Everything You Do Doesn’t Have To Be A Business

Everything You Do Doesn’t Have To Be A Business


Burnt chocolate chip cookies
Because it takes years of burning cookies before you’re a master baker.

Hobbies are expensive. They take time, work, and energy. But you are doing something you love, so it’s okay. It might be challenging, which gives you a sense of pride. A sense of accomplishment. You are learning a new skill. Growing depth of character. It may not pay the rent, but you do get something out of it.

With that said, it is exciting to think about being able to make money off of our passions. We may sit and dream about getting paid to do what we love. Some lucky folks get paid to do what they love every day. You just have to be careful not to lose sight of what you originally enjoyed about your passion to begin with.

It’s About The Race, Not The Win

Winner Crossing Finish Line of Marine Corps Marathon
Does this mean the accomplishments of everyone behind him doesn’t matter?

Most of us don’t expect to win when we sign up for a 5K, Half Marathon, or Marathon. Finishing is the achievement. Completing is the accomplishment. We spend months learning about our body, disciplining ourselves, and growing inside & out.

That’s what hobbies are about. Whether it’s running, drawing, building model rockets, tennis, stamp collecting, or whatever. We do them because we like to do them. It would be great to win a marathon but then we would be professionals and running would become more pressure than fun.

Sometimes We Need a Reality Check

kindergarten drawing
My drawing skills a year ago

Today, it is especially easy to sell things we create. In the world of self-publishing, diy, and KickStarter – people are practically throwing money at creators. I am all for encouraging creativity and indie creations but some things just aren’t meant to be.

Recently, I had a bit of a reality check. At the end of last year, I began teaching myself drawing. It quickly became a hobby that I really enjoyed. When a friend invited me to sell one of my creations at a show with her, I thought it’d be fun. And it was. I didn’t think I’d sell anything but was excited when I did.

This past September, I went to another show bringing something new. I’m still learning about drawing and inking and creating but was looking forward to seeing the response to my work. Many people came over to our table to look and laugh at our comics/zines. Some bought, some didn’t. My first zine sold but my newest comic collection didn’t. I was bummed.

But before I get too bummed, let’s take a step back. I started doing this less than a year ago! There are people who have MFA’s and have been creating for years who still can’t sell enough to make a living. People laughed! They didn’t give me money, but they liked what they saw. I made something! I ran the race even if I didn’t win. Will I quit my job to become a full-time artist? Nah. But will I continue drawing as a hobby? Yep.

You Can’t Become a Master in Six Months

Jiro Ono master sushi chef Sukiyabashi Jiro
Jiro Ono of documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Hobbies give us a chance to learn new skills. I’ve seen cases where someone buys a flashy new dslr camera, takes pictures of friends and family, then six months later turns it into a business. Maybe this person is a photography savant and never knew it. That’s possible. And I don’t doubt that they are good at the skills they’ve learned. But you need to keep learning. You can’t become a professional at something in six months. Maybe you can. Someone give me a skill that can be mastered in six months.

Besides, how will you know when you make something good if you don’t have something bad to compare it to?

According to Zen Habits, it takes 6-10 years to master a skill.

Chefs spend years crafting their dishes. Dancers spend years training their feet. Athletes spend years learning their sport. Writers spend years mastering the English language. Artists spend years creating their own style. Architects spend years mastering structure.

Keep Creating – Keep Growing

Just because you can do something, does not mean you have mastered it. Does not mean you are a professional. Does not mean you deserve to get paid. But it does mean you are growing, learning, and accomplishing.

You can still create even if you don’t sell. You can still write even if you don’t get published. You can still run even if you don’t win. These are hobbies and accomplishments. Things you do for enjoyment and growth. Don’t lose focus of that.

One day down the road maybe you will become a professional and live the dream by getting paid for what you love to do. Or you’ll discover you don’t love it enough to become pro but are still getting enjoyment out of it. That’s okay too. Running the race is more important than winning every time.


One Reply to “Everything You Do Doesn’t Have To Be A Business”

  1. I really liked this article. I often have a habit in starting a new hobby but getting discourged really fast if it seems I am not improving. I am trying to be better at it. Anyhoo, nice blog post.

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