We often think of hobbies as something to dabble in during our spare time, but they also can be a great way to earn some extra cash.
This is because hobbies are something people love doing. This Japanese word sums it up best: your hobby could be your ikigai—the reason you wake up every day.
When it comes to extra income, why not try a hobby that makes money?
The best work is work you enjoy doing… so why not start with something you already know that you like? Here’s a round-up of a few of our favorite hobbies-turned-jobs:
1. Creating music
There are countless music apps on the app store that allow you to compose a piece by yourself for free. You don’t even have to be a musical genius for that, although some knowledge of what sounds good is required.
You can sell the pieces you create to YouTubers and other content creators for a price. Or, you could even upload them on SoundCloud or Spotify.
If playing an instrument is your favorite hobby, start giving lessons to people around you. Similarly, if you prefer singing more and you’re confident that you have a good voice (as well as a solid understanding of voice training), how about creating your own singing course? There’s an online course for everything these days, and music is no exception.
If you love cooking, get paid to do it and grow your skills in the process.
You can start by selling your food to people you know and gather feedback. In this day and age, where around 44% of U.S. citizens sitting for a survey are addicted to fast food, home-cooked meals can be a blessing. If you don’t have any way of getting food delivered, ask for help from someone close to you. If you have a car or even a bike, make the deliveries yourself so that you can save on those costs as well.
You could also experiment by catering small gatherings or office functions. You may stumble upon a niche area—either in the type of food you prepare or the type of customers you target. Start small and decide if it (eventually) makes sense to grow.
And of course, you may want to first build experience by working at a restaurant, bakery, or in another role in the food service industry.
There are plenty of possibilities for creativity here. Consider food blogging or creating a channel on YouTube, where you post video tutorials on cooking.
3. Making YouTube videos
Making YouTube videos is also a fantastic side hustle idea. You could base your videos on any area of expertise or hobby you enjoy.
Makeup tutorials, free guitar lessons, or try tapping into a particular community. For instance, if you’re studying at a university, you could give your viewers a virtual tour of your institution to attract prospective students.
Likewise, if you’ve got good grades, you can give study tips and or share your expertise on a particular subject. YouTube offers endless possibilities; just make sure you’re using the correct tags so that your videos show up on your desired audience’s feed.
You read that right. These days various apps pay people to walk. Some of them will send you cash as a reward for walking a certain distance, others will give you points which you can use to get a discount when shopping, others offer gift cards, and some even donate to charity.
Who said you can’t make money while you sit back on your couch and read a book? Many safe sites ask you to review a new book and pay you for it. Some of them might require you to review a book for free before they hire you.
Once you’ve got the green light, you can earn anywhere from $50-60 per book you read. That’s a guaranteed 50 to 60 bucks every month, if not more. If you’re a fast reader, this could be a pretty good gig.
On a similar note, you can be a part-time proofreader, too. Fiverr, Upwork, and various other networks hire proofreaders for similar purposes, albeit for a smaller charge.
6. Mystery shopping
Youngsters these days are inclining more towards shopping. If you enjoy shopping, you’re in luck. What you might not know is that shopping is that you can actually earn while you spend. Yes, really.
Mystery shopper jobs usually require you to go into a shop undercover to evaluate the store’s customer service. You’ll be reporting back to HR about whether the shop is kept clean and the staff are friendly/helpful.
This hobby-turned-job is very easy to complete, and you can set your own schedule, too. If you want something with more regular hours and perhaps more straightforward, you can also shop for other people and deliver it to them.
Likewise, you can buy stuff for cheap and then sell upsell to others at a higher price.
7. Pet sitting
Being able to cuddle with your favorite animal and get paid for it is a dream come true. If you’re a natural-born animal lover, consider a pet sitting job.
You can decide what animals you’ll look after if you prefer to be selective about the type of pets. Discuss the location of your pet sitting with the owner of the pet (i.e., your home vs. theirs). It might be difficult for you if you’re not an animal person (or only enjoy your own pets).
If building muscles is your ideal pastime, you could share your workout routine with other people and earn some extra cash that way. Similar to cooking, you can upload videos of your workouts to YouTube or Instagram. Or, you can create a fitness blog and share your tips.
If you’re getting good feedback from the public, think about writing a book on health and fitness or share your healthy eating strategies. If you’ve got a knack for coming up with workout plans, you can ask people to sign up for your new course or offer to make customized fitness routines.
9. Creating artwork
Many people are on the hunt for good artwork and even more so if it’s something original. If you’re drawn to creative expression and have the necessary natural talent, it’s time you gave this hobby a shot.
Due to its high demand, you can usually earn more from this hobby-turned-job than many on the list. You could start by putting up your artwork on various websites—even your social media page would do.
From there, you could take requests for personalized portraits or generic ones. If that’s not your jam, you could freelance as an illustrator and take design project requests from a variety of clients.
This trend won’t disappear anytime soon. With the recent boost in the organic market, you can sell herbs or vegetables that you plant at your local farmer’s market.
Why not start your gardening and plant care YouTube channel? Share your gardening journey, share tips, or get creative with plant edutainment. If you have specific and unique expertise, you could promote that on your channel too.
If you’re uninterested in selling your fruits and veggies, you could sell the tools that you usually use to a like-minded crowd. Prefer being hands-on? Offer gardening services and care for others’ gardens for them.
11. Making DIY Stuff
If you love making new creations out of the remnants of old things, or if you like to introduce your twist to a piece of whatever material you can find, this hobby could be the perfect side job for you.
Consider wood carving, sewing, or try your hand at pottery. Sell what you make online, but keep your future business options open.
You never know—your creative pursuits could lead you to start your new small business or grow a TikTok following.
12. Taking Photos
Think you’re good at photography? Earn extra money taking pictures. Even smart phones have pretty incredible cameras these days and there’s plenty of options to further develop your skills.
Wedding photography, family portraits, or professional headshots are just a few markets to consider. Create a photography Instagram page, take aesthetic shots, and post them there. Start out small—family, friends, and referrals of people you know—and later raise your rates as your experience, skills, and portfolio grows.
Consider writing an ebook or creating an online course to teach photography fundamentals. With the right planning, strategy, and quality content, this can create passive income that will continue to reap financial rewards.
13. Teaching online
There are numerous opportunities for teaching, thanks to various platforms where you can share your knowledge with others.
Before you get started, determine what subjects intrigue you the most and what age group you feel most comfortable with. After that, research your options for teaching platforms and their requirements. Once you find a good fit, sign up, plan your curriculum, and get started.
14. Playing video games
Believe it or not, you can earn cash by playing video games. Livestream yourself playing different games on platforms like Twitch and YouTube. Take Pewdiepie, for example. He plays games and gives his honest feedback at the same time. This makes him a whopping $58.2 million every year! There are other YouTubers as well, like DanTDM and Markiplier, all of whom make thousands per video.
Of course, achieving YouTube stardom is no easy feat. But, lucky for you, there are other options. Have you heard of quality assurance testers, ebook games guide writers, or video games journalists? If you’re passionate about gaming, there are possibilities you likely haven’t considered.
When you write well, there is always work to be had. Start by signing up for sites like Fiverr and Upwork as a content writer.
If you’re oozing with creative ideas, try out platforms like Fuzia to post your very own stories—both short and long ones. There are many options for self-publishing if writing an ebook or even a physical book is something you’re drawn to.
16. 3D printing
Start by taking orders from known people and post pictures of the 3D-printed figurines online. You can even offer customized 3D printing services.
However, if you haven’t got a 3D printer at home, you could use printing services online. They’ll ask you to send in the design, and then they’ll get back to you with a prototype of your request.
If you like it, you can then give them the green light to make more models of the same structure, depending on the number of orders you have.
If you have your own vehicle, a driver’s license, and enjoy driving, this is a good option. Sign up for any ride-sharing program and use your car to make money. Research your options and see what company is the best fit for you.
There you have it—hobbies that make money
And there you have it! Finding hobbies that make money is definitely within reach. Take the time to reflect on what you enjoy, what you’re good at, and how it could fit with some of the items on this list. But don’t stop there—brainstorm your own ideas and consider how you could apply your hobbies to a job for right now AND as you work toward your future career.