How to Turn Your Hobby into a Side Hustle

If I were to tell you this article is about fulfilling a New Year’s resolution, I wouldn’t blame you if you stopped reading now. The cliché notion that life changes at the drop of a big, glittery ball is silly. However, yes, cue the eye rolls, this is the story of a real-life resolution that’s actually still holding strong.

As a 28-year-old, full-time working homeowner, as well as a self-proclaimed shopaholic, time and money do not always come freely and easily. Throw in a passion for traveling, a boyfriend whom I love spending time with, family, friends, weddings, showers, babies, obligations…you get the drift. My limited time in my humble abode can easily be consumed by my bottomless pit of laundry, or, let’s be honest, catching up on my DVR. Living the dream, right?

Here’s a little something about me – I LOVE color. Not just a little. Probably too much. The art bug bit me at a very early age. My affliction for color and design defines so many aspects of my life – my wardrobe, my home décor, and my most favorite hobby of all: painting. I’ve enjoyed painting for as long as I can remember. It’s a creative release, it’s therapeutic, and it’s fun. But as a personal hobby, it’s also time-consuming, messy, and expensive.

Over the last few years of my life, painting took a back seat. See above. But on a cold, snowy night in December, couch-potatoed up in my fav sweat pants and giant mug of hot chocolate, something told me to ditch the Netflix binge and grab the paints. The struggle! But from the second the brush hit the canvas, I was happy. I couldn’t let this be an isolated event.

So, due to the time of the year, it seemed fitting to say my silly New Year’s resolution was to simply paint more. A resolution I could actually keep?! Score. I posted a photo of a finished product, and thanks to the power of social media, an overwhelming response, ample encouragement, and a little leap of faith, my lifelong hobby was about to turn into something bigger.

Who saw that coming?! And where would I even start?!

My side hustle has been one of the most fulfilling and exciting things of my life. But it’s also come with some unforeseen factors. My life didn’t slow down any when business began to boom. Making time in an already busy schedule (and again, hours of DVR to catch up on…) takes some work. Before you jump in head-first with a business license, it’s important to evaluate the impact a side business could have on you.

Pros:

  • Doing more of something you love
  • Making more money
  • Making people happy

Cons:

  • Making sacrifices
  • Deadlines
  • What you did for fun/relaxation/you-time suddenly isn’t as fun/relaxing/about you
  • Dealing with taxes and other not-so-glamorous stuff

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • I’m a full-time working gal already. Will demands after hours inhibit my brainpower from 8-5?
  • Do I honestly have the time? We live in a world where “free-time” isn’t a right, it’s a privilege.
  • Am I self-motivated enough to sometimes put side business before personal life?
  • Do I have enough startup cash if things take a while to get off the ground?

None of these points are to scare you away from doing what you love. I feel so fulfilled every time I deliver a piece to a happy client.  Stay motivated and remember why you loved your hobby in the first place. If you can keep a balance between full-time work, part-time work, and personal life, it’s a win-win-win you won’t regret (and perhaps another successful New Year’s Resolution).

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