(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr. Find out more at my newsletter.)
After writing about how we destroy fun and how we sometimes monetize fun inappropriately, I’d like to address this question:
Is it Healthy to Make Money At What You Enjoy?
It would seem that this question is obviously “yes”, but it’s an uncomfortable one. I’m sure many of us have known people that turned fun into a job, many of us have done it ourselves, and it’s not an easy situation. Forget if you can make enough money, the stress the loss of joy, etc. can be enough of a pain.
It’s an uncomfortable question – could the idea of enjoying our job, of profiting from fun, be a bad one?
Let’s sit with that one for a moment. Go ahead, think it over.
Now that you did that, my answer is “yes, it’s OK to make money at what you like, but as long as you stay aware of your situation”
When you realize you can monetize fun, I’m bang along side it as long as you’re aware of the situation and pay attention. Check in with yourself when you start down this path, and check in reguarly and review where you are. I do this every month to every few months, often when I feel like my fun/work balance has gotten out of balance.
Here’s the checks you want to make:
AM I DOING THIS FOR A GOOD REASON?
Are you trying to monetize fun for a good reason? Will it advance your life and that of others? Will it make you happier? Will it, logically, make you enough cash to be worth it (if you care about it)?
Check in with yourself reguarly if you’re doing this fun-for-money thing for the right reasons, it can change. I’ve found cases where I was doing certain projects out of habit – not for any good reason.
DO I KNOW THE VALUE OF WHAT I’M DOING?
There’s two questions to ask when it comes to the value of fun:
- Do I know how much value my fun-for-money brings me or can bring me? That helps me understand if its worth it financially (and for the sacrifice of making fun more of a job).
- Do I know the value of my fun without the pressure to monetize it? That helps me decide if its worth monetizing or I just want to hang out and have fun.
Know the value of what you’re doing both in money and personal fulfillment. Check in reguarly, because it can change . . .
CAN I SWITCH IN OR OUT OF MONETIZING MY FUN?
Can you turn your “hobby-job” back to just a hobby? Can you, when you want, turn that “profiting from fun” switch back on? Can you just take a break?
Keeping this fluidity is important. It lowers the chance you’ll trap yourself, and helps remind yourself you have options – so you don’t feel trapped. Sometimes, after all, the worst trap is just thinking you are.
Personally, this question helped me realize I just like to write. I’d be doing it no matter what.
DO I HAVE AN ENDGAME?
If you’re going to monetize your hobby, you’ll want to ask what the endgame is – when would you decide to not do it or decide you fulfilled your goals. Could it be “funning” your way to a new job? Being a paid author? Publishing so many books? Doing it until you die as you like it?
Have an idea of your long-term goals, even if your long-term goal is “just see if I still wanna do this.” When you have an idea of an endgame it lets you evaluate your progress towards it and prepare for transitions that may come when you reach that end state.
However, having an endgame also lets you know when to stop. Maybe the endgame won’t work and you change it. Maybe it’s not worth it anymore. Know what you want if only to know when it’s no longer a good idea.
ITS OK TO MAKE MONEY AT FUN – IF YOU CHECK IN
So, go ahead, make money at your hobbies. Just make sure you have checkins to on these subjects to see how you’re doing on your goals, motivations, status, and so on. Be ready to make changes depending on your finding, and give yourself the freedom to do so.
This way you’re able to adapt and change and be happy – be it from making money, having fun, or a balance between the two.