How to (not) Turn Your Hobby into a Full-Time Job

What to make your hobby into a full-time job? Make yourself aware of dream marketing and how to tell the difference between wishful thinking and reality.

Sura Kamil
Age of Awareness
Published in
5 min readNov 27, 2020


We’ve all been sold a dream, where we fell into the desperate grasp of wishful thinking.

With this type of marketing all around us, it’s hard not to fall into this trap.

The commodification of hobbies has become as present in marketing as a company having a logo or a slogan. We tend to find this strategy, of selling a dream, everywhere. When someone falls into the mindset of wishful thinking, specifically regarding making a hobby into a full-time job, it can lead to flawed motivations and intentions. I’ll explain what I mean below.

Let me first clear up that, there’s nothing wrong with making money off of a hobby, in fact, I think secretly we all work towards that goal. Who wouldn’t want to have a job they absolutely love? The issue lies in wishful thinking versus reality and guesses which one tends to be marketed? The reality is that not everyone who puts in hard work gets lucky enough to make their dream a job, and that’s okay. Selling a dream tends to make us fearful of failure and blames only us when we don’t succeed when in reality there are factors outside of our control that play into whether we succeed or not.

Selling a dream tells us that if you’re good at knitting, then open a shop. Good at illustrations? Try commissions. Writing? Sell your articles. Again, I want to emphasize that there’s nothing inherently wrong with doing this, but it’s when others try to market that doing this is easy and frame it in a way where absolutely anyone can succeed through “three easy steps”. These marketers tend to correlate their way of success as everyone’s way of success.

If you want to make your hobby into a side-hustle, then go for it, I don’t want to stop anyone from doing so, but I do want to make you more aware of these tactics so you can tell what’s wishful thinking and what’s realistic.

These dreams are usually sold to beginners and newbies who haven’t refined their skills and still seek to make a living. If you’ve just gotten into a hobby and are only thinking about making it into a job, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate why you’re doing this hobby. This narrative that even amateurs can easily make money is not as true as the marketing campaigns make it out to be. The vocal minority that has had rapid success tends to ignore the silent majority that hasn’t.

Glossing Over the Facts

These articles or campaigns, usually labelled in this manner: “5 Easy Steps to a Successful Business” tend to skip steps 1–4 and jump straight into five. When someone sells you a dream it’s usually done by talking in ambiguities. So that you fill in what you want to happen, without them giving you a detailed plan. For example, in writing, you might have heard that articles with 1200–1500 words tend to do better, yet this tip doesn’t account for the differences in genre and style. If you have a long article that’s just running on, the 1200–1500 words won’t add anything, it would be better off to just shorten it down. These structures of success are also limiting, you might sacrifice one area just to reach the 1200–1500 ‘pot of gold’ mark.

What if you follow every single tip? Let’s go back to the writing example, we’ve written an article with 1300 words, it has proper SEO, and is thoroughly edited. Then the same article flops, whose fault is it? When you’re sold a dream it’s framed in a way where their tips are not the problem but you are the problem. When we’re shaped to be the problem it’s devastating and only feeds into a negative feedback loop.

Selling these dreams means compromising the aspect that got you into that hobby in the first place — fun.

When you start to only focus on what will make a profit you’ll inevitably jump into the rabbit hole of pandering to statistics and what will do good, rather than what you like.

Finding your Niche

What’s the root of this tip? Why find a niche? Well, obviously a niche allows you to establish yourself, right? It makes it easier when you want to start selling because you already have experience in that field, which sounds great, but the commodification of hobbies switches the priority from fun to money-making. Feeding a mindset where numbers equal success and this starts to seed into one’s mind.

The constant tip to “find your niche”, really irks me. When you’re a beginner you need time to flush out your hobby: to understand what you like and don’t like. When you’re forced to choose it becomes like a ticking time bomb, making it feel like a necessity where you not following the advice leads to failure. This rush mentality to specify a niche stomps on the opportunity for growth. Don’t rush what you love, instead take your time. Whenever a marketing campaign makes you feel rushed, know this could be a red flag.

Have Fun and Embrace the Vague

If you’re a beginner, or at any level, I recommend developing your skills. Does that sound vague? Well yes, it’s supposed to because everyone’s journey to develop their skills is different. One article or course can’t give you the secret sauce because there really is no secret sauce, no one size fits all. One person might have success in one niche, the second might get lucky, and the third might get nowhere. What works for one person probably will not work for you. Why? Because we’re all different.

Think about it this way, we might all be given the same ingredients but create different recipes. Nutmeg can be used in sweets but also in savoury dishes.

You’ll have to assess your level and really see if you need more work, that’s an area we have to be honest with ourselves. You don’t have to be a pro to make money, but at the same time you can’t make money with zero skills, yet when you’re sold a dream only the former of that statement is highlighted.

So embrace the vagueness as an area to discover. Your hobby is your map and you’re the explorer, you have a whole amazon forest in front of you, so why rush? People selling you dreams are boats with holes in them, begging you to get out of the forest.

So stop listening to people selling you dreams, and articles that chalk up success to “three easy steps”, heck don’t even listen to me, listen to yourself.

Have a story you’d like to share? Get in touch with me at



Sura Kamil
Age of Awareness

Truth hunter seeking to unravel hidden misconceptions. Check out my articles for some interesting and unaddressed topics. Let’s connect