For most of us, it’s go, go, go nearly 24/7. There are too few hours in the day and too many emails to respond to. Carving out “me time” can feel impossible, but it’s literally what the doctor orders, as it helps us stay mentally and physically healthy.
An ideal way to accomplish a bit of this crucial self-care is to partake in a hobby. Hobbies, otherwise known as “purposeful activities” can help lower stress and lift one’s mood, among other health benefits.
But the best part? Hobbies — if you’re really committed to them — can turn a profit. So, if you’re on the fence about taking the time to take up a craft for the sake of your health alone, consider doing it for the money it could make you. Here’s a look at some hobbies that have been proven to reel in major moolah.
“I’ve noticed that there’s a huge draw for candles that have pop culture-inspired scents or book-inspired scents, for instance,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com. “If this is something that you’re already into, then the odds are good that you’ve already purchased some of the necessary materials. Use what you have to start small and try tapping into one of these markets to start a side hustle.”
Creative scents go a long way here. On Etsy, the “New Book Pages” candle fetches $18.95.
“Much like candle-making, soap-making is something that some crafters are turning to because they find it soothing to do, and they have a great product to use or gift when they’re done,” Ramhold said. “Again, if you have some supplies on hand, start small and do some testing with friends and family – get feedback on the scents and designs so that you can create a small inventory to try selling at first before going all-in. You’ll also be able to judge how different scents perform with customers and make adjustments as necessary.”
Bar soap is fairly easy to make and it’s eco-friendly, unlike liquid soaps that use plastic packaging.
“Creative types can jump in on the fast-growing trend of NFTs by becoming an NFT artist,” said R.J Weiss, founder of The Ways To Wealth. “There’s a wide range of NFTs that can be created, from simple logos to 3D renders and even real estate in virtual worlds. Being the first artist to create an NFT in a certain niche, such as a new blockchain-based game or metaverse, can be very profitable for the artist. It’s also a great chance to learn and get paid for a very exciting new technology.”
While you’re certainly not guaranteed to make much money rendering NFT art, some lucky creators have raked in fortunes. In March, CNBC profiled an artist who made $738,000 in a half-hour selling NFTs.
“Fiverr is a unique platform that allows people to offer their services, or ‘gigs’ starting at $5 each,” Weiss said. “It can be a great way to start monetizing creative skills like graphic design or illustration. What’s unique about Fiverr is that many of the top sellers are able to scale their businesses and earn a full-time income by offering their services. While many freelancers write it off as a low-value platform, the top sellers have successfully positioned their service offerings in a way that makes them a high-value option for buyers. So, instead of $5, they may be selling illustrations, designs, voiceovers, and more for $100-plus.”
“I turned my bakes and cake making into a career that spanned 16 years and became a six figure business,” said business coach Shelly Shulman. “I started making birthday cakes for my children, then got inquiries from parents of my children’s friends who attended parties. To grow my profile even further I provided cakes as raffle prizes for my children’s school fete. Now it is even easy to raise your profile with social media. I did this and the business grew to such an extent that I ended up making a cake for the HM Queen. I now teach other aspiring bakers how to make money from their bakes.”
“Anyone with a regular training routine, some experience and learning spirit can benefit from coaching other fellow runners,” said Julian B of UpbeatRun.com. “Communicating your experience to newer runners may be rewarding, as some tips can save them from unnecessary injuries and/or help them to become better athletes. Running coaches are not reserved only to elite athletes. Anyone, from beginners to experienced runners, need guidance to achieve their goals.”
“If you’re anything like me, then odds are you’ve created a number of projects that you may or may not be using yourself,” Ramhold said. “You can only gift so many hats to friends and family, after all — [so] take those excess projects that are just lying around, and consider listing them for sale on an online store. You may be surprised at the interest you see.”
Additionally, if you’re good at creating your own patterns, look to sell these online, too.
“Plenty of bloggers create patterns and videos to help new crafters and then sell those ad-free PDFs for a few bucks on their blog or Etsy,” Ramhold said.
“We utilize gardening and landscaping as part of our business when rehabbing houses,” said Melanie Hartmann, owner of Creo Home Buyers. “If someone enjoys gardening or landscaping, this can turn into a very profitable side hustle or business. One can get started by doing work on their own house, or those of their friends’, family, or neighbors’ houses. Take before and after shots of the completed work and then post ads for free and low cost places such as Craigslist to get the word out.”
“Not only can you create pieces of art that can then be sold, but you can even create how-tos on hand-lettering so that those who are interested in learning could do so,” Ramhold said. “Sell these how-tos in the form of sheets or even consider creating courses on platforms like Craftsy (or you can sell them on your own platform) as well.”
“The beauty of photography is that anyone can get their feet wet and produce beautiful artwork if you learn how to use a camera properly,” said Alicia Ho, photographer and founder of Precious Ones Photography. “It can be as simple as a beginner-level DSLR camera with natural daylight. What started as a hobby of photographing my own children, has turned into an incredible career of capturing precious moments for many families.”
To start profiting from photography, Ho recommends offering sessions in client homes or to conduct outside sessions to keep your costs low.
“If you prefer still photography or nature portraits, you can sell images to stock photo websites and make money that way,” Ho said.
“If you love a good estate sale and digging for treasures, consider selling those items on an online storefront,” Ramhold said. “One of my coworkers does this on the side because it’s her passion and it’s so cool to see the different kinds of items she finds at these sales. Even better, because they’re one-offs, you don’t have to worry about refilling inventory since what you sell will be pretty much one-and-done.”
Teach a Skill on YouTube
“There are many very successful creators on YouTube with channels on teaching the skills of a favorite hobby,” Weiss said. “From fishing and carpentry to sewing, sourdough bread baking, and gardening, there are endless examples of successful creators teaching their hobbies to others. Some even go on to create full-time businesses beyond YouTube all based on their hobby. If you have a skill that you’re passionate about, creating a channel, and in turn, building an audience, can lead to a very lucrative side hustle or career.”
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