Everyone has a dream to spurn their mind numbing 9-to-5 and turn their passion project into a career. But while some hobbies are just for fun, some can be very profitable as side hustles. It is unrealistic to expect that every theatre geek can become the next Brad Pitt, but there are a myriad of ways you can find fulfillment and get some extra cash by monetizing what you are most passionate about. The trick is to find what makes your hobby unique, and then what makes that unique thing valuable to other people. Goods and services become valuable when they are scarce, so what is something you can do with your expertise in the field that the laymen can’t find most other places? For instance, getting good at building and repairing drones is a great skill to have, because it’s a skill other, more casual drone hobbyists will likely be willing to pay for.
The key here is keeping your hobby fun. This means that the goal isn’t necessarily to turn your hobby into your sole means of making money, but to make your hobby do double duty, by having your source of fun and relaxation also become valuable in another sense. Ideally, you would find ways of monetizing your hobby to the point that you are making a net profit by doing it, rather than spending more money to fund it.
Start a Podcast
Podcasting is having a moment, and it is time to capitalize on it! Podcasting has a pretty low entrance cost comparative to the potential returns. The estimated entrance barrier can be as low as $100 dollars for a good microphone if you already have an editing program for audio, such as garage band, installed on your company, with the upper end of estimates hovering around $1000 for all costs. There are many benefits to working towards a successful podcast, one of them obviously being the sheer profit you’re able to turn with sponsorships and partners. For hobbyists of all stripes, however, a successful podcast can bring in big names specific to your hobby. Imagine being able to interview the biggest names in your hobby, while talking about one of your favorite things in the world.
Incorporate Other Hobbies
Are you a skateboarder who also loves painting Dungeons and Dragons figurines? Auction off a custom skateboard with someone’s custom character. An artist who loves gardening? Sell paintings of your favorite fruits at the farmer’s market. A writer who loves true crime? Make money reviewing true crime documentaries on your blog by incorporating advertising on your website. The combinations are endless! With a little elbow grease, incorporating two (or more!) of your favorite activities is an easy way to keep them both fresh without feeling like you are selling out. Get creative! You never know the niches you might find that need to be filled.
Find a Need
If there is a big learning curve keeping people out of a hobby, help wannabe enthusiasts get over the initial startup hump by offering your tutelage and services! Reddit and hobby specific internet forums are great places to help find newbies in need of guidance. If your hobby lends itself to kit formats, such as cross stitching, sites like Etsy can help you reach a broader audience and smooth out the bumps in your road to eCommerce.
Of course, be sure to do your due diligence whenever you’re looking to monetize a hobby. The laws surrounding needlework are going to be less complex than those surrounding drones or custom handguns, so do your homework. And be state specific. “Wisconsin is one of the toughest states in the nation when it comes to gun laws,” says Kohler and Hart, Milwaukee unlawful sale of a firearm lawyers. You don’t want to be caught off guard if you’re selling custom firearms to newbies. To keep your hobby profitable, or at the least breaking even, be sure to look up relevant statutes on county, state, and federal levels if you’re unsure about the specific legalities surrounding your hobby. Better safe than sorry! Keep it Fun and Know
When to Cut Your Losses
There would be nothing worse than to find that you’ve scaled back hours at your 9-to-5 grind only to find that you’ve replaced it with yet another grind. If you find yourself burning out or no longer taking the same care you used to with your hobby, pump the brakes and examine what has changed. If you’ve tried monetize your hobby and have come out the other side with less love for the sport than you did before, you’ve gone too far. Remember, if you can’t figure out a healthy and sustainable way to make money from the thing you love, you haven’t failed! Maybe you need a new angle, or maybe this isn’t the right side hustle for you. There is no shame in that.