We talk a lot about YouTube as potential path to self-employment and independence, and for good reason. With little more than a smartphone and an internet connection, anyone can make a living and even become extravagantly wealthy. But we should also acknowledge that for most, making a living income on YouTube is a distant goal and for countless others, it’s not even a priority. This is good and healthy, and it’s a part of the YouTube community that isn’t talked about enough.

When a hobby becomes a job, enjoyment often fades. A professional chef often has no interest in cooking dinner after work. An avid backpacker turned a park ranger may not want to take their vacations in the forest.

If you love making videos and become a professional YouTube creator, do you see yourself making videos for fun after working on videos for more than forty hours during the week? Probably not. If you had any desire to make a video outside the scope of your channel, for example, shooting a horror movie while producing a daily vlog, you may never find the motivation to actually make it as long as you’re running your channel.

Even when we do something we enjoy for a living, the fact that our livelihood relies on doing it compels us to continue, whether we want to or not. Years ago I played a lot of World of Warcraft, investing dozens of hours a week. I loved it. But even then, there were times when I didn’t feel like playing. Though I might spend eight hours playing on a Saturday, on the following Tuesday playing even a single hour would be no more enjoyable than flipping burgers. I can’t imagine being compelled to play for eight hours every day. I might as well dig ditches.

The beauty of a hobby is that you do it at your leisure. Hobbies are therapeutic and stress relieving. Generally speaking, a job doesn’t have these qualities. Certainly a job can be fulfilling and enjoyable, but even then, the job will have a different meaning and purpose than a hobby.

If you’re personally fulfilled by making videos for YouTube and are uncertain about whether or not to make it a career, I encourage you to think long and hard about whether or not you’re ready to give up your hobby. Because as soon as you rely on YouTube for your livelihood, for better or for worse, it will play an entirely different role in your life.

Get YouTuber.

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