Is it a good idea to turn your hobby into a job? Apparently that’s one of the biggest questions of our times.
I’ll start by saying that I do not have the answer to this question. Although you won’t find the answer by reading this blog post, I invite you to just join me thinking about it.
So, you have a hobby and you absolutely love doing it. That’s awesome! Having a hobby is having quality time with yourself. Nowadays, with all of this noise happening around us, it’s super important to go and do your thing. Just yourself, your thoughts and your craft. It reduces stress, you feel more confident, your creativity sparkles more each time you do it. You just feel good.
And we want to feel that good all the time, right? That’s why some people want to turn their hobby into full-time jobs. That’s exactly what I did.
I won’t tell my whole life story in one post, so let’s fast forward to 2016, the year I truly decided to become a full-time freelance photographer. The thing that fueled this decision was what everyone who freelances aims for: freedom. I also don’t like the corporate 8 to 5, one-box-fits-all corporate system, and I really don’t want to be in it.
Decision made, let’s do this freelance thing now! That’s such an exciting phase. You plan the stuff you want to do, you have big hopes and dreams. Like all processes we go through in life, it is totally normal to be high or low in the progress chart. And in this phase, you’re oh so high. It’s a great feeling & you should enjoy it! Because it won’t last. Kidding. It’s lasts. Kinda.
Things start happening. Since you’re so exciting turning your dream into reality, you make things happen. You build connections, network, meet new people, get new gigs. This gives you an even greater high, because you also start making money.
Then, later on, things start to get a bit slower. You continue reaching out to people, but they don’t get back to you. You apply to different gigs, but as much as you check your inbox, the only emails you receive are from Bed, Bath & Beyond. You start feeling bad. Really bad.
Two things can happen at this point: getting a day job or getting depressed.
But I’m here to say that neither of these need to happen – that is, if you get into the freelance world with a specific mindset.
That mindset is: you won’t feel good all the time. Things won’t be busy all the time. Isn’t it like that when you’re working a regular 40-hours a week job? Sometimes you don’t even have time to go to the bathroom, and sometimes you browse Facebook and Instagram all day long. Sometimes your creativity will be flowing and sometimes you’ll feel stuck. And that’s completely normal.
I feel like writing this is pretty common sense, but surprisingly, it isn’t for some folks. I’m writing for people like me, who day-dream all the time & have a romantic vision of life. I tend to to that a little bit as well, but the freelance life has been teaching be a lot of things I didn’t know.
You just have to accept the craziness and the nothingness of this kind of life. Don’t have anything coming up at the moment? Go create with that spare time that you have. Don’t stop reaching out to people and looking for opportunities, but don’t get too obsessed. Go for long walks, meditate, do stuff you like, and more important than anything, ask yourself: what can I create now?
Of course, the freelance thing has to happen in a planned and well thought out fashion for it to work out. Don’t quit your day job if you don’t have other types of income or without saving enough money to support yourself for a while. If you have a partner who can financially support both of you for a while, the uncertain beginning won’t drive you (too) crazy as well. I’m impulsive, but age and maturity is coming, and with they’re bringing with them more common sense into my life – good for me, right?
So I highly encourage anyone who wants to quit their day job to do what they love – as long as people don’t do anything too crazy. The more you plan it, the more you’ll feel good about your decision. When you have tranquility and peace of mind, your head is clear enough for you to be able to create stuff and get shit done.
I feel really good about the decision of not having an “office job”. I’m glad I got one, and although I didn’t stick around for long, I learn new things about myself. Now that I know that freelance is what I want & what fits my personality, I’m up to fighting for it. Sometimes it is a battle – you stay too much at home inside your head sometimes, and when things are slow you question yourself and think everything you do is crap and that you’ll never make it. I embraced that and am learning each day how to fight these little monsters. But sometimes – I like to believe most of the time – things just flow. I’m creating more than ever, I’m experimenting with new medias, I’m doing my thing, I’m growing. And that’s what makes me not giving up.