My best friend Tomas loves fishes. He started a fishbowl two years ago and spent every afternoon making it perfect.
I had many pictures every day of his news decoration ideas, from the fishes eating and videos of him talking about how he will improve their life. Then, one year later, a friend convinces him to do a fish business with him. They were very good at reproducing the fishes, and the earnings were good.
But the day they started their business was the last time Tomas enjoyed the fishes. I stopped receiving the daily photos and videos, and I didn’t hear him talk about it anymore.
Having fish turned from a hobby that gave him peace and satisfaction, and with which he rested from life to forced labor that produced stress.
“When you release the need to turn your passions into entrepreneurship, you are given the freedom to fully enjoy the act of doing.”
Should you monetize your passions?
I’ve always heard the phrase that says that if you enjoy doing something, you should find a way to make money with it, so “you wouldn’t feel that you are working.”
But the reality is that not all hobbies should be monetized. Some things are just for enjoyment.
Money, while very important in our lives, is not everything.
By monetizing something that we enjoy, our brain stops seeing it as an escape from reality to something more professional and serious.
We stop doing this activity for pleasure during free time, to make it part of our daily routine and obligations.
If we monetize all our hobbies, we will have nothing to rest our minds from all work and routine.
I love to record videos and take photos of myself everywhere I go. I had a library full of travel experiences and moments with my friends and family. However, I’m not particularly eager to edit.
In 2019, I created a channel with my travel experiences. I already had the content; I thought I have to upload it and that’s it.
Everyone told me it was an excellent idea to monetize that passion.
When I started uploading the videos, people started giving me suggestions: that I have to upload other types of content, that I need to plan a marketing strategy, and that I need to keep the channel updated weekly.
The passion for recording occasional videos turned into something that I hated. Not only because I felt the obligation to record weekly, even though I was not in the mood, but because people were telling me what to do with my hobby.
I decided to put the channel aside until I enjoyed recording again. And this year, I started doing it again without earning. To my surprise, I started recording again and wanted to share my experiences.
What I didn’t like about my YouTube channel was having to make a job of it. When I stopped thinking about what others wanted and started thinking about what I really needed, I began to love this hobby again.
So is monetizing your hobbies a wrong thing?
The concept of making money with a hobby comes from the fact that we cannot be successful in a project if we do not enjoy the process.
If you want to be a successful singer, but you don’t love singing or editing, and spending hours in a studio doesn’t seem attractive to you, you won’t be successful.
If you don’t love what you do, even with all the money you could do, you will give up easily. Many people start writing because they love to be exposed and the money they think they will have.
But then they realize they don’t want to spend the whole day writing to earn 2 cents. That is why they quit after not seeing results in the first months.
If they don’t enjoy the writing and editing process, it’s hard for them to keep writing every day.
People who enjoy a gym's struggles are the ones who run triathlons and have chiseled abs and can bench-press a small house. People who enjoy the starving artist lifestyle's stress are the ones who live it and make it.
Our love for the process determines our success.
But this does not mean that everything we like to do, we must monetize it. It’s simply that you have to look for something that you can do even for free, so the money will only be something extra.
I love to write. I can spend the day writing. If I am proud of the article, I can earn only 1 dollar of it, and I will be happy with the result. But that doesn’t mean that writing is my hobby. When I’m bored, and there is nothing to watch on television, I don’t write.
My boyfriend loves programming, but he’s not going to wake up on a Sunday and decide he’s going to make a website for fun.
Because hobbies are to disconnect us from work, bring out our creative side, and do something to enjoy it. To understand that life is not just about doing things to get something in return; they are to make us happy in a way.
Don’t measure yourself against your ability to make money from something that you enjoy.
Monetizing your hobby will kill your passion for it because you will stop seeing it as something you do for yourself, to become something you will do for others.