Is it a Business or a Hobby? How to Pursue your Passion AND Make a Living

By Miranda Allen

I’ve seen it time & time again, someone has a hobby they are super passionate about and they try to do it full-time only to find out that it’s not very lucrative or maybe that they don’t enjoy relying on it to make ends meet. For some, it even ruins their love for the hobby itself. Not saying this is everyone! There are also plenty of hobbyist who are kicking ass at making a living from their hobby. If that’s you, rock on. In the end, it’s all about your mindset and the approach you take to growing your business.

My Hobby/Business Story

I started Thoughtfully Thrifted at the beginning of 2017 with the objective of selling vintage items to make money. I called it a business and treated it like a hobby. About eight months in, I knew this wasn’t going to allow me to quit my day job and fulfill my dream of working for myself. There are plenty of other vintage slingers out there making bank and fulfilling their dreams selling vintage online or at a retail location, for some reason, I knew that wasn’t going to be me.

My background was in digital marketing. I majored in marketing in college and went on to receive my MBA shortly after while working as a marketing specialist full-time. Friends, acquaintances, and friends of friends were always reaching out to ask for help with websites, social media, and brand awareness. Eventually, it hit me that I should start charging for this work! Once I started charging for the work, I realized how much I loved helping people reach their business goals, and I knew that this could be a career that would allow me to blend my passions and my experience into a service. I filled the LLC paperwork for Thoughtfully Designed in December of 2017.

Meanwhile, Thoughtfully Thrifted had turned into a home decor community of almost 20,000 eclectic, decor loving babes. Realizing that Thoughtfully Thrifted was a hobby brought back the joy of managing the Instagram account. It became more about having fun and building relationships. I even created an online Instagram course for home decor bloggers and vintage sellers. The course was one of the many ways I’ve been able to bridge my passion for vintage and business.

On the other hand, I was hustling my ass off with Thoughtfully Designed doing everything I coud to ensure it operated like a business, not just a hobby. Here is a quick rundown of getting everything established (I didn’t do one of the items mentioned above when I started Thoughtfully Thrifted):

  • Registered as an LLC
  • Filed a doing business as (DBA) registration
  • Opened a business bank account
  • Applied for a business credit card
  • Completely separated business & personal funds
  • Got an accounting system
  • Hired a bookkeeper

 

The mindset of business vs. hobby is so important as an entrepreneur. If you treat your business like a hobby, it will make money like a hobby, but if you treat your hobby like a business, you just might end up with the best of both worlds.

Thoughtfully Thrifted remains one of my favorite hobbies. I love decorating, revitalizing, sharing, and posting. I even keep a small amount of inventory in my online shop, but Thoughtfully Designed is my business. It’s my career, my job, my salary. It’s the ticket to leaving behind corporate life for something a little scarier, but a hell of a lot more fulfilling.

I hope I get the chance to connect with you in Portland at the Together Experience! I’m so eager to network with other creative entrepreneurs, learn from amazing mentors and business owners, and to celebrate this crazy journey of entrepreneurship. See you in September!

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