News - June 3, 2015

Hobbies that got out of hand

Something that starts out as a nice way to spend time can develop into paid work. Suddenly your hobby is your job. Some students have taken this step. ‘But it’s still my hobby, my passion, my love.’


Who? Marijke Dick MSc Behavioural Biology

What? Dog trainer

‘I’ve felt a connection with animals my whole life. We had small pets at home but never cats or dogs. But somehow I kept having more and more to do with animals. On TV I saw documentaries about raising dogs. And my boyfriend’s parents had a dog that I often walked. I tried out some of the tricks from the documentaries on the dog. But they didn’t work. Then I found out that if I stayed calm, I was able to change the dog’s behaviour. I started practicising on the dogs of friends and acquaintances. Every time, the dog behaved well with me but not with its owners. That was when I realized that I have the knack. So then I offered my services on Marktplaats. nl and a week later a guy asked me to take a look at the problem he was having with his German shepherd dog. I pretty much solved the issue and I got a lot of other clients through that man. To start I was offering training just to get experience but people said I really should ask for payment. I figured that if even clients were saying that, I probably should. Even though I’m now paid, I make very little profit. Recently I bought a camera so that I can make short films of a dog’s progress, and I need a lot of equipment, such as various harnesses and toys. So as well as doing my dog training, I’m still working at the supermarket checkout. Absolutely all my free time goes into this hobby, but I really enjoy it. When I’m sitting at my computer, I’m always thinking about dogs. And now I’ve got a dog of my own that I’m spending a lot of time on.

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Who? Jan Kroesbergen MSc Communication Science

What? Gardener and handyman

‘From the age of eleven I had holiday jobs with maintenance and repair services and construction companies. I thought it was amazingly cool and fun to do: being outdoors, building, demolishing, using big tools. One day I thought, I can do this on my own now. After that I put a flyer in ten different letterboxes almost every week, but I soon stopped because I had too many offers of work. I’ve been living in Bennekom for the past four years and I have already built quite a reputation for myself, all by word of mouth. I paint indoors and out, and do small electrical and plumbing jobs. I work mostly for older people, who sometimes ask me simply to bring the garden parasol downstairs, or who want some curtain rails put up. The market for helping older people is growing. It has struck me that they need contact with people. Customers like it that I work hard and know what I am doing and need to do, but that I also take the time to chat during a work break. That chat in the break is a fundamental aspect of the job. They are really interested to know what I’m studying and how things are going at the university. The work feels very useful and is enjoyable to do. I get a lot of appreciation for it. Sometimes I pass a job on to friends who I know are capable, but I prefer to tell my customers that I don’t have any time. It is nice to earn 30 euros for half a day’s odd-job work, but it is just as nice to take home 100 euros after a week’s work.

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Who? Lotte Marcus BSc Biology

What? Makes paintings, exhibits and sells them.

‘I’ve been drawing all my life, since I very young. Five years ago I rediscovered painting. When I broke up with my boyfriend I suddenly had a lot more time. I bought a number of Posca pens: acrylic paint pens that you can easily carry around. Since then things have really taken off. I sell my work on Facebook. I tend to sell two works a month. Usually I ask people how much they are prepared to pay, and I have a minimum amount in my mind. Often people spend as much as 100 or 150 euros, sometimes for A4 format. I recently sold a painting measuring 1 x1 metre for 400 euros. Not that I ever make much profit because most of the money goes on materials. By the way, I’m open to exchange instead of payment. Sometimes I give a canvas away in exchange for paint or other materials. Once I was even offered the chance to take magic mushrooms in exchange for a painting. I decided against it. These days I am addicted to painting with dots, which seems to me like a mantra or meditation. Painting in my hobby, my passion, my love. Once time I spent six months working on a painting and after I sold it, I had a hard time of it. It really felt like I’d given my child away. Sometimes too I exhibit, like I did at a festival at the end of May. I have also approached a number of galleries, to ask whether I can exhibit. They said that my work was great but they didn’t want to exhibit it because I haven’t been to art school. My philosophy, on the other hand, is that you are either an artist or you’re not.’

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Who? Eva Helena (Eva van Schijndel) MSc Communication Science

What? Costume-maker

‘Everyone dresses up when they are young. In my case, I never stopped, I just wanted to make the dressing-up clothes myself. I’d always been creative, drawing for example, but making clothes stimulates my creativity more than anything else. I was lucky in that my mother always had sewing lessons at home. I sat and watched and sometimes I joined in. I also love history, even wanted to study it. If I read about a corset in a history book, then I want to know how it is put together and how it feels. If I then make it myself, it’s like going back in time, which I find is a real learning experience. But I don’t want everything to be historically or ethnically correct, because that’s boring. Some costumes express a wish or dream of my own. Once the costume is finished, say after a year, I get myself photographed. I use the photo shoots for my portfolio. I’m keen to take this further and if you want to go professional you need a portfolio; it shows that you have been working on your own style. I have just started renting out my costumes to amateur photographers, for about 100 euros. They are always seeking inspiration for their photography and I can offer them that in the form of a costume. Luckily I earn about 150 euros a month with designing and illustrating. A nice benefit of making costumes is that you get seen and that creates great opportunities. For example, I was once seen in a Japanese kimono and thanks to that costume, I was asked to present a show on Japanese TV that was making an episode in the Netherlands. I did it and it was a really fun day. The only thing was I couldn’t understand anything the director wanted because he spoke no Dutch and no English. Fortunately, I got a Japanese voice-over. In addition, a photograph of me has been sold for publication on an Italian book jacket.’

Photo's: Sven Menschel