Passion vs profit: Opting for a side hustle or hobby

Let me paint you a picture: You work tirelessly all week and have endless things to do once you get home. Weekends are no different, if anything – worse. You’re constantly cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, taking care of kids or pets, or both, and have very little time for yourself. However, due to constantly working, your free time sometimes feels weird doing nothing. So you try your hand at some crafts annnd.. now you’re down the rabbit hole. Is this just a hobby or a new hustle?

Staying busy isn’t a bad thing, as long as sometimes you embrace your inner couch potato. Let me tell you a quick story about my endless search for a hobby.

A few years ago, one of my long time friends sent me a pin about how to “Make Your Own Candles”. He asked that I figure it out and make him an apple scented one. I thought about it for 7.2 seconds and said ‘why not’, because c’mon, who doesn’t love apple scented candles anyways? The next day I went to the store and got a few basic things to make a candle and tried my hand at it. Being me, I went big. I didn’t make your typical 6/8 oz candle, I made a stinking 32oz behemoth. I spent more in shipping than I did on materials but needed to fulfill my promise of delivering an apple candle.

He called me instantly and said it smelled so good! I got another call 3 days later saying he had been burning it for almost 48 hours straight (I do not recommend doing this by the way) and there was barely a dent in it! Plus, the scent stayed true the entire time! Me needing to see for myself, I made myself a little one and posted a picture on Snapchat to showcase my cute little candle, picture on the left below!

My one picture quickly turned into about 20 messages asking if they could buy one! So I went all in.. and I mean all in. I wanted to be different so I added dried fruit and fruit shavings, wood wick options, cute little jars… ALL. IN. Again, see the picture on the right above in case you think I’m kidding. I even added soap, and was selling a matching scented candle and bar of soap set!

And within 2 weeks, I was over it. I thought it was fun and loved smelling candles, but it was just *shrug* now.

I had a garage full of supplies and the drive to still do something – just not candles.

Pinterest inspired me to start making macrame. I made myself some plant hangars and wall hangings and then sure enough, I got tired of that too. Some of my fav’s posted below!

A few months later another best friend and I started making and selling T-Shirts. I was loving this, and overtime turned it into a full-on side hustle. I had the equipment, manufacturers, the business licenses, the customer base and sales to show it. I attended fairs and markets, set up at a friends business every weekend for months, posted all over social media and was working HARD. (One of my last vendor fairs and my dining room remodel pictured).

Until surprisingly… I got bored. I would come home from working 10-12 hours and have to force myself to fulfill orders. It was no longer the “fun and exciting” thing it was when I started. I dreamed about having free time to binge a show, or go out for lunch without stressing to ‘post content in my group to keep my customers engaged’. I was spending more on trying to expand and wore myself thin, fast. I slowed waaay down instead of closing up shop for good, and decided I would post new products when I was mentally ready for it.

After taking roughly a month off, I got orders coming in left and right. I was hoping my time away would bring my drive back, but instead it did the opposite.

Yet again, I needed something to do because as much as I dreamed of having free time, I got antsy.

I started making only myself some macrame, started painting, designing products on line, you name it. I just kept. getting. bored of it.

The biggest problem? When I started each of these crafts, I went all in!! I was buying multiple rolls of macrame, lots of canvases and paint, tons of candle and soap supplies, literally HUNDREDS of shirts and designs… you get it. And then when I got bored, I had (and still unfortunately have) SO. MUCH. PRODUCT. LEFT OVER!

Okay Abby we get it, you’re crazy and spent lots of money. So what?

So, it’s totally normal to get bored and want to try new things. Just don’t go all in like I did and think you have 8345948 business ideas after researching for .2 seconds and spending your life’s savings in materials, not literally but it sure felt like it haha.

Deciding whether your new craft should be a hobby or a side hustle comes down to a few things: passion, money, time and long-term goals. Let’s break those down.

If whatever it is your heart desires brings you lots of happiness, and you hope to achieve personal fulfillment and relaxation, it may be best as a hobby. Hobbies are not primarily focused on generating income, but for intrinsic rewards. Side hustles require lots and lots of time and energy. Not to say side hustles aren’t fun, because you shouldn’t pursue anything you don’t love to do, but they require sacrificing almost all of your free time. You do your hobby in your already-free time, but you make time for your side hustle.

Money, money and more money. You might not shell out your retirement savings right at the start of your new hustle, but over the course of a few months, you may get sick looking at all of your expenses. But, if you have the passion and want to generate income, a side hustle may be for you! You likely won’t see a profit in the beginning, if you do please email me your ways! But with lots of time and dedication, you might be able to go on that cruise you’ve been dreaming of, or buy steaks for dinner just because! Before you get excited and jump on Amazon, please research the demand and market for your product before you make the leap from hobby to hustle.

The amount of time you plan to commit is key here. Consider how many hours a day/week you have to dedicate to this activity. If you are working full-time, have a family, are in school etc.. a hobby may be more realistic. However, if you are okay binging your show while you work or sacrificing some (or all) of your sleep to fulfill orders, turn that bad boy into a side hustle!

Lastly, write down your goals first! Funny that I mentioned the first thing you should do, last. Nice structure Abby! You might decide to test the waters as a hobby first rather than jump in with both feet. But, if you are seriously passionate about this new idea, and have a real dream of turning it into a full-time thing, then what’s stopping you?

Ultimately, the decision depends entirely on your circumstances and what you hope to achieve. Just do me one favor, let people’s opinions go in one ear and out the other. I’m being 100% serious.

You saw the lengthy list of side hustles I did within a few years time, right? If you think everyone I know was on board and loved all of my ideas, you’re wrong. Very, very wrong. I got laughed at, judged hard-core, and told I’d be a failure. I didn’t let it stop me though. I don’t mean this as a brag by any means, simply to prove my point, but I was generating over $10k a month with my side hustles.

Yeah, I kinda gasped too after typing it again. But I slowed down because I wanted to sit. I wanted to not stress about where my packages were so my customers orders wouldn’t be delayed. I wanted to enjoy car rides without scheduling content in my Facebook groups.

I’m not saying this to turn you away from a side hustle if that’s what you want to do. Wake up everyday and set your schedule. Push yourself to work even when you don’t want too. And if you stop loving it or lose your drive, then take a break!

Whether you choose to make it a hobby or a hustle, do it for you and no one else. Be your own biggest supporter and cheerleader. Use the judgement you receive as motivation to go harder, and you’ll be mentally or financially successful, or better yet – both! Adjust your goals as you go but always put your mental health first.

Hobby or Hustle your heart out. I’m rooting for you <3

Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. 

– Winston Churchill.
Of course I had to show you my favorite candle too!

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Now that you’ve finished this post, you know the four important factors of determining a hobby or hustle. Passion, money, time and goals can be used to determine more than just a side gig too!

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xoxo, abby

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