10 Awesome Money-Making Hobbies
Starting a full-time small business is a process of blood, sweat, and tears; why not choose, instead, to take your existing hobby and use it as a little side hustle? Most life-long passions are a way to unwind and sharpen your skills. These ten also happen to have the ability to pad your budget! (See also: Make Your Hobby Pay Its Way)
Snapping pics has become even more exciting now that digital has entered the realm. Professional photography is a demanding career, but a casual gig in stock photography, however, can be rewarding and done at your own pace. Look into sites like iStockphoto and others to hawk your digital wares. Payment ranges from a few pennies to 20 cents per photo.
If your thumb is even slightly green, and you tend to do well with your garden year after year, you may be able to generate a little cash with your abundance of veggies, fruits, and flowers. While hobby gardening won’t make you much more than the price to keep a garden, selling your extras to friends, family, or in a legal roadside set up could help you with this year’s canning costs. Note that local law may require licensing to sell edibles or plants that may carry biological threats. Research carefully before making any sale.
“Pay me to shop?” It sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? But if you keep your expectations low and only shop those places you’d buy from anyway, mystery shopping can pay for your gas the next time you head to the mall. With an hourly wage of $6–$14 (plus reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses), it pays to have the occasional lunch out.
While only a small percentage of bloggers bring in the big bucks, even the most humble blog can earn between $5–$100 a month through basic ad and affiliate sales. It takes a little time to establish yourself, so be patient. If you’ve been blogging for a while, however, look into ways that writing about your passions can translate into commissions with our guide to how bloggers make money.
I don’t like to do it, but if you are one of those who gets great joy from decluttering, creating spreadsheets, or hoarding plastic bins, you’ll likely do great with part-time work as a virtual assistant or organizer. In today’s consumer-driver world, people just have too much stuff and information (and not enough time or space). Spend a few hours each week offering your “help,” and you could easily score $10–$25 an hour for your skills.
6. Playing an Instrument
While hobbyists can’t usually charge as much as professional musicians, plenty of budget-minded brides and grooms will pay between $100–$200 for the joy of music. I personally got through some tough money spots in college by playing the piano at weddings and by being a sub for the local church pianist. Keep a list of references for gigs you’ve done to supply future inquiries.
Your unique handicrafts can earn money on a site like Etsy, but most crafters earn cash with their more practical skills. Since no one in my family really likes to sew, for example, we happily pay for curtains to be assembled, blouses to be mended, or sheets to be shortened. If you can deal with last-minute requests and are quick with a needle, you can expect to get $14–$50 for each simple sewing project done from the comfort of your home!
Local laws vary, so be certain of any health regulations before you open shop. Many will require a separate kitchen or license before you advertise or even sell that first cake. For small bakers in some jurisdictions, however, it’s acceptable to bake or decorate a cake to sell to family or friends without expensive legalities. If you can whip up a delicious cupcake or make a mean crumble, you could earn $15–$75 for an afternoon of baking!
While there aren’t really many legitimate jobs out there for playing your favorite online or console games, there is a demand for people to do the menial errands surrounding some RPGs, MMOGs, and MOGs, especially while they are at work or on vacation. If you spend a good chunk of your time playing highly competitive games online, it’s possible charge a fee per batch of tasks (usually a few cents per action) or even sell your well-established accounts for a profit. To find out what sells, become active on forums and online message boards where other gamers chat. The pay of task work will be very low compared to steady online work (and the market will be diluted by those in foreign countries who can charge much lower rates.) Also note that many games officially prohibit some paid activities. Do this at your own discretion.
Wives have been dragging husbands to dance studios for years, often with embarrassing or expensive results. If you have some formal dance training, are patient with others, and do a mean foxtrot, you could earn some cash giving lessons in your spare time. As with any service offerings, be sure you know who your customer is before you have them over or meet them at a studio. Expect to earn $25–$85 per lesson, charging more for couple’s sessions.
In short, if you have a skill, passion, or unique ability that you love to share, your hobby could help you meet those monthly budget gaps. Be sure to research questions you have about licensing and taxes (and remember that even those small amounts of cash should be reported to the IRS.)
What hobby of yours would you like to see turned into a part-time income?