5 ways to balance doing what you love with making money
If you have a hobby that you enjoy, you know what it feels like to love to do something. You get lost in the activity. You look forward to it, and you do not want it to end.
Not everyone is lucky enough to feel this way about what pays the bills. A lot of people (maybe even most people) have hobbies they enjoy participating in outside of work, but have to make money another way.
For example, you might love playing the guitar as a hobby and work at a bank to pay the bills. You wish you could play the guitar for a living, but that just is not how life worked out. This is the classic example of the musician who "gave up his dream."
Instead of feeling bad about your hobby being a hobby and not your livelihood, try these five strategies to balance doing what you love with needing to make money.
1. Turn your hobby into a "side hustle."
Instead of choosing work or your hobby, consider making money from your hobby as a side hustle. There are usually people who want to be taught your hobby. In the example above, you could teach guitar lessons during your time off from work. This would give you the opportunity to do what you love and make money from it.
2. Join a group.
In your free time, when you are not working, join a group that does your hobby. The benefit of joining a group is twofold: First, you are around other like-minded people and will benefit from the relationships that you build from the group. Second, committing to a structured activity ensures you set aside time to do what you love. If you need to make money at a job that is not what you love to do, you will benefit from belonging to a formal group because your hobby will become a priority. When other people hold you accountable and you put something on your calendar, you are more likely to follow through.
3. Block out time for your hobby.
Having something you love and not doing it for work can seem like torture, but it does not have to be that way. Consider setting up a reoccurring block of time on your calendar for engaging in whatever it is that you love. Treat this block of time as an appointment you cannot change. This way, you will have already made the commitment, and you will be more likely to keep it.
4. Create a plan to switch careers to something in line with what you love.
Ultimately, you need to make money to pay your bills, but if you hate what you do, you will be miserable most of your days. If you have a hobby that you love, find creative ways to turn your hobby into a career. Before making the switch, think about all the different hobbies you enjoy, your interests and passions.
Then, draw a Venn diagram with one circle including those hobbies and interests you enjoy and the second circle listing the job market and potential job opportunities. The area in the middle – where the circles overlap – is where you want to be and what you want to choose to do for work. Not everything you enjoy will fall in the circle, so the more things you have to consider, the better. If you are not sure what should be in the middle of the diagram (i.e. hobbies that would make you enough money), look in your community and see what other people are doing. If anyone is doing something you wish you were doing, then that is a good indication there is a place in the market for your services.
5. Adjust your expectations and mindset.
Disappointment comes from unmet expectations. If you expect to love your job as much as you love your hobby, you are potentially setting yourself up for failure. Remember that your job is just one part of your life and is not necessarily supposed to fulfill you. Try to focus on doing a good job at work (for you and no one else). If you do good work for you, then you will feel better about yourself, become more positive and have a better outlook about your job. This will enable you to make better choices in the future about your job and your passions. Heck, you might even grow to like your job.
Copyright 2015 U.S. News & World Report
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