It all started with the 1986 Donruss Jose Canseco Rated Rookie Card. At the time, it was the holy grail of any kid that loved sports. And it was also my introduction of my favorite hobby as a kid: collecting baseball cards.
My dad loved taking me to baseball card shows and we would work the room scanning the vendors tables hoping to score some great finds.
He honestly believed it would help pay for my college tuition. I just hoped I would make a few extra bucks so I could buy a new pair of Nike Air Jordan's.
Either way, we truly believed that we could earn money fast off a hobby that we both enjoyed. Unfortunately, that hobby didn't quite workout for us, but that doesn't mean that your hobby couldn't start making you some nice cash on the side, or even if you just need extra cash flow to help pay off debt!
Here are 23 hobbies that make money including some real examples from GF¢ readers. Are you ready to make money from your passions?
1. Pursuing Credit Card Rewards
While you may not associate credit cards with any type of “hobby,” there is actually an underworld of individuals who pursue the best credit card offers for cash back and travel rewards like it's a part-time job. If you have a good strategy, it's easy to earn several hundred dollars per year in rewards or thousands of miles using the best airline credit cards, but your earnings can skyrocket if you go after signup bonuses.
Let's say you got the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card in order to earn a hefty signup bonus of 50,000 points worth $500. To score this deal, you would need to spend $4,000 on your card within 90 days of signing up. While that might sound like a lot, it may not be when you consider the myriad bills you could be paying on credit – things like groceries, gas, utility bills, insurance, daycare, and even college tuition! Better yet, this card also lets you earn 1X points on everyday spending and 2X points on travel and dining (making it one of the best credit cards for travel).
If $4,000 is too much to swing within 90 days, you should choose a card with a lower minimum spending requirement. The Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ Card is a good option for free money because you'll earn a $150 signup bonus after using it for just $500 in purchases within 90 days. Almost anyone could do that! Plus, you'll also earn a flat 1.5% back in cash for every purchase you make.
Photography is a pastime that’s part hobby, and part artwork. If the photos that you are taking gravitate more toward art, it’s entirely possible that you’ll be able to make some money with this hobby. Though many people take photos all the time, only a few of us are really actually good at it.
There are several ways to monetize photography. There are a number of major websites, such as Flickr and Shutterstock, that provide photos to various users across the web. You can earn some money by setting up an account on those sites, and adding your photos to sell to potential clients.
Still another way is to market your work directly to actual clients. Professional photographers are quite expensive, so you may be able to sell your services as a discount alternative for people who need photos for graduations, weddings and other events. As you gain more experience, and clients, you can raise your rates and increase your income.
GF¢ reader Joni of JSF Photography shared how her hobby went from a hobby to making money:
My hobby started when I became a mom, almost 6 years ago, when I bought my first DSLR camera. My love for taking pictures of my babies turned into a love for capturing memories for my friends and their families. For a long time, I was afraid to charge until my friends started recommending me to their friends. From there, my hobby became a small business. It's still very small and growing very slowly, but I love taking pictures and capturing sweet moment for people that will last a lifetime.
Writing has all kinds of possibilities. You can do it as a freelancer, responding to ads in Craigslist, or you can sign up for sites like Fiverr or People Per Hour where you can offer your services for open bidding.
Miranda Marquit, a very successful freelance writer previously shared her success story on what it takes it to make it writing. She writes,
“Success is freelance writing is largely individual, and requires hard work. But if you are willing to put in the effort, chances are that you will be rewarded with a satisfying career.”
You don’t have to limit your work to straight writing assignments either. You can also try your hand at editing other people’s work, as well as speech writing. And if there’s a hidden teacher in you somewhere, you can even consider tutoring people on how to write. It's a weakness for a lot of people, who may be willing to pay you to help them get better at it. If you still have self-doubts you have the ability to write, it's refreshing to know there are writing tools that can help.
4. Graphic Design
There are all kinds of software packages out there that can help anyone to learn this, but most people don’t get into it, even those who have an ongoing need for it. If you’re good at graphic design, this is a niche that you can fill. Respond to ads on various sites, and even consider setting up your own website explaining what you can do, and providing samples of your work.
You can even start on a site called 99Designs.com. I've ordered a website design and a logo through their site and the winning designers happened to both be from the United States.
There is definitely a market out there for graphic design, though it is highly competitive. Still, if you have a real talent for it, you can rise above the competition and make money at it.
If you are a fitness buff, but you’ve always done it is strictly for personal reasons, you may be able start making some money at it. Perhaps the best way is to become a personal trainer. Gym’s all across the country have personal trainers, and since turnover is high, they're usually looking for a few more.
You probably have to get certified as a personal trainer, and may even need to get a CPR certification. The regulations vary between the states, and in some states the requirements are particularly light. You can start out as a trainer in a gym, but as you get better known, you may be up to take on better paying personal clients.
And of course there's Crossfit which I absolutely love. Crossfit was relatively unknown in 2005 when I started it but now “boxes” (the equivalent of a gym) are popping up everywhere. Even in my area there are now 6 Crossfit boxes that I could attend.
6. Creating and/or Editing Videos
If you spend much time on YouTube, Daily Motion, Vimeo or other video sites that are popping up, you can appreciate that there’s a growing market for videos. Many businesses now consider them a necessity to promote their products and services, both on their websites and also on the video sites themselves.
If you have a knack for crating videos, or simply editing them, the time is right to turn this hobby into an income source. There are various ways you can make money doing this, from creating instructional videos, to commercials to promote businesses.
And if you’re into music, you could also begin making your own music videos, and building up your own channel. You can earn advertising revenue on these videos through Google AdSense, and once you get a channel established, the income can be both passive and reliable.
There are probably even fewer carpenters around these days than computer repair people. Sure, there are plenty of people who work in the construction industry who are called carpenters, but that’s not what were talking about here.
If you have the kind of woodworking skills that you can build or repair furniture, you can build a side business in the field with very little competition.
This is especially lucrative if you have the capability to restore antique furniture. That’s a skill all its own, but by properly restoring an antique piece, you can increase its value considerably. There are even fewer people who do can that.
8. Sports – Refereeing
Were you a jock in high school or college, but haven’t been able to find an outlet for it since? If not, try being a referee. There are schools and recreation leagues that are always on the hunt for qualified referees. If you can step into one of these gigs, it’s a way to make money on a sport where you have ability and above average knowledge.
The great thing about this is that it can be applied to just about any sport that you specialize in. Football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer – they all need referees, but there aren't a whole lot of people around who are willing and able to do it.
It may not be anything like getting back on your old high school sports team, but it’s a chance to take a favorite sport, and turn it into a moneymaker.
9. Auto Mechanics
Have you noticed how expensive it is to get a car repaired, even for a relatively simple repair job? A lot of other people notice this as well. If you have car repair skills, you may be able to release your inner backyard mechanic, for some side jobs for pay.
If you are in the habit of working on your own car, but you also have the skills and tools available to do certain repairs for friends, family members, neighbors, and coworkers, you might eventually find yourself getting plenty of repeat business just from referrals. After all, everyone is looking for someone who they know and trust to work on their cars.
This doesn’t mean that you need to be able to replace a car engine, or change out a transmission. But if you can replace brakes, mufflers, electrical components, or any one of dozens of other typical car repairs, you can build up a thriving business.
Not so much into the mechanics of it, but just love cars?? How about picking up a great side hustle such as driving for Uber. You can sit back and relax in your own car and drive others around all while getting paid and on your own schedule of when its convenient for you to pick up extra work!
10. Blogging (my favorite hobby that makes me money)
Is there a subject that you are particularly passionate about? It can be business, finance, politics, health, fitness, entertainment, cooking, IT or just about any category you can think of. Start your own blog, and become a member of the growing ranks of self-styled experts that are populating the web.
You can set up a simple website through WordPress, where most of the blog templates are free, then build your blog over time. Eventually you will get a steady flow of visitors, and soon enough the opportunity to add advertising arrangements, as well as affiliate deals.
This is exactly what happened to my wife when she started her blog. She initially started it to journal our growing family. As she spent more time blogging she recognized she could actually make real money from it. She was only making a couple hundreds dollars per month before she quit her day job, but within a year of quitting she was able to replace her full-time income. Not too shabby!
My buddy Bob at ChristianPF.com has an amazing resource on how he was also able to make a full-time income from blogging here. Bob was laid off from his job and was able to replace his corporate job income in 2 years.
11. Music – Teaching and Tutoring
Music is one of those hobbies that lends itself very well to tutoring. Think of the people you know who will engage the services of teachers and tutors for piano lessons, guitar lessons, drum lessons, violin lessons, or any of the hundreds of other instruments out there. You could become one of the teachers or tutors that can help both children and adults to master the craft.
One of the plusses with this is that you don’t have to be an absolute expert in order to teach it. As a tutor, you’ll be working with people who are beginners and have little or no knowledge of the given instrument. Even if you are merely an intermediate level player, you’ll have a lot to offer a new student.
You can advertise your services by creating flyers, and distributing them to local schools and recreation centers. Parents are often looking for teachers and tutors to help their children master an instrument. Your hobby can become a moneymaker if you fill that role.
Another GF¢ reader, Micah, shares how they were able to make money with their music hobby:
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“My wife Lauren and I met 10 years ago while playing on the worship team for our church. She's a classically trained violinist, and I learned the piano, drums, bass and guitar by ear. A decade later we still attend the same church and we have a home full of music gear!”
12. Music – Become a Session Musician
If you are good at playing a certain instrument, but life took some terms that didn’t allow you to start a band or to turn it into a career, you can still use that talent to make some money. Local bands and out of area touring bands are often looking for local musicians to do session work. Your generally paid on a per job basis, though you may do several jobs with the same band in the course of the year.
For the best example of what a session musician can do, read the story of Clem Cattini. He was a session drummer who’s work was included in more than 40 No. 1 singles in the UK. The list of singers and bands he worked for reads like the Who’s Who list of British rock acts in the 1960s and 1970s.
To stay connected with the local music scene, which will include subscribing online and local music publications. You’ll often find ads that classified sections of bands and even orchestras that are looking for session performers. You can also place your own ad, advertising your services. Printing up a flyer or business cards, and leaving them in local record stores or recording studios is another way to help yourself get noticed. Finding session musicians often takes place by word-of-mouth, so the more people who are aware of what you are offering, the more your phone is likely a ring.
13. Web Design
You create or upgrade websites for yourself or your friends, mostly just because you like to do it? Well, there’s a market out there of people businesses would be willing to pay you do it for them. Sure, there free templates like WordPress available, but a lot of people lack the time, the motivation, or the aptitude to make even a simple application work.
If you are pretty creative and building websites, and can do so for a reasonable rate, you should find plenty of work out there. You can start by soliciting local small businesses, or even by placing small ads in trade publications. And having a website that any of your advertising can link back to, will be excellent opportunity to showcase your work through examples.
You can start out working on relatively simple sites, the ones that you have the time in the skill level to do without much trouble. This year cash flow from the activity begins to grow, you take on more complicated – and profitable – assignments.
14. Social Media
You spend a lot of time on the social media – and if the social media is your natural element – you may very well be able turn that hobby into a moneymaker. The social media started out primarily as something of a cyber toy, businesses are increasingly recognizing its value as a means of promoting their products and services. The problem is that there are a lot of people out there who know much about social media promotion.
If you know how to build a following any of the major social media outlets – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Linked In, Google+, and others – you may be able carve out a money making niche for yourself.
The business side of social media usage is sometimes no more involved than being an online customer service rep for a business. This is where you helped to direct customers to the right parties in the company really have the problem solved if they’re having an issue with a product or service. Is also place for you’ll be able to put out company press releases, then promote them on the media.
Social media management is becoming a career field all its own. As you grow into social media from a business perspective, you may be critical new career for yourself – out of what is now just a hobby.
15. Comedy (Knock, Knock..Who's There?)
Some people are natural born comedians. It may be less of a hobby, and more of a lifestyle. But if that describes you, there actually ways that you can make some money off of it.
There are, the clubs all over the country, and all but the best established of them are always looking for new talent. You may be able make some money by working a night or two a week at one of these clubs. You may have to start out working for free, and later for tips. Once you get yourself established, you can start doing it for some real money. Clubs are always interested in that kind of talent that can bring patrons into the establishment, and keep them there.
Eventually you might even get yourself some gigs as a warm-up act for better-known performers. Or you can take your comedy skills and use them to be MC at a variety of events. If you really want to take it to a higher level, you can do some videos on YouTube to showcase your work. If any of your videos go viral, it’s almost a sure that you’ll be making some decent money.
If you are looking for ways to make extra money, never overlook your hobbies. In fact, your hobbies are the first place you should look to you joking make extra money. It’s a way to monetize something that you have passion for, and are better at than most people. Long-term, those are usually the best moneymakers.
Making crafts has been a popular way to make money for many years, but it has really blown up since Etsy was founded in 2005. My wife first introduced me to Esty and even I have bought a few things on there including this awesome shirt:
GF¢ reader April from Polkadotposies.com has been able to take her hobby into a real business. Here's her story.
“I found a domestic place to order wholesale bows by the dozen. However, there was a high minimum order value of $75. I asked my husband if I could please, please order $75 worth of bows and guaranteed him I could sell the extras to cover the cost. He agreed as long as I was able to cover the $75. The previous week he was with me when I bought 2 bows for $24. My daughter lost one of the bows the next day! He was furious and told me I couldn't buy anymore. I sold the $75 worth of bows I purchased for $300 within 48 hours of receiving them. That didn't include the 20 I kept for my daughter! I just reinvested all the money ($225) and did it again out of the back of my van and by taking them in laundry baskets into the kids' private school. We've been a cash basis ever since.
After a few months, I was able to go direct to manufacture to keep up with demand. That was 6 years ago. Hard to believe!!”
17. Proofreading and Editing
Have you seen some of the tens of thousands of websites and blogs that are out there on the web? Just about every one of them need someone to handle proofreading and editing. If this is something you're good at, either because of previous experience or because it’s something you simply like to do, there's a huge market out there for it.
There's even plenty of opportunity outside the web. Virtually anything that’s written needs to be proofread and edited. This includes marketing and advertising material, business “white papers”, business proposals, and books – both printed books and ebooks.
You can often find paid opportunities for proofreading and editing just by looking in any online classified ad venue. At the top of the list is Craigslist, which has dedicated sections for editing, as well as for “gigs” where you can pick up an odd assignment here and there. Once you get a few clients, you'll be rolling with repeat business and referrals.
18. Buying and Selling
If you like shopping for bargains, at garage sales, swap meets, estate sales, and around the web, and you have some sort of handle on that “buy-low, sell high” thing, you may be able to begin making money buying and selling the items you come across.
Look for salable items in your spare time, such as hitting garage sales on the weekends. If you’ve spent much time doing it, you probably already know what kinds of merchandise can be readily resold, and for how much.
The basic idea is to buy an item for $10 that can be sold for $50 or even $100. By doing this repeatedly, it's easy to see how you can leverage this to the point of making hundreds or thousands of dollars per month.
There are numerous outlets to sell your items as well. EBay and Craigslist certainly, but you can also sell through consignment stores and other local outlets that accept second hand items for sale.
We've already talked about being a referee, and you can apply the same effort to coaching sports as well. There's plenty of opportunities available in local recreational leagues. In fact, most of these leagues have perpetual shortages of coaches. And if you have skills or backgrounds in multiple sports, you can pretty much stay busy all year round.
You can also try your hand at venues like the YMCA. If you're particularly accomplished, you might even be able to try to become a coach at the local school system. Outside the public school system, there may also be private schools looking for coaching help.
During off-season, you may also be able to work as a personal trainer, or as a personal coach providing coaching services for a specific sport, for a small number of students.
Some of the less traveled sports may actually present the richest opportunities. Examples include coaching for swimming, golf, and tennis.
In addition to marketing your skills through local schools and recreational organizations, you can also make your services available through local gyms. People who work out often look for parallel opportunities in specific sports.
20. Public Speaking
Most people are scared to death to speak in public – which is exactly why this can turn into a potentially lucrative opportunity if that’s something you like to do.
Businesses need people who can speak to groups, either to introduce products, or to make group sales pitches. There are also plenty of opportunities available in the digital world. For example, there are very likely to be opportunities working as a speaker for videos. Those videos can either be stand-alone productions, or part of a website or sales presentation.
Even though you are not directly affiliated with the company that is sponsoring the video production, you can still act as their front man or woman. And if you're any good at it, you'll get plenty of business, and soon enough, you will be able to raise your fees to the point of doing it as your primary occupation.
If you love pets, there are plenty of ways to make money on this front. The most common are dog walking and pet sitting. The attraction of both that you are providing services directly to the customer at their own homes. But if you have a decent amount of property and a large home, you may be able to consider doing pet sitting from your home, that way you can leverage the advantage of sitting several pets at the same time.
One area that can be particularly lucrative is taking care of exotic pets. If you have experience with reptiles, birds, or unusual mammals, you may have a near captive clientele, and one willing to pay premium prices for your services.
Even more specialized his pet grooming. This includes bathing, as well as fur trimming and cutting, and nail clipping, primarily for dogs and cats. If you're any good at it – and can bring an artistic flair to the table – you'll have plenty of work. Another extension on the service is becoming a mobile pet groomer. This is where you have all the equipment that you need, and perform services at the customer's home. This is another premium service.
Baking? How would you sell that? Actually, there are more places than you might think. Participating in local bake sales is only the first one that comes to mind. But there are probably small shops, bakeries, farmers markets, and specialty stores in your immediate area that either already sell specialty food items, or would be willing to take on a new line that looks profitable.
Still another possibility are bed-and-breakfast facilities. These properties generally provide accommodations with limited food options – primarily breakfast. But they may be open to providing scrumptious baked goods for their guests throughout the course of the day. Though it may not constitute a meal, it will provide quick nourishment for guests who are on-the-fly, and on their way out to local attractions.
If you want to get really ambitious, you can start an online baked goods product line. Everyone loves baked goods, but since so few people actually do any baking anymore, the market is wide open. This is especially true for items that are novel or quick, such as cookies, cupcakes, and muffins.
This is similar to number 18 above, buying and selling, but it is much more specialized, and for that reason it is also more potentially profitable. Antiquing isn't so much about being able to spot a bargain – though that certainly helps – as much as it is the ability to identify a true antique.
Books have been written on the subject, and there are even websites dedicated to it. If this is a hobby of yours, it wouldn't be difficult to convert it into a paid venture.
If you are fond of combing the land for hidden antique gems, there’s a potentially large market for them. Obviously, you can consider selling them online, as well as at flea markets and swap meets, but there are plenty of other venues as well.
Antique shops are at the top of the list. You may be able to work out consignment arrangements with several shops in your area. You may also be able to become an antique finder for one or more shops. And if you can make contact with some prosperous antique collectors – that could be where the real money is.
Are you ready to make money from your hobby? Now's a good time as any to get started!