Being able to make money from your hobbies is a dream for a lot of people – you’re getting paid to do what you love! And there are a surprising number of hobbies that make money.
For example, I love knitting, and I’ve been teaching knitting classes for the past few years to make extra money. 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 have to be your hobby, but you can blog about your hobbies. Make sense?
Okay, let’s just get to it. Here are:
11 of the best hobbies that make money
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. The 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.
If you’re interested in learning how to start a blog:
- 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 was talking to a photographer friend about this the other day. Most of his work is shooting product photos and professional headshots. This is not the kind of photography he enjoys, but he does portrait sessions on the side to make extra cash, and he also sells his work on Fine Art America.
Here are several more hobbies that make money as freelance services:
- Writing: Become a freelance writer for blogs, websites, online publications, print publications, and more.
- Graphic design: One way to use this hobby is to create digital printables that you can sell on Etsy. You can design invitations, calendars, stickers, thank you cards, stationery, wall art, etc.
- 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.
- Photography: You can make money doing wedding photography, newborn portraits, family sessions, lifestyle photography, etc. There are also sites like Shuttershock, Dreamstime, Stocks, and Getty Images where you can sell your images.
- Illustration: You can freelance illustrating children’s books or graphic novels, or sell your artwork on Etsy.
- 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.
One important thing: if you’re currently working within the field you want to freelance in, make sure freelancing doesn’t violate any terms of your contract or position.
3. Flipping cars
If your hobby involves working on cars at all, you can make a decent amount of cash flipping cars. 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 best 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.
If you're interested, read How to Flip Cars for Cash | A Guide to Flipping Your First Car
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 that has 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. Putting everything someone needs together 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.
Etsy is a really good place to sell kits, but you can also set up a Shopify site. There’s a 14-day free trial for Shopify, and after that, it’s as little as $29/month.
6. Work as a referee
If your hobby is playing a sport, you 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.
7. Teach music lessons
Most people who play an instrument don’t do it professionally – it’s just a hobby. But think about how you started out learning to play an instrument. You probably took lessons.
As a parent who pays for music lessons, I can tell you that there is good money in this one. Lessons can easily run $50-$75 per 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.
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, before and afters, 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: Literally 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.
- 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.
If you’re interested in starting a YouTube channel, check out How Much Do YouTubers Make in 2020. Bobby lists the top earners, how YouTubers make money, and tips for starting your channel.
Bobby’s wife Coral started a YouTube channel a little over a year ago – she does beauty and home reviews and tutorials – and her most popular video has over 159,000 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 $1,000/month if you treat it like a part-time job.
What you earn depends a lot on where you live and what the going rates are in your area. Big cities like Chicago, NYC, and San Francisco will command much higher rates than smaller cities.
Check out this Rover app review to learn how Rover works, how to sign up for the app, creating a profile, and more.
11. Flipping things for cash
Some people love bargain hunting, thrifting, and finding a good deal. But then what do you do with all of the stuff you end up collecting over the years?
The answer: flip your finds.
Flipping is buying things cheaply and then selling them for more. It can be antiques, vintage goods, even gently used items. Experienced flippers know what to look for based on the current market demand and where to sell them.
One M$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.
How to make money from a hobby
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 really 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.