There’s a lot of hype these days about side hustles. When you get home from work, work some more! If you have a thing you love to do, whether it’s baking or collaging or knitting, chances are that someone has told you that you should be monetizing it.
Here’s the thing: side hustles are awesome for some people. They can be used to launch people into new careers or start new businesses, and they make a lot of people feel fulfilled and free in their work. But they are not a universally good thing. Hobbies are often fun because they aren’t work, because our livelihoods don’t depend on them. They are enjoyable in their own right, not because they’re lucrative or monetizable.
I think a lot of that push to monetize things comes from our collective fear of being, horror of horrors, unproductive. Why would someone take time and energy to craft or bake or write fanfiction if they aren’t going to get some kind of compensation? Shouldn’t they be using that energy on something they could be getting compensated for? No, no they shouldn’t. It is okay to keep some things for yourself and not sacrifice them at the altar of productiveness under capitalism. Because crafting is super fun, but you know what’s not? Marketing an etsy store or dealing with belligerent customers who think you charge too much for commissions. Or figuring out how to do taxes at the end of the year when part of your income comes from freelance projects. Or discovering that your fun hobby has become a decidedly stressful second job.
Hobbies are work that you do for yourself and your loved ones and no one else. And it’s okay to spend your time and your labor on just yourself. It can feel pretty good. So if you’re looking at a pile of knitting yarn and thinking “I need to find a way to justify this hobby,” I am here to tell you: no you don’t. You do you. Don’t feel like you need to monetize that passion.