As society becomes more fixated on hustle culture and the gig economy, it seems that everyone has a side hustle. Whether it’s selling homemade crafts on Etsy or catering food, side hustles have become a popular way for people to make extra money outside of their 9-to-5 jobs.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with having a side hustle, it’s important to recognize the difference between a hobby and a side hustle, and why it isn’t necessary to turn every single one of your interests into income.
The rise of side hustles
In recent years, the idea of having a side hustle has become more and more prevalent. According to a survey conducted by Bankrate, nearly 4 in 10 Americans have a side hustle. The growing popularity of side hustles can be attributed to a number of factors, including the gig economy, the rising cost of living, and the desire for more financial freedom.
While having a side hustle can provide a sense of financial security and allow individuals to pursue their passions outside of their day jobs, not all hobbies are meant to be monetized.
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The difference between hobbies and side hustles
At their core, hobbies are meant to be a source of enjoyment and relaxation. They are activities that we engage in because we love them, not because we need to make money from them. Side hustles, on the other hand, are meant to be a source of income. While it’s possible for a hobby to turn into a side hustle, it doesn’t mean that it always should.
If you love painting, for example, selling your artwork might seem like a great idea. But once you start selling your paintings, you might find that the pressure to create and sell more paintings takes away the joy you once found in the activity.
When passion becomes pressure
The dynamic of a hobby changes once it becomes a side hustle. The pressure to create for capital can take away from the creative process, and make the activity feel like a chore rather than something you enjoy. Additionally, you’re no longer just doing it for yourself. You now have customers to please, deadlines to meet, and expectations to live up to. This can lead to burnout and unfavorable feelings toward an activity you once enjoyed for fun.
The downside of monetizing hobbies
Running a side hustle can be time-consuming and stressful. You may find yourself spending all your free time working on your side hustle, leaving little time for rest and relaxation. It can also be challenging to balance a side hustle with a full-time job or other commitments.
Finally, there’s the risk that turning a hobby into a side hustle may not be profitable or sustainable in the long run. Just because you love doing something doesn’t necessarily mean that other people will pay for it, or that you’ll be able to make a sustainable income from it.
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When turning a hobby into a side hustle can be beneficial
Of course, there are situations in which turning a hobby into a side hustle can be beneficial. For example, if you’re looking to gain experience in a certain field or career, starting a side hustle related to that field can be a great way to build your skills and portfolio.
Similarly, if you have a hobby that has the potential to generate a lot of income, such as woodworking or graphic design, it may be worth exploring the idea of turning it into a side hustle. Just be sure to do your research and make sure there’s a market for what you’re offering.
Risks and challenges of relying on side hustles for income
Side hustles can be unpredictable and volatile, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to make a sustainable income from them. Additionally, relying on side hustles for income can be stressful and time-consuming, and can take away from other important areas of your life. It’s important to have a backup plan and to prioritize financial stability, especially if you’re considering quitting your full-time job to focus on a side hustle.
Recognizing when it’s time to let go of a side hustle
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, a side hustle just doesn’t work out. When this happens, it might be best to let go. If your side hustle is causing you more stress than joy, you’re not making the money you need to make, or you’re no longer enjoying the activity, you can always move on. This can be difficult, especially if you’ve invested a lot of time and energy into your side hustle, but your happiness and well-being matter more than money.
Balancing work and leisure time
One of the biggest challenges of turning hobbies into side hustles is finding a balance between work and leisure time. It’s important to set boundaries and prioritize self-care. Hobbies are meant to be enjoyable and fulfilling, regardless of whether or not they generate income.
When you focus too much on the financial aspect of your hobby, you may lose sight of why you started doing it in the first place. Make sure to set aside time for leisure activities that have no financial benefit, and prioritize your mental and emotional well-being.
Embracing the joy of hobbies
The idea of earning extra income from a passion project can be thrilling, and the side hustle trend has only grown in recent years. However, turning every hobby into a side hustle may not always be the best idea.