My website is a hobby featuring me writing about my hobbies such as collecting records, listening to music, discovering new artists, buying vintage audio gear and more. I have zero interest in monetizing this site nor am I interested in how many people read it. I don’t bother cross posting my posts to Facebook or Twitter in the hopes people click through to read. I just write here and let it be. It’s just another hobby of mine and I love it.
I’m a fan of people who advocate for hobbies more than side hustles. I applaud those who who give us the right to do something for fun and not another thing to cause us stress by figuring out how to monetize it.
Molly Conway’s article, The Modern Trap of Turning Hobbies Into Hustles, reminded me of my love of hobbies just in time to start the new year, a time when we’re often planning and trying to find more ways to generate income, pay off debt, etc.
Here are my favorite takeaways from her article…
We live in the era of the hustle. Of following our dreams until the end, and then pushing ourselves more. And every time we feel beholden to capitalize on the rare places where our skills and our joy intersect, we underline the idea that financial gain is the ultimate pursuit. If we’re good at it, we should sell it. If we’re good at it and we love it, we should definitely sell it.
I personally think hobbies are a chance to enrich a person’s life and Molly asks those same questions in her piece…
That’s not to say there isn’t joy to be found in turning something you love into your life’s work — it’s just to say that it’s okay to love a hobby the same way you’d love a pet; for its ability to enrich your life without any expectation that it will help you pay the rent. What would it look like if monetizing a hobby was downgraded from the ultimate path to one path? What if we allowed ourselves to devote our time and attention to something just because it makes us happy? Or, better yet, because it enables us to truly recharge instead of carving our time into smaller and smaller pieces for someone else’s benefit?
My favorite part of her article is the idea of a person trying watercolors and not being good. A hobby is something we should start poorly and then perfect as we learn and practice more. The best way to learn and practice (and make crappy things in between) is to not have the stress of monetizing anything.
How did we get to the point where free time is so full of things we have to do that there’s no room for things we get to do? When did a beautiful handmade dress become a reminder of one’s inadequacies? Would the world really fall apart if, when I came home from a long day of work, instead of trying to figure out what I could conquer, I sat down and, I don’t know, tried my hand at watercolors? What if I sucked? What if it didn’t matter? What if that’s not the point?
The past few years I’ve slowly taught myself how to repair vintage audio gear. I post it about it on my socials to show my progress and people enjoyed it. However, I found myself then taking on other people’s repair jobs to try and make some money and instantly did not enjoy it. It stressed me out, both times. That’s right, I tried it twice, not learning my lesson the first time.
Instead, I’m dialing back on working on other’s people gear in my spare time and focusing on just the projects I have waiting for me at home (which is quite a few). I can take my time rebuilding a receiver and love it a lot more than if I’m troubleshooting a friend’s broken piece of gear.
Molly’s article reminded me that I shouldn’t feel the need to monetize this hobby of vintage audio gear repair, but instead do it as a creative outlet for myself. The same goes for you and your hobby.