Profiting From What You Love: On Whims & Money-Making

Hello Friend by Helen Dardik on etsy
Hello Friend by Helen Dardik on etsy

 

Nearly a year ago, I came back from Spark Retreat zinging with ideas. I was inspired by Dyana Valentine and Jessika here at Oh My! and, really, each of the women who I met and connected with. As I earn my living working with words, though, I was transfixed by Alexandra Franzen. She had found a way to play with words: to really have fun, while inviting all of us along with her.

Sometime in the summer, I had a whim. Why don’t I invite Alex to my hometown? We could run a workshop and people will come to see her. I immediately emailed Alex (surely, if I had thought about it too long, I would have completely over-thought it, and it would never have happened!), and in the span of twenty-four hours, we had dates, themes, and a schedule worked out. Complete with yoga!

This weekend, we meet.

In the meantime, I have booked fifteen lovely writerly yogis, arranged for facilities, catering, and transportation from the closest airport—two hours’ drive away! I registered people by hand. That is, we used email on first contact, and then registrants filled out a google form, which populated a google spreadsheet, which alerted me to the registrant’s choices. All that led me to send paypal invoices in the correct amount. Since opening registrations on October 25, I have had back-and-forth contact with twenty-five people; have refunded six registrations from people who, for various reasons, had registered and then had to drop out; and have found billeted accommodations for seven. Finally, nine women are coming from my home province of Alberta, two from neighbouring provinces, and four from the US.

Now that all of the registrations are in order, I have been looking closely at my budget, and after everyone else is paid, it still looks like I will be making a profit. Which is feeling a little strange. See, my whole intent behind the workshop was to have more instruction-time with Alex. To laugh together! And to bring people (new friends!) to my small town. Making money was the furthest thing from my mind when I followed that whim and emailed Alex in the summer.

Whim. The Oxford English Dictionary defines “whim” as “A capricious notion or fancy; a fantastic or freakish idea; an odd fancy.”

Yes: a “freakish idea.” We are not supposed to make money off of our freakish ideas. Right? So how do I reconcile this with who I am?

I try by going back to math.

Given the amount of emails and phone calls and face to face meetings (with Alex, the attendees-to-be, the caterer and facilities, yoga instructor, and billet homes), I could have made more money per hour selling fridges down the street. So what is it about earning money (even a little) from the things that delight us, from our odd fancies, that seems, somehow, wrong?

Even with the math, I’m working on that. And I am desperately looking forward to next weekend, and all of its writing and yoga and fun.

Do you struggle with making money from something you utterly love? How do you reconcile earning from something that feels nothing like work?

3 comments

  1. I am so inspired by your story….just over the top inspired. You took one of those moments when you felt brave and acted on it….did not over think it. I have built a business on all of those tiny moments of bravery…and I am still building away and happy when I feel those surges.

    I recently taught at a private school and was paid well. When I look at all the hours of prep I put in, I was paid fairly. Yet, I had so much fun it did not seem like work. I obviously need to do this more….

    You have inspired me in this post to reach out….thank you…..xo.

  2. Darice says:

    Yes, yes, yes – to your freakish idea! No – to feeling strange about making money!

    To be fair, that No! wasn’t always a no…it was yes for so very long I hate to think of it. Why do we do that to ourselves? We’re worth so much more than we give ourselves credit for.

    Hooray! for your taking your whim one step further, making it a reality – and what sounds like an awesome time for so many creative minds. (That’s the stuff dreams are made of!)

    When we make money from our gifts / loves we offer something to the world that no one else can: ourselves. I think that’s worth charging for. 😉

  3. It’s funny that this concept is just now hitting me. I’ve made money on my wedding invitations since 2006 and never had a problem with it. Brides were getting a physical tangible product that they could touch, love and send out to guests. But now that I charge for consultations and digital products that I create, I feel that freakish whim. Really Renae? You want to charge someone money to have an hour long conversation and answer their questions? It feels so foreign to not have an overhead on that. It feels so foreign to actually value my TIME.

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