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Distinguishing Business from Hobby

Distinguishing Business from Hobby

Is your hobby a business?

Sharlyn Lauby | HR Bartender

May 27, 2010

One of the things I do in my spare time is make jewelry. My first job out of college was a commercial artist and, after getting away from art for several years, I’m channeling my creative side into jewelry making. It’s also a relatively inexpensive way to feed my bling habit. Sweet.

But when I started making jewelry, my immediate inclination was to turn it into a side hustle. So I bought a domain, opened an Etsy shop, started taking photos, writing descriptions for everything I made, and calculating cost/pricing structures.

A few weeks ago, I closed my Etsy shop. Because I realized that jewelry making was a hobby for me, not a business.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that hobbies can’t become profitable or that business can’t be enjoyable. But I think there’s a benefit in examining the differences between hobbies and businesses. Especially when it comes to developing a personal or professional brand.

Decide what activities are business and which ones are hobbies. For example, I view my blog as a business. Blogging is a lot of fun. I enjoy writing. And, I really like all of the people I’ve met as a result of blogging (you know who you are). No different than my consulting firm. My clients are great. I work on interesting projects and appreciate the opportunities I’ve been a part of. For me, jewelry making is for fun. It’s a hobby. Don’t worry, what you decide here can change over time.

Don’t confuse having goals with being a business. I have goals for my business and blog. And professional goals for myself when it comes to writing and staying on top of what happens in the training arena. I also have goals when it comes to my hobby. The difference between my professional goals and hobby goals revolves around deadlines and project plans. Hobby goals are much more casual because it’s, well… a hobby, not a business.

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