June 27, 2012

6 Ways To Profit From Your Hobby

This is an unpaid guest post from George Shaw. He has some excellent suggestions on how you can take a hobby or a passion of yours and generate some extra satisfying retirement income.

It is often easy to determine what it is that you love to do and want to spend your free time doing. Your hobbies are those things that attract you and draw you in, they are those things that you spend your hours at work or during retirement daydreaming about.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could figure out a way to make money while doing those things that you love?  It is possible, these days with the Internet to capitalize on your hobbies.
Etsy is an amazing handmade global market place. Anyone can be a vendor and create their own online store where they have the opportunity to sell to the world anything they can make with their hands.  Never before has there been such a huge market for handmade good as there is now and Etsy provides the perfect platform for creative people to turn their visions into a full fledged business.  

Create Demand
Market yourself to local businesses and create a demand for your product.  If you love taking picture of birds, go around to offices and museums and libraries and schools and try to create an interest in the work you have to offer.  If you make jewelry, go around to different boutiques and sell them on your product.  Once you have potential buyers and you have an idea of what they will pay for your work, or better yet, an order, then you can get to work on supplying them with what they want and collect your profit.  This would be a great opportunity to leave behind one of those free business cards or a flier with information on how to contact you should they want to place another order or should someone else want to order for their business.  

Farmers Markets
If you prefer human contact and interaction over the convenience of the virtual market, the farmers market offers a great venue for sellers of all kinds to display and sell their items to different crowds of people every weekend who are all in search of that one unique item. The farmers market is a fun option to show off your creativity and make a little money while you’re at it.  Because it is your booth, you have the option to switch up the merchandise and sell whatever you like.  If making quilts is your thing one week and the next you are into making beaded jewelry, you can sell either whenever you want.  You are in control of your inventory.

eduFire eduFire offers you the opportunity to use the knowledge you have of the things that you love and become an instructor making  up to $100 and $150 per hour by teaching others “how to” courses.  The site is an online community of instructors and students where you can market your courses to those who have already registered for different classes on the site, adding to your profit.  The more students you have “taking” your courses, the more money you make.  Your business is what you make it and you will be enriching the lives of others.  What could be better?
(note from Bob: this company has been in existence for a few years. Several of the topics I checked have no classes offered at this time but other reviews are favorable).

Private Lessons
Teach lessons to your friends, their kids, their friends, and their friend’s kids.  Find an offer online for free business cards, have some printed and hand them out.  Advertise your services using word of mouth or put fliers up in community centers, YMCAs and schools where parents may be looking for after school options for their children.  Put advertisements for your services on craigslist and other social media sites and market yourself wherever you can.  Make money by teaching what you love.

Passive Income
Create a website or blog where you write articles and content about the subjects that you love. Others who are searching for items related to your topic will read your articles and if your writing is compelling enough you will generate a following of people with similar interests.  If this is a hobby you are passionate about there are others that love it too and they will want to view your content. You can become sponsored by search engines and other websites and they will pay you money to post their ads on your site.  As you generate traffic for those sites, you will earn a commission. Iit might be a small amount, but over time it will add up and you will at some point be making money by what you love.  The more clout your site has the more potential for profit there is.

 George Shaw is an experienced writer for senior living and health. He works with nursing homes in California to provide lifestyle and care solutions for the elderly and their families. He provided no compensation for this link.

Note: I've had to turn on comment moderation due to a huge increase in spam-type comments. I hope you understand.


  1. Some great ideas here Bob. But let us not forget that much of these things take a lot of work beyond your hobby interest. I turned a woodworking hobby into a business and eventually was somewhat successful at it. Finding customers via many of the ideas here and doing the other ancillary things necessary to run a business ended up taking about half my overall time. Time I really didn't enjoy that much.

    I guess my summary message is that when you turn a hobby into a business you must realize that is it hard work and you will end up spending the minority of your time actually doing your hobby. Having said all that if I had know about this stuff I would have done it anyway :)

    1. I have always wished my personal gene pool had contained woodworking skills. There is no better smell than that of freshly cut wood.

      Your point is dead on. Anytime something moves from hobby to profit center work is involved. Your decision is are you ready to invest the time.

  2. I agree with RJ up to a point. I still spend MOST of the time dedicated to my busienss as sewing, rather than marketing. Even so, I would say that before you turn a hobby into a business you need to l ike it enough to do it every day if you have to, and to be willing to create what your customers want which may not be your taste.

    Also, this article seems to concentrate on the crafts/making things kind of hobby, but there are all kinds of other hobbies that can be parlayed into businesses as well. folks who love gardening can consult, teach, write, and offer to do garden design, just as an example.

    1. Yes, Barb, the author has picked craft hobbies to focus on. The basic approach is probably the same, however.

      A good example for me is blogging. At the moment it is really a hobby for me. True it generates a little income but not enough to really matter. I could do all the SEO stuff, guest post all over the place, and do all the other things money-making blogs do. But, then it would be a business and not pure fun anymore.

  3. Some good tips here (I've heard of lots of people using etsy), but if you're gonna go this route you really have to love what you do -- b/c I think $100 - $150 an hour is pretty unrealistic for most of us. My brother-in-law did some teaching at a community college. He made hardly any money, and he hated it, so he quit. But he loves carpentry so he dabbles in that. He makes even less money, but he does make some, and he just loves measuring and cutting and hammering away at things so he's doing it for the fun, not the dollars.

    As for me, like you I make a few pennies from the ads on my blog. Not enough so I would do it for the money; but it's nice to get a little deposit into my bank acct. every once in a while. Icing on the blogging cake, so to speak.

    Anyway . . . it's a good thing I don't have an expiration date on MY butt -- would've been thrown out a long time ago!

    1. I'll take your word for any stamp on your butt.

      I agrees, $100-$150 dollars an hour is not the average anyone will earn in the teaching environment. You would do it more for the love of teaching than the money.

      The fees PBS pay me for the articles for their blog will buy me a new computer soon, but it still isn't enough for the summer placein Italy (or a mobile home in Las Vegas!)

  4. Here's my talent - I just don't know if there's any money in it! Give me your vacation budget and a general idea of your interests, and I can plan a drop dead fabulous itinerary for you down to the last detail at the location of your choice. I am good, seriously good, at ferreting out really interesting things to do, and finding really interesting places to eat, including the must-order item on the menu.

    The fun in doing it ourselves is we have mishaps on occasion that make for fabulous stories. :-)

    1. That really could be a profitable sideline! There are probably lots of people who don't have the time to plan their own vacations and would enjoy the services of a personal travel agent.

      If nothing else I bet you and Malcom benefit from your special skill.