Back in the day, living the American dream meant finding a great job that let you buy a home, vacation every year, and take care of your family. Nowadays?? What a different picture! For most of us, the American dream now means finding a way to make money from what we love, work anywhere and at anytime, and still take care of our families. And it’s totally possible! I see it happening every single day.
So what’s the first step towards achieving this dream? Turn your hobby into a money-making machine. Believe it or not, there are a ton of ways to make money from your hobbies, whether it’s just pocket change or a full-time income.
Here’s where to start if you’re ready to make money from your hobbies:
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No matter what your hobby is, you can be sure there are other people that want to pursue the same thing. Teaching something is not only a great way to make money, it’s also the best way to grow your skills. The best part about teaching nowadays (especially for something like a hobby) is that there are a number of ways to teach, many that don’t even require you to leave the house! Check out these options for teaching your hobby to others:
- Create a webinar. Webinars can be a great option because they are usually short and sweet and can be packaged to reuse. This means you can create one really stellar webinar or create a series that grows over time. Depending on the content and your ability to market, you may be able to charge anywhere from a few dollars up to hundreds of dollars.
- Create your own online course. There are two paths to take with online courses. One is to go through an existing institution like a community or online college where your online course would be live. The other is to go through an online database like Udemy that provides online courses in a variety of topics. Both have benefits, so you just have to decide which works best for your hobby!
- Teach at a community center or community college. A lot of hobbies, like photography, cooking, or website design, require a lot of skill and are often part of larger programs. Check with your local community center or college to see if they already have established programs that you can be part of. If not, see if they’d be willing to start one up.
- Teach from your home. This is a great option for artists, musicians, or personal trainers because you can work one-on-one with people and can develop regular lessons that will create a relatively predictable and regular income stream. One of the best things about this path is that you can start out small and grow over time. Even one lesson a week might be enough to cover a lot of your own hobby costs!
Related post: How to Make Money as an Online Educator
If your hobby creates anything, then you have a huge opportunity right in front of you! Not only are there a number of resources that will help you sell your products, but handmade and original creations are extremely popular these days. Sewing, painting, photography, knitting, woodwork, jewelry-making…the options of creative hobbies are really endless. If any of these interest you, consider working with some of the following sites that offer amazing opportunities to sell your creations:
- Etsy – Etsy is the place to be if your hobby produces something handmade – jewelry, knitted or crocheted pieces, woodworking, art, or other crafts.
- Amazon – Amazon is such a trusted brand that it has become the go-to place for online shoppers. Setting up an Amazon store is simple, so this is a great addition, even if you are already using Etsy.
- Zazzle – Zazzle is my all-time favorite platform for selling products created from photography and graphic design. You just upload your image and Zazzle makes the rest simple!
- RedBubble – RedBubble is a site just like Zazzle that’s perfect for photographers and graphic designers, and while they offer less options than Zazzle they’re way, way easier. I use both and love them each for different reasons.
- Create your own site. Working with an already established seller can really help with marketing efforts, but don’t forget about the option of creating your own website! If you think you can draw your own traffic, then this option gives you the most flexibility with the most potential return (you don’t have to share your profits with anyone!).
Related post: Why You Should Make Money from Your Photography (& How to Do It!)
Write About It
This is my personal favorite money-making endeavor (does that surprise you?) for a ton of reasons. You can make good money, there are a variety of writing platforms to take advantage of, the time commitment is extremely flexible, and you can literally write about ANYTHING. I started writing to see if I could make a little money and found that it was actually an amazing way to build an expertise in all of my favorite areas.
Here are some great options to make money from your hobby by writing about it:
- Start a Blog. This is top of my list because it’s my favorite, not because it’s easy or even the best money-maker. Blogging takes an outrageous amount of your time and it takes a while before you will start making money. BUT if you want complete control over your schedule, the ability to write about what you love, and more importantly build a community around your hobby, then this might be the right fit for you! (Related post: How to Start a Money-Making Blog)
- Micro-Blogging. This is how I started writing and it’s ideal if you don’t want to commit to writing constantly. The site I use right now is Hubpages, but there are other similar platforms that allow the same thing. They basically let you set up one single page and provide a framework for making the content engaging. You will still need to create images and market your content, but you won’t need to worry about constantly creating new material. You also will not need to pay for hosting, plugins, or any of the other costs associated with blogging on your own domain. (Related post: How to Make Money Writing Articles on Hubpages)
- Guest Posting. If you’ve got a favorite blog or website that constantly churns out great content related to your hobby, then odds are they utilize guest posters from your industry. Usually guest posters are paid for the initial post, as opposed to ongoing revenue that comes from ads or affiliate links. This is a great way to build up your expertise and usually means you don’t have to worry about creating images or marketing your material. The best way to come across these opportunities is to reach out to sites you think you’d be a good fit for and see what they say!
- Freelance Writing. If writing is something you’re good at, then freelance writing needs to be part of your portfolio. You’d be shocked by the amount of freelance opportunities out there that have to do with common hobbies like fitness, fashion, cooking, and traveling. My favorite site for finding freelance work is Upwork. I’ve gotten tons of writing jobs from them and it’s been an amazing platform for building up my expertise. (Related post: How to Get Your First Freelance Writing Job)
- eBook. The good old-fashioned “write a book” is still alive and well, only nowadays it’s simpler, cheaper, and available to pretty much everyone. Sites like Amazon will actually help you self-publish your own book right from the start. Writing a book is a huge accomplishment no matter what your hobby is, so even if you don’t do this now, make sure to add it to your bucket list!
Find a Sponsor
Sponsorships may be hard to come by for some hobbies, but for others they’re an obvious choice. The classic example is for competitive runners. Major retailers love sponsoring runners to wear their gear and advertise their brands while they’re competing. But don’t cut this option out before you’ve thought outside the box. Even if a company or brand can’t afford to pay you to advertise for them, they may be able to give you free stuff instead. If you’re an artist teaching classes, maybe a company would give you their supplies in hope that your students will purchase the same products. The key is the think of a creative way that a sponsorship would benefit both parties and reach out to companies that would be a good fit – but don’t sit and wait for them to come to you! Companies are always looking for ways to partner with experts, so they may love your suggestion, they just don’t know it yet.
This may not work for every hobby, but you’d be surprised how many competitions out there offer cash prizes. Obviously, this is a time when you need to be the best of the best – because you need to win to make the money! There are marathons, cooking competitions, art shows, and photo contests. When an opportunity like this arises, make sure to take advantage of it!
See if You Can Get Paid to Do It
This is the major “Duh!” way to make money from your hobby, but nowadays we’re conditioned to think it’s out of reach! School teaches us that when we’re ready for the real world we get a “job”, with no expectation that we’ll actually love it. How ridiculous! If you’re passionate about your hobby and think that you could spend your whole day working on it, then why not try and figure out how to make it your full time job? Think about every company associated with your hobby and see if there are opportunities to work with those companies. Even just a foot in the door may ultimately lead to the creation of your dream job.
Good luck pursuing what you love! Let me know if you’ve found other ways to make money from your hobbies.