We live in a world where Instagram throws your 9-5 in your face as something to detest and tells you to quit your job and follow your passion. The gig economy has taken full force; it seems like everyone has a side hustle these days. On top of that, it seems like everyone knows enough about their purpose and what they’re passionate about to monetize it and build dream homes at the age of 25.
Man, what a life! When you’re surrounded by Instagram accounts of people who make a living by social media influencing or running 6-figure businesses that were built off of their influencer audience, it’s easy to get caught up in the ideals and perceived perfection. I almost did. I thought long and hard about quitting my job and starting my own business. I’ve had so many different ideas to start a business on, such as writing.
But for me, writing (from a creative standpoint) is generally a hobby – something I do in my free time for enjoyment. As I began to imagine what my career would look like, I thought a lot about all of the burned out social media influencers of today. You know the ones. The ones who used to share their every meal and recommend products simply because they found it enjoyable, who now only post sponsored content because they have to.
It dawned on me that many people who turn their hobby into a side hustle (or full-time hustle) actually end up hating the hobby. Why? Because it’s no longer a hobby in the sense of the word. It also dawned on me that doing this is dangerous. You run the risk of turning your hobby into work and if you don’t replace your hobby, you end up working 24/7.
It seems to me that the lines between hobbies, side hustles, and passion projects are blurred. This past week, I had a come to Jesus moment where I needed to sit down and consider my own day-to-day activities and what role they actually play. I needed to talk myself down from the urge to monetize my every move. I don’t know about you, but Instagram has a hell of a way of making me feel like I should monetize even my morning coffee routine.
This isn’t healthy, at all.
If you’re someone (like me) who’s been struggling with the possibility of monetizing of your every move, let’s figure this out together. I took inventory of the things I enjoy in my life and categorized them into a side-hustle, passion project, and hobby. Doing this has really helped me focus my efforts and curb my urge to start ten million businesses. Because let’s face it: any and everything can be a side-hustle, passion project, or hobby!
Is it a side hustle?
A side hustle is defined as any type of employment undertaken in addition to one’s full-time job. It’s usually freelance and piecework in nature, meaning instead of working for an entity, you’re the one calling the shots. People usually take on side hustles to supplement an existing income.
When I think of a side hustle, I think of selling a service or a skill for money. It has to be something you’re willing to do even when you don’t feel like it because often you’ll have deadlines and clients to tend to. A side hustle is WORK. It’s definitely something you’re interested in and passionate about, but typically, since you’re trading your skills and/or time for money, you’ll need to be pretty invested in terms of your willingness to partake in it.
My side hustle is writing website copy for small businesses. Writing is a skill that I have and am willing to trade (in addition to time) in exchange for money. Writing websites is something I enjoy doing because I generally find it fun, but it’s work. It’s time spent on researching brands, actual writing, revisions, and admin tasks.
People often say that a side hustle is something you would do for free. I completely disagree. I would not write websites for other people for free, unless it’s my own :), simply because it’s too time-consuming to do without getting anything in return. In my spare time, yes; for free, nope!
Is it a passion project?
A passion project is an activity or enterprise you decide to take on in your spare time to gain some benefit for yourself. It’s typically a challenge you willingly embrace because you hope to gain something from it. A passion project isn’t necessarily something you get paid for, although it can be. Usually, though, it starts off as something you do because it makes you feel good.
A passion project doesn’t really feel like work and it’s something you’d do for free. Passion projects allow you to indulge in your creativity and is something that brings you joy (thus, you keep at it). The challenge and your vision to meet a goal is what keeps you coming back to your passion project. And not to mention: it’s a passion of yours, hence the name.
This blog is my passion project. I’m writing this blog post on my couch on a Saturday morning instead of binge watching Netflix or scrolling through Instagram. It feels good to not only indulge in my creativity (writing and design) but it feels good to be able to reach people in a way I could not otherwise. My goal with this blog is to create a practical body of knowledge (via my lived experiences and other research) that you can use to help make the changes in your life that will allow you to be a happier and healthier version of you!
This is super fun to me; if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t do it. And because it’s fun, it’s easy for me to keep doing it each week. The difference between writing websites for others and writing on this blog is that I’m in full control over what goes on this blog, rather than making edits to suit a client’s needs. Another difference is that if I don’t want to keep publishing blog posts, clients aren’t going to come knocking at my door.
This blog is a challenge, don’t get me wrong, but I keep working at it and refining it to fit my ultimate goal (hence the change of appearance from time to time!).
Is it a hobby?
A hobby is defined as an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure and/or relaxation. Typically, a hobby is something you do outside of the demands or work and other life responsibilities. It’s a way to reduce stress and provide some mental clarity and is a form of escape. A hobby can be anything you do out of pure enjoyment, rather than obligation.
When I think of a hobby, I think of something you do for YOU only. Some of my hobbies include reading, lifting weights for exercise, and hand lettering. These activities don’t involve a ton of pressure or obligation to serve others. I’m actually not even good at all of my hobbies, but I still find them fun. For example, I’m actually pretty bad at hand lettering, but I still do it regularly because it’s relaxing and I find it a great way to use my hands in a creative way.
I’m also not the strongest person, so lifting weights is something I find I’m not great at, but I love the feeling of being able to move the weight. All of this stuff is pretty selfish and doesn’t directly benefit anyone other than myself. The point of a hobby is that it’s something you do that simply brings you joy and takes you away from the stressors of life (rather than adding to them, which a side hustle can certainly do). In other words, hobbies don’t have strings attached to them.
Once you start attaching strings to hobbies (like, feeling obligated to share your food recipes on social media for money instead of doing it for fun), the hobby loses its luster and starts to feel like a job. One of the things I learned this week was to be careful of this. We all need to have something we keep strictly for ourselves. What are some of your hobbies? Let me know in the comments!
So, which is it?!
Do you have a side hustle, a passion project, or a hobby? Or, do you have all three? With all of the pressure from social media to monetize your whole life, it’s important to know which of your daily activities fall into which category. And, by the way, it’s okay to not have a side hustle or a passion project and to not have your own business. It’s okay to have a “regular” job. Not everyone is a hustler or has an insatiable appetite to be creative. Now, if you don’t have a hobby or your hobby is scrolling on social media, then we need to talk!
I hope this was helpful 🙂