Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Hobby Versus Side Hustle: Breaking Them Both Down

As a relative newcomer to actually implementing side hustles, it wasn't until I started this blog that I began to notice the key differences between side hustles and hobbies. It was for this reason I thought it would be helpful to identify my observations of the key differences between side hustles and hobbies.

We'll start by offering my definitions of both a hobby and a side hustle and describe the key similarity between a hobby and a side hustle before delving into the key differences.

Hobby: An activity performed solely for the enjoyment and not for monetary gain.

Side hustle: Activity performed for monetary gain, and possibly for enjoyment.

The major similarity between a side hustle and a hobby is the fact that they both could be performed for enjoyment. Another element is that as long as the hobby or side hustle isn't overdone, both can provide an outlet for us to escape the everyday monotony that is often associated with a day job.

In my particular case, two of my primary hobbies include this blog and watching sports.

While it's entirely possible that this blog could one day make money, that isn't the primary motivation. If it was a major motivation, I would have gave up long ago because this blog has yet to technically make a dime on its own (although it may have theoretically funneled a bit of traffic to my side hustle on Seeking Alpha). But regardless of whether this blog does or doesn't eventually make money, it's quite clear that it doesn't matter to me.

The sole purpose of this blog when I started it was to serve as 1) a creative and productive outlet for me so that 2) I could someday look back on it as I document my journey to financial independence and 3) proof that an average guy or gal can attain financial independence in a relatively quick amount of time with the right mindset and that you don't have to be a successful pro athlete, musician, actor, or startup billionaire to attain financial independence and security.

There are numerous other examples of hobbies that many of us engage in on a daily basis, such as watching sports, spending time with family, and so forth. As a very casual sports fan (aside from NBA basketball where I have more of an intermediate understanding of the game), sports is another way to escape from the day to day grind that is important to our mental health.

As I alluded to above when defining a side hustle and a hobby, the key difference is the ability for monetary gain. A hobby is often a side hustle without the earning capability and a side hustle is often a hobby with earning potential (if you're doing it right, as I believe your side hustle shouldn't feel like actual work or it negates one of the purposes of a side hustle which is to escape the feeling of tedious work).

In my case, I generally write a couple articles a week over at Seeking Alpha. It has proven to be a fairly decent side hustle when we consider that I enjoy the process of researching and writing about investment opportunities.

It's generally a nice way for me to spend part of my weekend finding investment opportunities for both myself and others, which helps from a mental health standpoint as I feel I am doing something productive with my life, even with part of my downtime.

Concluding Thoughts:

As we've shown, both side hustles and hobbies serve as a respite from the sometimes dull nature of our day jobs. I couldn't even imagine working 80+ hours a week at a job you despise while having no time for yourself. Perhaps it's immature and misguided of me to believe that side hustles and hobbies can serve as distractions from our day jobs, especially when we spend so much of our lives at our day jobs, but I've found that hobbies and side hustles can bring meaning to our lives in ways that jobs often can't because they aren't designed for our pleasure.


What are your side hustles? What are your favorite hobbies? Are there any new side hustles or hobbies that you are soon considering participating in?

If you've made it this far through this sometimes aimless rant, I applaud you and thank you for reading. This post served as a bit more of one from the soul with less of the formal writing style that I often include in my posts. As always, I welcome any comments you may have below.


  1. Great write-up, I am a big believer in commenting on blogs to inform the blog writers know that they’ve added something worthwhile to the world wide web!.. Side hustle

  2. Anna Schafer,

    Thanks for the comment and I'm glad you enjoyed the post!