When you first start creating things, your motives are all over the place. Whether it is photography, writing, building, making, basket weaving, or making movies, chances are you are at least partially doing those things because you like doing those things, not to make money. But, of course you would also love to make money off of those creative pursuits. Who wouldn’t want to make money while doing something they like to do? What’s that tired quote about doing something you love and never working again? We would all love to retire at age 30 and just have fun, but that’s probably not going to happen.
It is, however, increasingly possible to have hobbies that pay for themselves. If your hobby costs you a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars a year, it is now possible to offset those costs with earned income from your hobby.
Take photography for example, you can sell your photos or your services a few times a year, and that will pay for lenses, gadgets, or even travel. For writing, just posting a few times a month to a platform like Medium could allow you to pay for books, classes, and maybe even a new computer.
There has never been a better time to attempt to make money on your creative hobby. So, why not start today? Here are 5 strategies to help you make your creative hobbies sustainable.
Money has the ability to enable and grow your hobby. Continuing with the photography example, if you want to invest in better camera equipment or pay for good photo editing software, then it is helpful to know how much those things are going to cost and then plan out when you want to buy them. This also gives you an idea of how much you want to try to make off of your hobby.
You never know where your first gig or sale is going to come from. Also, remember that the people closest to you are most likely to be enthusiastic about your hobby and want to support it, whether they be friends, family, or coworkers. These are also the people that will give you honest feedback about your work, and be most likely to connect you to other people and resources that could help grow your hobby.
There are parts of every hobby that are more fun, and there are parts of every hobby that more lucrative. Those don’t always overlap. It is important to know which things you are doing purely to have fun and which things you are doing just to make a dollar. Sometimes there will be overlap, but other times it might be useful to adopt a “one for them, one for me” strategy.
To grow your hobby, it is important to keep learning about your hobby. Hobbies can also be useful ways to develop skill sets and competencies that you wouldn’t be able to develop in your day job. Learning more about your hobby will also enable you to grow the amount of money you can make from your hobby.
Sometimes we forget how far we’ve come. Whether it is tracking your skill development or your following or your sales, remembering how far you’ve come will always help you keep moving forward. It is also useful when you are considering new hobbies or changes in direction and strategy.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ― Maya Angelou