Agiing Successfully: Hobby productivity and benefits

  • Wednesday, March 27, 2019 1:30am
  • Opinion

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word hobby as a pursuit outside of one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation. What are your hobbies?

Ross Hamilton received his first camera when he was 10 years old, discovering a hobby he would become passionate about. The photographer who most inspired Ross was Ansel Adams; as an adult he met Adams personally and even attended Adams’ seminars. Ross continued to work making his photography a side business until the business became self-supporting for him.

As a senior citizen, Ross continues to share his photographs with the world and his passion with other photographers.

My deceased husband, another gifted photographer, felt privileged to call Ross his friend and encourager. I continue to call Ross my friend.

Lisa DeGon, another friend, always has enjoyed beading and after leaving the workforce she had more time to make jewelry. One thing led to another and now Lisa has a very profitable business selling her creations.

Hobbies are more beneficial than many people realize. Because hobbies are relaxing, they help release stress and increase serotonin levels, that wonderful brain chemical which makes us feel better. They also create opportunities for us to make friends with people we may not have otherwise met.

Hobby items can be given as gifts saving the expense of purchasing one, and everyone appreciates a handcrafted item made by friends. If your hobby is some activity, such as bicycling, you can give a friend or family member a certificate to enjoy the activity with you as the experience can create good memories for everyone involved.

As a child, I wrote for stress release and it became a comforting hobby. After marrying, it was fun to combine hobbies as I loved writing while sailing and even sold poems I had written on our boat.

There are several ways to make money from a hobby:

• Sell handcrafted items

• Teach or consult others

• Write a blog or book about your hobby

• Be a guide for activity hobbies such as hiking

It is easy to convert a hobby into a business and, for many of us baby boomers, the tax deductions are worth the time involved to start that business. As an example, the first year I owned my business I paid a total of 51 cents in taxes. Married friends who had a two-income household and no deductions paid $10,000 in taxes. They now own a house and a side business.

My business structure is a sole proprietorship and as I have no experience with other structures, I cannot speak competently about their tax benefits. I simply continue to be grateful for the good deductions I have.

The main question is what about the hobby vs. business tax law? At the end of 2018 the law stated a person needs to make a profit three out of five years to be considered a business. It would be prudent to check with an accountant for additional information.

On May 4, the Sequim Farmers Market opens for the season. This is a great place to go for information as most vendors love to share about their hobbies and businesses. While you are there, look for Lisa DeGon’s booth.

Here is some trivia: In addition to the word hobby meaning a relaxing activity, it is also the name of a falcon, Eurasian hobby.

Below are websites links for you to explore and do join us next month when I write about local activities. (Washington state tax information) (main IRS site)

Crystal Linn is a multi-published author and an award-winning poet. Since moving to northeast Olympic Peninsula in 2015, she has been actively involved in creating new opportunities for local authors. She looks forward to connecting with even more writers and readers living in this area. When not writing or teaching workshops, Crystal enjoys reading a good mystery, hiking and sailing with friends and family.

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