Wanting to make money from your hobby isn’t wrong if you remember these 4 tips.
Imagine if you could do exactly what you love and be paid for it.
As someone who’s been consistently making more money from my hobby than my day job for the past few months, I can safely say that this feels like a dream come true.
- Getting paid for doing what you love is like another level of gamification — a feeling of progress as if you’ve “levelled up” in the pursuit of your passion.
- Better rewards act as further inspiration to create more. Thus, you end up becoming more passionate and derive much more enjoyment from doing what you love.
Monetising my passion for writing wasn’t an easy task. As someone who grew up in a tight-knit Indian family, my parents were against the idea. For them, writing is a hobby and should be treated as such. Looking for ways to make money out of it somehow took away the sanctity of the process and made it more mainstream. It wasn’t easy convincing them or getting them to agree to the idea that it’s not immoral or unethical to seek ways to monetise your skill. After all, if you’re adding value to the consumer’s life, there’s nothing wrong in expecting monetary compensation in return, is there?
There are still a lot of social stigmas attached to wanting to be paid for doing what you love. But I believe that if your heart wants to take the leap, you should go for it.
However, as an independent creator, there are some things you need to keep in mind before monetising your hobby. This post discusses four things you need to take care of before starting to make money from doing what you love.
1. Remember It Won’t Ever be Perfect
Start right away. Don’t wait for your skills to be “perfect” and waste precious time. As a fellow creative, I can assure you that it’s never going to be perfect. No matter how many times you polish your product, there are going to be elements you wish you could change.
If there's one thing I’ve learned in my journey so far, it’s this: the world isn’t looking for perfect. There’s already a sea of content for them to lose themselves in, and they aren’t looking for something that’s the best version of itself. All the world wants is honesty and true love for the art. Even if you make mistakes in your first few attempts, it’s alright. The very first people who choose to follow you also get to witness your growth as an artist. When you’re famous, the feeling that they’ve stuck with you since the beginning would only make them more loyal.
Also, don’t let the idea that it’s already been done stop you. Sure, your idea might not be unique, but no one else has done it in the exact way you would, and that’s what makes it authentic. In the words of Elizabeth Gilbert:
“These days, I’m far more moved by authenticity. Attempts at originality can often feel forced and precious, but authenticity has quiet resonance that never fails to stir me.”
Don’t wait to be perfect. Start today and see where the path takes you.
2. Be You
Once you start getting feedback from people and understanding what kind of content works, it might get tempting to change yourself for the audience. Especially when money is involved, you might start feeling the pressure to create only the kind of content you believe might “click”.
When I started writing on Medium, I tried mimicking more successful people’s articles. I saw the topic of self-help was the most popular and started writing pieces on personal development that weren’t really my style. Needless to say, it didn’t pay off. I didn’t have any fun, nor was the result worth all the time spent in creating it. Only when I stopped emulating others and sought to find my own voice, did I start making significant progress. I stuck to the topics I enjoyed writing about the most, and this definitely worked in my favour.
Don’t fall into the trap of creating what’s perceived as ‘popular’. It will only stifle your creativity and make you feel bad about your work. Create the kind of content that makes you feel happy. Yes, you should definitely utilise feedback from the audience, but that should be in making what you create better, not switching the genre to something you find no joy in.
3. Be Patient
When you start your own little business of making money from your hobby, it’s easy to get demotivated, especially if you don’t see immediate results. “How could it not work?” you think to yourself. After all, you poured your heart and soul into creating the end-product. How could the audience not appreciate it?
The thing is — it takes time to establish credibility, and no matter how talented you are, it’s not realistic to expect your first article to make thousands of dollars. When you’re looking to monetise your hobby, accept that you’re in it for the long run. Be prepared to put in consistent efforts over a period of time and only then you can get paid.
Remember there are thousands of independent content creators you’re competing against, some of them have been working for far longer than you can imagine. Of course, it would take time and effort to reach their level.
4. Don’t Make It Your Only Source of Income
I love writing. I love making money from writing. But if I made it my sole income source, then the amount of money I earn would directly depend on how many words I can write in a day. That would put pressure on me to write something each day, whether I feel like it or not. If I write without feeling passionate about it, what’s the difference between a hobby and a day job?
A hobby is supposed to give you joy. It’s not supposed to act as a cage and trap you inside the regular grind.
To make sure this doesn’t happen, work towards building multiple sources of income. This can be monetising the same hobby in different forms. For example, if you’re a photographer, you can take up commissioned work, upload your work on freelancing websites, do portfolio shoots and make movies. If you’re a writer, you can work on books, write on online platforms that pay, start your own writing course, make videos on YouTube, etc. Or, you can also work on monetising different hobbies, or combining two hobbies and making something unique that can be monetised.
The key here is not to let your income depend on doing just one type of work. Mix and match your skills and time to derive enjoyment out of the process.
Monetising a hobby can act as a great motivation, despite the social stigma attached to it. Here are four things you need to keep in mind:
- Don’t wait until you’re perfect. Start right away.
- Don’t change yourself for the audience. Be authentic. Be you.
- Stop expecting immediate results. Be prepared to be in it for the long term. Consistency always pays off.
- Have other sources of income aside from the hobby.
The most important part is to revel in your creativity and enjoy the process. Sure, making money by doing what you love is awesome, but that shouldn’t take the enjoyment out of creating.