A few weeks ago, I had an unexpected visit from my excited nephew's mother who had baked some muffins and wanted us to try them out.
I've gotta say, they were good. 😊
As we conversed, she said how she had taken up baking and was loving it and even contemplated running a little side hustle to make some extra money. Of course, you know she was speaking my language right, so I encouraged her to do it.
But this was her biggest concern...
I'm afraid of taking the enjoyment out of baking by doing it as a business
And I totally hear where she's coming from. I've felt the same way every now and again. I sometimes still feel that pressure to perform.
Take for example, in the past couple of years, I've recorded and live streamed three family member's funerals. Sombre, I know, but hear me out.
The first two, I was totally cool about and they went well. In fact, I was totally surprised after the first funeral because of how well my iPhone 12 Pro performed.
For the third one, I was paid and yes, the heat was on! I even decided that since people were asking for my services, for the sake of £20 for some business cards, and a website that I could put up myself, I should create a little side hustle, which I named Last Farewell Media.
I think I did a good job of the first two projects, but Chris had to stop me and give me a little prep talk for this last one. He could see that I was unnecessarily complicating the process - because I was being paid - and he told me categorically, "stick to doing what you're comfortable with and don't complicate the process."
Don't you just love husbands for breathing sense into you when needed!
Even when it came to editing the video I almost fell into the "complicate it" trap again by wanting to learn new software so I could show off my editing skills. It's okay, I'm over it now. Back to using what I'm comfortable with.
So How Do You Ensure Your Passion Doesn't Turn Into A Chore?
I could create a long list of things, but these are the 3 I think most valuable:
- Don't focus on the money! I think this is the hardest for most people especially if you have a heart for giving value. It's great to over deliver, but think about the cost to you financially as well as emotionally. The last thing you want to do is resent doing that thing you once enjoyed - even loved - because there is a dollar (or pound) sign at the end of it.
- Keep it simple. No doubt you've heard this saying before, but "don't compare your chapter 1 to someone else's chapter 20."
Before my last gig, I spoke to a media guy who live streamed my cousin's funeral some years ago. He was helpful and openly shared some tips as well as encouraged me to upgrade my equipment if I was going to think about doing this seriously.
I was totally grateful, but then got scared because he uses some serious camera equipment and I have no intention of either spending that money on gear of doing this full time. So I spent several hours on YouTube watching videos of people using less complicated equipment and yet getting some serious accolades for their sterling service. I was sold. I felt totally at ease using my iPhone 12 Pro for now and went back to being in my element again!
- Remember your why. This goes hand in hand with #1 above about not focusing on the money. Whilst speaking to the media guy about my teeny tiny experience of live streaming the previous two funerals, I told him that for me it was about the memories I create for the family and the money is secondary.
He then shared how he worked with someone close to the Queen on a project concerning one of the Royals (may have been the Queen herself, but I don't remember) as well as Prince William on his mental health project. But, he said, for all of those projects, he found live streaming funerals the most rewarding.
Again, I know, it sounds morbid but we agreed that like a wedding it's the parts those involved (the family or the bride and groom in the case of weddings) don't get a chance to see on the day. When you're recording the events, what you're really creating are those keepsake memories. So if we stay focused on why we're doing this in the first place, thoughts of "oh, this had better be good because I'm being paid," changes to "I'm pleased the family will be able to look back at these memories."
Of course, you also want to make the memories professional looking too.
Interestingly, I actually asked God why He thought I should be live streaming funerals and what it had to do with my calling and seeking first the kingdom of God. The answer was quite clear, "it's a part of their healing."
In the book of Zachariah (4:10), the angel of the Lord said to Zerubbabel, "Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand."
Sometimes I think we over analyse our desires and talk ourselves out of doing good things because we want it to "go big or go home!"
I never thought the answer to me taking up live streaming funerals was about it being a part of their healing process. My reasons, though good, were surface level compared to what God was seeing.
And notice in that scripture above how the angel told Zerubbabel that "the Lord rejoices to see the work begin..."
In other words, just start!
I was fortunate enough to hear God say that it was a part of their healing. But whether your passion is to bake cakes, live stream funerals, soap making, bookkeeping, coaching, speaking, writing, etc, remember that the primary reason you want to embark on a side hustle or full time gig, should be about helping people first.
If it's about the money first, you'll probably kill your passion before you even get started.
There are Live Streaming companies out there with much better equipment than me, multiple cameras, etc, but I'm totally happy with the finished product because I'm comfortable taking hours of video footage and creating a finished video that captures the essence of the entire day.
I'm also happy just doing the occasional gig and have no intentions of changing that.
On the other hand, I know coaching and consulting for me is a passion AND a calling, but I still have to apply the three tips I mention above so it doesn't feel like a chore - especially when things are not going as smoothly as I'd like.
If making money is going to take the enjoyment out of your passion, then maybe, just maybe it's not a money making passion. And that's okay. You can always put that creativity into something else that will make you money.
And remember, if it doesn't work out, there is no shame, no failure, just learning!
So with this perspective, go do something! 😊