One of the top three emails I get from readers is how to come up with ideas to make extra money. I often send readers to other websites for idea lists. But this week’s article has a bunch of suggestions for how to monetize your hobby.
Monetizing a hobby is an ideal side gig because when you already enjoy something, it’s easy to stay motivated. I love investing and personal finance which makes it fun and easy to write about it every week. But blogging is only one way to make money from a hobby.
Big thanks to Marc from VitalDollar.com this week for writing an excellent guide on how to monetize your hobby. Marc has experience building online businesses around his web design and photography hobbies. He turned both into full-time incomes.
I learned a lot from this article and I think you will too.
Side hustles are very common for people who are pursuing financial independence. And if you’re going to have a side hustle, why not focus on something you enjoy?
Making money from a hobby may sound too good to be true, but there are actually a lot of possibilities. Of course, some hobbies are easier to monetize than others, but most of us have at least one hobby that provides a very good opportunity to make some money.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some specific ways that you can go about making money from your hobby, as well as real-world examples.
1. Start a Blog
One of the great things about a blogging side hustle is that there are endless possibilities. You can start a blog on any topic that you like.
I’ve been blogging since 2007, and most of my blogs have fallen into areas that I consider hobbies. I’ve also tried to start a few blogs on topics that don’t really interest me because I thought there was income potential, but I never had much success with those blogs. If you enjoy the topic that you’re writing about, blogging is a lot more fun and you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
There are a number of different ways you can go about making money from your hobby blog. You could join an ad network (like Mediavine or AdThrive) to make money from your traffic.
You could also promote products and offers as an affiliate and earn a commission for conversions. You could create and sell your own product. Or you could publish sponsored content from companies that are interested in reaching your audience.
Blogging presents a big upside, but to be honest it’s not for everyone. The potential to make good money and turn it into something bigger than a side hustle is there.
But the downside to blogging is that you’ll almost definitely need to put in a lot of work and effort before you start to make money. If you’re looking for a way to start making money right away, creating a blog is not your best option.
Read more: How to Start an Online Business
- High earning potential
- A lot of different ways to make money
- Create a blog on any topic that you like
- You’re unlikely to make much money for several months, or longer
- Requires consistent, ongoing effort
Example: Ana White has a woodworking blog that includes articles and videos for other woodworking enthusiasts. She’s got ads on the site, and she also uses some affiliate links.
2. Freelance Writing
If you’d like to write about your hobby, starting a blog isn’t your only option. As a freelance writer, you can write for blogs and other publications and get paid for your work.
While starting a blog takes time and patience before you’ll be making money, as a freelance writer you’ll be able to start making money immediately.
With the number of online publications growing every day, there are plenty of opportunities for freelance writers. You can find opportunities to write on just about any topic.
Finding clients for your freelancing services may sound intimidating, but it really isn’t that hard to do. Keep in mind that most websites and blog publish articles regularly, so many freelance writing gigs will be for ongoing work.
This is huge because once you have a few recurring clients lined up you won’t need to dedicate time to look for new clients.
I’ve done a good bit of freelance writing over the years, and almost all of my clients were blog editors that wanted a new article from me every week or every month. When you’re not looking for clients, all of your time can be used for writing, which is what brings in the money.
In my opinion, freelance writing is one of the best opportunities out there. There’s plenty of work, and the pay can be quite good.
Of course, there are also plenty of low-paying jobs that aren’t worth your time. But there are lots of good-paying gigs as well.
Contrary to what you might think, you don’t need to be a great writer to work as a freelance blogger. You’ll need good grammar and you’ll need to proofread your work, but you don’t have to be the world’s greatest writer. Of course, writing skills can help, but you can develop your skills as you go.
There are a number of ways you can go about finding freelance writing opportunities. Job boards like ProBlogger, Blogging Pro, FreelanceWriting.com, Freelance Writing Jobs, and FlexJobs are good places to start.
You can also reach out to sites and blogs that cover the topic of your choice and see if they are looking for writers. The proactive approach will often lead to some of the best opportunities.
Freelance Writing Pros:
- Possible to start making money right away
- Lots of opportunities available
- The work can be done around your existing schedule
Freelance Writing Cons:
- Trading your time for money
- Lower income potential (compared to starting your own blog)
Example: Do you love investing? At the time I’m writing this, there is a listing on the ProBlogger job board for a dividend investing website that will pay up to $200 per article, and they are looking for an ongoing relationship with a writer.
3. Niche Websites
A niche website has a narrow focus on a specific topic. Most people who start niche websites or blogs target low-competition keywords that give them a better chance to rank on the first page of the Google search results.
For example, instead of starting a blog on photography, you could start a niche blog that focuses specifically on drone photography. Rather than publishing a wide variety of articles on all aspects and all types of photography, you could publish only articles that relate to drone photography.
Like blogs, niche websites can be monetized in several different ways. Probably the most popular approach is to use Amazon’s affiliate program.
Compared to a traditional blog, a niche website usually gives you more flexibility with your time and schedule. Most niche websites attract the vast majority of their traffic from organic Google searches, and so you typically won’t have the same pressure to publish a new post as frequently or consistently.
It’s possible to start a niche website on any topic that you choose, making it an extremely versatile option.
Like blogging, creating a niche website will take time before you see the results. Google typically doesn’t send much search traffic to new sites and blogs, so it can take up to a year until you really start to see traffic coming from Google.
Niche Website Pros:
- You can start a site on any topic that you like
- Flexibility with your working hours
- Lots of monetization possibilities
Niche Website Cons:
- Can take up to a year before you start to get real traffic from Google
- Earning potential can be small if you pick a very narrow niche
Example: Rainy Adventures is a niche website that publishes content related to camping. The site makes money from affiliate links.
Read more: How to Invest in Websites for Extra Income
4. Write an eBook
If you like to write, another great option is to write an eBook. One of the nice things about this option is that’s it’s possible to make money without taking the time to build your own audience (like you would need to do if you started a blog), although having your own audience won’t hurt.
Amazon is a great platform that makes it possible for you to get your eBook in front of a large audience. Of course, you could choose to sell your eBook on your own website if you don’t want to sell on Amazon.
The opportunities for selling eBooks on Amazon are great, but your eBooks will generally have to sell for lower prices. If you want to sell your eBook for a higher price, you may be better off to do it on your own website.
Writing an eBook could be a great option for a number of hobbies like cooking, woodworking, photography, health and fitness, hiking, and just about any other hobby you can think of.
Another thing to keep in mind is that eBooks don’t have to be long. Writing a book can sound really intimidating, but low-priced eBooks are often pretty short. So if you’re just getting started, you don’t need to dedicate a year of your life to writing your first eBook.
- Possibility for passive income
- Write on just about any topic
- Take advantage of Amazon’s huge audience
- Can be hard to get your book to stand out if there is a lot of competition
- eBooks on Amazon tend to be cheap, so you’ll need to sell a lot to make good money
Example: Enjoy cooking? If so, how about a specialty recipe eBook? Dustin Harder has written the Simply Vegan Cookbook. His is available as an eBook or paperback, but you wouldn’t have to offer a paperback version.
5. Create a Course
Online education is a huge industry right now, and there’s no reason to believe it won’t continue to grow. There are online courses available for just about anything you can think of, which means there are all kinds of potential for you to turn your hobby into a course.
You don’t need to be the world’s leading expert on a subject to create a course. You could create a beginner level course and still make good money.
Most courses are video, although creating a text-based course is also an option. Even if you do create a video course, you won’t necessarily have to appear on camera. Many video courses use screen recordings or slide presentations with a narrator who is not seen.
Creating a course can sound complex, and to be honest, it is a little more involved than some of the other options on this list. But it’s not as complicated as it might sound. You can use software like Camtasia to create great videos on your own computer.
Courses tend to have a high perceived value, which means that you may be able to charge more for it. It’s not unusual for online courses to sell for a few hundred dollars, but it’s very rare to find an eBook that sells in that price range. Most customers perceive the value of a course to be higher, so courses tend to bring higher income potential than eBooks.
- High income potential
- Higher perceived value than an eBook
- A successful course may earn money for years to come
- More work than some of the other options listed here
- You’ll need to provide customer service
Example: This beginner watercolor painting course on Udemy has nearly 6,000 students.
6. Sell Other Types of Digital Products
eBooks and online courses are excellent options for creating your own products to sell, but there are plenty of other types of digital products that you could create.
The specific options will depend on the hobby that you are trying to monetize, but some examples include digital papers for scrap-booking, WordPress themes and plugins, printables, sewing patterns, and meal plans. As you can see, there is a wide variety in the possibilities.
Selling digital products can be quite simple with the help of a basic shopping cart. Easy Digital Downloads is a popular WordPress plugin that is free to get started. Other services like Gumroad also make it easy to sell your products.
If you sell products from your own website or blog, you’ll probably need to build up an audience, which can take time and effort. Depending on what you are trying to sell, there may be some marketplaces (like Etsy) where you could sell without the need for your own website.
Digital Product Pros:
- High income potential
- Potential for passive income
- A successful product may earn money for years to come
Digital Product Cons:
- Selling at your own site will require you to have an existing audience
- Popular marketplaces, like Etsy, tend to bring a lot of competition
Example: Designer Digital sells a variety of digital scrap-booking products.
7. Offer Services
Depending on the hobby that you want to monetize, you may be able to make money by offering services.
There are a lot of possibilities here, and let’s take a look at a few examples. You could provide small engine repair (things like lawn mowers, snow blowers, leaf blowers), use your carpentry skills, take photographs, design for print or the web, bake, walk dogs, or use your musical abilities.
Providing services is a great way to make some extra money. If you’re working for paying clients you’ll be making money for all of the work that you do (unlike something like blogging or writing an eBook where you could spend a lot of time and get no results).
Websites like Craigslist and Facebook are great options to start promoting your services. Depending on the service that you are offering, there may also be some niche-specific sites that you can use (like Rover for dog walkers and pet sitters).
- Start making money right away
- Get paid for the work that you put in
- A lot of possibilities
- You may not be able to find as many clients/customers as you’d like
- Trading your time for money
Example: Browse the Craigslist “services” section for your local area to find plenty of examples.
8. Sell a Physical Product
Earlier we looked at digital products, but physical products are an option too. My wife and I sold physical products on Amazon for about two years and had great results. Amazon’s platform makes it possible to reach a large audience and make a lot of sales. Of course, there is a lot of competition from other Amazon sellers, so you’ll need to create a product that stands out in some way.
Selling a physical product doesn’t mean that you need to create the product yourself. You can
Find a manufacturer who will create the product for you. To see more details on this process please refer to the Complete Guide to Selling Private Label Products on Amazon (FBA).
Selling on Amazon isn’t the only option. You could also set up your own e-commerce site with a platform like Shopify. You can even use Shopify to create a dropshipping business, where the product will ship directly from a wholesaler to your customer and you won’t need to deal with inventory.
Physical Product Pros:
- High income potential
- Unlimited possibilities
- Amazon provides a huge audience that you can reach quickly
Physical Product Cons:
- High competition on Amazon
- Cost of inventory (if you are not dropshipping)
Example: Humblebee Beauty sells handmade cosmetics and skin care products.
9. Start a YouTube Channel
If you enjoy working with video, creating a YouTube channel is another great option. You could combine this with a blog, or simply focus on YouTube without the blog.
There are YouTube channels on every topic and every hobby that you can imagine. Video content is extremely popular, and YouTube makes it very easy to get started.
YouTubers can make money from advertisements (this can be extremely lucrative if you have a lot of views), sponsorships, and affiliate links.
You don’t need any expensive or complicated technology to get started. It’s possible to start with a simple camera, or even your smartphone if that’s all that you have. Of course, you’ll want to upgrade your equipment as your channel starts to grow, but it’s possible to start with very little equipment.
YouTube Channel Pros:
- A great fit for hobbies since many people search YouTube for this type of content
- Access to YouTube’s massive audience
- High income potential
YouTube Channel Cons:
- Can take a while to grow your channel
- You’ll need a lot of views to make much money from ads or sponsors
Example: I Like to Make Stuff is a YouTube channel with more than 2 million subscribers.
10. Start a Podcast
Just like video content, audio content is also very much in demand. Podcasts often cover similar types of content as blogs, but in most niches there are far more blogs than podcasts.
Starting a podcast doesn’t have to be expensive. Just like with a YouTube channel, you’ll probably want to improve your equipment (like a good microphone and software) as you grow.
Podcasts can make money from advertisers and sponsors, as well as from affiliate programs. If you have a guest who has a product to sell, you can probably promote that product as an affiliate and earn a commission for any sales that are referred.
One of the downsides to podcasting is that it can take quite a bit of work to create an episode. The production process can be time-consuming, but there are plenty of people who will do that work for you if you want to outsource it.
- High income potential
- Less competition compared to blogging
- Growing an audience can take time
- Production of episodes can be time-consuming
Example: ProWrestling.net has a podcast that is all about professional wrestling.
Depending on your hobby, and your level of expertise, you may be able to make money by teaching others.
This could be in the form of one-on-one lessons (like music lessons) with students. Your lessons could be done in person or online.
Another option is teaching a class (like yoga or karate). You may be able to find work as an instructor or you could start your own business and offer classes.
You may even be able to use your hobby to teach classes in a formal environment, like a school. Online teaching and tutoring are growing in popularity, and many options are out there.
- Make money from your existing knowledge and expertise
- Get paid for the hours that you put in
- Could be online or in person
- Your income level may be capped (unless you sell online courses that you can scale)
Example: Lessonface is a website where you can teach music lessons online. You’ll need some experience to qualify at this site, but you can get started by offering lessons locally or use a different website.
12. Create Something
This one is intentionally general and vague because there are so many possibilities. The specifics will depend on the hobby that you are trying to monetize.
A few options include woodworking or carpentry, art, handmade crafts, and flower arrangements. You could sell your creations at flea markets, on the Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay, Etsy, or any number of other websites.
This is a great option for the right hobby, and it’s work that you may really enjoy.
Creating Something Pros
- Lots of possibilities
- Allows you to get very involved with your hobby
- Plenty of places/websites to sell your creations
Creating Something Cons:
- Trading your time for money (may be difficult to scale)
Example: Browse Etsy to get plenty of ideas.
13. Flip Products
If you don’t want to create something, how about buying and reselling existing products? This is another one that can vary a lot depending on the hobby, but there are a number of possibilities.
There are a lot of great products to sell (see this list of the easiest things to flip for profit), and plenty of places to find them (yard sales, estate sales, flea markets, auctions, Craigslist, eBay). With the right products, you can make really good money
To make the best profit you’ll probably need to improve the item in some way, but sometimes it can be as simple as cleaning it up or touching up the paint.
- Good income potential
- Start making money right away
- Do as much or as little as you want
- You’ll need to learn how much items are worth
- You’ll need to invest some money
Example: Lil’ Rustique Elegance flips furniture.
Conclusion – Proven Ways to Monetize Your Hobby
Regardless of what your hobbies are, there are probably several different ways that you could make money. Earning money through a hobby can be an excellent side hustle that allows you to have some fun while making extra money.
In some cases, you may even be able to turn that hobby income into a full-time business. This article lists several options with very good income potential, it’s just a matter of choosing the right option for you and your hobby.
Thanks a lot to Marc from Vital Dollar for this helpful guide.
Have you had success monetizing your hobby? Please share in the comments section below.
Subscribe to Retire Before Dad!
You'll receive my biweekly(ish) articles in your inbox and the FREE eBook 6 EASY Income Streams You Can Start Building Today!