Hobbies That Make Money was written by Linda Meltzer for Wealth of Geeks. It has been republished with permission.
Do you have a hobby? Hobbies are activities we enjoy doing when we have spare time. These activities help us develop skills and talent, make friends with similar interests, reduce stress, and provide an extra stream of income.
Many of us begin a hobby for fun and enjoyment, not necessarily for profit. However, many hobbies that make money are win-win situations for your wallet. It may be time for you to consider monetizing your talent either as a side hustle or full-time.
Reasons For a Hobby That Makes Money
- Follow your passion.
- Start small to minimize the initial investment.
- Have skills and talent you want to develop further.
- Have spare time.
- Feel satisfaction.
- Generate an additional income stream.
- Teach others.
- Freelance opportunities.
- Sell your work on Etsy, Fiverr, Upwork, or other businesses.
- Healthy for your body and soul.
25 Hobbies That Make Money
Do you enjoy photography as a hobby? Why not take it to the next step and pursue what you love doing? Try portraits, family photography, travel, sports, nature, stock photographs, or candid photography.
Photography as a hobby can be very gratifying as you capture special moments in beautiful places. I enjoyed photography, taking classes, learning how to develop film, buying camera equipment, lens, tripods, and such.
While it is not a low-cost hobby, I suggest starting with your smartphone and learning some techniques first. Make sure you enjoy photography before investing in gear and don't buy everything at once. Watch videos, join a photographer community, and keep learning.
Photography is a great hobby to make money as a side hustle or a career. You can sell or license your photos online or to companies that specialize in your area of expertise. Consider listing on Fine Art America or stock photo sites like Getty Images or Shutterstock. You can do photoshoots at weddings or parties, teach photography skills, start a photography blog, or start a YouTube Channel.
Do you enjoy writing? You just need a pen, paper, and creative ideas to begin writing and publishing. The benefits of picking up writing as a hobby to make money are low cost, a desirable communication skill, easy to start, and you can do it independently.
To get started, you need to consider the various niches of writing such as poetry, short stories, essays, fiction, book, news articles, speechwriter, or product reviews and what best fits you. Getting ideas can come from talking to people, walking around your neighborhood, or traveling. Find a time that is most productive for you to write.
If you write well, you may want to consider doing it freelance. It takes time to develop your niche, writing skills, and voice for most people.
There are many ways to land some writing jobs online as a side hustle. It is easier to have a professional blog to point to your work. However, you can start by doing cold pitches and contacting editors online. When you're new to freelance writing, check the job board for freelance writers, and ask around if you can guest post. Pay varies per word from pennies up to $1.00 or more for the most skilled.
3. Flying Drones
Are you a fan of flight and aspire to be an aerial photographer? Flying drones can be an exhilarating hobby that makes money. It is an exciting hobby that requires precautions with the risk of crashing your drone, so there is a learning curve. Drones can start at $100-$200 if you buy them secondhand but can go up significantly to $1,000 or more.
This choice is fascinating as a hobby and to make extra money flying a drone with photography and videography capabilities. You can create content to sell to real estate, agriculture, TV, and media.
To become a drone pilot, you will need training (DroneU, ABJ Drone Academy, or Pilot Institute) and FAA certification. Freelance drone pilots can do aerial inspections for utility companies, aerial surveying for real estate developers, or social events like weddings, travel, and hotels that want to show their grounds. You likely would need insurance.
Although there are some upfront costs (e.g., drone, training, insurance), you could do this kind of work on a part-time basis. Your compensation varies by the company or the group you may be working for. Earning $500-$600 per week is not out of the question.
4. Gardening and Landscaping
Gardening is a hobby with many benefits. Besides encouraging you to work outdoors, gardening is a form of moderate exercise (if you work 2.5 hours) suitable for your mind and body. It can relieve stress and other health problems. Growing plants, fruit, and vegetables is fun and rewarding. As a bonus, you get fresh air and sunshine.
If you grow your fruits and vegetables, you save money by not buying produce at the grocery. Gardening is a hobby that makes money in different ways, such as by selling your plants, seeds, fresh and dried herbs, fruits, and vegetables.
You can sell shrubs, teach others how to garden through classes, have a gardening blog, have a YouTube channel, create gardens for others, become a garden coach, consultant, or even a contractor with large tracts of land engaging in landscaping. Like gardening, you design, plan, and maintain a larger area with landscaping.
Listening to music can be soothing for your body and soul, relieving stress and providing health benefits. Making music is relaxing, whether you are playing an instrument, writing music, or making your beats or samples. Beats are short hooks composed of different sounds intended to be a background for a musician.
Making money from creating music through songs or lyrics works in several ways, such as from licensing deals, selling music online, via a blog, or sites like StockMusicMusician, Audio Jungle, and Airbit. You can host your songs on Soundcloud, a free app, uploading up to three hours of audio for free. You can teach someone to play the piano, guitar, or any instrument in person, online classes, or video channels.
Do you know any magic tricks? Magic is a relatively inexpensive hobby popular at family gatherings, and it promotes the reading of magic books for curious kids.
David Copperfield, now a billionaire, is likely the most famous magician of our time. He began practicing at age ten as “Davino the Boy Magician” in his neighborhood, and performing helped him overcome his shyness.
There are many benefits of performing magic beyond being a desirable hobby that makes money. Performing magic builds motor skills, theatrical presentation, memory, and communication skills when entertaining a crowd at a party or social gathering. Magic has a universal language, instills confidence, relieves stress, and can bring happiness to others at the wonder of the tricks.
There are different kinds of magic tricks taught via schools, videos, and tutorials. Using these resources will help you start with the easiest tricks before you master the craft and techniques. Although learning magic may not be the most expensive hobby, it requires lots of passion, perseverance, and hard work to script out your performance, practice, and rehearsals to perfect your craft.
You can start making tips as a street magician, then consider a side hustle and find gigs at parties, restaurants, corporate events, and birthday parties for kids and adults. Different kinds of magicians dictate varying costs from $300 for a children's event to a range of $2,000-$8,000 for a stage performance.
7. Standup Comedy
Do friends, family, and colleagues tell you that you are hilarious? Comedy may be your gig.
When thinking about standup comedy as a hobby that you may want to monetize, there is significant overlap with magic. Both require similar scripting, theatrical presentation and communication skills, and delivery to look natural as a performer.
To break into the ranks of standup comedians, you can start with short performances at comedy clubs and smaller venues. Ever watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel when she decides she wants to do standup comedy after the breakup with her husband? It took her a long time, hard work, and rejection (and chutzpah) before she perfected her act.
Comedian Chris Rock was a busboy at Red Lobster while attending community college, performing at open mic nights in New York City when he got his break at Catch A Rising Star and became a regular on the comedy circuit. Comedy as a side hustle can bring in a starting rate of $25 per 45 minutes hour up to $200+ per hour.
8. DIY Arts and Crafts
The DIY arts and crafts market is broad and includes soapmaking, candlemaking, jewelry, textiles, wood, metals, clay, paper, canvas, plants, knitting, and other crafts. Arts and crafts include various activities that involve making products with your hands.
As such, the DIY arts and crafts market generated approximately $40.21 billion in 2021 and is estimated to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 8% to $59.36 billion by 2026. It is a large category, and we will only focus on a handful (pardon the pun!), so you get an idea of the opportunity.
It has become much easier to sell your crafts and unique goods to a seemingly boundless market in recent years. These online marketplaces may charge listing, transaction, and payment processing fees, so you must check each company. The best-known companies are:
- Big Cartel
- Handmade at Amazon
9. Card Making
The making of greeting cards goes back to the 1850s when sending a card became a popular form of personal communication. Card making is part of creatively handmade paper crafting involving several techniques and products such as stamping, die-cutting, heat embossing, and scrapbooking.
This hobby can be rewarding to make a finished product that you can send to your friends and families with that personal touch. You can learn how to make cards on your own or take classes.
It is a fun activity to learn how to make cards as unique gifts to people you love on just about any occasion. Crafting cards can also be lucrative, with several examples highlighting strong demand for these products.
Wombi Rose and John Wise founded Lovepop, a pop-up greeting card supplier while at Harvard. They fell in love with the art of paper sculpture and used that idea to design cards using CAD software and fold them completely flat. The sculptures are securely attached and pop up when you open the card. They make great gifts worth saving for their beauty.
Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary fell in love with LovePop, taking a 15% stake for $300,000 in one of the most successful deals of the show.
Calligraphy is the art of beautiful writing and is a desirable hobby that induces meditation, relaxation and calming your soul and body. It requires a low cost to begin calligraphy using ink and brush or a flexible metal pen. Find adult education classes or workshops to perfect this art and calligrapher organizations that provide learning resources.
Calligraphy is a useful hobby as it develops motor skills and memory retention, among other benefits. Irene Hizme, a special friend of our family, was a talented calligrapher in her later life. She was a Holocaust survivor who suffered at the hands of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele as a young child alongside her brother.
Despite the debilitation of multiple sclerosis, Irene, an expert calligrapher, used her hands, feet, and mouth to create hand-lettered cards. She donated any money she earned to benefit Holocaust victims virtually until she died.
Calligraphers can monetize their skills in many ways, such as selling handmade cards, teaching their skills, hosting workshops, making business signage, selling framed inspirational quotes, books, or wedding invitations.
11. Woodworking and Flipping Furniture
Many people enjoy working with their hands, especially with wood. They whittle figurines or make or refinish cabinets and other types of furniture. Woodworking is an excellent hobby, expanding your skills of making items from wood and can include carving, carpentry, cabinet-making.
Woodworking is not a greatly expensive hobby, but you will likely need a set of saws, drills, and sanding, which could total $200 initially. Most people work out of their garage. The Woodworkers Guild of America has expert videos to help you start small projects.
Depending on the nature of your hobby, skills, and seriousness, you could build furniture pieces or finely crafted furniture as a one-of-a-kind beauty. You can command thousands of dollars for the works. Alternatively, you can flip furniture after refinishing them or sell vintage pieces to collectors.
12. Brewing Beer
If you like beer, brewing beer at home is not a farfetched hobby to have fun and enjoy. You may already know the differences in crafting beer in many styles and different flavors. You need to research to validate your interest and understand the upfront costs of buying brewing equipment.
You can shop around on eBay or Craigslist or go to brew shops online. Amazon sometimes offers sales on brewing equipment packages. After the initial equipment investment, the cost of making beer drops. You will need to find a supply company for the ingredients. You either save money making your brew or sell in batches.
As a brewer, you might be able to invite friends who will be happy to do taste tests for you before you sell your brew. You can make money selling beer, having tastings, classes, creating a blog to teach others, or even hosting a YouTube channel.
Do you like gaming? You can get paid to play games. In 2021, nearly 156 million Americans played mobile video games. Many apps pay you to play games. You can receive cash rewards or loyalty points.
One of the most popular online services is Twitch, where people watch and live stream digital video broadcasts. According to Statista, there were 41.5 million twitch users in the US in 2020, expected to rise to 51.6 million by 2024.
Thousands earn money through the Twitch partner program, a service that provides streamers added features such as paid subscriptions and ad placements. Streamers can make up to $3,000 to $5,000 per month working hard full time.
There are casino gaming apps you can play to save money to reduce travel costs.
14. Graphic Designer or Illustrator
A graphic designer uses visual communication that combines images, words, and ideas to convey information to an audience to produce an effect. Both graphic designers and illustrators do design work. They should understand colors, contrast, and balance.
Illustrators enhance writing, making images or visual representations in books and other media.
Many people learn graphic design as a hobby by drawing, painting, and photography, developing the skills to marketability. They can sell their skills by showcasing a portfolio of their work to make logos, print on demand, advertisements, brochures, and magazines. Both graphic design and illustration may start as hobbies but can rise to side hustles, teaching skills, or working on designs for clients as a full-time career.
15. Become a Local Guide
Do you like sharing interesting facts about your neighborhood, city, or town? If you have specialized knowledge, speak in more than one language, and are passionate about the area you live in, you can become a local guide as a hobby. You can lead people through tourist spots or an exciting part of town.
People enjoy learning about things off the beaten path. Most would be willing to pay for a quality tour, plus tips. You can freelance or list on Rent A Local Friend or Traveling Spoon.
16. A Hair and Makeup Artist
You can take up beauty as a hobby if you enjoy dabbling in fashion and making others look beautiful. My daughter and her friends loved putting on makeup and doing other people's hair. This hobby is fun and fulfilling by making others feel more confident.
Many artists follow Instagram and elsewhere to learn different techniques, buy affordable cosmetics and hairbrushes, and experiment with others.
You can easily monetize this hobby if you have solid skills and enjoy this work as a side hustle, especially if you have spare hours on weeknights or weekends. It can also become a career where you work with wealthy people, entertainers, or public persons.
There is high demand for people who can do hair and makeup in their homes for special occasions, work events, parties, including weddings, and bar/bat mitzvahs.
This freelance job is lucrative for those with talent and flexible schedules. If you have the flexibility to do the work at odd hours like early morning, during weekends, or holidays, you can earn $150-$600 or more for this job. You may need some training to learn about different styles and cosmetics.
Like driving as a hobby in your spare time? Some people enjoy driving to clear their heads or enjoy the sights. There are a lot of opportunities to make money while driving.
17. Drive for Uber or Lyft
Have spare time? You can drive for ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft. You will need a driver's license and meet the minimum age requirement in your chosen area. You can make $100 a day for a six-hour shift, though if you hustle (safely), you can make up to $500 a day.
Ride-share companies will review your background, including your driving record, for safety purposes. You will need a four-door car, preferably not a 20-year-old model, and you must have insurance and current vehicle registration. If you don't have a suitable vehicle, you may rent one from these companies.
18. Food/Groceries Delivery Services
In combination with the ride-sharing companies, or on your own, you can participate in delivering prepared meals, groceries, or other things while you are on your way to a destination. The demand for ordering delivery jumped significantly during the pandemic and hasn't let up.
In the prepared food delivery services, the success of Uber Eats, DoorDash, Postmates, GrubHub has been astronomical. If your car is too old to drive for Uber, you can still use your car for Uber Eats to deliver food or go by scooter, bicycle, or foot. You can make $8-12 per hour plus tips.
19. A Roadie
You can get paid for delivering packages that are already on your way to the other side of town, a different city, or across the country by becoming a Roadie. Your compensation for a local dropoff ranges up to $60, while long-haul deliveries could be as high as $650. Imagine taking your kid to college by car and arranging deliveries in both directions. You decide on how you want to participate with Roadie.
Do you enjoy cooking for yourself or for other people? Cooking as a hobby is fun and fulfilling, though it can become expensive if you buy all the possible kitchen gadgets. Many people love to cook, especially for others, and enjoy exploring different foods from other cultures.
Can you cook with flair and enjoy doing so? You can turn your cooking hobby into making money on the side or full-time. Personal chefs are popular for special events or long-term culinary needs. If you cook meals for a particular person or family once in a while, it might be a less formal arrangement.
Personal chefs are hired for varying purposes such as nutrition, elderly or ill individuals, for parties, or for in-home eating for busy people. Hourly rates range from $30-$40 per hour. However, charges vary by person for large parties.
On the other hand, clients may call on you to have a broad repertoire. You may need to show your cooking ability, culinary training, and certification. You can list zip codes or areas you can provide services on sites like Hire A Chef.
I come from a long line of bakers on both sides of the aisle. Aside from the occasional banana bread, I am not much of a baker. However, many people bake for fun at home and share their goods with others in their spare time. They may make bread, cookies, cupcakes, pies, or exotic cakes.
One of my students in my marketing class shared her hobby of making personalized multilevel wedding cakes to wealthy couples who could afford her rate of $1,500-$2,000. Although it started as a hobby, she quickly transitioned to a very successful business through social media. Other hobbyists sell their home-baked goods to school fairs, friends, neighbors, office parties. Famous Amos began his cookie business by sending his chocolate chip cookies to rock & roll clients.
22. Teaching Others
Do you like teaching others? If you have expertise in a field, why not share your knowledge? Many people are enthusiastic about getting more people into their hobbies, teaching the ropes to others.
Do you have a passion for teaching and want flexibility working from home? If you have a hobby that you are passionate about, then share your knowledge online by making videos, blogging, or in-person classes in your training center. For example, if you are knowledgeable about photography, pottery, crafts, playing the piano, or technology, you can teach others, including kids, with your expertise. This can be a seasonal or all-year-round gig.
23. Start Your Own YouTube Channel
Are you a tech-savvy adult with the expertise you would like to share with others? It could be the accumulated knowledge from a hobby you are enthusiastic about and want to enlighten others.
Consider starting a YouTube channel. This can be a fun and fulfilling way to grow a following and potentially make an impressive income. The video and audio equipment and accessories can be expensive initially.
However, you can go slowly to make sure it is something you want to do. It may take time to build a following by marketing the channel and having respectable views. At 1,000 views, you can make about $100 per month from advertising revenues. Many bloggers and influencers have channels teaching on many topics.
If you are interested in blogging, you need to find your niche like a writer. Earning money from a blog takes longer than many other areas suggested in this article. There are some upfront costs like building and designing your website and hosting.
You can go at your own pace in building a following and traffic before you can earn money from ads, affiliated marketing, sponsored posts, selling courses, and other products. Think of blogging as a longer-term proposition to potentially make a living on a flexible schedule.
Are you already a blogger and want to level up your blog? Then, consider checking out the Money Mix Insiders program and take your blog from a hobby to a real job! I joined the program last year and gained significant benefits for The Cents of Money. Please reach out to me if you have any interest or questions about the program.
25. Repair and Selling Spare Electronics
Do you like fiddling with computers and smartphones? Hobby electronics are classic hobbies where people collected old radios or built tube transmitters. Electronics still thrives as a hobby, though the tools and components are different.
You will be in demand by folks like me who don't know what is wrong with their electronics. This kind of work can be done locally based on your schedule. The compensation for repairing electronics varies in the $15-$20 per hour range.
Nadia Shuaib built a fast-growing business, Budget Electronics, as a result of selling a few items like cellphone accessories on eBay from her husband's fledgling hobby business. The inventory she listed sold quicker than expected. She started building relationships with Asian suppliers and created a Budget Electronics company.
Electronics hobbyists sell spare, used, or unused electronics such as iPads, media players, smartphones, printers, cameras, or headphones. The parts from these devices are valuable and profitable. You can contact several companies for selling your electronics, notably BuyBack World, Sellcell.com, Decluttr, Swappa, Gazelle, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace. You can trade in your electronics for cash, and these companies will refurbish and sell certified pre-owned.
Which hobby is best for you? Use your spare time to find a great hobby to make money on the side or even full-time.