5 Surprising Hobbies That Could Make You Money

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Money has never been tighter, and people are looking for ways to earn more outside of their regular jobs. Money-making hobbies that can be started from home can improve your mental health, reduce stress, build valuable skills and, most importantly, pay you for something you already enjoy.

See: 22 Side Gigs That Can Make You Richer Than a Full-Time Job
Find: How To Get Rich With a Normal Job

Whether your intent is to make a bit of extra cash or start up a new business, now is a perfect time to look at what interests you and turn your hobby into a profitable side hustle or new career. So, without getting into the weird hobbies-turned-careers like pet food tasters, professional mourners, paranormal guides or snake venom milkers — here are five potentially lucrative hobbies that you may not have considered.

1. Flying Drones

Unmanned aerial vehicle fans are the new remote control airplane hobbyists. The hobby is becoming more affordable but, more importantly, the number of industries that use drones is expanding swiftly.

Amazon saw the possibilities of rapid parcel delivery early and has been fine-tuning its Prime Air service to better serve its customers for years. Other companies have followed suit and drones are not only being used for commercial deliveries, but are being applied in the healthcare, food and postal delivery services too. 

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Real estate agencies, insurance companies and construction and surveying firms need aerial pictures for projects and are always hiring drone operators. Photography and film students are increasingly using drones for school and work. The New York City Drone Film Festival currently offers prizes and a $5,000 grant to a drone director every month to make a film.

For the more adventurous, drone races are all the rage among speed enthusiasts and pilots are now being sponsored by companies for race events. Drones can be expensive and certifications might be required depending on the intended use of your drone, but this is a hobby that has quickly infiltrated a huge number of industries in a short period of time.

2. Watching TV

For the millions of Americans that list watching TV as their favorite hobby, making money while you sit on your couch viewing the latest movies and series must sound like a dream job.

There really are professional TV watchers but they aren’t lazy couch surfers. Entertainment blogs and industry-specific sites are incredibly popular and hire TV lovers to review and recap their favorite shows. If you can find out when they do, programs like “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The Daily Show” periodically pay TV watcher applicants as clip researchers. Netflix employs “juicers” and “taggers” to select images and video clips, tag shows into genres and fill in categorizing metadata. The loyalty-program operator Swagbucks pays video viewers in points or gift cards.

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Closed captioners have been used for decades and are still very much in demand by media companies for their word-per-minute keyboard skills. However, because it requires an intense focus, you might not be able to absorb what you are watching.

3. Keeping Bees

To convince you that people can turn these hobbies into money or successful side hustles, two of my former co-workers have set up and tended to backyard hives in their spare time. Both have found it relaxing and lucrative. One makes honey for friends and local stores and the other has turned his hobby into a thriving commercial venture.

Beekeeping is a rewarding hobby and one that can easily turn honey into money. Besides selling honey, pollen, propolis and royal jelly are harvestable from hives and are used as health supplements and for medicinal uses. Beeswax can be turned into candles and lip balm and even bee venom can be cultivated to treat arthritis and in bee sting therapy.

Beekeepers can sometimes earn a full-time income from monitoring or renting out bees for pollination services.

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4. Advertising on Your Car

Ride-hailing and food delivery services like Uber/Uber Eats, Lyft and DoorDash sprung up like weeds during the pandemic, but there is a more passive way to make money as you drive your car. There is a surprisingly large number of companies that will pay you to advertise local and national businesses while you drive around your home town.

Related: 8 Cheapest Small Business Ideas

For some people, their cars are their hobbies and driving is their idea of a relaxing time. Three such car advertising start-ups — Carvertise, Nickelytics and Wrapify — have good reputations and business futures and pay up to a few hundred bucks a month or campaign. There are downsides to working as a driver, like set mileage requirements and having to wrap your car in gaudy advertisements, but if those are things that can be lived with and you can get paid for something you enjoy anyway, then it won’t feel like work at all.

5. Selling Your Plasma

Don’t laugh! Although it may not exactly be a hobby or interest, plasma donation certainly falls into the “unexpected things that can make you money” category.

Plasma is the clear fluid in which other blood components like platelets and red blood cells are suspended. Plasma donation is different from regular blood giving because doctors must extract plasma from the blood. Because it is not a simple blood draining, you can get paid for donating and contribute to therapies that treat rare and life-threatening diseases.

If you pass the screening, you will be required to donate within a set period time and might be able to donate twice a week, at $20-$50 a shot. New donors can earn up to $900 or $1000 for their first month from plasma collection companies like CSL Plasma or BioLife Plasma. Unlike TV watchers, you will need to go outside your house to give plasma.

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About the Author

David Nadelle is a freelance editor and writer based in Ottawa, Canada. After working in the energy industry for 18 years, he decided to change careers in 2016 and concentrate full-time on all aspects of writing. He recently completed a technical communication diploma and holds previous university degrees in journalism, sociology and criminology. David has covered a wide variety of financial and lifestyle topics for numerous publications and has experience copywriting for the retail industry.

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