When Should Your Hobby Stay a Hobby?

When Should Your Hobby Stay a Hobby?

Do you ever feel like you should be getting more results from what you're doing? Have you looked around, seen the progress your friends, and wondered when it will be your time to finally make some money from your hobby? From your “side hustle?”

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hobby stay a hobby

The other day, Rocco, one of my mastermind members, sent me a private Facebook message. He was struggling. He'd spent a significant amount of time and a decent sum of money learning some of the advanced features of WordPress, web hosting, SSL certificates and all sorts of other things that go into creating an e-commerce business.

But, he wasn't excited, at all, about the project he'd been working on. All of the learning he'd done over the past few weeks was about to go to waste if he decided to cancel his project before it got off the ground.

From the very beginning, Rocco has told me,

I need to make money from my website. I'm ready to make money from this hobby.

Almost from the time we started working together, Rocco, like many of us, has had an intense focus on getting a return on his investment of time and resources. And there's nothing wrong with that.

But what if the return, the ROI, wasn't measured in dollars and cents? What if the ROI was measured in fun?

Ok, stick with me here. I'm not going soft, and we're not going to lose sight of our business-building goals. But, not everything has to be about money. I see what Rocco is saying here – he's put money in, and he'd like to get money out.

After all, on top of his latest side project, his blog, his podcast, and the other things he's spent money on, Rocco has invested in a private mastermind group with me.

But when Rocco called me, he was discouraged and frustrated. So, I offered him a different way of looking at things. I asked him to consider keeping his hobby a hobby and focus on enjoying what he was doing instead of trying to squeeze out an ROI in the form of dollars.

Now, I'm all about getting results and having something to show for our time. That's one of the core tenants of why I started my mastermind program. So let me share with you what I shared with my friend Rocco…

When Should Your Hobby Stay a Hobby?

For as long as I've been playing golf, one thing I've always wanted was a nice set of clubs. So, when I got my job at Dell several years ago and finished paying off some debts, I bought a sweet set of TaylorMade irons, a driver the size of a grapefruit, and a fancy new bag with rotating slots for each club.

I bought new shoes, bags of shiny new golf balls, and I even spent part of a bonus check to get a brand new Yes! putter. I had the gear of an amateur champion! After spending almost $1500, I felt like I could conquer the golf world and I set out to my local course to play a round.

Ellory Wells Golf

Well, I sucked.

And, I still suck at golf. On a good day, and I mean a really good day, I'll break 90.

But at no point during the equipment buying process did I wonder how I'd get an ROI on my clubs, balls, shoes, or a new putter. Sure, I asked myself if a new driver would actually shave ten strokes off my game, but I didn't waste any time regretting the decision to buy it.

And though I never spent the money on lessons or a private tutor, if I had, I wouldn't have taken any time to figure out if what I was learning would help me compete and make money playing in tournaments or competitions.

For me, golf is just a hobby, and that's ok. I have no plans to make money playing; I'm just out to have fun. Any money I've spent on golf is only to help me enjoy those 4 hours on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday morning.

Sometimes a hobby is just a hobby. And that's ok.

If I'd spent any time worrying about how I'd earn enough money playing to pay for my clubs, I wouldn't have enjoyed the game. I buy fancy gear and invest in training to help me enjoy myself, not to get a return on the investment.

Drive For Show, Putt for Dough

Not everything has to be about the money or getting a return on the investment you've made. Sometimes getting new gear or buying training packages or coaching programs can be about enjoying yourself, having fun, and getting better at your craft.

You don't buy golf lessons with the hopes of joining the tour. You invest in training to improve your skills and feel better about yourself the next time you step up to the tee.

After our call, Rocco felt much better about the decision to shut down his project before it got started. He realized that when you're learning and having fun while doing it, time is rarely wasted.

Yes, you should have goals. And yes, you should audit your time and make sure you're spending it wisely. But, sometimes it's alright to relax and enjoy what you're doing in the moment.

UPDATE: When I asked Rocco how he was doing and how he felt about canceling his project, he replied,

Things are good. Ever since I dropped the sock thing I have felt so free.

Question: Have you made the decision to keep your favorite hobby as just a hobby? How'd it go?


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  • Derek Brott says:

    The timing on this post couldn’t have been more perfect…thank you.

  • Dan Erickson says:

    Good thoughts here, Ellory. I have fun writing, blogging and making music. I believe I can also make these more lucrative in the future, but I’m not going to sweat it, because I’m having fun. I like the no-sidebar look here.

  • bhagyashrin says:

    Thanks for writing wonderful information – Hanuman Chalisa

  • Noel says:

    Awesome article Ellory! This is probably one of our biggest dillemas and this post really helps distinguish what a hobby is from our passion and yes, not everything is always about the money.

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