Profitable Hobbies #3: What Does It Take To Make Your Hobby Profitable?

This is my third article where I explore what I call profitable hobbies.

Check out the first two articles here and here for some background.

A profitable hobby is a fun thing that you do that will also pay you.

I believe that everybody should have a profitable hobby. If the only thing you do your whole life for money is work at a job you dislike (or even worse, work at a job that you just kind of tolerate), your mental health will suck and this will actually lead to physical issues down the road.

And after that, its over; you won’t be able to enjoy life nearly as much as you could or should.

To solve all this, you should do all you can to make hobbies profitable or at least enjoy the stuff you do for money.

Making money from your hobbies is much more enjoyable than going to a job that you can barely tolerate, but it means that you need to see them in a different way.

In order to make your hobbies profitable, you need to change your mindset when it comes to these hobbies.

Here’s how I’ve been doing it.

Is it a hobby or a pastime?

I write articles like this for a living.

Literally.

I get assignments to work on and get paid for writing them.

I also write in my blogs with the hopes that those who follow the blogs will buy a few of my e-books.

Different than most stuff I do for fun, writing is a pastime, just like video games, watching stuff, or commenting on stuff is. The only thing it really costs is time. I don’t need to spend a lot of money on it.

This makes writing a profitable pastime, which is probably one of the best ways to earn a living. I literally get to do something for money that I would do all day anyways.

Another thing I do for a living is drive for Uber and Lyft. I’ve craved adventure my whole life and driving around satisfies this a lot. Sure, I sometimes get frustrated, but 90% of the time when I drive I am enjoying myself.

Driving is a hobby in that I need to spend money in order to fill my gas tank and get the necessary repairs, but it is also a pastime in a way.

Something you need to do before making your hobbies profitable is determine whether the activity is a hobby or a pastime.

Although most hobbies are profitable, very few pastimes are. Watching stuff or scrolling social media, for example, will never be profitable no matter how you spin it.

I am very lucky that I can transform a pastime that I have, writing, into something profitable.

So that is the first thing you need to do. You need to separate your hobbies and your pastimes, and eliminate some of your pastimes that waste the most time. This is especially true if these pastimes involve spectating.

I’m not going to run through each hobby or pastime here and determine which ones are profitable or not. You know which ones you have are profitable.

Preparations you must make before making a hobby/pastime profitable

So you have decided that you make money doing the stuff you do for fun. Fantastic.

But now you must prepare to start taking the stuff you do for fun much more seriously.

You see, when you partake in your hobbies and pastimes for free, you don’t take them seriously. You just do them to de-stress without really caring about how good you do.

Take me writing, for example. Before I wrote for a living, I just did it for fun without really caring who read my blog or not. I didn’t care since I had a job anyways.

This is why the earliest articles on this blog are massive walls of text that are overwhelming to read.

I didn’t know that shorter paragraphs “sold” the message better, I didn’t know that the more the article read like a college term paper, the less likely that an audience read it.

But then in 2017 I decided to take on freelance writing for a living, and that is when the game changed.

I needed to take my “pastime” seriously, so now I needed to study at the feet of the most established freelance writers so that I could do what they did so that I could write better articles.

Let me use Uber and Lyft driving as my second example. Back before I began doing this, I didn’t really care about what the interior of my car looked like. I used it as a “portable locker” of sort, keeping stuff in there.

That all changed the second I opened my driver accounts.

My car’s interior has been spotless for the last 10 months because of this.

Bowling and blackjack are the last examples I want to explore.

Bowling is a great example of a hobby that you need to almost treat like a business if you want to ever make money doing it.

Although I have been bowling practically my entire life, I didn’t start getting very competitive with bowling until my early 20s. This was when I joined my first college team and since that day, I have been obsessing about ways to improve in the sport.

This was 15 years ago, and I am still learning new things when it comes to bowling.

But guess what? That is not enough. Not if you want to systematically make money bowling.

Ask any professional bowler what they need to do in order to make money bowling and they will start talking about their performances as if they were running their own business.

And yes, I have started to do this. I track almost everything I do when I bowl: What balls I’m throwing, statistics, how much I have won and lost, everything.

This is how the pros make money from their hobby.

It’s also how people who systematically make money playing blackjack.

Some time ago, I read about Victor from Bold and Determined bragging about how he used what blackjack players call “no bust” strategy to win some money in blackjack. He claimed that because he did what no one else would do (which is stay on any “stiff” hand), he succeeded.

However, the math will prove that the next time he does this, he may not win.

Advantage players in blackjack know this, and they understand that the math is the only thing that determines any success in blackjack.

Why is this?

It’s because numbers do not have emotions.

They don’t have opinions or biases.

The only thing they do is tell you what is probable, what has worked, and what has not worked.

This leads to the final thing that you need to understand when making a hobby profitable.

Create a system and stray from it only when you need to

The only real way to make a hobby profitable is if you are organized.

There is no other way.

This doesn’t mean that you should treat your hobby like a job, but it definitely means that you need to take your hobby a little more seriously if you want it to be profitable.

Creating a system from your hobby is one way to do this.

When I say “creating a system,” I am talking about tracking your progress: How much money or time was put into your hobby, how much you got back, when you practice, and what kind of aspects of your selected hobby you are practicing.

This is the only real way that you can monetize a hobby.

Now when you do this, you might find that you might not find your hobby so enjoyable. That is a good thing. It means you should move on to monetizing a different hobby, one that you won’t see as a chore if you begin taking it seriously.

Bowling is perhaps the most significant example of this that I can illustrate. I spend about three or so hours a week tracking all my bowling related stats, reflecting on my previous performance, making plans for the current bowling balls in my possession and what new bowling balls I might need in the future, among other things.

And guess what?

To me, I’m not doing enough. I’m certainly not looking at bowling the way that most professional bowlers do.

With driving, I track every dollar I made, how long it took for me to make the money, what kind of upcoming repairs are necessary, and what kinds of mistakes I might have made during my rides.

Ironically, writing is the only pastime of mine that I feel like I am not tracking enough. Although I have an idea of how much I write every day, I can certainly track my progress much more efficiently.

Know when to take time off, especially if money is involved in your hobby

As I have written before, there is a big difference between gambling and investing.

Gambling revolves around independent events. The right numbers on your lottery ticket or a winning spin on a slot machine have nothing to do with your performance.

A profitable hobby is different. A profitable hobby is more like an investment, which involves you putting in some money or time with some kind of predictable return.

This means performing well enough to receive a quality return on investment on the time or money you have put in.

However, it is possible to chase this return on investment to where you will start throwing time and money away, and that is when you need to back off.

Chasing success never works, and this is especially true with hobbies that you want to make money from.

If you find yourself doing this, focus on practicing more than seeking out a return on investment.

When you take time off properly, it will work wonders and this is especially true for profitable hobbies.

 

We all want to get paid for doing something that we have fun doing for free, but in order to do this, you need to know what it takes to do this.

I believe everybody should find a way to make their hobbies profitable this way they can carve out a living that is comprised of doing enjoyable things for money.

Take some time to explore your hobbies, see which ones are profitable and which ones are nothing but pastimes.

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