In case you didn’t know, I consider this blog a hobby. I do it for fun. Just for fun. I don’t ever plan to have a carrier in anything remotely related and I didn’t study in a connected field. When I created the blog the possibility of making any sort of profit from it never even crossed my mind. Not that I didn’t think I was good enough or any fancy consideration like that. I just honestly didn’t realize that was an option in any way. So my view on this subject may be a bit different than some people’s.

money Noragami
le sigh

I was reading an article on how to make profit from blogging and vlogging and what kind of numbers you can realistically expect. Even though I don’t plan on monetizing, I’m really interested by the mechanics of it. A bit like I read first hand testimonials on the daily workings of the sex trade even though I would only ever become a call girl if my client list was limited to one specific person and a few hundred anime characters… That thought sort of got away from me. Hum so yeah, blogs and money and stuff…

Anywho, included where a bunch on comments and accounts from all sorts of people who ran blogs, twitch or YouTube channels or Instagram accounts and what their experiences where. Overwhelmingly, people where comparing how much profits they were earning and mostly how much they invested in their various projects. Time for research, sometimes buying products for reviews or getting subscriptions, equipment, accounts…it adds up quick. And a lot of them felt a bit dejected when they ended up with only pennies a month to show for it or even worse, they were in the red!

As I read all this it started to sound really reasonable. When a person puts so much effort into something people regularly get paid for and even invests their own money, of course they would feel like they failed on some level if they get nothing back. Heck even views and engagement are a type of social currency. And I started to think about my own blog. How it’s normal I would get bummed out if a post gets just a few likes and no comments. Like maybe I would enjoy it more if I tried to capitalize on my efforts. That just makes sense.

And then I remembered something. My blog is a hobby.

I love this image – wish I could have found it on pinterest

I play piano, guitar, french horn and euphonium. I was giddy when sound euphonium came out! No one ever talks about euphonium players. Also, my autocorrect doesn’t recognize euphonium as a word. That’s how unpopular it is. Between lessons for some and all of these instruments, I have invested a pretty penny in my musical past times but it never crossed my mind to be a professional paid musician. Not for one second. I also play a lot of video games. When you account for the games themselves, the various consoles and multiple computers I have purchased over the years, it easily dwarfs any money I may have put into my blog. I have yet to see a single penny back from that.

But I never once felt dissatisfied with those hobbies. And it’s not like I got engagement from it or anything. What I gained from them is the enjoyment of playing music just for myself and a huge amount of completely useless disparate information picked up from all those video games throughout the years. Maybe a bit of learned muscle memory with a keyboard or controller. Occasionally sad bragging rights no one I know is actually impressed by in any way. That’s it. And yet, I’m still going to play music and video games. I enjoy it.

It got me thinking that at some point, some very bright, talented and passionate people managed to turn their hobbies into careers and that’s amazing. It’s also super attractive. And as we saw more and more of those people with the rise of social media, it’s normal that it became a dream for a lot of folks. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. As long as people have a fallback position as it’s a very unreliable and effort-intensive path.

However, I wonder if we haven’t lost something along the way. So many of my gamer friends now have twitch channels and are starting to fret about views and how to promote themselves. They’re choosing games that people want to watch getting streamed over ones they want to play. I mean they still want to play those other games too but you know, it’s a consideration. I go out with people who order desserts that look good in pictures and go to places with interesting backdrops cause you gotta do it for the gram. I have to wait until certain friends are done with their Twitter upkeep to get their full attention. All of this is fine, it’s just that to me, and I m probably going to show my age here, it sort of sounds like a job. And that’s just not as fun as a hobby.

anime office work
that looks more like what work is

Let’s take it back to anime. This is what this blog is about after all. A while ago, when I realized people were actually reading some of my stuff, I thought to myself that maybe I should think about what series would make a good post when choosing what to watch next. Not as in watching anime-only because I think the review would get views or only watching anime I could click-bait. Just that when I go through my to-watch list as I always do and more or less randomly pick a show, why not make it one I think could be the subject of a popular post.

I also started to take a lot fewer notes because I saw that more accessible reviews seem to *do better* and for some reason, I really didn’t like this approach. There’s no logical reason. I was still watching shows I wanted to see and would have watched eventually. And I was even putting in a bit less work in my reviews. But it felt like a job. And a job where I wasn’t rewarded by the work I put in necessarily. I wasn’t just watching anime and writing a blog for the sake of it, there was a purpose and a direction.

Don’t get me wrong, those things are great motivators and you need the motivation to keep up this type of hobby. But for me, it somewhat dampened the joy of it. And I think some other bloggers may be in the same boat.

Do you have a hobby you want to turn into a profession? Has it taken the fun out of it? Do you enjoy creative ventures more when there’s a potential for profit or does that add pressure?

Rini 2020 (12)

38 thoughts

  1. When reading your posts I often wonder why you have not started your own chanel as even as this ”hobby” of yours always seems so professional and polished. I too have played with the idea of starting a chanel, but I want to do it for the same reason as I do my blogging, for me. Not that I am at any rate good at gaming and talking to ”chat” just seems like a chore to be honest. I have the best name for my chanel already, yet it just sounds like so much effort starting it all up, also counting the money needed to get into the trade now… I fear i would stop a few weeks after I started.

    Doing the making money from the hobby thing for you will and will always be your decision, and I think I speak for a few people that read your posts that when it does happen, you will already have quite a following. Good luck, and as always, great post!

    1. Thank you so much. I might start a channel some day. I have an accent that’s not always easy to understand…

  2. No, my blogging has always been something I have done for interest and not with any thought of monetization. Besides, with an audience that essentially consists of you and three other people, unless you’re prepared to be exceptionally generous, I suspect my chances of making a living from this gig were always close to zero…

    However, I think the key and most important question raised by this post is: does that one particular person know you want to be their particular call girl? And would they share you with a few hundred anime characters…? 🤔

  3. Not gonna lie, this is a really interesting discussion you’ve put out there. It’s great that nowdays you can make profit of something you love so much, but the question of wether or not it takes the fun is an important one to ask. My blog is only 1 year big so I’ve not had the most time doing this but man, do I have fun with it. If I hadn’t, I’d definitely have abandoned it at this point.

    Mind you, I do understand that it is different for everyone (I myself support financially some of the blogs I enjoy and require this kind of attention, not to be paid for but to keep those alive – and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be paid for it)… Summary, it’s complicated – one of the many stuffs in life that’s subjective to each person.

  4. I had thought about monetizing my blog a few times but it always ends with me refusing to do so because I am not a multitasker and I like having my own schedule when it comes to blogging. I am already juggling a full time job and writing novels, I don’t want to stress myself out even more.

    While I do want to make money for writing, how I want to do that is different. I want to make money by my own hands, which I am doing with writing but I don’t want to make money blogging.

    Instead, I just want to be acknowledged as a good writer, blogger and reviewer. I don’t think money can buy that accomplishment for me

  5. The closest thing I have to “a hobby I want to turn into a profession” is translation, which I started doing for fun before it became my back-up plan for What to Do in Life. Once I started making studying translation my priority, it turned out I sucked at it enough for my professors to dissuade me from doing a research project (<- note, however, I took a break from Japanese one year and majority of people don't do that), but as it turns out, there are positions where you can have a translation degree but not translate a thing.

    I'm a firm believer work and play need to be in different categories. That way, you don't burn yourself out from too much of a good thing or worse, too much of a bad thing.

    1. Your professor turned you away from research 🙁
      That kind of sucks although I’m sure they had their reasons

  6. I monetized my blog for a little while (admittedly mostly out of curiosity rather than assuming I would make much money to speak of), but that lasted less than a year because I just didn’t enjoy blogging as much. On the other hand, I’ve turned a different hobby into a profession and am still enjoying it – probably at least in part because that was something I’d already wanted to do for many years, so I never really viewed it as “only” a hobby to begin with. So, I think for me, it can go either way, although as far as blogging goes, I’ll likely never see it as anything other than an enjoyable pastime.

  7. Once upon a time I had photography as a hobby. I used to fantasize about how someday I’d be a professional and do amazing work and get paid huge money. Then I started doing it for money. Pretty soon I was just doing it for money. It wasn’t a long time after that and I was starting to hate it. Years later I started doing it as a hobby again.

    The moral of it all it not to do what you love for money. It is better to love what you do for money. If you can’t manage that, grit your teeth and look for a better job.

    1. I agree but I also am very adaptable. I don’t know if nowadays people have as much freedom to go look for a job they can love

  8. I like how you think.

    I blog about anime just because I want to celebrate anime. I try to be good at SEO to improve the odds that someone who might like my writing can find it. I have a few Amazon ads, but just because a) I thought readers might enjoy seeing some merchandise about a series they like and b) because I was curious how that worked.

    The idea that we have to constantly make money, or try to make other people part with their money, is just depressing. We have to have a space where we can just frolic together.

    Do I have a hobby I’d like to turn into a profession? No, and yes. No, in that I write novels because I love getting ready to write a novel and I love actually writing it. I am going to write whether I publish or not. I can’t not write. But also yes, in that I separate the writing from the publishing/marketing/trying to learn how the hell to write ad copy. That’s work; that’s like your image from Servant X Service (if I recognize the screen capture!).

    And by the way, anyone who can write ad copy that actually appeals to people have my undying respect. No kidding. That’s a skill I don’t have, it’s a skill I wish I had, and it’s a skill that amazes me whenever I see it in action.

    It’s easier for me to write an 180,000 word novel than it is to write a 300 freaking word blurb.

    1. I agree, writing ads is it’s own art form and most people aren’t great at it!
      I love your passion for writing

  9. Between all the instruments you know and my family we could make a solid brass quartet! At least if I was at all in practice (it’s been awhile lol). It’s always funny how hobbies come back to you in different forms – I use to dance but now can’t so
    I read about it in manga or watch anime themed around it. I use to draw/paint/other art endeavors, now I just like to admire other folks works when I go to museums.

    I’ve had minor ambitions over the years of monetizing my blog or making ‘big’ (whatever that means) in the blogging space. But I usually squash that pretty quickly, I want to be able to stop when I want with minimal repercussions. I usually keep my hobbies for awhile, but I do treasure the ability to just stop when I want.

  10. When one’s hobby overlaps with one’s career, it becomes something that’s even more susceptible to external influence/forces – both good and bad ones. Accumulate too much bad ones though, and sadly, it can quench off one’s interest in what they do as a hobby and all that remains is “a job” that maybe one isn’t any interested in, or worse still end up hating. The thing I feel about success stories of hobbies as profession/career, is that they are inflated on social media – these ideas are easily accessible, but the depth of it is not known until one tries it for themselves (plus to each their own experience).

    I feel it is a really grey area to say if a hobby should be something that “gratifies only yourself” (by this, I mean it does not matter what others think about it, at all) or something that “brings enjoyment to both you, and the people who receive it (directly/indirectly in some form)” – it really depends on what “a hobby” means to one as a person and what part about it brings one joy the most – where the latter isn’t necessarily set in stone from when the hobby is concieved.

    Personally, at present, I wouldn’t allow my greatest hobby become my profession, ever. At best, I may acquire a category of hobby(ies) that rank lower in how much joy/respite they provide me to be “earning hobbies”. But even so, there must be boundaries set for them as a safety net, to prevent the passion from dying because of factors that cannot be controlled by oneself.

    1. I was looking at it the other way around. Should a lack of social feedback ruin someone’s enjoyment of their hobby as it sometimes does these days. It’s a fairly new phenomenon and the sociological implications are still vague at best but I think it must be having some effect…

  11. Right at the moment, there are three comments and they are all from people who enjoy their hobby and don’t want or need to make money at it. Let me pause to say YAY YOU.

    When I was a child, seriously, we’re talking almost 60 years ago, an adult said to me in passing “Never do what you love for a living. You’ll learn to hate it”. He was probably having a bad day or something but the comment stuck with me.

    Let’s see if I can make this make sense now. I believe you should enjoy your job, what you do for a living, at some level. You spend waaaaay too much time at work to not enjoy that time.

    But you should do your hobbies because you love and enjoy them – with no obligation. You can put one down at any time and never go back, or go back later. You can decide you don’t like it anymore or let it lead you down a totally different path (you start out kayaking but enjoy the hike to the river so much you end up being a hiker for example). But most of all, it’s just something you enjoy and it doesn’t MATTER if anyone else enjoys it or not, if it is profitable or not, if it’s popular or not, its something you do for YOU because you think it’s fun. And there’s something really important in that.

    Somewhere down the line someone said “I love my video games so much. I wish I could make a living at it and never work again” and it worked out for them. Probably something like this happened for many people – and they become motivational speakers or something because this idea of doing what you LOVE for a living spread like wildfire and now everyone wants to turn their hobby – because they love doing it – into a profitable business. And we’re coming to the point in the world’s story now where people are finding out that doing what you love for a living changes it. Changes how and why you do it. And, sometimes, sucks all the fun out of it. That happened to me in one part of my life. And I’m still finding it hard to recover the sheer LOVE of writing and drawing I used to have. So I do tend to bang on the drum of warning all the time on this general subject. I don’t want that to happen to anyone else. It’s just not always the best thing, or a dream come true. Especially with creative work, which in general is seriously underpaid and under appreciated. Just look at how anime and manga artists are worked to death.

    Everyone has their own path, and sometimes you have to wander around a while to find it, or you might even change paths completely over your life. (I hereby give you permission for that) The outside world also has phases or fads that will try and tell you that this or that is right or the best latest greatest thing for your life – and only you can decide if that’s actually true for you.

    Now go watch some anime or play video games or hike or whatever makes you happy.

    1. I couldn’t have (and didn’t) said it better myself. I hope my readers don’t skip this comment, it’s really what I was trying to at.
      I will go watch anime now!

  12. If I had a blog, I’d actively refuse monetising it for that very reason. I don’t need another source of obligation in my life. It’s a source of stress. I’ve often wondered how I’d take to running a blog; if I don’t get replies, I’d probably quit, but if I got replies I might also feel the additional obligation and still quit. I’m weird that way.

  13. As a quick aside, my brother was a euphonium player, and you’re right. Hardly anyone ever talks about that particular instrument. Even I got a little excited just to hear that you were a player of it, because that’s how little it’s talked about.

    More to the point, though, I do want to turn The Demented Ferrets into an income one day, but for me it’s less a “must happen” and more like “I really wish it will happen”. Me and my friends started it, and if little else it will always be that collective group of friends that matters to me. Although I do the vast majority of the blogging, that’s not all we do. We play games on Twitch and do a few other bits and pieces.

    It would be great if we could earn an income from those hobbies, but ultimately I like to write. For me, that’s what it comes down to. I’m not perfect, my writing isn’t always either. I often wonder if we will be able to monetize one day. We’re a baby blog compared to yours though, that’s for sure. over 3,024 followers. We could only ever HOPE to aspire to that I think.

    So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that hobbyist or not, you’ve made something really worthwhile here. It’s impressive, either way… at least to me it is.

  14. Money and numbers always suck the fun out of the things we love doing because they make it more of a responsibility than a passion. That’s why I don’t monetize my blog too hehe It’s so much easier to enjoy and be creative when money isn’t involved 🙂

  15. Thanks for reminding me that I shouldn’t look at the numbers. It is interesting that you don’t need math, the numbers alone are enough to make you miserable.

    I started my blog because I like to write, I wouldn’t mind making money from it, but I won’t spend crazy money on it unless I have chance of making reasonable profit from it. Meaning, no penny profit, some reasonable money.

    I’m also writing a web serial, but again, not for the money. I won’t mind earning from it either, but money is not the central motivation. I rather get a job in programming for my monetary needs.

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