#16 Don't sell art due to peer pressure

From 2011 to 2014, I was crazy about photography. I used to go out every weekend to shoot photographs. Practicing the art form taught me how to see the world, gave me a sense of calm, and offered me a chance to meet several amazing artists.

People loved my work and encouraged me to do more. And, then it started. A lot of my friends/well-wishers started telling me to take up commercial assignments especially wedding photography as it was the trend back then. Even though I was a bit skeptical, I thought "If so many people think I should do it, I should do it."

So, without any prior experience in photographing at weddings, or running a business, I decided to venture into wedding photography. Three months into the gig, I bombed. My pictures weren't great and I was sloppy at running the business side of things. Result? Prospects took their business to those who were actually good at it.

Also, I hated working on the assignments I had at hand. I didn't enjoy it as much as when I was doing it as a hobby. Soon, I shut shop. And, for some reason, I couldn't do photography after that. Maybe turning it into a business left a bad taste in me. Or, I genuinely moved on to different things like writing and tech. I couldn't tell.

But, a question I often ask myself is "Would I still be photographing if I hadn't turned my passion into a business?" I don't have an answer.

But, one lesson I learned from the experience is don't turn something you love into a business just because people around you want you to. Do it only if you want to. I know it can be tempting when everyone on social media is writing success stories about how they monetized their passion.

When you sell your art, you aren't just making and selling art. You're responsible for a hundred other things. And, it may suck the happiness out of you if you're running it as a single person (running it as a company is a different story).

So, it is okay if you don't turn your hobby/passion into a business. Continue doing it for your pleasure. Nobody is going to judge you for it.

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