I have been doing (more) research on the difference between a hobby and a business, over the last couple of days. Right now, in the eyes of the U.S. Government, I am surely a hobbyist, though this could develop into being a business, in the future.
Note: none of this is intended as legal advice, as I can’t give it…this is one lay person’s understanding from doing research on the Internet and in books, mostly very recently.
Apparently, the largest determination between whether an income-generating hustle is a, “hobby,” or a, “business,” at least in the United States, has to do with motive. Businesses have profit motives; hobbies have enjoyment motives. I essentially came to the point of being able to compose the question of what the difference actually was or is between being classified as a hobby or business, and came up with that (unfortunately, I can’t totally recall exactly what page I was on, or where I was reading, when I realized this). This essentially just determines how a person is taxed. There’s…not much more reason for the distinction.
The categorization appears to have little to do with how much income a person generates — I have not found an upper limit (although a business can obviously get much larger than just one person, and hobbies typically appear to be small-scale affairs). So far as my goals are concerned…to be able to do what I love and offset the financial costs of such…I may well be better-served by directing myself to have a well-organized hobby. Unless — that is — I have to relocate to a place where I might not want to take any of the available jobs, in which case I have a fall-back option for income.
However, for now: treating my beadwork as a hobby means getting another job to support myself, which is getting at least a bit less scary now that defenses exist against COVID. I’m still considering Writing professionally — but to be honest, I’m not entirely certain how much taking on Writing as a career essentially means permanently working in a gig economy.
A gig economy is not great when you don’t really like to interact with people directly (which, in turn, might be the reason you became a writer). It involves continual outreach to find and sell oneself to new clients. There is an upshot, in that if I did get embedded in and known within one industry (hopefully, one I’m interested in), it would be easier to find jobs. Kind of like what I’m doing here, it seems.
There’s also the fact that even though I don’t really like cold-calling, I apparently excel at (and enjoy doing) research. I would think that would be typical, though? It’s well-known (at least in Publishing) that Writing is generally a solitary occupation and that Writers have to be comfortable with being alone for long periods of time. Of course, that plus, “gig economy,” seems to be…unfortunate. But I haven’t entered it, yet.
I do have a book on it, and I am getting more comfortable with putting my skills forward, however. So far as the latter goes, maybe too far? One of the problems I have is being very expressive in writing and fairly quiet in the rest of my life. At one time, this was, “…nearly silent in the rest of my life.” I’ve gotten much better about it since I was younger — particularly within the last, say, five or six years. It was a growth process, which was one of the reasons I stayed at my first job for so long.
However: I have not yet reconciled this with being a working adult with opinions. It’s relatively much easier to be a student with opinions: everyone expects that. But once you’re out there making a name for yourself? And there could be consequences to non-hegemonic expression where it comes to employment or sales? That feels very much different…and on top of this, I’m aware of it because I was almost a Sociology major. I got out when it became clear that I would have to be social. Kind of like I’m probably not going to fit a Public Services Librarian position because it means being expected to be social.
Writing can encompass putting forth ideas which lead to others feeling alienated. When the use of writing is to express ideas, however…how do you walk that line between saying nothing and saying things that get you in trouble? When a whole lot of what you have to say has not been heard before? That is a very good reason to write! But would I then be writing books — and not for pay?
If I keep going down this train of thought, I’m likely going to reveal things about my psychological state that probably shouldn’t be on the Internet, let alone on a Business blog on the Internet. However. Given time, that stuff might come out…and there is a demographic here which probably already knows what I mean. I’m — basically — coming to realize my own position in regard to the rest of the world, and the reality of my life. That is a bit depressing, but on the upshot, I’m not alone. It’s good to know that some people understand.
Further upshot: I can make it the core content of a book, and then not worry so much about people who want me not to express my inner reality. The point of a book is expression; if you don’t want to read it, you have the option not to, you know.
Anyhow…I’ve written at length already about the other methods I’m looking at to possibly gain a steady income — which would not subject me to, “people-stress,” and may be safe, but not all that exciting.
I can actually see now why I write: I’m actually able to unearth things that I have been thinking: between which, I had not made connections. Why it is that my medium is writing, and not another form of art, I still don’t know…