Hobby vs Career:
You only have to do a quick search here on the blog to know that I'll be the cheerleader you need if you're thinking of starting either a hobby, or a career, on social media. You can find photography tips for beginners, insights about my own experiences (even the not so great ones!) and hopefully some positive words to take away too.
I'd like to think all of the above, as well as making sure I celebrate my own accomplishments openly, might offer a little encouragement to those of you thinking about taking on something or anything new.
The influencer industry is an ever evolving and constantly changing one, as with any career linked to marketing trends as well as creatives, but those changes have also meant that views and expectations around being a creator have changed too.
But have they also changed the way in which we see our hobbies too?
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At first glance it seems quite simple, of course we all know the obvious definitions and differences between a hobby and a career. It's relatively apparent that the two are in some ways opposites with earning money and relaxation being the key to signifying either. But what happens when social media and being a creator has not only blurred the lines between both, but in some cases has erased those lines completely.
Admittedly I'm not much of a hobby lover bar exercising, move watching and dog walking, but they're all things that relax me and all things that give me pleasure. You won't find me crafting or gardening (except for the must do's of being a home owner) and you won't often discover me reading for the sole purpose of pleasure. That's because I've mentioned before that I feel like I vibrate at such a high frequency on an everyday basis, (so to speak, not literally) that the idea of slowing down for one of the above hobbies, is actually a personally difficult task. In fact you know that meme currently making the rounds where the person trying to relax says 'but how can I relax in a more productive manner?' - Alex would agree that's based rather obviously on me.
I think for those of us who had a hobby that we realised over time had the possibility of monetisation, there will always be an indecipherable blur between business and pleasure aided by the personality that got us to that point, but I'm finding more and more through conversations in my DMs especially, that it's also blurred the lines for everyone orbitting social media as a whole.
I feel like the creator industry has impacted so much more than just the immediate online communities we've built, it's also both progressed and restricted our ideas of what's possible for each of us. It's rather extraordinarily showed so many people, primarily women, how far we can push ourselves if we find that this is a door we'd like to open, it can actually be opened. We can opt for a path that opens up into an industry led by creatives, marketers, entrepreneurs and all of them are predominantly women - and they're taking on a multi billion dollar path at that.
There's so much to be celebrated and encouraged, there's room for so much more from so many more of us and I for one can't wait to see what the future holds for all this unexplored space.
On the flip side of that ever growing coin however, away from the creator blur between hobby and career, is the fact that we've forgotten so much about the pleasure we can attain from our hobbies. Hobbies don't have to be career pathways and even more importantly a hobby doesn't have to lead to monetary earnings. Of course if your hustle becomes your job then more power to you and everyone you'll positively impact along the way, but in the same breath I hope we can take back some of that enjoyment we've lost.
The inspiration to try something new has never been more present than it is today but so many of us with perfectionist personalities and the tendency to set goal after goal, can barely remember what a true hobby feels like. The act of taking something on for pure pleasure, with no goals to reach seems somewhat alien. I know I can only vouch for myself here but I've definitely forgotten that I'm fully allowed to be terrible at something and it simply shouldn't matter. Not all hobbies need to progress, not all hobbies need to be monetised and not all hobbies need to be anything but yours.
Of course someone who shares so much of their life online, like I am ironically doing here on this blog, that started as a hobby a decade ago; will always find it hard to just enjoy things. It may not naturally feel like I'm making the most of my time indulging in a hobby outside of work but what if spending my time doing something just for joy, could feel like it used to do when I was younger?
What if whatever I take on is just for me and me alone?
What if it's okay to not be the best or even pretty terrible at something?
What if I'm not naturally gifted at crafting, upcycling, running, cooking, swimming, singing or any other hobby I might take on?
What if that doesn't make me a failure?
And what if a hobby could just be a hobby again?
It sounds so simple doesn't it but in the age of hustle culture, working ourselves into the ground and the glorification of sacrificing our social lives for work - maybe being really quite terrible at a hobby, but enjoying every second of it nonetheless, could be the bright light we need. So how do we tackle the hobby vs career dilemma? Maybe it's a case of taking things right back to basics and rewiring how we differentiate the both.