Does Hustle Culture Have it All Wrong?

Stanley from The Office
Season 5 Reaction GIF by The Office

Some of us might be able to relate to this: you find a hobby, start to love it, and start using your hobby to connect with your family and friends only to suddenly have your loved ones convince you to turn your passion project into a side hustle. Your passion for your hobby takes a backseat and leaves you stressing about a business plan, a logo, a brand, a bank account, and all other tedious things that suck the joy out of something you once loved. How did you get here?

This is something I’ve been wondering about for some time, especially since I have my own business where I work directly with artisans and come across so many other small businesses. I wonder how much of their craft comes from deep love of the work they do and how much of it comes from the societal norms of monetizing our passions to make a little extra money on the side.

I start to wonder, why has it become so difficult to enjoy the talents of others without pushing them to monetize their craft? I’ve been guilty of it. I think we all have.

We’ll make comments like ‘You should sell these!’ and ‘Why aren’t you making them in different colors to maximize profits?!’ All with good intentions, of course. However, we fail to realize that so much of the things we are saying with good intentions are shaped by the normalization of a consumerist culture. Consumer culture is driven to make you feel validated if you own your own business or if you’re doing a thousand things at once even if you’re overworking yourself for it. Now, I am not someone who typically frowns upon consumerism, being a huge fan of treat yo’ self days, but I’m also aware that we don’t and shouldn’t have to feel pressured to monetize everything that brings us joy.

In a consumerist-driven world, we might be better off finding joy in things that are simple and won’t bring on a chain of events like a business plan or legal filings. Perhaps the joy and validation that we might be looking for in starting a business can be found when we decide to keep our hobbies to ourselves.

Due to the pandemic, many of us are discovered new hobbies. This is something exciting and exactly what most of us need to keep us motivated during what feels like a never-ending lockdown. But in case you haven’t heard it, your hobbies don’t have to be your side hustle.

Yes, your hobby might make you a whole lot of money... but it also might not. We need to stop buying into hustle culture and the idea that if you hustle hard enough you’ll be able to pay off those student loans faster or that you’ll be on the road to financial security quicker. All that you might end up with is quicker burnout and a path to more stressors during an already difficult time. Only you can answer these questions, but we are here to promote self-care and remind.

Michael Scott character from "the office"Be Free Season 4 GIF by The OfficeGiphy

Yuri Vega wearing a red sleeveless top looks at the camera. She has long blonder hair and is standing in front of a white brick wall

When Yuri Vega and Rommel Vega launched their footwear brand Holo Footwear two years ago, they had no idea where their journey would take them. Latina footwear ownership is almost non-existent and where it does exist, the products are often fashion shoes. Yuri and her partner decided to take on the extremely male-dominated sneaker market instead.

Not only did they choose to enter a very competitive market, but they took it a step further (pun intended) by deciding to make their products sustainable so that people don't have to choose between style, comfort, or mother Earth.

The path Yuri has taken is nothing short of inspiring and we hope she inspires other Latinas to walk in her shoes, literally.

Keep ReadingShow less