Almost half of Americans have a side hustle and it’s easy to see why. If you work a low-paying job or stay home with the kids full-time, a side gig can provide extra income. Plus, many of these jobs allow you to be your own boss and operate mostly independently. Driving for Uber or Lyft or freelancing as a writer or editor can help you have extra cash to treat yourself and pay your bills.
Whether you’ve been hustling for a few years or are looking to pick up a new gig, you could use some tips to keep your side hustle separate from your favorite hobby. Here’s why.
A side gig is for money, but a hobby is for personal fulfillment.
You might love the idea of turning a profit with your current hobby, but keep in mind that doing so changes things. You’ll be turning something you do for fun and personal fulfillment into something you do for work. You might love drawing portraits for friends, but when you have 20 commissions to do in two days, you could find that enjoyment waning. If you truly love your hobby, keep it a hobby.
New York attorney Howard Fensterman is passionate about his practice and volunteer work but he also knows how to separate work from play. He’s enthusiastic about his hobby of collecting and educating others about minerals. If you have a hobby like this that you love, you might want to leave it a hobby. Spend your free time doing what you love and find something else to occupy your working hours.
A side gig should have more focus than a hobby.
You don’t need much of a plan to engage with a hobby. Whatever you like to do, you just do when you have the time. That might be weekly piano lessons or weekend roller derby practice. Whatever it is, you don’t usually need to create an objective or business plan. A side gig involves a little more focus. You’ll need to have more of a business mindset when focusing on your side hustle, so you may want to utilize OKR software to help you accomplish your goals. Check out a few OKR examples and see how easy it is to set and achieve ambitious goals. Checking your objectives and key results every day will help you keep making money and striving for success, no matter what your side gig might be.
Side gigs are an investment.
No matter what your hobby is, you won’t be getting your money back. If you love painting, you have to purchase tools and materials. Unless you decide to sell that painting (and turn your hobby into a side gig), you aren’t getting back the money you spent on those items. A side hustle, on the other hand, is an investment. You might need money for start-up costs, but ideally, you’ll make that money back in no time. If you don’t currently set money aside for work-related expenses, it’s time to make a budget and think about what you’ll need. You might end up reallocating funds that previously went to your hobbies, but don’t worry. You can spend your new income on arts and crafts supplies, books, fishing equipment, or whatever else you might enjoy.
There are plenty of options for side hustles. Find the right one for you and create a plan to help you succeed. If you’re looking to transform a hobby into a profitable job, keep in mind that something you once did for fun will now be tied to your income. The beauty of a side hustle is that there’s no contract, so if you don’t like the gig you’ve found, pick up a new one. Make sure you’re still able to do something for fun. After all, what’s the point of the extra income if you don’t spend it on anything enjoyable?