When Your Hobby Becomes Your Full-Time Job
Most people with a ‘side-project’ will admit that their goal is for their hobby to become their full-time job. I’ve been asked a few times whether the ‘magic’ has disappeared from writing now I write full-time, so I thought this would be a good blog post to write.
I’ve spent most of my 20s in PR and marketing. It’s not a million miles away from freelance journalism, but it’s quite a stressful job. For me, marketing involved a lot of travelling. It was a continual juggling act whereby the juggling balls were my clients’ needs.
My dream was to be a freelance writer. I didn’t (and still don’t) care about the exact details of what that would look like. I just wanted to write. Working from home was my overall goal. My 20s have been punctuated with stints of working from home and I am so much happier when I do. Not everybody would agree; the solitude would drive so many people to insanity.
Flexibility was the most important part of this goal of mine. I didn’t want to work to somebody else’s schedule and miss important events because of work. I still take on marketing/PR projects, but I get to do it from home.
Here are some important things to note about making your hobby your job.
You don’t get out of doing the rubbish bits
In my idealistic view of working for myself, I would only take on dream clients. I would go to exotic locations and write about them for magazines that cost £10 to buy (interestingly it’s these types of magazines that simply cannot pay freelancers for work). I’d go to a writing and yoga retreat to find myself and then come back after 10 days and write about it on my blog. You see, in my vision, people paid me to write about them on my blog.
James has always worked for himself. He looked on at me in mild amusement as I described how I’d enjoy breakfast in the local artisan cafe (avocado, of course) whilst thumbing through a copy of The Bell Jar. He knew what my future entailed, and it wasn’t brunching whilst reading Sylvia Plath.
Sidenote: I did eventually read The Bell Jar and it’s bloody awful.
The truth is, I had to take on less than ideal projects, chase payments and hustle like I never hustled in my comfortable salaried job. You have to work hard because if you don’t, you don’t get paid.
It’s not bad, though. In fact, it’s amazing. But, you need to be aware of this. When your hobby turns into your work, you’ll still have bad days, but hopefully the good days will make it all worth it.
Take time off
When you’re doing something you love, it’s very easy to just keep working until you burn out. It has happened to me and I’ve seen it happen to most people I know who work in this sort of way. James and I went to Dubai a few years ago and ended up spending every single day working.
When you’re working for you and it’s you who directly benefits from your hard work, it’s very easy to keep working and working because hey, it makes you money.
Small things, like updating social media accounts and replying to quick emails, are wolves dressed in lamb’s clothing (that’s the saying, right?) I say this because you can do it whilst watching the TV or ‘relaxing’. I’ve found there to be huge value in stepping 100% away from work. I.e. putting my phone as far away from me as possible.
You can take on new hobbies and side-jobs
Since writing full-time, I’ve started going to Hoopla Improv classes. Although I still see writing as something I love more than anything, it’s not really a hobby anymore. Taking on something new can alleviate some of the stress from the working day.
I think it’s the same for side-projects. James and I started Maya Rey, a bath and skincare brand, on the side of our day jobs. Perhaps we are just weird and maybe you don’t feel like you need a ‘side-hustle’ but I think it’s always fun to have multiple projects going on. It keeps me on my toes.
I’d love to hear from you if you have turned your hobby into a full-time job. How does it feel? How do you fill the void?