Money making hobbies: how you get to business

Money Making Hobbies: How You Get to Business
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on print

It must be a rule of building a business: if you can do it, you can make money from it. So maybe it’s time to turn your hobby into an exercise in serious money making. Let’s see if we can turn your weekend into a day job!

So in this article we’ll be looking at money making ideas based on your hobby. This may be a more capitalist way of looking at your hobby than you’re used to. But when it comes down to making a living from your hobby, we need those dollar signs in your eyes. You can always tone things down a bit once you get started. 

Ways to make money from your hobby

To make money with it, you will need to turn your hobby into a product or a service others are willing to pay for. There are plenty of approaches you can take. Here are some of the most successful ways of making money with your hobby.

Sell your creations

Some hobbies produce sellable products naturally. Hobby bakers produce bread or cakes. Artists create paintings, sculptures, or jewelry. The list goes on. Just by practicing your hobby, you’re creating products to sell for money in your own online store.

You’ll spend more time doing something you love, improve your skills, and even earn some extra income! If you start small, you can build your business next to a day job and grow at your own pace.

Like Franzi and Maria. Their painting and hand lettering still feels like a hobby, even now people buy their cards and posters online. 

“Even small slip-ups can’t do us any harm. In the end, one thing always prevails: the joy of the thing itself.”

Franzi & Maria, from Wildwasserfarben.

Start selling your products online with Jimdo.

Hobbies that make money by creating products: 

  • arts and crafts 
  • cooking 
  • homemade cosmetics 
  • fashion design 
  • baking 
  • woodworking
  • pottery
  • writing

If you choose to go this route, you will need to create more and your products need to suit your customers’ tastes. Over time, you will find the target group that loves your own individual style, and start commissioning special projects. In the meantime, it’s great to make products for your store in a more commercial style to get the sales going. 

Main tasks:

  • creating products for sale
  • getting commissioned

The other major change is promotion: displaying your products in a store and sharing on social media is vital to being seen. You can share images on Instagram. If you synchronize your store with Instagram, followers who like your work can buy it immediately. Artists can really benefit from sharing their work or their site on specialized platforms for selling art. 

Main marketing channels for creators:

Sell specialized products

Where would you look for curling equipment? Or a pottery wheel? The latest edition anime? These products have one thing in common: they are crucial for a specific niche, but mostly unknown to general consumers. And most people who need these products for their hobby are willing to spend money on them.

If your hobby is uncommon, you know what the few suppliers do right or wrong and what the community for your hobby would like to see. You can make money by selling the specialized, hard to get items that your hobby requires. A competitive edge is easy to find: you know your products very well, and you are close to your community, so you can move with the latest trends as soon as they come up. 

Benedikt, Annika and Gosia did exactly that. They wanted to give passionate dancers an elegant way to deal with sweat. And the community embraced their dance towels. They look like fancy scarfs, but absorb sweat like regular towels. 

“Our greatest triumph is that it has become normal to bring a towel to dance evenings. They have become accessories that show style and care.” 

Benedikt, from Dancetowels

Start selling your products online with Jimdo.

Hobbies that make money by selling specialized products:

  • uncommon sports
  • arts and crafts
  • foreign literature like anime
  • cooking international dishes

Selling specialized products is a new adventure. You will spend time choosing and supplying products. Starting with a small set of products is a good way to take your first steps. Once you’ve gotten the hang of attracting customers and shipping products, you can expand your product range based on customer feedback. 

Main tasks:

  • promotion & advertising
  • supplying
  • shipping

To attract customers, you need to let your niche know your store is out there, both online and offline. Set up a booth at events, distribute flyers, ask people from your network to include you in their blogs and newsletters. Your own social media will make you visible in your community’s online conversations. 

Main marketing channels for store owners:

  • your own online store
  • community events, online and offline 
  • social media
  • specialist YouTube accounts, blogs, and platforms

Teach what you know

If you saw an absolute beginner take their first steps in your hobby, you would know what to tell them. You’d recognize the beginners’ mistakes they make, and you’d know how to correct them. And that is something many people will happily pay you for. 

By teaching, coaching and explaining, you can use your knowledge and experience to guide others to success. You can teach a runner better posture, teach a foodie about the delicate flavors in wine, or help someone improve their violin playing.

Solveig combined her knowledge of wine and her love of travelling into her perfect job. So she researches all the details about local wines and organizes wine tasting trips for her customers. 

“My customers appreciate my commitment, so that in the end they are always happy to return to Weingutscout.”

Solveig, from Weingutscout

Bring your business online with Jimdo.

Hobbies that make money by teaching others:

  • sports
  • meditation
  • yoga
  • music
  • life coaching
  • cooking
  • wine tasting

As a coach you’ll need to prepare and build smart exercises that are fun to do, help people make progress, and prevent beginners’ mistakes. Depending on your course, you might need a location, or you can use a streaming tool to offer your course online.

Main tasks:

  • promotion
  • preparing and giving courses

You can use your network to let people know about your courses: make sure to tell everyone during the next event related to your hobby. To reach people you don’t know yet, set up your own social media accounts and get involved in the conversation. Make sure you have a well-built website with the option for visitors to book courses

Main marketing channels:

  • website
  • social media
  • streaming platforms

Offer expert skills as services

Pianos need regular tuning. Old timers need maintenance. Sports need referees. And it’s often volunteers who step in, because they enjoy doing it. The better they get, the more often they are asked to step in. That’s where you can start making money.

That point, where your skills are recognized and asked for, is where your hobby can become your job. Many people struggle with this step. They still see themselves as an “above-average amateur.” But you’ve earned the right to cast that self-doubt aside. You’re good at what you do, and you can take the next step.

Alex is a great example. When he became a father, he was looking for a more flexible life and more time at home. Bit by bit, his woodworking hobby turned into a business.

“It’s these small moments of gratitude that make me realize again and again why I enjoy this work so much. And that it was the right decision.” 

Alex, from Craft Cafe Hamburg 

Bring your business online with Jimdo.

Hobbies that make money by offering expert skills:

  • Tuning musical instruments
  • Repairing old timers
  • Recording and mixing music
  • Massage and beauty treatments 
  • Tutoring
  • Dog walking
  • Babysitting
  • Refereeing a sport
  • Planning events

Offering your skills to customers is mainly an exercise in professionalizing. You’ll need to go through some paperwork (all businesses do) and promotion will become a part of your life. As a business owner it is important to keep attracting customers. 

Main tasks:

  • promotion
  • customer contact
  • using your skill

Putting some time into local SEO helps your website to show up in Google. Clear information on a site that looks reliable is the first step to convert those visitors into new customers. You can support that on social media by sharing images and videos of your everyday work. 

Main marketing channels:

Perform for an audience

How often do you need to rock an open mic session before you go professional as a comedian? How many bedtime stories do you need to read in funny voices before you can make money from it as a voice actor? We don’t know. But you might! 

Thousands of people perform as a hobby. Sometimes just for fun. After all, who doesn’t love performing a good power ballad in the shower? But if you have the talent to wow an audience, your hobby could be much more. 

Take Micha. He is a natural performer. But it wasn’t long ago that his days were spent working at a bank. By now, his unique blend of music and “rural comedy” have made him an Instagram sensation with over half a million followers. 

“I probably work twice as much now as I did before—but I get up every morning excited to get back to work!” 

Bring your business online with Jimdo.

Hobbies that make money by performing for an audience:

  • music 
  • dancing 
  • wedding speaker 
  • comedian 
  • meeting host 
  • streamer 
  • podcaster 
  • voice actor

The trick for every performer is to balance the business with the creation. A virtual assistant or a label can help you take care of a lot of administration and organization, leaving you free to create and perform. When you’re just starting out, those tasks still fall to you. Take them seriously and build a solid base for your future career.

Main tasks:

  • creating material
  • getting gigs
  • performing

To reach new fans, you need to share your material in different places online. Music marketing is a special field and performers can’t go without social media to spread their videos, songs, and concert images. To turn that buzz into new gigs, you need a website that showcases your work and has an easy way for clients to book a performance.

Main marketing channels:

Review products as an expert

What equipment would be useful for someone just starting in your hobby? Which items are good value for the money and which are overrated? You know what to look for, and you can help others avoid bad buys. 

Customers find reviews very useful, especially if they’re written by a fellow hobbyist who’s an experienced expert. You can publish comparisons between similar products and explain the strengths and drawbacks of each one. Or highlight which qualities make a new product suitable for beginners and share your tips.

Your reviews help people buy the right product. You can earn money from ads on your own website or YouTube channel. Another option is adding affiliate links to your reviews. You then get a commission if a visitor buys the product after clicking your link. Or you can open an online store selling the products you give good reviews.

Hobby equipment to review: 

  • equipment, like running shoes or chef’s knives 
  • locations, like stadiums that your sports team will play in
  • books about your hobby or biographies of people from the community
  • articles, podcasts, and other media about your hobby

Most of your time as a reviewer will be spent on creating your reviews. Whether you write them on your website, make videos for YouTube and social media, or record them as podcasts, you will need to produce many reviews and comparisons to build a reputation. Take your time to research keywords for a review before, to give it the best chances in search engines. 

Main tasks:

  • writing or recording lots of content
  • SEO

If you choose to use advertisements to get paid, you’ll need to get as many visitors as possible. You can use social media to attract people to your site or your video channel. For reviewers who use affiliate links, it’s even more important to convince people to click your links. So spend some time writing great call-to-actions

Main marketing channels:

  • video platforms
  • social media
  • website or blog

Serve the niche you know 

Many businesses with broad target audiences struggle to really show their personality: the more unique style they add, the more it might scare customers off. If you aim your marketing at a specific niche community, that personality becomes a strength! 

Your customers will feel understood and appreciated. There’s a good chance they would rather spend their money at a small business that uses the expressions, inside jokes, and abbreviations that your community uses. So use your marketing to celebrate what makes your community unique.

Comedian Micha does just that: his music and comedy are aimed at young people growing up in rural areas. He mocks city dwellers and addresses the issues that country kids experience every day. And he sells apparel in his online store to emphasize this Dorfkultur (village culture)!

Use social media to get noticed 

Before you made this hobby into a business, where would you look for information? Which sites, which social media hashtags, which YouTube channels? Those channels bring together hundreds or thousands of people who enjoy your hobby. Actually, you’re a business now, so make that hundreds or thousands of potential customers.

Those platforms are places to get your target group’s attention, so get involved. Contribute to discussions, comment on videos, share news that interests the community. People will start to notice you and want to know more. 

That’s where your website comes into play, where you can own your story. You can explain your mission on your About page and support it with videos, photos, playable tracks with interviews, or a recording of the very first song your band played. Your website gives you the creative freedom to present your business to your community, without the restraints of social media platforms.

Combining these channels really pays off, especially if you can get your community involved. Some small business owners, like DanceTowels, actually show testimonials from their social media on their website. It’s a great way to convince new visitors!

Do you want to make money from your hobby?

Most of us will spend a lot of our life working. So the more you enjoy your job, the more you enjoy your life. If you can make money from your hobby, you decide what your day looks like, what projects are important, and what the right strategy is. Now that’s a way to make a living!

It does mean a big change in how you see your hobby. If you start making money as a running coach, running will always remind you of work. So you might need to find a different way to clear your head after a long day. 

Part hobby, part work

Making money from your hobby doesn’t have to be an all or nothing issue. Even many Olympic athletes who turned their hobby into a profession supplement their income by working another job part-time. They work for a boss to secure their income. And the rest of their time is spent on a sport they love, even if it does pay a lot less.

Bring your business online with Jimdo.

What if there’s no money in your hobby?

We’ll challenge that assumption immediately. You probably do have a hobby that makes money. Let’s look at some examples of hobbies that don’t seem lucrative at first sight: 

Running

You’d think running from A to B doesn’t make money. But if you’re an experienced runner, you can make money as a running coach. Or start an online store with the best running equipment. Or both… The global market for running gear is expected to grow to around 58.3$ billion by 2026. Get your share!

Watching series

Are you a couch potato, watching every streaming show out there? Well, stay on your couch, record video reviews, and engage an audience on YouTube. Tell them your theories about the plot and watch the comments roll in!

Sleeping

One more then: sleeping. There’s no money in sleeping, right? Wrong! There are loads of people who have trouble sleeping. Help them find good sleeping routines and build a community. Or review mattresses, pillows, and sleeping masks and sell them online.

That doesn’t mean the money is in work you want to do. Not every runner enjoys being a running coach. And some potatoes don’t like being the center of attention. 

At this point, you’ll have to return to your goals: are you in it for the money or the lifestyle? Maybe the money makes up for the tasks you don’t like. You can make a business plan, calculate your expected earnings, and see how that stacks up against other ways of making money. 

If lifestyle is more important, you should go for work you enjoy. If your hobby doesn’t offer you that option right now, it’s better to have a nice job doing something else. Your hobby can stay a hobby, or you can turn it into a side hustle instead of a full-time job.

Bring your business online with Jimdo.

Frank van Oosterhout
Frank is a copywriter for Jimdo with special interests in SEO and entrepeneurship. When he's not working, he bakes bread, grows herbs on his balcony, or goes running.
Matching Product

Jimdo
Online Store