Having hobbies that make money is a dream for a lot of people – you’re getting paid to do what you love! And there are a surprising number of profitable hobbies.
We all enjoy different things, and thanks to technology, there is no shortage of ways to make money doing what you love.
For example, I love knitting, and I’ve been teaching knitting classes and selling patterns online for several years. It funds my hobby and still gives me a little extra to put away each month.
There are other options like blogging, where you have the space to talk about nearly any hobby you’re interested in. So blogging doesn’t necessarily have to be your hobby, but you can blog about your hobbies. Make sense?
The list of ideas gives you money making hobbies for men, retirement hobbies that make money, lucrative hobbies, ones that can turn into full-time jobs, and some that add a little extra padding to your monthly budget.
What are the best hobbies to make money? 25 profitable hobbies in 2021
At its core, blogging is keeping an online journal, but blogs have turned into major sources of information online. Want to learn how to do something? A quick Google search will pull up lots of blog posts with guides and how-tos.
Blogs solve problems for people. It’s that simple.
Let’s look at an example. Say your hobby is brewing beer. There are a lot of homebrewers out there who would love to hear from someone with more experience. Their problem is that they need more info on brewing, and your blog can solve that problem with posts about:
- The kind of equipment you need
- How to brew an IPA, brown ale, saison, etc.
- Make a list of your favorite brews
- Product and equipment reviews and comparisons
I’ve even seen a homebrew blogger write about the best shoes for brewing. Seriously.
You can start a blog to share this kind of information about your hobby, whatever that is. Like baking, gardening, mountain biking, yoga, quilting, board gaming, coffee, traveling – anything you’re passionate about.
Then as your audience grows, you can begin to monetize your blog with display ads, affiliate income, sponsored posts, selling digital products, and creating online courses.
Blogging is one of the most profitable hobbies on this list, and if you’re interested in learning how to start a blog, check out:
- Read How to Make Money Blogging (How I Went From Teacher to 7-Figure Online Business) to learn how bloggers make money.
- Check out this easy step-by-step guide to starting a blogging
Freelancing can encompass so many different kinds of hobbies. It’s also a good way to leverage skills you’ve learned professionally and turn it into a fun way to earn side income.
I highly recommend using a skill you already have to start freelancing because it reduces some of the time and costs involved in starting a business. But if you’re open to learning something new, here are some of the best skills to learn to make money:
- Proofreading or editing: If you’re a grammar nerd, you can make money pointing out mistakes. Proofreaders and copy editors market their services to bloggers, academics, professionals, online business owners, etc.
- Web development: Help business owners build and maintain their websites, create new apps, and more. Here are 11 places to find work as a freelance web developer.
- Video editing: Freelance for YouTubers, work on wedding videos, help people put together their family films, etc.
- Sound design: With the increasing popularity of podcasts, freelance sound designers can help with podcast production.
Those are just a few ideas for profitable ways to freelance with your hobbies. You can get started by thinking about what skills you have that can help others. Freelance marketplaces like Fiverr are a good place to start finding work.
3. Flipping cars
If you enjoy and know a lot about working on cars, flipping cars can become one of the best money making hobbies from home. The idea is to buy in-demand used vehicles, fix anything that needs to be fixed, and then sell the car for a profit.
The most successful flippers will be able to do most of the work to the car on their own – it saves money on the mechanic’s bill. You’ll also have to learn what kind of paperwork is involved and how to find cars that sell.
My husband’s hobby is collecting and working vintage mopeds and scooters, and he makes money with his hobby by flipping them, too.
One of his most recent flips was finding two mopeds in the trash (he checked to make sure they weren’t stolen), which he flipped for $800 profit in less than a week.
4. Knitting and crochet
These are the kinds of hobbies that make money that I love doing, and I’ve been making extra money knitting for more than 10 years now.
What most people expect is that knitters and crocheters make money selling things they’ve made. But if you’ve ever knit a hat before, you know how hard it is to make your money back between materials and labor.
The best way to make money from these hobbies is to teach other people how to knit or crochet. Here are some ideas for how you can approach that:
- Teach classes at your local yarn or craft store – I make upwards of $120/hour teaching small group knitting classes.
- Start a blog with online tutorials.
- Design and sell knitting and crochet patterns – Ravelry and Etsy are popular places to sell your designs (I’ve been selling knitwear patterns on Ravelry for 10 years, and it’s very user-friendly).
- Start a YouTube channel for your hobby and create short videos on specific techniques
- Create an online course that walks people through the basics of knitting and crocheting.
5. DIY kits
Project-based kits for DIY projects, arts, and crafts are a big thing right now. Packaging all of the tools and materials makes it much easier for people who are casually learning a new hobby. Experts even love kits because you have someone else making choices for you.
You can sell DIY kits related to all kinds of hobbies: embroidery, watercolor painting, tie-dye kits, pompom making, candles, wreaths, friendship bracelets, jewelry making, bookbinding, soapmaking, etc.
Make sure you’re kits include:
- Description and photos of the project
- Clear, step-by-step instructions
- All of the materials needed to finish the project – you don’t want them running out when they’re almost finished
- The basic tools needed
- A way to share their project online – this could be your social media handles and hashtags they can use when sharing their projects
6. Work as a referee
Sports enthusiasts can make a decent amount of money working as a referee for little league games, school sports, and clubs. Referees can make $25-$35/hour on the weekends or evenings.
You can contact your local club teams, community centers, or your state’s high sports association to find out what the requirements are and how you can get involved.
Most people who play an instrument don’t do it professionally – it’s just a hobby. Still, there are several fun side jobs if your hobby is playing music.
One option is performing locally, either in a band, as a busker (someone who plays music on the street or other public place for donations), or like this guy below, second from the right. Yep, that’s Bobby Hoyt – aka Millennial Money Man himself – playing drums in a kilt on St. Patrick’s Day.
Bobby was a high school band teacher, and he made extra cash doing very part-time performances on holidays.
Or think about how you learned to play an instrument. You probably took lessons, and music teachers make good money teaching school-aged kids through adults how to read music and play.
Music lessons easily run $50-$75/hour depending on where you live. You’ll either need space in your house for students to come to you or be willing to drive to their houses.
I found my daughter’s violin instructor through her school – they keep a list of tutors on hand for parents. You can get in touch with local school districts, but also leverage the power of social media. Share what you’re doing with friends and family and ask them to share it with their friends. You can even contact local music stores and see how they refer students to tutors.
8. Start a YouTube channel
Using your hobby to start a YouTube channel is a lot like using your hobby to start a blog – you take what you already love doing and create content around that hobby.
There are virtually unlimited options for the kinds of hobbies that make money on YouTube, but here are some of the most profitable niches:
- Beauty and fashion: Offer make-up tutorials, product reviews, styling help, etc.
- Gaming: You can record playthroughs, walkthroughs, game reviews, and more.
- Food and cooking: Show off your cooking techniques, eat weird foods, do reaction videos, or focus on a specific food niche, like vegan, gluten-free, or family-friendly meals.
- Fitness/health: Create workout routines for pilates, yoga, weightlifting, barre, cardio, dance, etc. – YouTube is the alternative to workout videos in decades past.
- Unboxings and reviews: You can record yourself opening boxes for new products and then review them.
- Travel: Review hotels and flights, offer travel trips, or just share videos of you in beautiful places. You can start by showing off your hometown or a nearby city.
- Pets and animals: Cute or funny animal videos are always a hit, but you can also share training and care tips.
- Humor: Make people laugh with sketches, skits, pranks, challenges, etc.
YouTubers make money in a few different ways – ad revenue, affiliate income, brand partnerships, and sometimes even selling their own branded products.
Like blogging, YouTube is a slow business model. To be eligible for monetization, you’ll have to meet two requirements in the same 12-month period: at least 1,000 subscribers and at least 4,000 hours of watch time in the past year.
Bobby’s wife Coral started a YouTube channel a little over a year ago – she does home decor tips and product reviews – and her most popular video has over 230,000 views.
9. Start a podcast
Podcasts have become incredibly popular in the past couple of years – now more than 55% of the U.S. population has listened to a podcast, and 24% of Americans listen to podcasts weekly.
What’s so appealing to the audience is that they can listen to people talk about things they really, really love doing. For example, my friend and his brothers host an incredibly popular podcast about the game Dungeons and Dragons – it’s since turned into a graphic novel series and will soon be released as a TV series.
Not all podcasters will experience that kind of success (again, similar to blogging and YouTube), but the barrier to entry is low and inexpensive.
You’ll need a quality microphone – this will probably be your biggest expense – and you can use free software, like GarageBand, to edit your audio. Then you can use hosting services like Libsyn or Podbean.
10. Pet sitting and dog walking
If dogs and cats are your thing, pet sitting and dog walking are two hobbies that make money and are super easy to start.
Rover is a platform that connects pet-loving side hustlers with pet owners, and the site says you can make around $1,000/month if you treat it like a part-time job.
What you earn depends a lot on where you live and what the going rates are in your area. Big cities like Chicago, NYC, and San Francisco will command much higher rates than smaller cities and suburbs.
Check out this Rover app review to learn how Rover works, how to sign up for the app, create a profile, and more.
11. Flipping things for cash
Some people love bargain hunting, thrifting, and finding a good deal. But then what do you do with all of the stuff you end up collecting over the years?
The answer: flip your finds.
Flipping is buying things cheaply and then selling them for more. It can be antiques, vintage goods, even gently used items. Experienced flippers know what to look for based on the current market demand and where to sell them.
One M$M reader has made over $85,000 selling flips on eBay.
Learn more about how to make money with this hobby in the free 75-minute webinar Flea Market Flipper: Learn the Art of Buying and Selling.
Painting is one of the most relaxing money making hobbies. I started watercolor painting a couple of months ago, and it’s a really soothing way to end the day.
While I’m still a complete newbie, skilled painters can turn their passion into a fun side job in several different ways.
Starting a YouTube channel is one idea -- I’ve been following YouTube tutorials to learn watercolor. Many of the YouTubers I follow also have Instagram accounts, which helps them expand their audience.
One of the YouTubers I follow also makes money from her hobby with a Patreon page to offer more exclusive content for followers. She also has an online course that teaches beginners how to get started.
Another obvious option is selling your artwork. You can start sharing your work on social media, create a website, or sell on Etsy.
To offer more affordable options, which can expand your reach in the beginning, consider having prints made of your paints. That can be anything from large poster prints, printed notecards, art on t-shirts, etc.
Money making hobbies like illustration and painting can bring in income in really similar ways. You can start a series of YouTube videos, sell your work, or create an online course that teaches others.
Below is an example of some of the different kinds of illustration courses available through the course platform Skillshare.
There are also illustration-specific ways to make money from this hobby, like getting paid to illustrate a children’s book, doing artwork for graphic novels, commission work, and more.
Whether it’s decorated cookies, pies, or custom cakes, baking is another one of the best hobbies that make money. Decorated cookies are really popular these days, especially holiday or seasonally themed ones.
Heather Reed, of Heather Bakes, started baking and decorating cookies on the side of her full-time job, and her business has blown up over the past couple of years. She recently shared with me that she spent one Saturday afternoon baking 1,175 cookies for Christmas decorating kits that she sells via Facebook and her website.
Her kits sell for $28, and she sells them all year round.
Using Facebook to share your bakes works really well when you’re first getting started. Eventually, you could start a website, or start a blog and share recipes, tutorials, etc.
15. Working out
Besides teaching fitness classes or personal training, there are a couple of apps that will pay you for working out.
Sweatcoin is an app that tracks your steps using GPS navigation (you can’t use it inside on the treadmill, unfortunately). The app pays you 0.95 Sweatcoins for every 1,000 steps you walk.
There are different membership levels that you pay for in Sweatcoins, and the higher the level, the more Sweatcoins you can earn. Sweatcoins don’t convert to cash, but you can redeem them for offers like music apps, audiobooks, and different kinds of products and services.
If you are working out to lose weight, HealthyWage lets you create a weight loss goal and place a bet on your goal. They say the average prize for people who reach their weight loss goal is $1,331.
16. Graphic design
Whether graphic design is your hobby or a skill you use for work, there is a huge demand for efficient and creative graphic designers. You can make money with your hobby designing logos, images for ads, labels, t-shirts, infographics, and more.
One of the best places to get your start is on a platform like Fiverr. You create a profile and list what kind of services you offer. Prospective clients can search Fiverr and find the right freelancer for their projects.
Another site specifically set up for creative freelance services like graphic design is DesignCrowd. On this site, prospective clients list one-off design jobs, and graphic designers submit proposals.
This is one of the best hobbies to make money because you can also teach online graphic design courses, which can be a really lucrative side hustle.
One of our readers, Lindsay Marsh, is a freelance graphic designer who started selling courses about three years ago. She sells courses on Skillshare and Udemy and has been earning $50,000-$80,000 a month from her courses.
Here’s her Skillshare profile to get an idea of what courses she teaches:
She also teaches classes on specific skills like logo design, how to start a freelance graphic design business, typography, how to use Canva, and even a class on how to price your freelance services.
Mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds might not sound like a hobby to everyone, but if you truly enjoy being on social media, there are many ways to make money with your hobby.
Facebook digital marketing is one of the best side hustles -- you can make $1,000-$1,500/month per client running Facebook ads. Knowing how to navigate Facebook is an obvious advantage, but Facebook has an intuitive and robust ads platform that makes it a good fit for entry-level digital marketers.
You can also work as a social media manager and help your clients integrate a cohesive brand presence across multiple platforms. Some clients may pay you to create and schedule posts, respond to comments, share photos, engage with their audience, and more.
Working as a virtual assistant often has a large social media component, but there are much broader responsibilities like responding to emails, running reports, data entry, billing and invoicing, etc.
Pinterest virtual assistants are specialized virtual assistants who help their clients strategize and grow their audience via Pinterest. Working as a Pinterest VA is more than just pinning – you would be scheduling posts, designing pins, and analyzing traffic data – but it’s one of the most fun side jobs for anyone who has a passion for Pinterest.
Surprisingly, shopping is one of the easiest hobbies that make money. You’re not going to make a ton of money shopping, but you can earn a little cash back on things you’re already planning to buy.
Seriously, if you’re already shopping for something, why not make a little cash back on your purchases?
Ibotta is an app that pays you cash back on your purchase. It’s 100% free to sign up for, and you can earn money back shopping in-store or online. There are a few different ways to earn money with Ibotta:
- Download the Ibotta Chrome browser extension, shop through it to earn cash back
- Download the Ibotta app and find retailers to shop at through the app
- Link your store loyalty accounts to automatically claim offers
- Shop in-store at over 400 different retailers by claiming offers, taking a picture of your receipt with the Ibotta app, and then claim your cashback
Some recognizable Ibotta partner stores are Lowe’s, PetCo, REI, Gap, Target, Home Depot, Aldi, Sephora, and Walmart.
Ibotta has already paid out over $797 million.
19. Travel hacking
Travel hacking is the practice of earning rewards and points through credit card and loyalty programs and then using them to your advantage to save money on hotels, airfare, and other vacation expenses.
I didn’t realize that people treated travel hacking as a hobby when I first heard about it, but some super serious travel hackers are truly passionate about it.
After I learned a little bit more about how to start travel hacking, I slowly got into it and opened my first credit card specifically for earning travel rewards. After earning my first bonus – 50,000 points which is the equivalent of about $1,000 to spend on travel – I was hooked.
Every flight I’ve taken for the past couple of years has been paid for almost entirely with credit card points.
Last year, after some very careful planning, I hacked our family’s Christmas vacation. I spent a year churning credit cards, and the result was my family of 5 was able to take a 7-day trip to Great Exuma in the Bahamas only spending just under $1,000 out of pocket.
Here’s the thing about travel hacking: this is only a money-making hobby if you’re responsible with your credit cards. That means paying off your balance in full every single month.
Photography is another one of the best hobbies to make money because there are lots of different ways you can monetize this hobby.
- Sell to stock photo sites: Sites like Getty Images, Shutterstock, Dreamstime, and Stocks buy photos or pay you when your photos are downloaded and used.
- Sell prints: Fine Art America is one of several sites where you can upload your images and sell them online in an open marketplace. Customers can browse for images by subject and select canvas, framed, metal and wood prints, and more.
- Wedding and portrait photography: This would be an active and fun way to make money with your hobby if you like interacting with people. You can shoot weddings, engagement sessions, newborn sessions, couples photos, family photos, holiday shoots, and more.
I’m a member of a Facebook buy and sell group where local crafters and artisans share what they’re making with people who are interested in buying from small local business owners. I have noticed that woodworking has gotten more in-demand.
Woodworkers can sell charcuterie boards, jewelry boxes, floating shelves, end tables, mantels, custom countertops, and cutting boards.
Writing is one of the best hobbies to make money online. Blogging is one way to make money if writing is your hobby, or you can work as a freelance writer. Brands, businesses, bloggers, and other professionals are always looking for efficient and high-quality freelance writers.
You can get paid to write blog posts, emails, sales copy, articles, manuals, and much more. Freelance writing is how I make a full-time income, and I enjoy it because it’s extremely flexible and I can work from pretty much anywhere.
Starting a freelance writing career takes a bit of hustle – you need to prove your value to establish yourself in the industry. But it can turn into a stable income once you’ve broken through.
I took a lot of really random writing jobs when I was getting started. I wrote web copy for a jeweler that involved describing diamond rings. Someone paid me to write his personal emails. I rarely turned down a job, but now my client roster is full of long-term clients who pay well.
The 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success course can help you jumpstart your career. You can also create profiles and start listing services on freelance sites like Fiverr and Upwork.
I also highly recommend joining online communities specifically for freelance writers. Facebook is a good place to look, and there are also Slack channels dedicated to freelance writers. You can start networking with others in your industry, and often people share job listings. Here are a few recent job listings from a female freelance writers group I’m in:
23. Playing video games
Getting paid to play video games probably sounds like a made-up job to some people, but video gaming is on this list of profitable hobbies thanks to YouTube and, more recently, Twitch.
Twitch is a live-streaming platform where you can earn ad revenue, make money from donations, have brand partnerships, or become a Twitch affiliate.
Becoming a Twitch affiliate requires a certain set of criteria, but it opens up more ways to make money from your hobby, including subscriptions, game sales, and something called virtual cheers.
Cooking is another one of the hobbies that pay in different ways, which makes it more accessible to different kinds of people.
Starting a blog is a great idea if you want to make money from your cooking hobby. Food blogs are one of the primary sources for recipes and cooking tips right now. You can sell meal plans or monetize with affiliate income that you earn by recommending different cooking utensils, dishes, etc.
One of my favorite cooking websites, The Minimalist Baker, also makes money through cookbook sales and sales of products and services that help other food bloggers get started. For example, they recommend what kind of hosting service, design tools, and camera equipment a food blogger needs to be successful.
Or, you can go a completely different path and make money by cooking for other people. What about making meals for busy families? Catering?
The application and hiring process for ridesharing and food delivery apps is really similar and very easy. As long as you meet the driver requirements, pass a criminal background check, and have a clean driving record, you can start driving in around two weeks or less.
The driver requirements vary from city to city, but usually include:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Reliable vehicle that’s 10-15 years old or newer
- Driver’s license and insurance
- Have at least one year of driving experience
- Have a smartphone
Learn more in 8 Ways to Make Money With Your Car.
What crafts make the most money?
As someone who makes money as a crafter, I get this question a lot. There are different trends in the crafting world, and the most profitable ones have the highest profit margins. That’s what you can sell your craft for minus your time, materials, and any other costs you incur.
Knitting, for example, has low-profit margins because it can take something like 20-50 hours to knit a sweater. If you wanted to charge $10/hour (that’s pretty low), you would have to sell the sweater for $200-$500. Considering it could cost another $50-$150 for materials, that sweater keeps getting more and more expensive.
The average person isn’t willing to pay $250-$650 for a sweater.
So if you want to know which hobbies make the most money, here are the ones with the highest profit margins:
- Candle making
- Home decor
- Wedding-related products
I also recommend browsing Etsy to get a sense of what things are trending and how much things are selling for. Look at what it cost to get started to see if it’s profitable for you.
How do I find a hobby to make money?
Start with what you already enjoy doing! There are 25 different ideas on this list, something for almost anyone.
If you didn’t see your hobby, I highly recommend blogging. Like I said in the beginning, blogging is a way to talk about what you love doing, help people, answer questions, explore new things, etc.
Whatever you do, turning your hobby into a profitable business idea is a really fun way to make money, but you do need to treat it like it’s business.
At the base level, that means keeping track of how much you’re making and paying taxes. Here’s a great article that explains taxes: How to Handle Taxes for Your Side Hustle.
Research your idea to find if you need specific licenses or if regulations apply, plus the kind of business structure (LLC, for example) that you need for your business.
These aren’t the most exciting parts of making money from your hobby, but they legitimize your business and let you spend more time having fun.
The final word on hobbies that make money
The goal is to love what you do, right? It doesn’t have to be a full-time job that you love – it can be side work like many of the ideas above.
One of the things that I’ve really enjoyed about teaching knitting classes is that it funds my hobby, and there’s usually some extra that I can put towards my vacation fund or savings.
And really pay attention to that last section about treating your hobby like a business. It can still be a ton of fun, but you’re selling yourself short if you don’t take it seriously.
If you think that monetizing your hobby will take the fun out of it, there are so many different side hustle ideas out there. Instead of “love what you do,” you can always love what your side hustle allows you to do.