Today, it’s not uncommon to hear occasionally that it's a wise decision to make your hobby your profession. Some find gold in this advice but some struggle to keep their bank accounts afloat. Each one of us is made up of the skills we bring to work and the interests we leave behind at home, some carry them even to work. This article is about those brave ones.
In my wildly unpopular opinion, just like you do not mix business with leisure - at least in theory, you should not mix your hobby with your job. Your passion or hobby or largely an interest ideally exists to serve its purpose of bringing you happiness or help you relax. If shrewdly put, it even acts as an escape from a routine you follow for most days in any given week. It's no secret that everybody is looking for a kind of profession that allows them a sense of purpose and not something to escape from.
But, if the source of your fun is suddenly your profession, would you still call it your hobby?
"Money, the start and end of it all"
It’s still a debatable topic, but whether money may or may not buy happiness, it does influence behavior and requirements in life. For example, If your hobby or area of interests are unmet due to financial limitations, your heart and mind both channel this unspent energy to reach this intersection point of happiness in your life - financial nirvana.
Hence, it's safe to also say that money is certainly a double edged sword - mix it with happiness and it doubles, mix it with hobbies and it troubles. You do your hobbies with your heart and make money with your mind. Mixing them together is a gamble, it can be the beginning or the end of everything. Enter into this game only if you are open to gambling.
"Hobby as a profession, is it even an option?"
With money, the distance towards the road of happiness is fairly shorter, otherwise, it's quite a long wobbly walk. Probably that's why our parents back in their day saw very selective professions as stable and secure for a wholesome future. As far as they believed, only the likes of Amitabh Bachchan or Kapil Dev were capable (or rather, brave) enough to make their passion their source of primary income.
“Oh, that’s not for everybody”, said my father one day, and I believed it. He further added, “when there is a responsibility on you to financially shoulder your family, the passion takes a backseat, and what’s wrong in that? Pursue your passion on Sundays, simple.” It made me wonder and my conscious mind resonated with this line of thought too. Making your passion your profession is surely not for the faint-hearted ones. You have to be as brave as Moana to follow your heart and withhold the willpower to chin up and continue to march ahead even if you consecutively taste failure.
So, for the argument’s sake, what could go wrong if you decide to make your passion your job?
The happiness gets replaced with the balance sheet
Since the theory here is that when you mix money with ‘emotions’, the end goal becomes ‘money’ and not happiness. The joy you once felt reduces to only becoming a chase. The monthly, quarterly and annual chase of ‘break evens’, ‘profits/losses’, and related shenanigans. Don't forget the extra levels of anxiety that occasionally tags along with the levels of excitement.
Work and life become interchangeable terms
Yes, post-pandemic (or even before that), there was a collective euphoria across the global working community aspiring for work-life balance or to be able to have fun at work. It's a beautiful concept indeed and a dire need, in today’s times with the workforce more dynamic and self aware than ever.
But, if we toy with the whole idea of maintaining that fine line of distinction between what you do to earn your bread and what you do to just enjoy baking your bread, absence of that line can cause confusion and your subconscious mind may respond differently to the activities that once brought you joy.
Wanting a flexible lifestyle where you plan your work as per your life and not the other way around does sound inviting, perhaps that is why this culture of following your heart is quite the rage among today’s young professionals who do not want to see their weekends as 2 days of escape from monotony.
Your source of inspiration has deadlines now
The best way to brew creativity is not to squeeze it out of you but rather distract your mind, and let it wander around. There is a good chance that your hobby acts as one of the sources of inspiration for you.
Imagine you love making music and you are good at it, after its commercialization, the pressure of making it a hit, sell/market yourself, deliver your best music every time. Can you confidently say that it brings you the peace it once did?
When your profession demands your best self 24/7, where do you go to brew inspiration and declutter your mind?
Having said that, there is an exception to everything, here, we have countless success stories to prove that converting your passion into your profession is a rewarding and satisfactory affair. Whether you are a photographer, baker, musician, coder, dancer, singer, actor, candle maker, jewelry maker, filmmaker, and many more who took risks by believing in the professions that society generally does not acknowledge with a positive nod. However, what happens behind the closed doors of these hustlers continues to be relatively unknown unless there is a published article about them covering their ‘days of struggle before gleaming with the limelight’.
Going by the general narrative, it is usually observed that an individual is unhappy with their current job, decides to take a giant leap of faith, and lands up with a decision that their passion can be monetized, thus, a very brave entrepreneur is born and the rest is history.
On the other hand, does there lurk an opportunity for salaried individuals to convert their passion into their profession too?’
Here are three ways in my opinion that salaried individuals with a 9 to 5 (or in reality, 9 to 9) jobs can benefit from using their passion without losing its luster.
1) Second source of income
It is relatively a known notion that having only one source of income is not enough if you want to plan your future better. One day, a financial advisor explained it to me, the previous generations used to start earning early hence had a tenure of almost 40 years to create wealth, however, in today’s times, an average individual starts to earn by the time they are 25. With a newfound craze of retiring early among young professionals, this leaves them with merely 25 years to earn and plan for their future.
With lifestyle maintenance costs increasing by the day, it's a wise decision to use your hobby as a side income, that allows you the flexibility of managing your weekday job as well as satisfy your unused creative juices.
So if you like baking cookies on weekends, take a leap of faith and host a weekend gathering invite your friends and their friends. Ever heard of peer pressure? Use it to your advantage for good and sell them a box, because why not?
2) Networking or socializing 101
Yes, it's a no-brainer! Hobbies or interests are known to help you socialize and increase your network. I once read somewhere that your net-worth is your network. There is merit in this, and thus, this is one of the tried and tested ways to ice-break into a conversation with a prospective client or a future employer.
If you are a content creator at heart, this also means you get to collaborate and extend your horizons of learning and advancing your hobby.
3) Your personal brand starts here
If you haven’t noticed before, pay attention to how people with leadership skills talk. They say that they use their hobbies to their professional edge and often draw a comparison to how they learn so much from their hobbies such as team building lessons by playing football.
Similarly, your hobbies are also helpful ‘your personal brand attributes’ and disclose to your prospective audience who you are when you are not at your desk (or at, to each his own). Not only that, it helps break the inter-professional barriers and forms healthy discussions at work enough to spark innovations, ideas, and opportunities.
But nearly all said and discussed, the question remains the same - If your passion or hobby gives your soul the much-needed rest, would you ‘rest’ at your profession which is like a sacred battlefield in itself?
Tell me what you think? Ping away!