why you started doing this type of thing in the first place. This was enjoyable to you, it was never about earning money when you started it as a hobby and doing it for free, so why should it be about the money now? If you’re finding that more of your time is spent having to work instead of wanting to work no matter what frame of mind you’re in, you might need to ask yourself if you actually want your hobby to be work instead of just for fun. Remember, just because you’re doing something for fun doesn’t mean it’s a waste of time. Spending time to unwind is just as important as earning a living.

Problem 2: You’re not actually doing what used to be your hobby anymore.

As an example, let’s suppose you’re someone like me who really enjoys writing, and as a hobby you spent time writing fantasy novels. You enjoyed writing fantasy novels so much that you decide it’s time to turn your passion into a career and get into writing. But guess what? It turns out your passion wasn’t writing in general, it was writing fantasy in particular. Suddenly you got work writing technical manuals for the automotive industry and you are bored out of your mind. This is not the kind of work you were expecting when you thought about writing as a career! Even worse, you don’t even have time to write fantasy novels anymore, and all of your writing energy is gone trying to put it into your work.

When turning your hobby into work, it’s most important to understand what it is about your hobby that you actually enjoy. In my example, it turned out it wasn’t the actual writing that was enjoyable, but writing fantasy novels in particular that was your hobby. This specificity is important, because you just need to angle your position in a different way. Maybe you weren’t meant for technical writing where people tell you what to write, you need more creative freedom in what you do. Perhaps you need something even more specific than that, and you actually need to be writing fantasy novels to enjoy it. People do make a living off writing books! Of course, this is just an example and can really be applied to any line of work. Really get down to what is making you enjoy your hobby: understanding why you enjoy something makes a huge difference when you try to turn it into work.

Problem 3: Your work environment doesn’t feel the same.

You would be surprised at how much where you are working makes a difference. You could take the same hobby and try to do it somewhere else and find you lose all your motivation to do it because it doesn’t feel right. Suddenly you remember that the reason you got into woodworking in the first place was because you were improving your basement and feeling accomplished at completing the job, and working in this cold, industrial warehouse with massive machines doing the same thing over and over again doesn’t cut it. This kind of ties into the previous point of understanding why you’re doing something, but you’d be surprised at how much a different environment can make a difference!

Many different jobs have seen a rise in people working from home over the course of the pandemic, and many have been surprised at just how much they prefer this lifestyle. Their productivity is better, their work improves, and they feel much more comfortable in their element. They have found the setting that works for them. This may just be the tweak that you need to get off on the right foot at your job!

Of course, these are only a few of the ways that might be why your hobby didn’t work as well as you hoped as a full-time job. Even if you are enjoying it, there might be ways that you could make it even better. I encourage you to really look at your work and see if there is a way you figure you could improve it, and do it! And if you find that your hobby was just actually supposed to be a hobby, that’s okay. The good news is that you figured it out now and not after you lost your enjoyable hobby in the rear view mirror.