Sound has always been a hobby for me. It's an expensive and time-consuming hobby to be sure. Cheap sound equipment is no good and good sound equipment is not cheap. Even good sound equipment takes time to learn how to operate and time to do things right. At some point a budding sound engineer will either quit out of frustration from using crappy gear or invest money in some good kit. This investment of money and time pretty much requires a person to turn the hobby into a business. That's the crossroads I find myself standing in.
I've been doing sound in some capacity for about 13 years now. Off and on I've made a little bit of money doing it. The time has come for me to transition this from a hobby to a real business. That's a difficult thing to do. At one time I didn't have the experience to justify charging people for my work. Now I don't have the time to justify doing it for free. As much as I want to jump at every opportunity to mix or do a project I now have to consider whether these gigs are a good fit for the business. Is the payout worth the investment? Is there a different kind of payout like marketing potential or learning experience? Is there an opportunity for me to be generous with a cause I want to support? Is there risk involved that I need to calculate? These questions are not always easy to answer.