I tried to turn a hobby into a hustle. It did not go well
Day 5 of 30: Learning from the death of a hobby to save another
It all started with this quote:
“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” — Mark Twain
I totally bought into it. I wanted to craft a life I love, a life that’s genuine to me. I didn’t want to work at a job that makes me dread Mondays and fantasize about vacations.
What do I enjoy doing? I enjoy writing and crocheting. Theoretically, you can monetize either of these “skills”. So that’s what I did.
I tried writing first. I started a blog and this account to try to monetize it.
Where I used to write for fun in my diary, I started writing for things. I wrote to court an audience, then I wrote to court the search engine. When I fail to court either, I lost my motivation to write.
Naturally, I went on to Plan B and started an Etsy store to try to sell what I made.
I did learn a ton from doing both things so the fact that I wasn’t successful didn’t matter.
- Read about my take on failure here
The problem was, it took the joy out of the hobby.
Where I used to crochet for fun, I started crocheting for profit. Before long, a problem arose. Whenever I work on a new design, I feel an undercurrent of unease and impatience no matter how much I enjoy the craft.
Why? Because I’m a slow crocheter and I knew I would never be able to charge enough to justify the time I spend on each object. I can either cheapen my time and sell more products, or charge more and likely never sell anything.
You may not know this, but the handmaking niche is ultra-competitive. There is an enormous pool of talented craftspeople out there.
Anytime I scroll through my Instagram, I’ll be reminded of how many people have way better skills than I do. And because they’re more experienced and faster, they can often sell their products at a more reasonable price than I can.
One thought lead to the next, and I started thinking that crocheting isn’t worth my time, that I’m not good…