Author Topic: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....  (Read 7944 times)

NorthernDreamer

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Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« on: January 15, 2018, 01:07:23 PM »
I have one successful Etsy shop, and will be opening a second one this year. My established shop has over 1000 sales and I make sure I pay myself at least $30 and hour for the work I do. I enjoy it too, which is the best part. I work a part-time day job and am also a mom to two small children under the age of 6. This means I fit my Etsy work into my "down time" - usually, after the kiddos are in bed.

I am now at the point where I don't have to be working like crazy every evening, I have more ready to ship items and have learned to batch process so that I have become more efficient. I am finding, however, that I have a hard time in the evening just relaxing: chatting with my husband, watching a show, making plans with friends, reading. I feel the drive to be doing more on my business 24/7 (probably why I thought opening a second store was a good idea...).

We are 7-10 years from FIRE, and could coast there quite easily based on our current lifestyle and income. I am quite surprised at this realization since I thought I loved leisure time and all that jazz. Maybe this is the creativer/maker mindset of always wanting to try new projects.

Anyone else find that monetizing hobbies makes you feel like everything you do should be making money? I don't want to work myself to the bone on my journey to early retirement. I have learned over the past year that self-care is important - I am just finding it hard.

KelStache

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2018, 01:23:08 PM »
I'm similar, as I always feel the need to use downtime 'productively'. I'd recommend setting yourself a schedule for your business and stick to it strictly. For example, "I work on my Etsy shop Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays from 7-10pm". Once I put a limit on 'productive time' I found ways to fill what was left naturally (reading, yoga, walking, hanging with husband, etc.). Good luck!

lexde

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2018, 01:30:04 PM »
What @Kelstache said is spot on - if this is a hobby, make it a hobby. If it’s a second job, it’s a second job (even if it’s one you enjoy!). As such, you need to set hours for your second job. That way, you have money-making time and separate life-enjoying time. Set boundaries for yourself and it will be easier to turn the “money making” switch on and off.


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SC93

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2018, 04:42:41 PM »
I see it both ways. If you want to set boundaries do. But if you love your 'hobby' and that is what you want to do in your 'down' time then do it. You say you love it so what is the problem if that is what you want to do all the time? But don't let it interfere with the more important things in life. If it starts to get in the way of more important things, then you will need to set some boundaries for sure. On the really bright side.... your hobby MAKES you money. Mine used to cost me a LOT of money, now it just costs a few hundred a month.

ePalmtrees

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2018, 10:53:51 AM »
I have an online business and a 4 year old. I make quite good money but have stepped away from it because it was all-consuming, I never felt like I was doing enough, and I couldn't balance it with enjoying Motherhood and life. I read an article about "ambition addiction" by Benjamin Shalva and realized it completely described me. I'm much happier albeit probably poorer now..

Plina

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2018, 11:24:04 AM »
Have you considered giving up your parttime day job? It would give you more time to run your business as well as time with your family if that is what you want.

NorthernDreamer

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2018, 09:56:31 AM »
Have you considered giving up your parttime day job? It would give you more time to run your business as well as time with your family if that is what you want.

Unfortunately that is not going to happen until we reach FI. My day job is a sweet gig with flexibility, pension and benefits. Plus, I don't mind it most days.

I have an online business and a 4 year old. I make quite good money but have stepped away from it because it was all-consuming, I never felt like I was doing enough, and I couldn't balance it with enjoying Motherhood and life. I read an article about "ambition addiction" by Benjamin Shalva and realized it completely described me. I'm much happier albeit probably poorer now..

I am going to find out more about "ambition addiction". Though I can't help but feel there just needs to be some balance...

I'm similar, as I always feel the need to use downtime 'productively'. I'd recommend setting yourself a schedule for your business and stick to it strictly. For example, "I work on my Etsy shop Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays from 7-10pm". Once I put a limit on 'productive time' I found ways to fill what was left naturally (reading, yoga, walking, hanging with husband, etc.). Good luck!

What @KelStache said is spot on - if this is a hobby, make it a hobby. If it’s a second job, it’s a second job (even if it’s one you enjoy!). As such, you need to set hours for your second job. That way, you have money-making time and separate life-enjoying time. Set boundaries for yourself and it will be easier to turn the “money making” switch on and off.


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Setting work hours is a great idea. I do find comparing myself to the "maker community" I am a part of (on social media) definitely drives the moreMOREMORE mindset. I do see people making livings out of what they do, and glamorizing the hustle, but I need to remember that their goals are not mine and many of them don't have a day job and/or small children to tend to.

I appreciate all of your thoughtful comments :)

Bicycle_B

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2018, 02:08:45 PM »
NorthernDreamer, good luck in finding your balance.  Sounds like you're on the right track.  Maybe you're already working on the skills (such as balance!) you'll need to enjoy FI.  So at least that's a value you're getting from the current effort.

maglomanic

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2018, 08:36:36 PM »
I've been trying to get my art to make me money for a while. I have another job and I work on my "business" when I can. I write down my hours to let me know how much time I spent working on art. If I have a day off I tend to find that I'm motivated early in the day when I have energy. I'll work on something for maybe 6 hours and by the end of the day (if my hand isn't hurting too much from holding a pencil/paint brush/ink pen) I'll relax by watching Netflix, exercise, or play video games. This schedule works out well for me. But I don't have kids so I can pretty much do what I want besides having to do house hold chores. My business is currently at -$117.42 lol. I have one sale on etsy! I have fun doing it though. I definitely think it helps to keep track of the money I spend on this hobby, It really helps prevent me from buying things I don't need. Good luck with your business! I hope to achieve a percent of what you have one day :3

Missy B

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2018, 09:25:10 PM »
[quote author
Anyone else find that monetizing hobbies makes you feel like everything you do should be making money? I don't want to work myself to the bone on my journey to early retirement. I have learned over the past year that self-care is important - I am just finding it hard.
[/quote]

I'm self-employed, and I do feel a drive to be productive with my time. It's not that I feel like I ought to be making money always, more the knowing the opportunity cost of wasted time.

MrsDinero

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2018, 07:30:07 AM »
I'm in the, somewhat, same position.  I just opened my second Etsy shop, both started as hobbies.  My first one, I sell crochet patterns.  Everyone who sees my stuff tells me I should open an Etsy shop and sell my stuff.  What they don't realize is the amount of time it takes to turn out a product.   Yes it may "only" take 45 minutes to turnout a hat, but where am I going to get those 45 extra minutes?  Writing and selling crochet patterns, allows me to feed my creative side, but without the pressure of finishing a product and having it in the mail by a certain time.  Sometimes I can get a new pattern out in a couple of weeks, sometimes it takes a couple of months.  I'm ok with both of those.


My second Etsy shop, I opened in December is different.  I am a huge list maker, journal keeper, and organization-freak, so I started a shop for printable instant downloads.  In my first month I had 5 sales.  I'm taking this shop more seriously because I feel there is a greater monetary potential there.  My goal is to publish a new printable each week.  Once I figured out the tools I need to use and spending time creating certain templates, creating a finished set has become easier. 

The problem I have is both Etsy shops take a certain amount of my free time.  I make a huge effort to have some evenings where I'm not working on either shops, but it is a struggle. 
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 07:32:06 AM by MrsDinero »

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2018, 09:44:15 PM »
I started blogging, more for the desire to 'look from the other side' than in an effort to create income.  I signed up on adsense and Amazon affiliates just to see what that was like.  Before I knew it, I was looking into sponsored posts and partnerships - where the real money was at.  It was like a drug and I found myself going about my day, thinking about how I could craft the next effective post.

The money was never near $30/hr, but it was the 'potential' that got addictive.  I had a few posts go unexpectedly viral (one about how I was saving for college, one about my planned withdrawal strategy in ER, and one about how achieving FI paralleled Plants vs. Zombies (plant the sun flowers first, even if zombies are coming.  Then go on the offense, but still max out that back row of sunflowers as quick as you can, etc.).  It was fun, but became a distraction.

The blog hobby started off as fun, but personally I like my 'job' more because it was predictable, dependable income and benefits, and structured.  When I call it a day and turn off my phone, I am free to do whatever the heck I want to do.  And, most importantly, with my job, I don't think about it cuz' it's always there as long as I show up and do it.  Pre-FI, I hated that it was always there, but post-FI, I'm kinda' amazed that they pay me so much to just do what I feel like I should do anyways at my age (help general society, pay taxes, provide valuable goods using my college degree, keep myself and my extended family healthy and reasonably provided for, and stay engaged with healthy, positive hobbies, civic duties, ambassadorship, etc.).

It's an exciting, fast-paced modern world, but I also get the sense that many new 'opportunities' quickly go from great to crap.  As an arm-chair economist, I chalk this up to how quickly new 'professions' seem to fall victim to supply outstripping demand.  Almost hard to remember what life was like before computers and people able to depend on a jobs for a lifetime.  With years of service came respect, folks were relatively hard to replace, and productivity was soaring.  And before that, before the Industrial Revolution, jobs were impossible to replace because they were not interchangeable. 

I always find myself wondering, life is good, right?  I mean, it's certainly not bad.  I practice stoicism and mindfulness, but is that a sign that life is maybe too good?  That we have to manufacture hardship?  If I read another self-congratulatory, un-self-searching post about how great faux discomfort is I'll give up entirely on reading post-FI blogs, since they obviously aren't interested in answering tough questions and their progress has ground to a halt.

Kyle B

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2018, 10:05:31 PM »
 There's a cool post on this blog about how Mrs. Money mustache has two Etsy stores. Clearly, at this point, neither of them needs additional income. But it sounds like she's having fun.

Lots of people who retire find themselves bored. Not all, but a fair amount.

I think you just need to be present as to what you want, and to constantly be checking in with yourself to see if you're meeting your current needs.

« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 10:18:14 PM by Kyle B »

Classical_Liberal

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2018, 01:24:46 AM »
I always find myself wondering, life is good, right?  I mean, it's certainly not bad.  I practice stoicism and mindfulness, but is that a sign that life is maybe too good?  That we have to manufacture hardship?  If I read another self-congratulatory, un-self-searching post about how great faux discomfort is I'll give up entirely on reading post-FI blogs, since they obviously aren't interested in answering tough questions and their progress has ground to a halt.

This may be a bit off topic from OP, but I find myself in agreement with your thoughts here.  It may be a bit of a generational thing too, I'm around your age (41), and I've noted similar thoughts from our age peers.  Maybe Gen X'ers are just pathetically lazy or something... But seriously, this weird ideal of constantly having to be productive, pushing yourself,  progressing, or measuring progress towards, well something, just seems like a pseudo-life.  I think sitting around watching the sunset, or people watching, reading junk fiction, napping in my recliner, or learning something on a whim just because I want to know is where true satisfaction is at.  I'll take sitting around with friends philosophizing about Van-life (without ever actually doing it, of course), over a SMART goal any day of the week.

LessIsLess

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2018, 08:04:34 AM »
Success has a cost.  Lack of success has a cost.  Try to find the right balance.

NorthernDreamer

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2018, 11:18:14 AM »
I always find myself wondering, life is good, right?  I mean, it's certainly not bad.  I practice stoicism and mindfulness, but is that a sign that life is maybe too good?  That we have to manufacture hardship?  If I read another self-congratulatory, un-self-searching post about how great faux discomfort is I'll give up entirely on reading post-FI blogs, since they obviously aren't interested in answering tough questions and their progress has ground to a halt.

This may be a bit off topic from OP, but I find myself in agreement with your thoughts here.  It may be a bit of a generational thing too, I'm around your age (41), and I've noted similar thoughts from our age peers.  Maybe Gen X'ers are just pathetically lazy or something... But seriously, this weird ideal of constantly having to be productive, pushing yourself,  progressing, or measuring progress towards, well something, just seems like a pseudo-life.  I think sitting around watching the sunset, or people watching, reading junk fiction, napping in my recliner, or learning something on a whim just because I want to know is where true satisfaction is at.  I'll take sitting around with friends philosophizing about Van-life (without ever actually doing it, of course), over a SMART goal any day of the week.

This. I feel like I've hit the wall with this "hustle culture". I'm a bit younger than you, but I see it among my peers too: EVERYONE has a side hustle, maybe because smart phones have made that much easier with the internet in your pocket. But I feel just done. I have a good, stable day job that isn't going anywhere (government). I can't imagine if my evenings were just my own to do whatever I want with.

The blog hobby started off as fun, but personally I like my 'job' more because it was predictable, dependable income and benefits, and structured.  When I call it a day and turn off my phone, I am free to do whatever the heck I want to do.  And, most importantly, with my job, I don't think about it cuz' it's always there as long as I show up and do it.  Pre-FI, I hated that it was always there, but post-FI, I'm kinda' amazed that they pay me so much to just do what I feel like I should do anyways at my age (help general society, pay taxes, provide valuable goods using my college degree, keep myself and my extended family healthy and reasonably provided for, and stay engaged with healthy, positive hobbies, civic duties, ambassadorship, etc.).

There is the potential my job's hours to be increased in the next year or so, and I have been thinking more and more that that might be the way to go. Our culture seems to promote developing side hustles so you can quit your day job, but that is never going to happen until I reach FI for me, so why not quit my hustles if I can make the same amount of money in my dependable day job? The mental space it would free up would be awesome.

I suppose it just takes a bit of guts to step off the self-driven success hamster wheel and relax. I think I need to involve more stoicism and mindfulness in my life.

I appreciate all the thoughtful comments on this post. This community rocks.

acroy

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2018, 11:34:56 AM »
^^ just a thought, can you sell the business? you say it is proven to earn $30/hr; if this is a skill which can be learned reasonably quickly you may find a buyer in this Mustachian community.

best of luck whatever you do!!

lifewithbenandjen

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2018, 08:53:32 AM »
I've found myself doing the same thing mostly because I was very occupied with my day job but trying to run so many side hustles after work. I've done two things that helped.

1) I allowed myself to have a few evenings or weekends off. It didn't have to be every week, but I had to be aware of what my heart was telling me and how my wife was feeling. If in my heart I started feeling like I have been neglecting my family or myself, I stopped trying to be productive. The best part is that doing what I just mentioned ended up making me even more productive.

2) I cut out the thing that was the biggest time consumer and which brought me the least amount of joy. It just so happened to be my day job and was probably the most frightening thing I had to do.

nottheturkey

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2018, 11:19:19 PM »
Have you thought about offloading some work to an employee? Learning to let go was hard for me at the time.

zinethstache

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2018, 06:42:11 PM »
I used to go, go, go with a day job, active hobbies and side gigs. Then the worse happened and I suffered a life changing injury as a result of overdoing it.

Now I am officially FIREd and living (as best as we can) our dream of slow travel in an RV.

Yes I am still doing side-gig work, but on a very small scale, and I plan to keep it that way:)

If it weren't for the injury which forced me to stop everything and heal. I would not be FIREd today. I am sure I would be working away until the original plan of 55 and who knows what looming health issues I would have cultivated.

I am much, much healthier and happier now!

YMMV.

tomsang

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2018, 06:46:46 PM »
Double your prices until your volume drops to a reasonable level or hire an employee for $15 and hour and make a few bucks off of them after payroll taxes.  Then you are helping them and they are making you some money.

Good luck! 

ReginaD.

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2018, 12:05:13 AM »
+1 one to employee, I've met a good example of a family business. My friend experienced a lot of issues with her personal time and couldn't even talk about it with relatives while she was running shop all by herself. After she had found an assistant, she finally had some time to reorganize her lifestyle and to get back to normal course of action. Of course, my friend is just a novice but she's trying her best.

CubicleWarrior

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #22 on: September 07, 2018, 08:36:14 AM »
+1 to the idea of selling your side businesses when they become overwhelming!

Also, reading the Emyth revisited helped me with the feelings of becoming overwhelmed by my side business.

Much Fishing to Do

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #23 on: September 14, 2018, 06:49:51 AM »
I think this is somewhat similar to anything you will get involved with that you enjoy as you must be someone who wants to do their best at all times.  My wife (SAHM) and retired parents do no paid work and they often are overwhelmed with things they have chosen to do for no pay but wish to do well and have succeed (charitable endeavors, community politics, etc).  I think this may also be wrapped up in a lot of OMY stories I read here where the poster does not seem to fear they will run out of money.  I guess I'm just saying I don't think this is something that money or FIRE is gonna change, you must have that personality that is gonna make this a part of your life where you have to find out your comfortable balance.

mrmoonymartian

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Re: Monetizing my hobbies has backfired....
« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2018, 07:21:10 AM »
+1 to increase of prices for profit maximization at sustainable production capacity.