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Making money from your hobby is a dream for a lot of people, but it’s easier said than done. The old adage to ‘do what you love and the money will come’ is pretty much hogwash. Doing what you love won’t make you money unless you put it in the context of a workable business model. And not every hobby can be monetised, or at least not in the exact form that you enjoy doing it. Here are a few ways you can potentially monetise a hobby and create a meaningful side hustle, or full-time business, based (sometimes loosely) on something you love.
If your hobby also just happens to be a marketable skill you can sell your ability to do it, on a freelance basis. This applies to writing, photography and design, among other things. I’ve always loved to write, and now make a living as a freelance content writer. I monetised my hobby, but a few things happened along the way.
I don’t write what I want, when I want, anymore. I write to a brief, the majority of the time. Sure, I get to pitch ideas that I’m passionate about to websites and magazines, and write on topics I love on my own blog and other open source platforms. Those are the good days. On the not-so-good days, I’m stuck researching and writing about topics that don’t interest me, exchanging my time (and skills) for dollars and working for clients who care more about keywords than creativity. That’s fine. It’s a trade-off. It’s also one of the many ways you may find your hobby is less fun when you do it for money.
This can work if your hobby is a skill others want to learn, such as yoga, baking, or surfing. Setting up a surf school or yoga studio can be costly, of course. But you can also teach many skills online through setting up an online course, membership site, or monetised YouTube channel, or advertising one-to-one classes or coaching sessions via Zoom.
This is a flexible and potentially lucrative way to make your hobby into a business. But again, you won’t be spending your whole life focused on your hobby. A couple of online yoga teachers have pointed out to me that they spend way too much time promoting their online classes and dealing with tech issues, and not enough time teaching.
Create something others want
This is a good option if your hobby involves the creation of a desirable end product, such as art, or jewellery. However this can be a challenging way to monetise a hobby. The cost of materials means many maker-based side hustlers find that they’re working for way less than minimum wage with this business model. They also find they’re spending time on the business of running an online shop (perhaps via Shopify, Etsy or Deepop) or even spending time at craft fairs and other sales events. That may not be what you envision if you just love the creative side of crafting.
Build a website around it
In many ways this can be the easiest and most flexible option. It’s easy and cheap to set up a website or blog, and if you love your hobby you’ll probably enjoy creating content about it and sharing it with the world. Your site can then be monetised with related ads, affiliate products, and sponsored posts. Most hobby site owners don’t earn a lot, but a few do. There are numerous bloggers making over six figures with blogs that often started out as hobby sites, and many more who make a small but significant monthly profit.
The time and cost commitment for this one is often less than the above options, and there’s a lot more flexibility involved than having to turn up regularly to teach classes or sell your hand-made crafts at events.
Ultimately, turning a hobby into a money-making hustle can be done, but it’s not as easy, or as lucrative as many people assume. If this is on your list of money-making ideas, take some time to cost things out and make a plan. Remember to build your plan around how many hours you realistically have to dedicate to your hobby-hustle. If it still seems worth it, then it’s time to get started. We wish you the best of luck.
About the Author
I’m a freelance writer specializing in online business, personal finance, travel and lifestyle. I also work as a content creator for hire, helping brands and businesses tell their stories, grow their audiences, and reach their ideal customers. I’ve lived, worked and studied in six countries, across three continents. Stop by my blog TheSavvySolopreneur.net to learn how to run your own (very) small business on your own terms. You can also connect with me at my website KarenBanes.com or follow me on Medium.com.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to encourage any lifestyle changes without careful consideration and consultation with a qualified professional. This article is for reference purposes only, is generic in nature, is not intended as individual advice and is not financial or legal advice.