2 minute read

Earlier this year I became momentarily obsessed with the idea of a side hustle - it never hurts to have a little more money.

After looking into a few different possibilities - maybe I could sell my photos? Maybe I could design and fabricate things? - I remembered a previous experience of trying to turn something that was a hobby into a moneymaker.

I quite enjoy scuba diving. I don’t get to go often enough (see: it never hurts to have a little more money). When I first started diving, the easiest way to go diving was to enrol in a dive course and was eventually sold on becoming a “Dive Master”, which is the lowest professional diving qualification from PADI.

The training was largely fun - pretending to be a bad diver while assisting in a Rescue Diver course is one of my favourite things to do.

So I was qualified, and immediately signed up to run weekend club dives with a local dive shop. Club dives are an opportunity for novice divers to meet other divers and discover local dive sites, led by a Dive Master.

It was okay to begin with. It wasn’t a money making adventure - you were subcontractor, were paid a set fee and you had to pay your own expenses (memberships, insurance, petrol) out of that. It was enough to pay for equipment servicing, but definitely not enough to save up for a dive trip.

What really made me give it up were two events that make me realise that I wasn’t being paid enough to be literally responsible for others’ lives.

The first event was when an out-of-practice diver came along with his “twins” - two dive tanks that were connected to each other. Typically you only need twins for particularly long or complex dives. An extra tank adds a lot of weight and this particular diver was not fit enough to carry the weight.

After the dive he was so exhausted that he needed to lean on me to walk back to the car park. And then I had to go back to grab our dive gear, which we jettisoned since it was bordering on a medical emergency.

The second event was when I picked a dive site that has a very tricky entry over rocks and can get dangerous if the water isn’t calm. Long-range weather forecasts said that there’d be very little wind and swell - an ideal opportunity! Weather predictions aren’t 100% reliable so when we got to the dive site, the swell was much higher than anticipated and I made the call to go to a different dive site instead.

When I got back to the dive shop after the dive, I was lambasted by the dive shop owner for changing the dive site, because he had received complaints. I didn’t get any kind of support for putting the safety of divers first.

So yeah. I should keep my hobbies as hobbies and not try to monetise them. As soon as money gets involved, people expect things from you.