I remember back when I was in High school at the beginning of each school year my biggest stressors were trying to make it into the netball team, getting chosen to be part of the choir or to at least make the cross country team in athletics season. I was such an active child, constantly in search of the next best school club or activity that would make my heart dance. 

I remember sitting in class in grade 10 a couple of months after I had discovered Drama and I was finally an official member of a community theatre group. My English teacher,  Miss Betty Smith, was reading an abstract from Macbeth and I sat there trying my best to hold in my disbelief at how nonchalant her portrayal of the character of Lady Macbeth was! [Side note, she was only reading and I don’t think she intended to act it out at all] but the newly found Actor in me wouldn’t allow for such an injustice. So, I raised my hand and asked if I could try my hand at the portrayal of Lady Macbeth for that part of the text and she agreed!

 “Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature’s mischief!” 

And, scene! I took my bow as my peers’ joyfully applauded. Miss Smith was rather tickled by my performance. That moment was pivotal in my journey; I learnt then that life is nothing without the things that set our souls on fire! 

As we get older; life slowly peels off the parts of us that long to be present and playful. We push aside our inner child to face the growing pressures of being an adult, from working on  “getting things done’’ to trying our best to “keep it together”, forgetting that engaging in a hobby that is enjoyable to us can help increase our quality of life! There are many benefits to taking on and committing to a hobby including health benefits. Having a hobby reportedly helps lower the risk of High Blood Pressure, reduces the risk of Depression, and even helps to keep you mentally sharp and more productive.  

We may feel less lonely after taking on a hobby because it expands our social circle whether we enjoy doing yoga, taking a baking class or learning how to paint. Being part of a community of people who share the same interests enhances our chances of making new social connections. Another wonderful thing we have come to see in our era is many people turning their hobbies into side hustles with more and more people going as far as turning that hustle into their mainstream of income. We live in a new world filled with possibilities and I love to see it! 

One person who has turned her hobby into a side hustle and home-based business is stay at home Mom Salome Pooe who is passionate about creating and sewing. Pooe has gone from making the cutest Mommy/daughter outfits for her and her little one to creating the most beautiful bags, cushions and accessories through her small business Adon House; I reached out to her to get a glimpse of what her secret to staying committed to the cause is and here is what she had to say… 

Q.  Please tell me a little more about how your passion for sowing and creating began?

My mom taught me how to do a basic hand stitch and alter it from a young age. As a young teenager from a family of 6 children, I used to get frustrated waiting for my turn to get new clothes.

One day my mom, being almost the same size as me, was decluttering her room and getting rid of clothes she hadn’t worn in years. I fell in love with a few vintage items and started altering them to my preference. Then I would make earrings from old jeans. I particularly loved accessories because I felt like they stole the show from my ” same, old boring outfits”

Q.  How did you know you were ready to turn your hobby into a side hustle, and was it frightening for you at first, or were you confident that you would be able to make a profit from your passion?

I started making bow ties and lapel flowers for my then-boyfriend (now husband) as gifts. He started getting compliments and referred people to me. So did my younger sister whom I made fabric earrings for. The demand for my items seemed to exceed the time and energy spent on my hobby. I had to have some sought of exchange for my creativity.

The change wasn’t frightening at first because my focus was to get my product out there and have people talking more than it was about profits. In fact, for the longest time, I have had this mindset. Which is good but sadly does not transfer into profit for the amount of energy and creativity you put in. I thank God for the information age we live in, where you can easily learn these things online.

Q.  What advice would you give to anyone who’s working on turning their hobby into a side hustle?

Do not put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Take it one step at a time. Passion is one thing and business is another; it’s a thin line that can quickly turn your hobby into a burden. Remember that essentially you are starting at ground zero, so you have to work with what you have and at the level, you can. Pace yourself, strive for progress and not perfection. If you don’t understand something, google, talk to people who’ve walked the journey, and lastly collaborate wherever and whenever you can.

Q.  How do you balance out being a Mom and having a home-based business?

To say this is smooth sailing would be completely false. It was difficult at first when my daughter hadn’t started creche yet and it was just the two of us during the day. I had to work around her routine, which didn’t always go as planned. So this meant I had to put in extra hours in the evening when she was asleep, and during the weekends when her father was around. This not only placed a huge strain on me but our marriage as well. I was no longer emotionally available for our relationship, I became too consumed with my “to-do list”. I advocate for balance and mental health, therefore I prioritise myself as much as I do being a mom as well as running an online business. Thankfully our daughter is in creche now, and that’s given me more time to grow my business.

My ultimate stance when it comes to balance….ask for help when you need it. You never know the lengths people are willing to go for you.

Picking up a hobby and asking for help to maintain some kind of work-life balance is something we all need to apply, regardless of our career/lifestyle path.