After a few engineering jobs and failed attempts to start a tech company, I gave another lifestyle business a shot. This time, a catering business. I always liked cooking. Before going to college, I worked for several restaurants, so I had a decent cooking skill. The idea of a catering business came from my frustration with the catering food I ate at various singles parties. They were just terrible. The organizers didn’t care about the quality of the food. I thought I could organize a better party and serve great food.
The problem was that renting an event space was expensive. So I moved to a bigger apartment that can hold 20 people. I bought a bunch of furniture. I learned how to cook party food. I invited my coworkers and friends. I was relentless. I threw a couple house parties every month and the guests really enjoyed tem. I had a lot of fun, too. I used to pay to party. Now I get paid to party!
I got the taste of it, so I quit my well paying engineering job and decided to “party for a living”. Guess what? That didn’t work either. Throwing a party to make money takes away the joy. I had to invite people I didn’t like because I needed money. I felt guilty for spamming my friends with invitations. I also provided food for other people’s parties, but I got bored of cooking the same food over and over again. I tried to create a new menu as often as possible to keep it interesting, but I didn’t have enough time or creative capacity to do that.
After 2 months, I found myself making less than minimum wage doing mostly blue collar work and stressed out. How did I end up here? I thought I would be happy if I get paid to do what I love. We spend half ot the waking hours working, so it’s most important to optimize our work. This thought process was perfectly reasonable when I got started. But “doing what you love” does not necessarily lead to happiness. In the book “E-myth”, the author Michael E. Gerber tells a story about a woman who started a bakery because of her passion for baking. But because she didn’t know how to create a system that runs without her, she essentially created a very busy job for herself. I got myself into the similar situation.
Doing what you love has a strange effect. Once you try to make money from it, you will no longer do it for fun. This happened for me not just with catering, but other hobbies as well. When I was a kid I wanted to be a musician. I pursued the dream for 6 years before finally giving up. But the worst part is not that I could not become a musician. It’s that I don’t enjoy listening or playing music anymore. The same for programming. After getting a job, I stopped programming for fun.
I know this is not a universal fact. There are plenty of people who do what they love both for money and fun. That’s why it’s even more depressing. What’s wrong with me? Why do I keep losing my hobby? This is a question that I’m still trying to find the answer for.