When It’s More Than A Hobby But Not Yet A Business

by

I find that a good amount my readers (aka: you wonderful folks) find yourselves in one of these 2 situations:

  • Those who would like to work on their hobbies for increased intrinsic joy
  • Those who would like to make money from their hobbies

But I after I did some more research I found an in between category, namely:

  • Those who are unsure exactly what they want out of their hobby

I too have struggled with this at times. I enjoyed writing screenplays and sketch comedies but I wasn’t sure what I wanted out of it. Curious but undecided, talented but confused.

Do I continue writing for me or do I try to earn money doing it?

It was at that point that I felt the most paralyzed. So for a few days this past week I tried to come up with a name for this stage of thinking, when we’re more than just hobbyists but not exactly business-minded yet.

Welcome to the world of…the Entre-not-so-sure. (eh? EHH?)

The entre-not-so-sure sits at the impasse between hobby and business because in virtually 100% of the cases, the business built around the hobby won’t feel anything like the hobby did in the first place.

The framework of building a hobby is completely different than a business but each one takes intentionality. You can’t build a business out of your hobby until you’ve built up your skills in that hobby.

To build a hobby you need:

  • time
  • interest
  • practice

To turn a hobby into a business you need:

  • A potential market to sell to
  • An opportunity to fill that market
  • Feedback from that market

So for those sitting in between these two worlds:

Question #1: Is your hobby some form of an equitable skill? People might pay you for your woodworking, computer programming, graphic designing or writing talents but they will probably not pay you to swim, hike, or read.

Question #2: If so, are you willing to trade some of your hobby’s intrinsic fulfillment by inviting monetary benchmarks and extrinsic judgment into the mix? You might love painting in your backyard on the weekends but are you willing to have someone give their opinion on any of your work or let you know how much they’re willing to pay for something you made or to have no one desire your work at all?

Question #3: If so, are you trying to make a few bucks on the side or are you trying to make a living? $50/month is a lot different than $5,000/month. Understand what you want out of it and what it might take to get there.

If you don’t get to question 3, then move on and simply enjoy your hobby for the joy that it brings you. If you did get to question 3, it’s time to start thinking like a business owner.

Don’t beat yourself up for being an entre-not-so-sure, beat yourself up for staying one.