Don’t Monetize Your Hobbies


Don’t Monetize Your HobbiesLet’s talk about hobbies. Do you have any? I know I do. You’re reading one of my main hobbies right now, in fact. I dabble in quite a few different hobbies, and you probably do, too. Hobbies are fun, provide us great ways to de-stress, allow us to indulge in creativity, and give us something else to do besides the hum-drum of daily life tasks. 

I think, however, there’s a growing push to monetize hobbies that’s getting a little out of control. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made some dessert for a birthday or get-together and had someone tell me I should sell whatever cookie or item it is. I even dabbled in creating my own cookie tray business and tried to do all the things you’d need to do in order to launch a home bakery type business. 

Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy.

I created a Facebook page for my business, branded it with a simple Canva-made image, and began to upload regular posts with the prettiest images I could come up with. I baked a ton of new recipes, arranged them artfully on trays, and shared them on socials with lists of prices and options. I refreshed the posts as needed and created holiday specials. I shared my business posts in Facebook groups to try and drum up business, and then I told my friends and family about it, too. 

Did I get business? Yes, some, although I’d argue that the home bakery business in Knoxville is a pretty saturated one with a market that has a myriad of options. I did get business and sold a decent amount of trays through the year when I initially pursued this business. I also lost money because I struggled to find the right pricing system to actually make it worth my time and the materials I was using. And I did not enjoy the marketing side of things aside from taking pictures of cookies. 

So let me share with you my feelings here. This is all in defense of hobbies as hobbies. 

I like to do a lot of different hobbies. I write a lot, both blog posts here and fiction elsewhere. I crochet and finger-knit some, and I have a loom where I weave different projects as I have time. I bake all sorts of things from homemade breads to cookies to cakes to pastries. I read a lot, too, although that’s not as easy a hobby to monetize necessarily. 

If you have creative hobbies, you might have had someone tell you the same thing. “You need to start selling those!” It’s the kind of compliment that makes you feel good because you’re doing something right, but the more you hear it, the more you might start thinking that there’s some truth to it. You’re already making the artistic item in question, and you’re doing it for free, but people seem to like it. Why shouldn’t you start selling it? 

Here are a few considerations before you start monetizing your hobbies:

  • Are you able to charge enough for it to be profitable over time? You have to take your materials costs, your time in labor, and any overhead costs into consideration here. Those can add up fast, and in order to make a profit, you’ll want to tack on an extra percentage so you aren’t simply breaking even. 
  • Do people see the value of the item enough to pay your price? This one can be a real sticking point. So many people I’ve met have tried to sell things and found that despite the compliments, when it comes down to business, people rarely want to part with the kind of money a homemade item costs because they’re able to get a similar mass-produced item for a fraction of the cost. 
  • Can you handle all the extra time needed to not only do your financials but also market and sell your items? Some people sign up for craft fairs and head out to multiple craft fairs, especially during holiday market times. Some people are constantly posting to socials to keep in a feed, and others are going door-to-door at local businesses to find spaces to share their products. It’s a time-consuming task and requires extra skills like great photography, salesmanship, and marketing. 
  • Are you content to shift your mindset from a hobby to a business? I think this is an issue a lot of people don’t think about initially but learn from experience. At some point as you begin monetizing your hobby, it becomes more of a job and less of what it was: a stress-releasing, fun activity. This involves a mindset shift, and sometimes it’s disappointing to realize the hobby you enjoyed is now not as pleasurable as it used to be.

I don’t write this to discourage people from monetizing hobbies, but to give you some food for thought. Hobbies are great. They can be fun, enjoyable, and creative. You don’t have to monetize your hobby for it to have value. As long as you enjoy it, keep doing what you love and don’t worry about it adding monetary value to your life.

In the end, pursuing something we love during our free time is a fine and freeing thing.


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