It seems like a good idea, doesn’t it?
The people around you, well-meaning friends and family, will encourage you to consider this, but do not try and make money from your hobby – it will kill that hobby dead.
I’ve heard it a million times about my comic strip: you should try and make money with it. Approach newspapers (some people still read newspapers, or so I’m told), publish, turn those long hobby hours into shiny gold coins. I think people still remember the great comic strip gold rush of the mid-1980’s to the early 1990’s. Comic strip creators made a fortune and were household names, like Garfield, Peanuts, The Far Side and Calvin & Hobbes. Those comic strips were incredible success stories, the 1% of the 1%.
A side note is that comic strips cost the newspapers money – they were one of the few sections that didn’t make them money to print. But if they cut the funny pages, there was outcry, so they downsized and shrunk the comic strips to make room for more ads, which actually paid the bills.
The truth is I don’t make the comic strip in order to make money. That’s why I work a job. The comic strip is specifically not-work, also known as a hobby. The thing you do to recover from work and rejuvenate the mind and/or body.
The worst advice you could take is to try and turn your hobby into a money-making enterprise. Why? Because now the thing that used to be a haven from work is now also work. Sure, it may be more ‘fun’ work, but the problem comes later, with the forced production of creative work.
Don’t confuse this with setting yourself goals or deadlines – these are fine to keep you focused. Money, however, changes the whole equation. Now that money is involved, you have to produce. You have to, otherwise you’re LOSING MONEY. Pretty soon, you start looking for another hobby to relax after doing your old hobby, which is now your job. Or worse yet, actively avoiding your old hobby because – surprise, surprise – all the fun has gone out of it.
Now you’re avoiding doing the thing that used to be your refreshment, your happy place.
The other 90% of the job
Furthermore, the actual enjoyable bit of a hobby makes up a very small amount of your time once it’s being done for money.
Ask anyone who works a job that is considered a hobby (say musician, Youtuber, knitter, etc.) and see what they spend most of their time doing. A hobby that’s a job has to be worked like a job. Websites, social media, networking, emails emails emails, returning phone calls, talking to suppliers, paying bills… yeah, it’s a job now. How much time are you actually going to spend creating, doing the thing that you used to love?
I promise you it’s a lot less than 100%.
If this is still a hobby, then the pressure is off. If you want to spend a few hours jamming on your guitar for no-one’s enjoyment but yourself, you haven’t lost anything.
For a job, however, every hour is an hour that could be spent generating income somehow.
So ignore the well-meaning advice of friends and family that tell you ‘you could make some money at this’ and just keep your hobby as a hobby. You’ll be happier AND you won’t have to look for a new hobby.