Saturday, April 2, 2016

52 Weeks to a Simpler Life – Tip #28 – Love Your Hobby? Make It Your Revenue Stream

Audio Version available - see player below

This week the idea is to make the drudgery of keeping a roof over your (and the family's, if you have one) head and putting food on the table a part of your history. It's the age old requirement of earning a living.

Let's face it, most people don't work because they want to. They work because they have to. There are so many variables involved in this major part of most people's lives for, typically, 40 to 50 years. Yes! There are some who are able to take an earlier retirement. There are also a lot of folks who don't feel financially secure ever retiring. You may be at one of the two extremes, but most likely, you fall in the largest segment between the two extremes.

I get a kick out of the people who really don't like what they do, where they work or who they work for, but they'll tell me they like or even love their work. I'm not going to go into it. But, I know that even a lot of those people would rather be doing many other things than what they do at their job. They'd prefer spending time with other people than who they see everyday at the job, including either being subordinate to their boss, manager or supervisor or superior to those subordinate to them. They would also rather be in any number of places other than where they commute to . . . including home.

Listen to the Audio Version: 

So, why do people do this? The simple answer is usually because they have to. But, does everyone really have to do the particular job they are in? Most people don't end up with the job they actually dreamt they would have. But, maybe they actually were fortunate enough to land their dream job. Remember, the only thing you can count on is 'change.' Things will change, even with the dream job. The business may be sold. It might go out of business. It might move to another part of the U.S. or another country. There may be a change in management, thus, changing the working conditions. It may evolve into a different product or service as society demands change. Or, it might automate and many jobs will cease to exist. So the individual, through no fault of his or her own, will be downsized and out the door.

What Are Your Hobbies or Special Interests

The chances are pretty good you, like most people, have a hobby or a special interest. You may not have enough time to enjoy it very much due to your job and family commitments. So, you put it off until later in life, hoping you'll live long enough for “later” to arrive and also hoping it doesn't change so much you won't be interested at that later time.

So, here's the thing. Why not focus some time, thought, creativity and effort into exploring how to turn your hobby or special interest into the way you earn a living. Most people react to this concept by saying, I'd love to do that, but I couldn't make a living doing it. Or, they might say, I couldn't make enough money to cover my living expenses today.

That's negative thinking. You can't do it because you've convinced yourself you can't and you keep reaffirming that thinking. Pretty soon you believe it's impossible. Well, a wise person once said, “If you say you can, you can. If you say you can't, you can't.” In other words you are a prophet believing whatever you decide to think. Thus, the prophecy is self-fulfilling.

You need to start doing some positive thinking or as Dr. Robert Schuller used to say, “possibility thinking.”

Dreams To Reality

Napoleon Hill, author of the best selling book, now about 80 years on the bookshelves of most bookstores and online sellers, “Think and Grow Rich,” said “Whatever the mind of man (woman) can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” In other words, if you have an idea and you're willing to do the research and work to position yourself to make that idea become a reality, it can become a reality.

There are, of course, many variables to be considered. You may have to alter your lifestyle. You may have to work different hours. You may have to re-acclimate your family, if you have one. If you're married, you and your spouse will have to determine if you're both going to buy into the change. You'll have to determine what has to be given up. Maybe you'll be driving older vehicles instead of a new Lexus or $40,000 custom ordered pick-up truck. You might have to move to a new home, perhaps, smaller and/or with space to conduct your hobby/business from. You might have to cash in whatever retirement accounts you have to take a chance on yourself for your freedom and happiness.

I know lawyers, doctors, high ranking military officers, corporate executives, teachers and people from all walks of life who have, after serious, deep soul searching, developed a plan and executed that plan. The goal was not working for 40 to 50 or more years doing something they didn't really want to be doing. They chose personal freedom, fulfillment, happiness and simplicity as a way to enjoy this gift of life.

I'm not suggesting you have to go cold turkey, quit your job and put the family on a welfare diet and lifestyle. Frankly, that would be foolish. Under most situations like that there is a very good chance the dream will turn into a nightmare. Instead, you build a plan. Create steps. If your current home is large, expensive to operate and requires a lot of time for upkeep, perhaps, one step will be moving to a smaller, easier to keep up, lower cost to operate home that will provide ample space somewhere to operate whatever you will be transitioning to. Start focusing on how to turn your hobby or special interest into a business, regardless of whatever it is. A few possibilities include:

  • photography
  • painting (fine art)
  • sculpting
  • creating smart phone apps
  • all kinds of crafts
  • writing music
  • performing music
  • recording music
  • developing videos for a YouTube channel
  • writing – all kinds
  • traveling
  • flying
  • driving
  • carpentry
  • woodworking
  • making cheesecakes
  • collecting (coins, stamps, etc., etc.)
  • antiquing
  • creating organic pet food
  • RVing
  • treasure hunting

This list could go on and on. I personally know people or I know of people who have done all of these things and many others. In the process they have created a lifestyle of freedom and happiness for themselves and their families.

Sound impossible? Well, it's not! You may have to give up working for someone else at some point in time so you can work harder for yourself doing something you love and where you control all the cards. You may have to move to the country or vice-versa, move to the city. You may have to stop driving a Lexus and start driving a mini-van, a van or a pick-up truck. You may have to give up the membership at the country club. You may have to shop at Kohls and Walmart and Target instead of Nieman- Marcus, Saks and Nordstrom. You may have to eat at home everyday and maybe go out to eat once a week as a treat. Yes! You'll have to make some adjustments and maybe a few sacrifices.

Do a cost-benefit analysis like corporations do when considering making any changes, adding or eliminating a product, adding more space or moving to a new facility, etc. Here is the basic formula – FH=L-T where F is freedom, H is happiness, L is life measured in the number of potential years of your lifespan and T is the amount of time you are willing to sacrifice of your life doing something you don't want to be doing that keeps you from enjoying the freedom and happiness life should be about. In simple terms how much Life and Time are you willing to sacrifice at the cost of the freedom and happiness to enjoy your life doing whatever it is that makes you feel good and happy?

The Bottom Line

So, here we are again, looking at the bottom line. Tip #28 in the 52 Weeks to a Simpler Life is to turn your hobbies and special interests into a way to generate the income you need to live the life you want to live and be free and happy.

Truly, the possibilities are endless. And 99% of the things you might choose to do, because you love them, will not require rocket science to do or to make the transition. It may take some virtual brain surgery to change your thinking from impossibility thinking to possibility thinking. But, believe me, if you want something bad enough, where there is a will there is a way. Regardless of your age right now – 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s . . . and yes, even centenarians – if you can conceive of a better, more fun, freer, happier, fulfilling life than whatever you currently have, you CAN achieve it.

This is not a motivational speech, by the way. I don't believe anyone can motivate anyone else to do anything they don't want to do except by extreme fear – like holding a gun to your head. Short of that, the only person who can motivate you to do anything is YOU! My intention is only to inspire and encourage you, IF you want a simpler, freer, happier life to believe in and take a chance on yourself and your dreams.

My guess is whatever it is you may want to do, someone else has already done it and is doing it right now. Search for them on the Web. Read their Web sites. Read their blogs. Contact them. Most people will be honored that you are contacting them. Ask the questions. Get the answers. Build YOUR plan. Follow it! And Rock On!

Live free and be happy. EH


theoddwanderer said...

Hi Ed, nice post. Your thoughts are right on. Enjoy reading anything that Make's me think about what I can do and what is possible if only we try. HoboJoe

John Abert said...

Hi Ed! I agree that the concept is a simple one, but unfortunately, there are many out there who think that running a business is beyond their capabilities, and therefore some won't even make an attempt to learn how to do it. People like you and I learned on our own because we cared enough about our futures to make a point of learning, while others don't even care enough about themselves to finish high school. A few can learn to better themselves, even without a formal education, but they seem to be few in numbers.

One thing is certain... those who want to will find a way on their own or with help if they seek it, and those who have no interest cannot be made to have an interest. Those kind will go through life working to make someone else rich while they collect their meager pay, and never comprehend what tax advantages are or even why they are in the dire situation they put themselves in. But as the old saying goes, "everyone has to be somewhere".

Lois said...

Great post, Ed. I've considered doing something for extra income for a long time. Perhaps it's time to put a plan into action. So I'm going to take a good long hard look at what I do and what I like to do and what I can do to add to the income stream and see what I can come up with. You've given me some ideas and now it's time to move forward. Thanks! Rock on!