The ultimate dream for many a weirdo, freak, nerd or geek is to turn their amateur hobby into a professional concern. To make their particular obsession their job and to make a living at it. This is awesome, I do it, but it’s not without its drawbacks and difficulties as well.
1. Everything is work.
They say if you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. As it turns out that’s absolute bullshit. What actually happens is that EVERYTHING becomes work. What you end up doing for money may be something you love and enjoy but when your income depends on it, it gets stressful and when you do take time off you’re doing the same thing that you do for work.
On the other hand: Everything is also something fun. While it can taint your enjoyment, it makes ‘going to work’ every day a damn sight easier.
2. You’re never ‘off’.
When what you love is what you do you can really never switch off. Your all-consuming hobby becomes your whole life. Everything you see, everything you do seems to relate to your hobby.
On the other hand: It’s a great excuse to get yourself a secondary hobby so you CAN get a break. Secondary nerdery is also awesome. For me that’s probably comics, films and computer games but you can get your own, damn you.
3. Conventions become work, damn it
So, you get to go to that big convention that you love so much. Trouble is, you’re working. You can’t leave your stall or stand and go wandering off or some mouth-breathing neckbeard is going to have it away on their toes with your stuff. The bastards. If you meet people it’s generally for business and all the other businessy nerds are all busy too. You might make some money, but the con experience from the other side of the table often sucks.
On the other hand: Fans are rad, their enthusiasm is infectious and they can usually be persuaded to go and get you a bottle of scotch and a chocolate bar so you don’t have to leave.
4. Geeks are Unprofessional
Being a ‘professional’ geek is something of an oxymoron. Unless you’re working for a big company it’s all pretty small scale and personal as a business. This means getting bigger is tricky, a lot depends on personal relationships and you know how clannish geeks are. People come to blows over Kirk Vs Picard for the love of Thor. That means deadlines can slip, getting money can be tricky and people can be dicks.
On the other hand: That’s actually something that’s nice about geek-related businesses. It’s still small and personal and people’s passion and interest really comes across.
5. People think you owe them
If you’re a professional geek and you make cool geeky stuff, people start thinking they can get up in your face and tell you how to do what you do as though they know better. If they really did, they’d probably do it themselves. At least they’re still buying your stuff and care about it, but still, it can be a grind.
On the other hand: At least they’re giving you ideas, even if it might be done in a bad way.