Everyone has a hobby, whether they know it or not. Do you sometimes knit when you don’t have much else going on but need something to do with your hands? That’s a hobby. Do you sketch on the margins of your notes because it helps you think more clearly? That’s a hobby, too.
It’s healthy to have something to occupy your time and your mind to take your thoughts off of your day job and other responsibilities. You may never have thought about it before, but your hobby actually has another potential benefit: if you’re willing to make it work, your hobby can actually help you earn money in addition to your “real” job.
Regardless of which hobby you hold close to your heart, there are plenty of ways to monetize it. Here are five examples of money making hobbies to get additional income on the side.
1. Playing an instrument
Though you probably didn’t realize it until you weren’t required to play it anymore, your instrument has been your hobby for awhile now, maybe for years. All those hours of practicing, whether you loved it or, at times, not so much, can actually pay off, literally.
Your instrument isn’t just something you have to store in the attic of your parents’ house once you graduate and aren’t part of an organized band or orchestra anymore. Take it out of the closet every once in awhile and play a few of your favorite songs, at the least. Even better, why not try making a profit off of it while you’re at it?
If you have played an instrument long enough, you probably know it well enough to teach someone else how to play, too. You can offer lessons to those in your community looking to learn or practice how to play, make money doing it and have an excuse to play more often, too.
2. Crafts and other DIY projects
Are you someone who just loves doing random art projects for the fun of it? You’re never too old to spend hours with scissors, markers and some construction paper. If you’re already spending a lot of your free time doing art, crafts and other fun DIY projects, you could sell those products at local craft fairs or even online for some extra cash.
If you are over the age of 18, you can open your own Etsy shop, which will allow you to sell your own crafts, projects and more online as soon as they are ready. There’s no pressure to create something if you don’t want to, which keeps your hobby fun and enjoyable and doesn’t even make it feel like work.
3. Playing a sport
When you were growing up, if you played a sport, you did so for one or more specific reasons at a time. Either your parents suggested it, all your friends were doing it or you wanted to go pro by the time you finished college. At some point, maybe you fell in love with it, even as you pursued athletic scholarships to pull you through school.
So you didn’t go pro, though your love for your sport of choice hasn’t faded away and probably never will. At this point, no one is going to pay you to keep playing. That doesn’t mean you have to walk off the court or field for good, though. Why not find a gig as a referee in your local community?
Who better to referee a game fairly than someone who has been playing it for years? You already know which calls are fair and which aren’t. You know the rules backwards and forwards. You could potentially make pretty good money doing this on nights and weekends all year round, depending on the sport.
Perhaps you bake when you’re stressed. Maybe the process of rolling out dough and combining ingredients just makes you feel alive. What do you do with all those extra cookies, though? You could give them away for free (the ones you don’t eat, obviously). Or you could use your love and knack for baking to create another way to make a little money on the side.
Local farmers markets and bakeries allow plenty of opportunities for bakers who want to share their edible creations with the world. You can even take things a step further and turn your hobby into your own delicious business, if you want to. Here’s a guide to help you bake your way to a decent living, if that sounds like a dream come true.
Whether you have a dream of becoming a successful author or journalist or not, if you are a writer, and have been for a long time, the hobby isn’t one easily set aside to be forgotten. Like other art forms, writing, to those serious about it, is just something that has to be done.
Thankfully, making money as a writer has become a lot easier since the internet came into existence. There are opportunities all over to find writing jobs, self-publish your own work, host a blog about literally anything you want, and so much more.
Find freelance writing jobs through websites like Upwork, monetize your blog by working with advertisers or write and self-publish your own books to make a side profit. If you are itching to write, do it—but don’t wait for someone else to find you. If you’re good at it, you’ll find a way to bring in a little extra income from it.
Those hours you spend on your little side projects certainly don’t have to go to waste. There are ways to earn some extra money from them without making them feel more like work and less like something you enjoy doing for fun. Find a balance between the two things. Figure out how you can make a little bit of a profit, but don’t force yourself to play or create unless you want to.
No matter what you love to do, it can be worth so much more than you think. Your skills, if not used at work, can still serve a purpose elsewhere.