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12 Profitable Hobbies You Can Monetize (You Probably Have At Least One)

12 Profitable Hobbies You Can Monetize (You Probably Have At Least One)

We’ve all got our hobbies—pastimes we dedicate some of our spare hours to because we find them fun or fulfilling.

While we don’t typically get into hobbies to make money, some of them can become a stream of income if you take it seriously enough. Depending on how you direct your talents and interests, you can get anything from free stuff to extra spending money to a full-fledged business where you sell things online—all by doing something you might’ve done anyway.

Here’s a list of 12 common lucrative hobbies that make money, whether it’s through freelancing, becoming an affiliate, building an audience, or starting a business.

1. Writing

Writing and publishing online has the potential to offer you a lot of practical value outside of being a mere hobby. You can use it to further your career and establish yourself as an expert on a topic. You can build a platform for sharing your ideas. Or you can rent out your skills.

The most obvious way to make money writing is to sell it as a service—freelancing on sites like Upwork or Fiverr or reaching out directly to blogs for paid gigs. Good content writers with niche expertise are usually in demand.

However, if you have the discipline and know how to write a good blog post, you can create your own blog-based business by picking a niche and building an audience over time.

Whether you care about tech or travel or cooking, our guide to starting a blog that you can turn into a business will walk you through what you need to know.

For more inspiration, check out how:

Best Self Co. used blogging to sell its productivity tools.
Wait But Why built a business around Tim Urban’s humorous and insightful content.
2. Illustration and design
illustration design

Like writing, illustration and design are creative money-making hobbies you can do at home on a freelance contract basis. Fiverr, in particular, features many newer artists with a variety of illustration styles. Clients post projects for which they need to hire these skills, whether it’s marketing projects or custom portraits or anything in between.

If you want more control, you can put your art on items—from t-shirts to posters to canvases—and sell those instead. It’s important to understand that to turn your art into a product, you’ll need to cater to a specific market or build a unique brand. The former is usually easier.

Hatecopy is an excellent example of a business that was started by an artist putting their work onto things people can buy.

And you don’t need to front the money for inventory either. Print-on-demand services offer a low-risk way to take advantage of your creative hobbies. You’ll just need to create mockups of your products to list online. Once you make sales and know what designs and creative have the most demand, you can consider investing in your own inventory.

To learn more, check out the following resources:

How to Start a T-Shirt Business: Everything You Need to Know
How to Sell Art Online: The Ultimate Guide
3. Music

Next up for profitable hobbies that make money? Sell music. You can take this hobby business in a few different directions.

For starters, there’s the traditional approach to making and selling music—recording your own songs or albums and selling them on your website or hosting them on a platform like SoundCloud.

You can also create different types of sounds that aren’t full-fledged songs or albums, things like beats or samples. Beats are short hooks composed from different sounds and meant to be a background for a musician, while samples are a portion of a sound recording to reuse elsewhere.

You can list beats on third-party sites that work similarly to stock photo sites. Essentially, people purchase your music to use in their own content. These are typically shorter in length and rely more on instrumentals and less on lyrics. There are a variety of sites where you can list your beats, like Airbit and BeatStars. Airbit paid out $32 million in 2019 to its artists, while BeatStars sellers made an estimated $40 million—double what they earned in 2018.

Samples by Vanity sells samples that artists can remix and splice together to create their own music.

samples by vanity

You can make your audio exclusive or non-exclusive. There’s more money to be made when you sell exclusive rights, but you need to produce high-quality work, like SoundOracle. His excellent work has earned him quite the reputation—and his sounds have been featured in more than 20 Grammy Award–winning songs. He sells his beats with both exclusive and non-exclusive rights.

4. Cooking
Food has become an art form worthy of taking elaborate pictures and spending the time to perfect the craft. It’s not only amateur chefs who are involved, but people with adventurous palettes looking to explore new tastes.

Cooking is one of the hobbies that make money that you also can share with the world in a variety of ways, from starting a blog, YouTube channel, or Instagram account dedicated to recipes to diving head first into a business by creating your own food or cooking products. Some even hit the road with a food truck business.

According to Google, 59% of 25-to-34-year-olds take their mobile devices into the kitchen, using resources on the internet to find and practice new recipes. There’s definitely a market of DIY chefs looking for content (as well as products) you can create to serve them.

For inspiration, check out:

Spice Girls: From Hobby to Family Food Business
The Secret Ingredients to Building a 7-Figure Meal Service Business
Overdraft: Will His Family’s Food Business Turn into a Recipe for Success?
How to Start an Online Food Business (guide)
Template Icon
Shopify Compass Course: Sell Your Homemade Goods Online

Have a product you’re ready to sell? The Kular family shares their experience building a business around mom’s recipe book. From selling one-on-one to reaching the aisles of Whole Foods.

5. Gardening

Gardening has seen a spike in popularity as people spend more time at home. It’s a hobby that can make you happier, healthier, and perhaps even richer. Millennials spent $13 billion on plants in a single year.

Leaf & Clay sells succulents, either for a one-time purchase or on a subscription basis.

leaf clay

You can also sell products to help your customers indulge in their own gardening hobbies. Technology seller ēdn introduced an indoor garden to their product line.


6. Photography

If you own a nice camera and know how to use it, you’ve got a few ways to turn photography into one of your hobbies that make money on the side.

While you can become a freelance photographer, this can restrict you to shooting local events and gigs. And when there are no events, there are fewer photography gigs.

For a more scalable side hustle, sell your shots as stock photos or prints. You can also use your photography skills to grow a massive Instagram following and monetize it. You need to pick a niche to serve or a “lifestyle” you want to capture in your photos.

Fun fact: Professional photography accounts are the second-most lucrative on Instagram in terms of how much brands are willing to pay for a sponsored post. And you don’t need hundreds of thousands of followers either.

Check out our guide on how to sell photos online for a more detailed look at how to monetize your photography.

7. DIY crafts

Crafting is another on our list of profitable hobbies that make money. If you enjoy working with your hands, there are plenty of things to make and sell: candles, bath bombs, jewelry, soap, and more. This is a $40-billion industry waiting for your next idea.

“Handmade” communicates a certain quality, care, and uniqueness that department store alternatives often don’t offer. You can test the market for your products by selling them on a smaller scale to friends, family, or on Etsy, and think about scaling into a full-fledged business as you rack up customers.

If the idea of crafting the goods yourself isn’t striking a chord, you can also sell products that allow customers to flex their own maker muscles at home. Create DIY kits for fun projects, like FlowerMoxie’s DIY bridal bouquets. Or, tap into the home improvement industry—between 2018 and 2019, home improvement spending increased 17%.


Here are a few more inspiring stories about DIY businesses and resources to show you how it can be done:

Growing a Handmade Brand: One Family’s Journey from Etsy to Shopify
Etsy and Shopify: How Three Makers Used Both to Grow Their Businesses
Why JM&Sons Launched Their Furniture Business Out of a Shipping Container
Etsy Alternatives: 8 Online Marketplaces and Website Builders for Makers
8. Comedy

Are you good at making people laugh? Do you know what the hottest memes are right now? Why not take that sense of humor and use it to build an audience on the internet? Comedy is one of the more creative ways to make money on this list.

You can probably think of several Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter accounts that amassed large audiences simply by curating memes and viral videos or tapping into a niche of humor that no one else was serving. Who knew all those hours scrolling your social feeds would be one of the hobbies that make money?

Once you have an audience, you can partner with brands to do sponsored posts or turn your best running jokes into t-shirts and other products.

Examples of this include:

The WeRateDogs Twitter account
The Méme Bible
Yes Theory’s YouTube channel
9. Coffee
Selling coffee online is a great way to turn a common hobby into a business idea. Globally, people drink more than 400 billion cups of coffee every year, fueling an industry worth $60 billion annually. And as coffee drinkers have become accustomed to brewing their caffeine fix at home, it’s a prime time to capitalize on this opportunity. If coffee is one of your own passions, it could be next on your list of lucrative hobbies.

Whether you enjoy the hunt for the perfect bean, creating a perfectly frothed cappuccino, or just sitting down to your morning cup with a book, coffee drinkers can take this business idea in a number of directions.

Globe-trotting creatives Jeff Campagna and Tania LaCaria found that coffee mixed well with one of their other passions: motorcycle travel. They opened up their own bike garage, Steeltown Garage Co., complete with coffee shop and merch for sale, and they’re cultivating a whole community through their hobby-based business.

Check these out for more inspiration for your coffee biz:

How a Coffee Obsession Became a Business That’s Doubling in Growth Every Year
They’re Making Fair Trade Coffee a Bit Fairer
Overdraft: How This Army Vet Fought His Way out of a Financial Ambush
10. Memberships
Memberships are a great business model because they set you up for recurring revenue—often automatically withdrawn from your customers’ chosen method of payment. These businesses work by charging customers a recurring fee in exchange for products and/or services.

Here’s where the hobby aspect comes into play: memberships can be based on almost anything, in almost any niche. Gardeners might look to the California Native Plant Society for inspiration. Its memberships grant buyers access to educational content, events, and discounts with partnering businesses.

Danielle Spurge turned her crafting hobby into a full-blown business. Now, her company, The Merriweather Council, sells memberships to help entrepreneurial makers leverage their talents to create sustainable craft-based businesses of their own.

The Merriweather Council

The possibilities are quite literally endless here—you just need a hobby and some imagination to get the ideas rolling for your own membership-based business.

11. Brewing beer
Homebrewing, or making your own beer at home, is next on our list of money-making home-based hobbies. More than a million Americans have brewed their own beer at home, and it’s trending upward. In 2018 alone, the global homebrew market was worth an estimated $12 million.

If you love sampling or making craft brews, there could be a viable business opportunity there. Brooklyn Brew Shop sells homebrew kits and accessories so its customers can enjoy the hobby themselves.

Brooklyn Brew Shop

If you want to go this route, make sure you brush up on the legal requirements in your local jurisdiction. Alcohol products come with extra restrictions and regulations—and not being privy to that can end up costing you big time.

12. Gaming

You might be skeptical about the notion of gaming being one of the hobbies you can make money with from home. But if there’s a pattern in this list, it’s that if you can get people to pay attention to you, you can potentially turn it into a profit.

In this case, it’s the rise of the “Let’s Play” video format that has enabled us to make money via gaming, in particular live-streaming on Twitch. Just like learning how to make money on YouTube, you can monetize gaming by sharing ad revenue. But there’s also the potential to get one-time and subscription donations from a large community of viewers. This means the amount you earn through live streaming will vary greatly, but that it’s relatively easy to start at least making residual income.

While the amount of commitment you need to make a significant income might turn gaming into work for you, you can still have fun with it if you choose to stream a game you love, are good at it, and bring your personality to the table.

Gaming is a fast-growing industry with a lot of passion behind it. If you’re an avid gamer who understands the needs of the market, you already have an advantage as an entrepreneur in this space.

You can consider building a business of your own to cater to the needs and interests of gamers, like how:

PC Gaming Race speaks to the superiority of PC gamers.
Corey Ferreira sold gaming glasses inspired by his own gaming needs.
How to make money from a hobby
To start a business based off your hobby, you’ll need to take the following steps:

Validate your business idea: Do some market research to make sure there’s demand for your offering.
Find a business name: Give your business a unique identity.
Make a plan: A business plan will keep you on track to meet your goals.
Understand business finances: Set up business accounts, payment processing, and other money matters.
Develop your product or service: This is where you turn your hobby-inspired offering into something customers are willing to pay for.
Pick a business structure: Legitimize your business and protect your personal assets.
Research licenses and regulations: Ensure you’re conducting business lawfully.
Select your software systems: Build your website, set up accounting software, and get the rest of your tech stack up and running.
Find a business location: Determine where you can operate your business, whether it be from home or somewhere else.
Plan workload and team size: Bootstrap or hire help, depending on your plans.
Launch your business: Let the world know!
When you make money from a hobby
When you start making sales, you’ll need to keep track of the cash coming in and the money going out. This makes tax time easier, simplifies the process in case of an audit, and protects your personal assets. Additionally, it helps you ensure your business stays profitable. It’s a good idea to get set up with an accounting software to manage your books.

Make money from your paid hobbies
I enjoy writing, so I started a side hustle as a freelance writer to earn extra cash in school. I also like to dabble in dance, so I started a Shopify store dropshipping LED shoes for dancers.

In many cases, when it comes to our side hustles, it’s the things we tend to do for free and for fun that hint at the kinds of businesses we can pursue using our own passion and interest as fuel.

So if you have the urge to start something but don’t know where to start, ask yourself what you’re good at or already know about.

What do you already do in your spare time that could turn into something more?

10 Business Ideas for Making Extra Money After Work

10 Business Ideas for Making Extra Money After Work

If you already earn a steady paycheck and need some extra cash, an evening side-job might come in handy. Thanks to the internet and advancements in technology, there are a huge variety of money-making activities you could do from the comforts of your home, especially if you have a laptop and a steady connection.

In this article, I’m going to share 10 business ideas for making extra money when you get home from work in the evenings.

1. Create chatbots.
Chatbots are the talk of the town. Companies large and small are jumping on the chatbot bandwagon, implementing this technology tol for customer care, marketing, sales, even internal processes, among other activities. Now, however, chatbots don’t require huge amounts of programming, thanks to the natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence (AI) that powers them.

While this may sound complicated, you no longer need vast amounts of coding knowledge to create a chatbot. In fact, there are now chatbot-building platforms like ChattyPeople that allow you to create a bot for free in a matter of minutes through a powerful dashboard. Because many businesses don’t have time to create these chatbots themselves, you could do it for them by simply creating your own ChattyPeople account.

2. Start an eBay business.
An eBay business is a great way to declutter your house while making some spare cash. Aside from the fact that it enables you to work from virtually anywhere with an internet connection, an eBaby business also allows you to choose your working hours.

You could start by selling collections of items you’ve accumulated over the years. With time, this could turn into a full-time venture where you could source products online and re-sell them for a financial profit. With these profits, you could continue to grow your empire.

3. Join a direct selling company.
Direct selling companies are a great way for you to work around your existing commitments to earn extra money. You can choose the hours you work and how much you’re willing to invest from your own resources into your venture. The best way to get involved with this type of activity is to work with a company that is part of the equivalent of the U.K.’s Direct Selling Association. Alternatively, make sure you work with organizations that are reputable.

It’s also worth researching the product you’re planning to sell. Make sure you choose a product that consumers buy regularly and will always need, and one that’s reasonably priced. You may also want to look for a product for which the demand is high and the supply is low.

4. Become a virtual assistant.
This type of side hustle should be pursued only by those who are extremely organized and able to multitask. Becoming a virtual assistant is no walk in the park, but it can earn you a moderately good income. As a virtual assistant, you’ll be responsible for administrative work, including scheduling meetings, replying to emails, entering data and undertaking certain social media activities, among other tasks.

5. Transcribe.
Transcriptionists can earn anywhere between $25 and $50 an hour … not bad for an evening side hustle, right? The best part about becoming a transcriptionist is that it doesn’t require any skill more advanced than the ability to type fast. While having a bit of experience under your belt will help with bigger clients, it’s not necessary.

All you have to do is listen to audio files and type out what you hear to the best of your ability. It’s worth noting that transcription can be a little tedious and boring, but it’s a good idea if you want to earn some spare cash.

6. Take surveys.
Taking surveys is an easy task; however, the amount you get paid for each one will depend on the company for which you’re completing them, as well as the amount of time you’ll be required to spend filling them out. That said, some companies pay up to $50 per survey!

Normally, you’ll be asked questions about your demographic; once surveys pop up, the company you have signed up with will get in touch and pay you through an ewallet, such as Paypal. You may be required to answer questions regarding a product or service and the area in which you live, or even to take an opinion poll. The options are endless.

7. Test websites.
Testing websites is a great way to earn some money from the comfort of your home after a long day at work. It’s a very simple process. All you have to do is wait for instructions from the company you have registered with and make sure that its website is easy to navigate, and functioning the way they want.

8. Become a salesperson.
Think of brands like Mary Kay and Avon. If you can see yourself representing them and selling their products, you may want to consider becoming a part-time salesperson. You could advertise your services to your friends and organize events where people can learn about the brand and products.

With time, you may create a loyal client base that comes to you when members need to buy new products. While the amount you earn will depend on the brand you’re representing, you can typically make up to 35 percent in commissions. The great part is you can choose your hours and meet new people along the way.

9. Teach English.
If you can speak a second language well enough to teach it to someone else, then go for it. If you can’t, why not teach your mother tongue? With many people across Europe and Asia wanting to brush up on their English skills, this is the perfect opportunity for you to get online and teach them.

You can get started with the help of a computer, the internet and maybe a webcam with a microphone, depending on whom you’re tutoring. Please note that if you work through an agency, you may have to commit to a minimum of 20 hours a week. You should shop around because terms and conditions differ across the board.

10. Become a search engine evaluator.
People may be put off by the term “search engine evaluator” because it sounds technical; however, you may be asked by companies to search for specific information on search engines and tell them how closely the results matched your search terms. This allows them to work on their search engine rankings.

The best way to take on an evening side hustle to make some extra cash is to establish your strengths and figure out what you enjoy and how much time you can invest. The above business ideas are just a few examples to try, and there’s a huge list from which to choose, so start searching online and find your side hustle to make more money in your spare time.

Earn Your First $100 on the Side: Creative Ways to Make Money

Earn Your First $100 on the Side: Creative Ways to Make Money

The average salary in the United States is almost $48,000. But with the cost of living slowly creeping upward, it’s no surprise you’re turning to the internet with one question: “How can I make my first $100 on the side?”

Rest assured, you’re not alone. A 2019 survey from BankRate found that 37% of Americans have found extra ways of making money—each earning an average of $686 per month. People with successful side projects may have been more likely to respond, but it still demonstrates that money can be made on the side of most full-time jobs.

However, the attraction of a side hustle isn’t just limited by the opportunity to pad your wallet. Sure, you can use the extra cash to grow your savings account, travel more, and eventually quit your job if your venture becomes successful. But learning how to build and sell products and services on the side also offers several related benefits:

Security. A day job can offer stability, but it also puts your earning potential all in one basket. If you lose your job, you lose your only source of income. Diversifying with a job on the side means you’ll still have cash if the worst happens.
A new hobby. A hobby is something that you want to do but don’t have to do. Creative people tend to cross-pollinate their hobbies and day jobs. Hobbies are something fun to do, yet they sometimes have spillover benefits for your day-to-day work. They give you another place to learn and grow, even if your day job (or another important activity) has hit a wall.
Building your money-making skill set. Making money is its own distinct skill—one you need to practice if you want to turn interests and talent into a sustainable business. Even if a specific side project doesn’t reach its full potential, you’ll still build valuable skills that can be applied to your next idea.
Can everyone make money on the side?
There’s a misconception that people need to be extremely skilled or need to quit their full-time job to make money on the side. The truth: you don’t need either of those to start a venture on the side.

Take Sandy from this episode of Guess My Hustle. Spoiler alert: We’re going to give away the answer.

Sandy’s an accountant by trade and started her own dog boutique store that curates different canine-related items—such as leashes, collars, and treats—from all over the world. She sells the products her pup wears on her website, Spotted by Humphrey.

Sandy’s side business grew from an Instagram account that shared the products Humphrey loved. Her content has attracted over 100,000 followers and led to her online pet retail store being profitable while she was still holding down her accountancy job.

Or look at James Yurichuk, the pro CFL footballer. Like many other players in the league, James needed additional work to support the income from his “day job.” He and his wife were living in an apartment, with a child on the way, and needed extra cash to support their growing tribe.

But James didn’t have any knowledge about how business works, especially the fashion business—which is the industry he entered when he started Wuxly Outerwear.

The idea sprung to mind when the cold Toronto weather led to James looking for a coat for his wife. The only problem: he couldn’t find one made without animal-derived materials. He partnered with an old friend who happened to be a tailor and created Wuxly Outerwear as a solution to premium winter coats that don’t contain animal products.

12 creative ways to make money
Below are 12 unconventional ways to earn your first $100 on the side. They prove you don’t need any remarkable skills or experience, or tons of spare time:

Sell your photos
Print on demand
Reach online classes
Sell food waste
Recommend your favorite products
Rent your unused space
Sell your services
Productize industry-specific skill
Host tours in your city
Test websites
Sell your art
Train your dog
We’ll break down each side business idea by:

Business type: whether the idea is product-based or service-based, or driven by an audience.
Effort: how much time, skill, or experience you’ll need to put into the idea.
Leverage: how well positioned you are to turn the idea into a money-making one that increases in value without needing your direct attention. A high-leverage idea isn’t a 1:1 trade of time for money.
Startup costs: the upfront budget you’ll need to launch the idea.
Profit potential: how much profit you can expect to make from your idea per year.
1. Sell your photos
Business type: Product-based

Effort: Medium

Leverage: Low

Startup costs (out of 5 ?): ?

Profit potential (out of 5 ?): ??

Modern smartphones have high-quality cameras. The iPhone 11 Pro, for example, has a triple lens with wide angles and optical zoom.

It’s no surprise then that the ever-increasing quality of smartphone cameras has crashed the camera industry. Mid-level cameras were made obsolete when your phone began offering the same quality with 10x the convenience. You carry your smartphone wherever you go.

But instead of leaving your photos to sit idly in the cloud, you can potentially turn your snapshots into cash—and your smartphone is all the equipment needed to make money on the side while expressing your creative side.

Photographs are like any other product, and in order to successfully sell your photography you need to target an audience of potential customers who want or have a need for them. Start by thinking about the photography style you’re most interested in, whether that’s landscapes, portraits, or pets. Then, depending on how you plan to monetize (e.g., by selling prints or offering rights to stock photography sites), see if there’s a specific lane or niche you can identify. For example, you may notice that photos of papercraft creations are in demand on stock photography sites but that the current supply is limited. That’s a potential opportunity.

The Haute Stock library was born out of this concept. Its founder, Rachel Rouhana, was “frustrated with the lack of stylish stock photography available for women business owners.” So she created Haute Stock to fill that gap in the market.

Once you’ve found your niche, start building a following on visual-heavy platforms like Instagram or Pinterest. Snap some niche-specific photos, use a free photo editor to polish them up, then sell them on sites like Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, and TourPhotos.

Monitor which style works best through the platform’s analytics. Pinterest, for example, shows how many link clicks a photograph has had. Are there any similarities between your top-performing photographs?

Use your social media accounts to tease your paid content—bloggers and business owners always need stock photos. You could pitch directly to your target business owner, asking whether they’d be willing to pay for your photos—and how much they’re willing to pay. For example: you might identify the audience for your pet-related photos as dog retailers who are willing to pay $25 per stock photo.

Bear in mind that you’ll need to price your stock photos on three factors: The demand for photos in that industry, the price competitors are charging, and the fees you’re paying to take the photos themselves. If you’re shooting people, you’ll need to pay them, and if you’re shooting locations you’ll usually need permission or to pay a fee. Build this into your pricing to make sure you’re not losing more money than you’re making.

By selling your images through one of these platforms, you could turn your hobby into your first $100 on the side.


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