“You Should Sell this on etsy!”

A little critique of the pressure to monetize your hobbies

Admit it, you’ve heard this before. Either for a friend or for yourself, you’ve at least thought about using talent to make extra dough.

It just makes sense: You make time during the day to do something you love, so you might as well get paid to do it. Making candles with no intention of selling them afterwards would be a waste of time in this world.

After all, you’ve already wasted all that time and effort getting yourself to a point where your designs are good enough to win. So why not catch up and start a small business as soon as possible?

With the advent of social media and online businesses, anyone can now have a part-time job.

Ecommerce sites like Etsy also make it easier for creatives to sell online.

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In a society where we are defined by our jobs, we seize the opportunity to monetize everything we produce.

When someone introduces themselves, the first thing they usually say after their name and age is their occupation. It’s a sense of accomplishment to add “small business owner” to your resume instead of a hobby.

However, a hobby is traditionally defined as “an activity that someone does for pleasure when not working”.

So, essentially, our first hobbies started with extracurricular activities. But as we get older, activities that require skills but don’t generate direct income tend to be shelved.

So what happens when we decide to use our free time for more work?

The hustle culture takes over and we feel like failures when we don’t work towards a goal.

After all, we’re raised to believe in this capitalist economy, where people are praised for their hard work and shamed for their laziness.

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When I reflect on my past interests as an adult, I can’t help but realize that I’ve tried to turn them all into side hustles.

When I got interested in makeup, I looked up how to become a makeup artist and was willing to make that a part-time job.

And since I always loved planning my friends and family’s birthday parties, everyone around me encouraged me to start an event planning business.

We are always encouraged to find a career that we love. If you hate your job, you will be seen as unsuccessful because, as the saying goes, “If you love your job, you won’t have to work a day in your life.”

But when you turn your passions into work, your pastimes become responsibilities.

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Work involves deadlines, customer service, stress and trying hard even when you don’t feel like it, whereas a hobby is a voluntary choice to make time for something that makes you forget about work.

When you turn a hobby into a job, you might just not enjoy it as much.

There is also an aspect of privilege that we tend to forget. Making money from a hobby takes talent, and developing and reaping talent takes practice.

It takes time and practice to take your hobby to a point where it has monetary value.

And in a capitalist society, where time is money, not everyone has the leisure to make time for their hobbies.

It all creates a vicious circle that loses sight of the reason we take up a hobby in the first place: escaping work.

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