Put your hobbies to work.

Today I learned how to set up an online store to put my art on the market. To be more accurate, this has been (and will be) an ongoing project, but I thought I would chronicle the experience for posterity. Maybe someone will find this useful someday. Perhaps as a guide for how to do things, or possibly an example of how not to run a business. The important thing is that I have something to do that isn’t watching the tail end of our year Two Thousand Twenty grind me into a paste (although I heard that’s how they used to make “Mummy Brown“).

A smarter man than I might start by investigating consumer trends, hedonic pricing, or market saturation. Bully to that, I say! What kind of artist puts the cart of sound business practice before the horse of inspiration? Its the “Field of Dreams” of business plans, what could possibly go wrong?

On a separate note, today I also learned that “Hobby Loss” is a thing. Essentially, a “hobby” business such as this silly little endeavor is not allowed to claim losses in excess of any income generated. Three cheers for not committing tax fraud!

Lesson 1: Find a hobby.
The most important part of the whole exercise is to find something interesting to do. Search your passions, find your inspirations, navigate your feelings, blah, blah, blah. The “what” here doesn’t matter, and doesn’t even have to be consistent. Just get out there and try things. Eventually you’ll find something that makes sense to you.

I chose painting because it is, at its heart, not a very complicated activity. It doesn’t require a whole lot of complicated and specialized tools to begin, and it is rich with history, lore, and jargon to satisfy my inner nerd. It also doesn’t seem to take up too much space. For now anyway.

It remains to be seen whether I will stick with this one, or if painting will join my long list of fondly remembered past hobbies. Woodworking and other fabrication hobbies need space and equipment that I don’t have, programming and electronics didn’t hold my interest as much as I’d hoped, music doesn’t call to me like it used to, rock climbing and hiking isn’t so fun now that I live in Texas where its always hot, cooking triggers my inherent scatterbrained tendency toward clutter…

My point is that there are lots of different things out there, so don’t expect that you’ll find your perfect hobby straight off. If you do, congratulations, you’re amazing. For the rest of us, be prepared to embrace change as you grow. Be open to learning from your failures as much as your successes.

Good Luck!

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