We’ve all been at the casual gathering enjoying a friend’s cookies she’s baked and caught ourselves saying, “Wow, these are amazing; you should start a business. I’d definitely support it!” Not knowing that we are passively pressuring that person to think about monetizing their hobby that could have been their stress reliever which would become the opposite once it’s cultivated into a lucrative business. There are many reasons why monetizing certain hobbies is a great idea, but feeling the need to monetize every hobby quickly becomes draining.
As a freelance content writer, I could literally choose to write about anything under the sun if I find the right publication home for it. But then, how do I get to ever just be present and not dissect every form of content I find thought-provoking worthy of a pitch? It takes a lot of discernment to properly analyze the execution of something that is done leisurely and flipping it to make money. The saying, “do what you love and you will never work a day in your life” is a lie. I’m a fashion designer and writer, and I love what I do, but I’ve had to work very hard to be prominent in my fields. It doesn’t mean that everywhere I go, I have to design an outfit or write about everything I find interesting.
Sometimes the most significant fulfillment is just exploring other options in those fields, wearing what someone else designed, and reading what other writers write to learn something new. Over the last few years, I’ve learned that there is so much peace when you allow yourself just to bask in joy with the things you like to explore leisurely — no deadlines, no marketing aspects to fulfill, just your creative lens to explore in whatever fashion you’d like.
Here are a few reasons why every hobby doesn’t need to be monetized:
1.There's less time for yourself.
Once you turn your hobby into a cash-flowing business, the first thing to expect is your free time for yourself becomes reduced. Especially if your hobby was what you did after your day job. Prepare to adopt the mindset of just going from one job to the next because essentially, that's the mindset you need to have to produce at an efficient rate. Some people may say, 'So what? At least I'm making more money or building something that’s my own.'
But in the long run, are you really building in a sustaining sense, or are you just working yourself up to burn out? And if you're burnt out, you have nothing to build on; this is why prioritizing rest should be a necessity, not optional. The more you jam-pack your schedule with work, the less sharp you are at executing any job. Choose to value quality over quantity.
2.Managing the logistics of your hobby turned business isn’t fun.
I recall the first time I went head first with monetizing my hobby of making jewelry and handbags into a cute Etsy business in college — my feelings for the craft started off elated and evolved into exhaustion real quickly. It’s one thing to take the responsibility of being the designer of the jewelry and handbag assortment, and it’s another experience juggling being my own photographer, PR person, marketing, sales, production person, and social media content creator. I was 19 when I started that business with a child-like mindset leading purely off of passion, which is nice, but it doesn’t check off the necessary boxes for a growing business that needs a lot more planning and logistics involved.
The idea of monetizing a hobby can sound like a ton of fun until you have to be all the other functioning parts of the business before you can pay anyone to be those assets you need. So before any hobby is considered to be converted to be a money-making opp, think about the 360-process on execution from beginning to end before you sign yourself up for all of that blindly and end up loathing the hobby you loved.
3.There's less creative freedom.
Overall, the way most people like to do their hobbies leisurely, in their own way, and in their timeframe changes once the hobby is converted into something that makes money. The business world’s favorite saying is, “Time is money.” Now we don’t have time for you to do those fancy parts in your client's hair because it takes too long and you have more heads to do, or the fancy frosting detail on your cupcakes takes 20 minutes to perfect, but your marketing person says you need to slice that time in half to make more cupcakes.
When hobbies are flipped to businesses, it always comes down to what will make us more money; very few companies can sustain themselves without bringing in the net worth they need to bring in every year. And that’s fine, but it’s something you have to get accustomed to when you flip your creative approach. When your hobby was just for you, it was checking off all the boxes to please you aesthetics-wise, how long it took you to make it, etc. If you are now running a business, you have to lead with what satisfies your customers and base your offerings on the analytics of what sells most. The reality of this is that products might not always be what you like to produce most but because it's the bread and butter of the company, you have to do it.
So, choosing to monetize some hobbies is cool, but choosing to monetize every hobby is unhealthy. What does it leave for you to enjoy leisurely? Putting a price tag on everything you're good at can sound good on paper, but behind the scenes, it can potentially lead to burnout. Value the quality of your peace of mind more than the quantity of your income.
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