Making your hobby pay you

You may not value it because it gives you satisfaction on its own, but you can make your hobby pay for those extra bills or earn you a regular income.

  • PublishedAugust 2, 2011

You may not value it because it gives you satisfaction on its own, but you can make your hobby pay for those extra bills or earn you a regular income.

Do you have a hobby that gives you great satisfaction? Did you know that you could turn any hobby into a moneymaking venture? This works extremely well for people who work on a full time basis and are not interested in owning a business. You can build a small-scale venture around one of your hobbies, but remember that while you may never get rich by playing the organ at weddings or crocheting tablecloths; it never hurts to earn a little extra cash from things you do for fun. In this article we suggest some ways to make money from hobbies.

Do what you love. Choose a hobby you enjoy, and then try to find a way to make money from it. Do not dive into a hobby simply because it might be profitable or because your friend is making money from it. You should engage in a hobby because you love it; any income from it should be secondary. Keep it fun and it will not become a chore. For example, if you love to write, you can contribute articles to newspapers and magazines and although they may not pay much, you will get some pocket money. If you love playing the guitar, you can teach children in your neighbourhood for a small fee. You can be sure parents will be happy when their children begin to engage in such a positive pastime instead of roaming the streets.

Be creative. If you do not know which hobby to pursue, think outside the box but whatever you choose, ensure, first and foremost, it gives you fulfilment. Making your hobby pay you What skill do you have that others do not possess? Are you good with gadgets? Are you artistic? Do you love creating fashion? Define the term ‘hobby’ broadly so you do not limit yourself. Find something you can do that most others cannot – and that people might be willing to pay for. For example, if your hobby is gardening you can start growing unusual flower seedlings and sell to your friends and neighbours. You could also grow vegetables that you know will be in great demand as not everyone grows them. If you like travelling, you could write about the places you visit and sell your stories to newspapers and magazines. If your hobby is photography, look out for unusual scenes or activities that might interest newspapers.

Don’t expect too much. You probably won’t get rich off your hobby. In fact, you likely won’t even earn enough to quit your day job. But you might be able to earn enough to make the hobby self-sustaining, meaning you earn enough to cover the cost of new tools and equipment. For example, if your hobby is painting, you could do pieces for sale to enable you buy implements such as canvas, brushes and colours. You can exhibit your pieces in local malls, shops and markets. You could also donate your work to charity as a way of getting known. But remember the satisfaction your painting hobby gives you is in knowing somebody appreciates your work and loves it enough to hang it in his living room, not the money you make from it.

Don’t underestimate yourself. When you truly love something, your experience can give you skills and knowledge that you may take for granted. Just because you know all about growing orchids or creating beautiful gardens does not mean everyone else does. If you are an expert on a subject, think of ways to share it with others – for a fee. For example, if you are passionate about home decorating, you could share this passion with your friends by holding training sessions to help them improve their homes – and of course for a small fee. If your hobby is baking, you could offer to pass the skills to family members and friends for a fee. You could also make teacakes to sell in the office and offer to teach the skill to those who may be interested.

Market yourself. To earn an income, you need customers. Many people are uncomfortable promoting themselves, but you have to if you hope to earn money from your hobby. People need to know you are available before they can hire you. There is no shame in discussing your moneymaking hobby with friends, family and neighbours. You do not need to be pushy; just bring it up naturally in conversations. Eventually word will get out about what you do and people will call for your services. For example, if your hobby is jewellery making, carry your samples to every place – where two or more are gathered – and find an opportune time to talk about your jewellery and showcase them. If you bake cakes, bring samples to such gatherings to market yourself or display them at your church. If your hobby is web designing or anything technology based, you could talk to the headmasters in your local school to interest them in starting a students’ club on the same for a small fee.

Hone your skills. You know the old mantra: Practice, practice, and practice. The more time and energy you devote to your hobby, the better you will get at it, which will improve your chances of earning money. If, for example, you love photography, you should take as many shots a day as possible and read up on how to compose images and take the perfect shots. You could also ask a professional photographer to mentor you. You can improve your skills by trying different things on your camera and although you may never become a professional photographer, you could be the family photographer when there are occasions, for a small fee.

Choose carefully. Not every hobby is a good source of income. Some, like collecting art and vintage cars, can actually be a huge drain on your budget. Remember you probably will not get rich from your hobby, but you can improve your cash flow, which will help you build wealth much quicker. If, for example, you love collecting and remodelling vintage cars, you could make some money by hiring them out in weddings and other themed occasions. If your hobby is painting portraits, you should ensure you do one for each of your family members, friends and colleagues.

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