Whilst we don’t typically take up a hobby to make money, it’s no surprise that many people around the world have transformed their past-times into a serious steam of income.
With enough time, dedication and business knowledge, it’s possible to earn anything from free stuff to extra spending money to a full time income with your hobby of choice.
Here’s a list of 21 popular hobbies that make money, whether it’s through selling things online, making DIY crafts, freelancing, affiliates, or starting a side hustle.
To prove these hobbies can make money, I’ve hand-picked some incredible success stories, detailing them under each hobby in this list to show you what’s really possible.
COMMON HOBBIES THAT MAKE MONEY IN 2021
1. DIY Crafts
Crafting kickstarts our list of hobbies that make money. If you enjoy working with your hands and love putting a unique twist on a common household item, making and selling DIY crafts could be a lucrative side hustle.
Take a look at Lisa for example. Lisa started Honeybunch (formerly Scent), a soap making brand, after landing $90,000 worth of orders. Recently, she’s made a whopping $76,000 (NZD) in revenue over a 30 day period.
These sisters launched a $20 million bath bomb business, Da Bomb, in their teens.
Pamela from Crochetpreneur, makes around $8,000 a month purely selling her crochet products and patterns.
Oh, and don’t think you have to do all the ‘doing’. Sock Creatures, a UK based craft business, sells ‘make your own sock puppets’ kits for kids. The idea being, customers do all the leg work by putting the puppets together themselves as a fun activity.
Believe it or not, selling DIY Crafts is a $40 billion market. Handmade items typically require a good attention to detail as customers notice the level of quality and care taken when crafting.
To test the market and validate your product idea, why not make a small sample of your DIY craft, show it to family and friends or better yet, sell on Etsy.
Etsy is a fantastic place to start a small business before forking out more money to register it as a fully operational business.
If you’re wondering what types of crafts make money, here’s a list of the best things to sell on Etsy (2021 updated).
You Might Like: 18 Easy Things to Make and Sell For Extra Money
Writing doesn’t have to mean freelancing for big name magazines and brands, although there is certainly a good amount of money to be earned doing just that.
The average hourly pay for a freelance writer at this level is $150-200.
The most obvious way to make money writing is by offering your services on sites such as Fiverr or Upwork or by reaching out to blog owners directly.
Good content writers who have the ability to specialise in a certain niche are in high demand. As someone who owns 3 blogs myself, I know first hand how important it is to find someone you can trust with your content creation.
From a business owner perspective, it’s surprisingly difficult to find writers who match basic criteria.
If you’re detail-oriented, love to research and can string sentences together in a cohesive format, you’ll easily rise to the top.
Beginner content writers can expect to charge anywhere from $80-150 per blog post, depending on experience.
However, if you have the discipline, the time and skills to start your own blog, you can easily start making thousands of dollars per month within the first year.
You can use blogging to even sell your own products and services.
For inspiration, check out Best Self Co, a well known productivity company who uses blogging to sell planners and journals.
Tap into this $102 billion dollar niche by offering a product or service that makes gardening, especially home gardening, easier.
With more and more people spending time at home, it’s no surprise we’re searching for ways to make our indoor living space brighter, healthier and happier.
Plants do exactly that, and millennials think so too, spending an average of $13 billion on houseplants every year.
Indoor gardens and terrariums, especially, are hot topics according to recent Google Trends data.
Leaf and Clay take a traditional stance on this money making hobby, selling succulents via their ‘Plant Mail Club’, a monthly subscription box.
Nate Dodson at MicroGreens Farmer, teaches people how to launch their own successful microgreens business after launching his own money making venture back in 2016. Microgreens are young, nutrient dense vegetables designed to offer many health benefits when eaten.
Or help people fuel their own gardening hobby by inventing something new to keep their beloved plants alive.
Solving a key problem, technology founder edn introduced a soil-less planting container, fitted with wifi to help plant owners manage their plants on the go.
Similar to writing and gardening, there are many ways to make money with photography. If you own a decent camera and know how to use it, making money as a freelance photographer can be relatively straightforward.
Many guides recommend you devote your time and energy to becoming a freelance photographer, but finding high paying clients can be tricky, and more often than not seasonal. Plus, you’re limited to local gigs, photoshoots and craft fairs, which is limiting.
For a more scalable and lucrative side hustle you’ll want to try one of two things:
- Selling stock photos, photo prints and digital products
- Teaching people how to become their own photographer
Teaching people how to be a good photographer doesn’t mean ‘teach anyone’. Profitable businesses are those that offer a certain audience a solution to their pain point.
Darren Rowse, founder of Digital Photography School, for example teaches beginners how to master basic shots and edit in Lightroom.
ClickPhotoSchool on the other hand, teaches moms how to take incredible photos of their children without paying a fortune for a photoshoot.
Selling stock photos and prints is a good way to earn money on the side as a photographer.
Whilst it might take time to build an audience on social media and achieve a good volume of sales, it’s definitely worth it.
Did you know that professional photography accounts are the 2nd most lucrative type of business on Instagram? The average brand is willing to pay up to $200 per post on Instagram to work with an account with less than 100,000 followers.
Next up for profitable hobbies that make money? Beekeeping. Whilst this hobby is usually associated with retirement, there are many young entrepreneurs making this sweet business a success.
Within 10 months, two friends from Bushwick Kitchen (formerly Mixed Made) generated $170k selling their Bees Knees Spicy Honey. Within 30 days of launching, they generated $1 thousand.
Similarly, Ted Dennard from the Savannah Bee Company sells artisanal honey. What started as a side hustle selling honey from his kitchen is now a fully fledged business. Whilst I can’t be sure exactly how much money they’re making per year, I do know that they now own and operate 13 stores and 2,000 retailers across the US.
In comparison to traditional jobs, there aren’t that many beekeepers, especially in the US. According to the National Honey Board, there are around 115,000-125,000 beekeepers in the US, with the vast majority of them being hobbyists with less than 25 hives.
This leaves a lot of room for product development and experimentation in the honey market.
Reading is a passion for many, but did you know you can make a decent sum of money by writing book reviews?
Kirkus Media and Online Book Club hire reviewers to review unpublished and indie authors online.
Based on their ‘careers’ page, Kirkus Media treats the role of the reviewer like a ‘job’, requiring a resume, writing samples and a list of reviewing specialities i.e. your favorite genres, plots etc.
Don’t be put off by that though, there are many pros to becoming a book reviewer. Kirkus states that book reviews need only be around 350 words long, you can be based anywhere in the world, and they accept reviewers who speak either English or Spanish.
Online Book Club requires you to write your first book review for free, just to make sure you’re a good fit for the role. Then, every book review after that, you can expect to make up to $60.
Oh, and did I mention they send you books for free?!
And if you’re a whizzkid at spotting typos and errors, combine book reviewing with proofreading for an additional stream of income.
Proofreaders are detail oriented people who typically check final drafts of books, articles, publications and even web copy.
The best news? You don’t need a formal qualification to become a proofreader.
Caitlin from Proofread Anywhere made $43k in one year working part time as a proofreader with just a little experience.
You can start offering your services as a proofreader by taking up low-paying gigs on Fiverr and Upwork. This will give you the experience and more importantly the portfolio to snag higher paying clients.
7. Illustration and Design
Similar to writing and blogging, illustration and design are creative money making hobbies you can do at home.
Many people assume you need to be a pro graphic designer to give this business idea a go, but there are countless success stories of amateurs making serious money.
Lindsey Ferris, a print on demand apparel owner, started her business after losing her event company at the beginning of 2020. Ferris Built, in a few short months, now has more than 5,000 sales, and Meghan Markle has even worn one of her shirt designs.
Lindsey’s story proves that it’s possible to make good money and develop a brand with basic design skills.
With basic design skills you can:
- Design Logos and Branded Material for Small Business
- Create Themed Printables to Sell on Etsy (e.g. Wedding)
- Design Basic T-shirts and Merchandise to Sell Via Print on Demand
The options are endless. With a simple graphic design tool such as Canva, even the most technically challenged can turn this hobby into a profitable business.
Print on demand is an excellent way for teens to make money without needing a Paypal account too.
Selling coffee online is a fantastic way to earn money. The global coffee industry is worth $60 billion, with over 400 billion cups of coffee being served every year.
With more people wanting to master their favorite brew at home and save money at the same time, it’s no wonder businesses have capitalized on this opportunity.
Founders of Steeltown Garage Co, Jeff Campagna and Tania LaCaria merged their two passions together; coffee and motorcycle travel.
Rather ingeniously, they opened up a motorcycle garage complete with their own coffee shop and wearable merchandise.
Here are 7 low cost start-up coffee business ideas to give you inspiration:
- Roast Artisanal Coffee Blends and Sell Online
- Start a Coffee Subscription Service
- Start a Coffee Product Review Website
- Launch a Coffee Truck (similar to a food truck)
- Sell Coffee Equipment or Products
- Get Into the Coffee Dropshipping Business
Woodworking might seem like a dying trade, and whilst traditionally employed carpenters are seeing a decrease in jobs, self employed wood workers are fairing much, much better.
From unique keepsakes to home decor to seasonal gifting, the options for turning your woodworking hobby into a profitable business are endless.
Based on the number of units sold and average cost per item, Warners End, a craft shop on Etsy, has made over $152,000 since launching.
Busy Puzzle, an Etsy shop that specializes in wooden Montessori inspired children’s toys has made on average $5 million since starting a few years ago.
You don’t need to sell big, bulky carved items to be a success in the field of woodwork.
Here’s a list of wood crafts that sell like hotcakes online.
Scroll through Instagram and you’ll quickly see how food has become an art. Whether you’re an amateur or a pro in the kitchen you can quickly turn cooking and baking into a profitable business.
Camilla Stephens founded Higgidy Bakery in her very own kitchen, cooking pies from her little oven. Over the next few years, Higgidy soon became one of the UK’s fastest growing businesses, generating a whopping £15 million in revenue.
Amanda from Sugar Cake School started a highly successful artisanal cake business after battling with an autoimmune condition. She’s known for being a recognised cake blogger, Youtuber, Cake TV! Instructor and award winning wedding cake designer.
Don’t feel like making and packaging food items? How about serving up some delicious DIY food recipes?
According to Google, 59% of 25 to 34 year olds use their mobile devices to find new and interesting recipes online.
A Pinch of Yum, a highly successful food blog, has reportedly made over $90,000 some months!
Note: You need to check local and state regulations if you wish to cook and sell edible products from home. Some food standards agencies require you to have an ‘industrial’ style kitchen, whereby the kitchen isn’t used for anything other than food preparation.
You might be skeptical about gaming being a hobby you can money with from home.
But based on my research, there’s one key thing that determines if gamers are going to be financially profitable, and that’s being noticed.
With the rise of ‘Let’s Play’ and Twitch as a platform for gamers to make money, it’s no surprise there are some incredible success stories out there.
Disguised Toast, a Twitch streamer, reportedly makes $20,000 a month in both ad revenue, subscriptions and donations.
Call Me Kevin, a popular and comedic gaming Youtuber, makes on average $1 million annually.
Making money on Twitch and Youtube comes down to sharing ad revenue and receiving subscription donations from a growing community of viewers.
This does, however, mean that the amount you earn through live streaming and gaming will vary greatly month by month, but if you enjoy being on camera (or not, in the case of Cryoatic), you can turn gaming into a fantastic source of residual income.
Whilst the commitment and level of dedication needed to succeed is high, if you’re an avid gamer with a unique and genuine personality with a desire to grow a fan base, there’s definitely money to be made in this fast paced industry.
Love snagging a bargain? Turn your frugalness into a fully fledged business by buying and selling items for a profit.
Whether you’re a thrifting master, the vintage shopper or the occasional Goodwill peruser, you should know that turning second hand finds into money is a highly profitable business idea.
Take Shawna, aka sfconyway, she’s gone from selling her own items to going treasure hunting at thrift stores to sell clothes on Poshmark for a serious profit. Within just 3 months of starting, she’s sold over 400 items!
Or look at Rebecca’s story. With a failing kidney, Becca started selling clothes on Poshmark as a way to pay her medical bills. Little did she know she would make over $30,000 selling thrifted finds on Poshmark.
She now regularly makes $1,500 a month selling on Poshmark according to her blog.
Jaimery Castillo, another success story, who as a full time mom and undergraduate student makes $3,000 a month selling clothes on Ebay.
You’re not tied to selling just on Poshmark either, why not also try:
- Facebook Marketplace
13. Pet Care
As the need for pet care services continues to grow, spending on pets remains incredibly high. In fact, Americans alone spend an incredible $72 billion on their pets every year.
The majority of that expenditure is on premium dog food, natural dog food, pet insurance and pet care services such as boarding, grooming and training.
With pet care matching websites such as Rover, Pet Sitting and Dog Vacay, dog and lovers can use their unique set of skills to snag one of the best side hustles out there; making extra money each month caring and playing with dogs.
Rover and associated sites are fantastic places for pet owners to connect with pet sitters who offer a variety of services.
Depending on local pricing, you can earn anywhere between $20-30 per walk, and up to $50 a night for boarding. If you live near a city, you can expect to earn more, especially if you have good ratings and reviews.
Some of the services you can provide through Rover include:
- Dog walking
- Dog boarding
- Drop-in visits
- Doggy day care
Whatever service you want to provide, it’s absolutely possible to make extra money in the pet care niche.
14. 3D Printing
3D printing sounds like an expensive and time consuming hobby, but it doesn’t have to be. Can you believe you don’t even need to own a 3D printer to get started with this business idea?
Using Shapeways, a 3D printing service, you can make 3d products at a reasonable cost. Consider it 3D printing on demand.
Simply upload your digital file with your design, check the prototype they send you, and allow their repeatable printing process do the work.
Nikko Industries sells digital files for masks and armors inspired by comic characters and consistently makes $2,000 a month on the side.
Or, if you prefer to purchase your own 3D printer, you can make your own products and sell them on online ecommerce platforms.
Take 3DFilamentCo on Etsy, his baby groot 3d printed figurines have earned the coveted bestseller badge.
In a short space of time, with just 8 items on offer, he’s made close to 3,000 sales.
A second hand 3D printer costs on average $850. Once you’ve purchased the initial set-up, it can surprisingly become a hobby that makes money relatively quickly.
15. Online Fitness and Holistic Classes
With more people working from home and searching for ways to get fit, monthly searches for online fitness and holistic classes have skyrocketed.
According to Google Trends, searches for online yoga classes have risen by 200% year on year.
Adriene Mishler is an international yoga teacher with an online community of 9 million subscribers. She provides yoga and mindfulness classes to adults and children on her website as well as on Youtube. She has been recognized as one of the 100 most influential people in the field.
Have a recognised certification? Love to help other people get fit? With a little dedication, this could quickly transform into a lucrative business.
16. Create a Udemy Course
Have a skill you can package into a course? Why not offer it as a Udemy course? Udemy is an online learning platform that has a built in customer base.
Unlike self hosted courses on your own website, Udemy customers can search for keywords and discover your course directly on their platform.
You can offer courses in a wide variety of fields, anything from social media to baking to spirituality.
Teresa Greenway, for example, created a course on how to bake sourdough bread from home and within the first year made an extra $86,000.
17. Brewing Beer
Homebrewing, or making beer at home, is up next on the list of money making hobbies. Globally, the homebrew market is worth $12 million.
If you love sampling new beer creations, brewing beer could easily be a profitable home-based hobby.
Don’t fancy making your own beers? Why not establish a home brewing accessory and kit shop online? Brooklyn Brew Shop did just that; they help hobby brewers turn their passion into profit.
18. Creating and Editing Videos
Creating and editing videos is one skill many people don’t have. If you can turn raw, unedited footage into a creative masterpiece, you might be looking at an extremely profitable hobby.
Aside from offering your services on Fiverr, you might like to take a look at ViEdit. Viedit is specifically designed with freelance video editors in mind.
Whenever a client posts a project, freelancers can view these projects and send proposals with their own proposed price for it; consider it a bidding auction. Surprisingly, the cheapest price doesn’t always win.
Once the client accepts your proposal, they pay the agreed amount of money for you to edit their video.
Freelancers can be based in over 100 countries, and ViEdit payout via Paypal, Credit Card or Bank Transfer.
19. Dressing Well
Fancy yourself a style guru? Do you know what works well with a square or apple shaped body? You could turn your love of fashion into a 6 figure online business.
Kelly Snyder, a dressing well consultant, helps women turn their everyday look into something that flatters their figure using mathematical modelling. Think color analysis, proportion matching and style combinations.
With her signature course, Adore Your Wardrobe, Kelly has joined the 6 figure club with her hobby-based business in a matter of years.
20. Music Lessons
Dropping the next chart topping album is no easy feat, hence why I’m not suggesting it here. To turn your love of music into a profitable business, consider teaching it.
Whether you prefer the classical melodies of the piano or the electronic beats of a DJ table, there are thousands of people wanting to take up one of their life long goals; learn to play and make their own music.
Jacques from Piano in 21 Days teaches complete beginners how to play their favorite pieces of music on the piano in just 21 days.
Cleverly, he’s skipped the tedious drills, scale work and theory that comes with traditional piano practice. Instead, he works on helping people feel comfortable playing the basics, and he’s paid handsomely for doing so.
Jacques makes over $30,000 a month from his online program.
21. Home Decor
Believe it or not, this is one of the most popular hobbies that can make you money. Fortunately there’s lots of ways to make money sharing your home decor expertise.
- Start a Home Decor Blog
- Sell Theme Inspired Items e.g. Farmhouse Inspired
- Start an Etsy Shop
- Sell Antiques
- Become a Home Stager
- Create a Home Decor Course For Beginners
- Start a B2B Retail Design Blog and Secure High Paying Clients
If you love sharing your best home decor tips and expertise with others, consider starting a home decor blog.
With some SEO know-how and clever marketing, home decor blogs can earn in excess of $5,000 a month.
Abby Lawson from Just a Girl and Her Blog talks about everything home related, including renovation, DIY projects and organization. Abby reportedly makes over $30,000 a month from her blog.
Love searching for unique finds? Start a home decor shop on Shopify or Etsy and sell home decor objects instead.
Jacky and Albert started their Shopify store as a side project, merely as an experiment to see if it would work. Thanks to their stunning imagery and eagled eyed trend spotting, they generated over $700,000 in revenue.
Prefer to do the interior design work yourself? Lend your expertise to people wanting to increase the value of their property before it goes on the market.
Home stagers help people style their homes professionally, which can add tens of thousands of dollars to its perceived value, despite the home’s facilities remaining unchanged.
To become a home stager, all you need is some interior design talent and a knack for decoration. Home stagers can earn anywhere between $500 to $5000 per project, depending on experience and size of home.
FAQs – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can All Hobbies Make Money?
There are many ways to turn a hobby into a money making business. Just because it’s not listed here doesn’t mean you can’t profit from it.
Each and every day, more and more people are finding ingenious ways to transform their passions into a fully fledged business.
To start a profitable business, first, you’ll need to validate your business idea to make sure there’s demand for it.
How To Make Money From a Hobby
To start a profitable business from your hobby, you’ll want to follow these easy steps to get started:
- Validate your business idea: Perform some basic market research to ensure there’s a demand for your idea!
- Choose a business name: Catchy and quirky names are more memorable than descriptive ones.
- Make a Business plan: What are your short and long term goals?
- Develop your product or service: What are your customers willing to pay for?
- Pick a business structure: You’ll want to protect your assets and legitimize your business.
- Research licenses and regulations: Make sure you’re conducting business legally, especially surrounding food-based ideas.
- Establish business accounts, payment processing, and other software: build your website and set up basic money management software.
Pros and Cons of Turning a Hobby Into a Business
- You set your working hours
- You can achieve financial freedom with a business idea
- You’ll spend time working on something you’re passionate about
- You’re free to let your creativity and personality shine
- You don’t have to answer to a boss
- You have the potential to earn passive income
- Working hours can be long
- You’re responsible for the success of the business
- You’re responsible for managing the taxes of the business
- There can be a lot of financial pressure, especially in the first year of operation
- You might have to deal with rude customers
- The business will always be on your mind, as you find ways to improve it
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