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3 Reasons Every Hobby Doesn't Need To Be Monetized

Every side thing doesn't have to be a hustle.

Workin' Girl

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.

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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.

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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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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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