“Any path is only a path and there is no affront to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you.”

—Carlos Castaneda

From “Hobby” To “Business”

Hobbies are those interests we pursue, and those passions we find along life’s path. Sometimes it’s a lifelong interest. Other times, it’s something we stumble across and begin to explore or develop, or something a friend or acquaintance introduces to us. But what happens when breeding goldfish suddenly becomes more than a hobby, when you become known as a source of quality goldfish for other goldfish aficionados? Then you’ve reached that point in the road where hobby meets business.

When you are able to make money while doing your hobby — something you love, are interested in, have expertise in — it’s a good indication that maybe you’ve found yourself a business. What are some things you should consider first? Is it a good idea to turn every hobby into a business? What if you love building furniture, and people say they’re willing to pay you to do it, but you think you might get sick of it if it becomes mere work, a day to day job? The key is to carefully consider doing this as full-time business. If you think you won’t get sick of your hobby, then go for it. What have you got to lose? You have demonstrated you have individual gifts and personal passion to build furniture and now just need to turn this into a business.

So what are some things to look for in a situation like this? Firstly, a hobby-turned-business should, at the very least, pay for itself. If you are selling paintings, you want to make enough not only to pay for your supplies used, but also to buy more (and paying for the time and labour you put in is also nice.) Some paintings are worth more than others because of the talent, skill, and time invested, not just the material or subject matter. So keep that in mind when creating your payscale, and be realistic. For example, paying someone else to do the preparation of the canvas, has to be worth the time of both parties. It might be that part of your business can and should be contracted out to others. This way you can focus on what you most enjoy that which requires your gifts and skills. But, remember, you must also be willing and able to pay your co-hobbyists what their work is worth and still manage to make a profit.

When I first ventured out as a stage hypnotist I was willing to perform for free. After I started getting requests to perform, very quickly I had to make a choice about charging a fee for service.