Why Turning My Hobby Into A Business Was a Huge Mistake
At the end of the day, all work is work.
I feel like that whole “you never have to work a day if you love what you do” or whatever, means that the thing you love tinkering with will end up making you rich, famous and possibly pregnant. My glorious step mother sold stained glass lamp shades in Darwin with three kids and a nursing career, so I figured I could do the same sorta thing while I got my bachelor, and then afterwards while I used my useless degree as a mouse pad.
My favourite thing in the whole world is hand embroidery. More specifically, porn scenes hand embroided on linen, in glorious technicolor. I know, my first thought was also INSTANT SUCCESS. With such a marketable and essential product, with such low overheads, how could you go wrong? Needles cost nothing, linen costs less, and hoops cost dogshit. My fun time was about to make me roll around in cash as the world’s most famous embroided porn artist.
I realised pretty quickly that my five hours work plus materials meant I was earning about $7 an hour.
I made an Instagram page, I made a Gmail, and started plugging to everyone I fuckin’ knew. Unfortunately, no one wanted my pornos. So I embroided hands. Just heaps of hands. My mate bought one for $50, and I realised pretty quickly that my five hours work plus materials meant I was earning about $7 an hour. If I charged what I earned making coffees, each hoop would be worth $125 each, and honey, no one was gonna pay that.
My glorious down time activities were suddenly a reminder of my failure as an artist. Each hoop and each needle morphed into a tiny, poor, forgotten and definitely not pregnant me. That fuckin’ Instagram still sends me notifications, but I refuse to delete it out of hope that I miraculously get discovered.
After the frighteningly quick crash and burn of my artist empire, I gave my step mum Helen a call and asked how she did it. And, more importantly, why she didn’t do it anymore. Was it because she already got pregnant?
She told me that even though people loved her gorgeous lamps, they just could not pay her what they were worth. If she were to charge what her time was worth, each lamp would retail for more than a hot grand. Her pet project and love had turned into her work, and brought with it the regular stresses that work brings. There were suddenly deadlines, complaints, and overtimes. The house was no longer a sanctuary, and all of her environments reeked of responsibility. Her hobby had turned into a chore, and she no longer makes stained glass lampshades.
Hobbies are such a pleasurable activity because there is no stress, no deadlines, no service voice, no emails, no responsibility.
I understand that some people (who I hate with the power of a thousand suns) can turn an extra-curricular activity into a goldmine, and those people are the ones whose hair doesn’t move in gale force winds. All work is actually work. Your work could be eating chocolate off Idris Elba’s back while he tells you your hair is soft and not crunchy, and after a while it would be fucking work. You’d drag yourself out of bed and say, “Holy shit I cannot deal with Idris’s hair compliments anymore, soft has a synonym, customers are idiots”.
Hobbies are such a pleasurable activity because there is no stress, no deadlines, no service voice, no emails, no responsibility. A hobby is what you do to make yourself feel good at something, and improve your skills for you. Or so you don’t have to buy birthday and Christmas presents anymore.