After spending decades in the workforce, you’re nearing retirement age and looking forward to long days spent outdoors, online and on the road. But, maybe you haven’t decided how to use up all that free time — or you enjoy the structure that work brings.
Continuing to work in retirement isn’t all that uncommon. A report conducted by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found that 51 percent of U.S. workers plan to work in retirement, with 38 percent planning to take on part-time work. Among those expecting to retire after 65, one-third will work for enjoyment, rather than out of financial necessity.
Rather than pick up random jobs to fill your days, turn your hobby into a business or find work in your field of interest. You’ll make a little money to pad your savings doing what you love.
Teach What You Love
Whether you’re a skilled photographer, chef or engineer, chances are you can find work teaching what you love. You can setup shop in your home — like your neighborhood piano teacher — or teach at a local adult education program or school.
Alternatively, you can become an instructor on online instructional platforms like Udemy.com. But, if you prefer face-to-face interaction, Craigslist is a good place to find tutoring work.
If you have a knack for editing video, YouTube is a great place for you to post instructional videos, product reviews and more. Although you won’t make a ton of money at first, successful youtubers can rack in quite a bit off ads shown on their videos.
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Sell Your Products Online
In the past, craftsmen only had the opportunity to sell handmade goods at craft fairs and farmers markets. But thanks to the proliferation of online marketplaces, you can now sell your creations worldwide.
Etsy is, perhaps, the best-known marketplace for artisans, but there are plenty of smaller sites you can consider, like ArtFire.com and Zibbet.com. You can also use eBay to sell your creations. Even if you don’t make a lot of money, you can file a tax deduction for your hobby to help offset costs.
A lot of online craftsmen make shirts, posters and knickknacks for trendy TV shows like “Game of Thrones” and “Doctor Who.” These shows have large audiences that are looking for unique items they can display or wear.
Write About Your Experiences or Crafts
Whether you carve out wood sculptures or explore hiking trails in your city, chances are you can find people online interested in what you do.
Start your own blog and post photos of your creations, favorite trails or food you cook. If you enjoy writing, create a DIY blog that provides step-by-step instructions with photos. You can even post your work to Instagram or BuzzFeed, which might help boost sales or viewership.
If you don’t want to bank on ad revenue and sponsorships for income, pick up freelance writing assignments on sites like Mediabistro.com and FlexJobs.com.
Create Products for Your Hobby
Yoga enthusiasts need mats; cooks need knives; and gym rats need fitness journals. If you can invent a product that fills a gap in your field of interest, you can make quite a bit of money.
As an enthusiast, think about products that would make enjoying your hobby safer or more efficient. You can even make pins and bumper stickers so other enthusiasts can share their love for a hobby. If you’re not sure whether there’s a market for something you have in mind, make a prototype for yourself and share it online to gauge interest. You might be surprised by the reception and find yourself starting a small business.
Lead a Tour
Americans are on the move. In 2015, they made 1.7 billion trips, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Travel Association. That amounts to $650.8 billion in travel spending for the year. With so many travelers on the move, you can set up and run bird-watching groups, brewery tours or bike tours, where you lead tourists to attractions around the city.
The company Cheese Journeys, for example, offers a behind-the-scenes look at how cheese and wine is made. Tourists can sign up for tours to meet culinary experts and get a hands-on experience in a new city.
Find Part-Time Work
From the baseball fan who writes about spring training for his local paper to the movie enthusiast who works as an usher at the local arts center, finding a job related to your hobby is a wonderful way to blend work and fun. Think about the places you like to spend your free time — a ballpark, bookstore, gardening center — and see if they have any part-time job openings.
You can even find seasonal work for resorts, national parks and tourist attractions. CoolWorks.com has job openings for tour guides, community managers and guest services at resorts, letting you enjoy the outdoors, meet new people or just have a picturesque workplace to enjoy your golden years.
No matter your hobby, you can find ways to monetize it. Don’t shy away from sharing your expertise with others — online or in person. Not only can you teach and entertain others who share your interests, you can meet people with whom you share common ground. Best of all, you get to do what you love and make money doing it.
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Nancy Collamer contributed to the reporting for this article.