Hobbies That Make Money

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Most Americans don’t really enjoy their jobs. You probably do it because you need money to pay the bills.

Some people are fortunate to have jobs that they love, but most people would rather spend time on their hobbies than at their job.

But what if you could make money from your hobby? It may seem far-fetched, but there are actually a lot of ways to make extra money from the things that you like to do.

In this article, we’ll take a look at 40 different hobbies that make money, as well as some specific ideas for how you can go about making money with that hobby.

The ideas covered in this article are based on the assumption that we’re talking about a side hustle or part-time venture, but many of them have the potential to scale up to a full-time income if that’s what you’re after.

→ For more ideas, see my article Ways to Make Money: 150+ Side Hustle Ideas for Your Spare Time.

1. Photography

I’m putting photography at the top of the list because it’s my own hobby, and I’ve been able to make some money with it. If you want to see the details of my story, please read How I Turned a Photography Hobby Into $1,138,610.

Although there is no shortage of photographers, there are plenty of hobbyists who are able to make money. For me personally, one of the biggest perks of making money from my photography hobby was that it gave me some opportunities to travel and enjoy nature while working.

Probably the most common way to make money with photography (although it’s not the approach I took) is to get paid to take photos for individuals and families. To get started, simply talk to your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers and you’re almost guaranteed to find at least one or two people who would be willing to pay you to take photos. It could be family, portraits of kids, newborn, maternity, engagement, sports, professional headshots, or even weddings.

Once you have a few clients, hopefully you’ll get more work thanks to word-of-mouth advertising. You can also create a Facebook page for your photography business, and whenever you’re done with a session for a client post some of the best pictures to Facebook and tag the client (ask their permission first). If you tag them, their friends may see the photos, leading to more exposure and more clients for you.

Ways to Make Money with a Photography Hobby:

  • Take photos for clients
  • Sell landscape or fine art prints
  • Sell stock photos
  • Start a photography blog
  • Be a freelance writer for other photography blogs
  • Write a photography ebook

For more details, please see my article How to Make Money with Photography.

2. Web Design and Coding

I’ve been working online full-time for more than 10 years now, and it all started as a simple web design side hustle. I created a few websites for friends and family members who had small businesses, and then I created a blog to get more exposure for my services online. About 1.5 years later I quit my full-time job and I’ve been self-employed ever since.

There are plenty of businesses and organizations out there that need the services of a web designer. You could be creating the first website for the business or organization, re-desiging an existing site, or providing ongoing maintenance for their site.

Ways to Make Money with a Web Design or Coding Hobby:

  • Design and/or code websites for clients
  • Maintain websites for clients
  • Create and sell website templates and themes (including for WordPress, Shopify, and other platforms)

3. Graphic Design

If you like design but you’re not a coder, there are plenty of other design opportunities aside from websites. Graphic design is a perfect hobby for making money because there is always demand for designers and there are projects of all shapes and sizes.

As a part-timer, you can still put together a great portfolio that shows off your abilities. If you’re just getting started, there are plenty of clients for small jobs that may not have the budget to higher a professional agency

Ways to Make Money with a Graphic Design Hobby:

  • Design for clients (logos, brochures, business cards, product labels, etc.)
  • Create your own stock graphics to sell at marketplaces like Creative Market and deal sites like MightyDeals
  • Start your own website to sell your stock graphics
  • Write design tutorials on a freelance basis for blogs and magazines

4. Writing

If you like to write, there are plenty of different ways that you can make money. Freelance writing is one of the best opportunities, in my opinion, for making money online.

There are tons of blogs that pay writers, and more blogs are being launched every day. There is a huge need for talented writers, and some of the best opportunities pay very well.

Freelance blogging is just one possibility. There are many other ways to make money as well.

If you want to learn how, see the course Earn More Writing.

Ways to Make Money with a Writing Hobby:

  • Freelance Writing
  • Write for magazines
  • Write and sell ebooks
  • Write greeting cards
  • Write sales copy

5. Blogging

For many different reasons, blogging is my favorite side hustle. You can start a blog on any topic that you like, so this really can be applied to just about any hobby.

Bloggers can make money in several different ways, but regardless of the monetization strategy, running a blog is a great way to spend more time on your hobby. It’s fun, and it can make money. What’s better than that!

Another reason to love blogging is that you are building an asset that can be sold later, if you want to. I’ve sold multiple blogs for six figures (including my photography blogs), which has completely changed the financial picture for me and my family.

Ways to Make Money for a Hobby Blog:

  • Display ads (like banners)
  • AdSense
  • Promoting other people’s products as an affiliate
  • Sell your own products
  • Offer services
  • Publish sponsored content

6. Create a YouTube Channel

Creating a YouTube Channel is similar to blogging in some ways. You can create content on any topic that you choose, it’s just in video form instead of text.

The other significant difference is that your YouTube Channel will be hosted on YouTube, so you’re not in total control over the site and everything that goes on there.

Of course, you can also create your own blog or website and embed videos from your YouTube channel.

A YouTube channel is great for monetizing a hobby because it can be fun, and there are millions of people on YouTube and Google searching for videos on hobby-related topics. I use YouTube all the time to learn things related to landscaping, tools, and other DIY topics. The YouTubers creating the videos help me out a lot, and they’re making money from it as well.

Ways to Make Money from a YouTube Channel:

  • Ad clicks
  • Sell sponsorships for your shows
  • Promote affiliate products

7. Create a Podcast

Podcasting is also a lot like blogging or creating a YouTube channel, except the content is in audio form instead of text or video.

You can start a podcast on just about any topic that you can imagine, as long as there are people who want to listen to it.

A podcast can be used in combination with a blog, and actually that’s a really effective way to provide your audience with quality content both written and audio.

In terms of making money, podcasting is a natural fit with affiliate marketing. You can invite guests who have their own products to sell (like courses or ebooks) and then promote those products as an affiliate.

Ways to Make Money with a Hobby Podcast:

  • Sell sponsorships
  • Promote other people’s products as an affiliate
  • Create and sell your own products

8. Social Media

How much time do you spend on social media each day? Have you ever thought about using it to make money?

Social networks are used for more than just wasting time. Businesses use social media to connect with their customers and to increase exposure.

If you enjoy spending time on social media there are a few different ways that you can put this to use. Many businesses outsource work related to social media, which means there is an opportunity for you to be hired to do the work. See my article How to Make Money on Pinterest.

Aside from managing social profiles for clients, you could also create your own following (become an influencer) and make money from sponsorships. Many people have done this successfully, and it’s especially popular right now with Instagram.

Ways to Make Money with Social Media:

  • Work as a Pinterest Virtual Assistant
  • Work as a Facebook ads manager
  • Become an influencer

9. Taking Surveys

One of the most popular ways to make extra money is to take online surveys. There are countless websites that allow you to create a profile and get paid to take surveys.

In most cases, you won’t make a lot from each survey, but if you’re just looking to make some extra money in your spare time it can be a good option.

If you enjoy answering questions and sharing your opinions, this could be a good fit for you. One of the nice things about this side hustle is that it’s totally flexible. You can take surverys whenever it’s convenient for you, and you can even do it while you’re relaxing or watching TV.

Websites That Pay You to Take Surveys:

10. Surfing the Internet

Who doesn’t love to surf the internet? Wouldn’t it be great to make money from this hobby?

There are actually a number of different companies that will pay you to surf the internet. You’re not going to get rich with these offers, but there are some easy ways to make a little bit of extra money from things you already do.

Ways to Make Money by Surfing the Internet:

  • Swagbucks members can make money by using Swagbucks as their search engine, as well as from things like watching videos online.
  • Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel will pay you to share your browsing data with them.
  • MobileXpression will pay you to share your mobile browsing data with them.

11. Creating Niche Websites

Here is another method, like blogging, that you can use with just about any hobby. Niche websites focus on a specific topic. Most of them make money by participating in Amazon’s affiliate program and/or by display ads.

The great thing about niche websites is you can create a website on any topic of your choice. If the topic is one of your hobbies, your work will be that much more enjoyable.

Many niche websites publish content that includes links to products sold at Amazon, but you can also use other affiliate programs or monetize your site in other ways. The niche sites that use a lot of Amazon links usually publish detailed product reviews, or lists of the best products of a certain type (example, Best Blenders Under $100).

If you want to learn all of the details about how to do this, please see my article Complete Guide to Building a Profitable Niche Website.

Ways to Make Money with Niche Websites:

  • Amazon Associates (Amazon’s affiliate program)
  • Other affiliate programs
  • AdSense and other ad networks
  • Publish sponsored content
  • Create and sell your own products

12. Selling on Amazon

A few years ago my wife and I started a side hustle together selling private label products on Amazon. We intended for it to be a small project, but it grew much faster than we anticipated. We made a six-figure profit in our first year and sold the business the following year.

If you enjoy buying or selling online, this could be a great side hustle for you. You could also incorporate it into your hobbies in terms of the products that you sell. For example, if I wanted to build a business around my photography hobby, I could create a brand and sell photography accessories on Amazon (products like lenses cases, camera backpacks, rain gear to protect a camera, tripods, lens cleaning cloths, and much more).

To learn all the details, please see my article Complete Guide to Selling Private Label Products on Amazon.

13. Restoring Furniture

If you love working with your hands, you may really enjoy a side hustle that involves flipping furniture. You can easily find old furniture for free or cheap at yard sales, flea markets, thrift stores, or on Craigslist. Use your skills to re-finish the item and then sell it for a profit.

Not only is this a fun activity, but it can be quite profitable, and you can make good money for the time that you invest. Another perk is that you don’t need to invest a lot of money and you can get started very quickly.

If you want to learn from a successful flipper, be sure to read Flipping Furniture for Profit where I interview Virginia and she shares all the ins-and-outs.

14. Yard Sale and Flea Market Flipping

While furniture is a great item to flip, there are countless other possibilities. You may be surprised to learn that some people make a full-time income flipping items that they buy at yard sales and flea markets.

If you love finding great deals at yard sales, flea markets, thrift stores, and auctions, this is a side hustle that you should consider. It’s flexible, fun, and you can start to make good money pretty quickly.

Be sure to see my article 25+ of the Easiest Things to Flip for Profit.

If you want to learn from a couple that makes a six-figure income on flipping, be sure to check out Flea Market Flipper University.

15. Driving

If driving is one of your hobbies, there are a few ways you can make money from this hobby. Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft are extremely popular alternatives to taxis (and great options if you want to get rid of your car), and they also offer opportunities for drivers to make money with a completely flexible schedule.

There are also a number of delivery jobs available, especially if you’re in a major city. Some of these companies focus on restaurant deliveries, and there are also some grocery delivery options. Amazon’s also offers a great opportunity for delivery drivers.

If you decide to pursue any of these options be sure that you consider the added upkeep and maintenance costs that you’ll have as a result of putting more miles on your car.

Ways to Make Money with a Driving Hobby:

16. Shopping

Making money from shopping may be the ultimate in terms of monetizing a hobby. Instead of spending money you’ll actually be able to make money.

There are a couple of different ways that you can make money as a shopper. Of course, you’ve probably heard of mystery shoppers. While these opportunities do exist, there are not a lot of them and most of them don’t pay very well. Still, there are some possibilities.

Another option is the growing number of opportunities to work as a shopper in the gig economy. There are a few companies (mentioned below) that will allow you to work as a shopper for other people. Sometimes this involves delivery as well.

Ways to Make Money with a Shopping Hobby:

17. Video Games

Getting paid to play video games would be a dream job for a lot of people. It sounds crazy, but some people actually make money from playing video games. Read this article on Market Watch called Millennial Kids Can Earn $10,000 Per Month Playing Video Games. This article is specifically about people making money by streaming their live gameplay, but there are other ways to make money with video games.

Ways to Make Money with a Video Game Hobby:

  • Streaming your live gameplay
  • Selling your video game accounts
  • Competitive gaming
  • Start a podcast or YouTube channel

18. Crafts and Handmade Products

This is a really broad category, so it could encompass a lot of different things. If you’re crafty and you enjoy creating things, you could sell your products at online marketplaces like Etsy. Etsy is a huge marketplace with millions of customers that are looking for handmade, artsy items.

A lot of people are making good money selling their creations on Etsy, and the possibilities are endless. I have a teenage niece who sells baby clothes on Etsy.

Types of Crafts and Handmade Products That You Can Sell:

  • Clothes and accessories
  • Jewelry
  • Home decor
  • Wedding items

19. Landscaping & Lawn Care

If you love being outdoors, a great option to turn this hobby into money is to offer services related to landscaping and lawn care. Some services, like mowing, are simple and require no real experience. Other projects, like building a deck, would be more involved and require some experience. Regardless of your situation, there are ways to make money here.

To get started you could simply talk to people you know or post an ad on Craigslist. Sites like GreenPal and LawnGuru can also help you to find clients.

Ways to Make Money with a Landscaping Hobby:

  • Mow lawns
  • Leaf cleanup
  • Snow removal
  • Powerwashing

20. Gardening

If you like to work in the garden, there are also some ways you can turn it into money. You can grow your own produce and sell it at farmer’s markets, flea markets, or road stands. If you have a large property you could also set up a stand right at your garden or have some sort of activity at your site (berry picking, corn mazes, hayrides, etc.).

Aside from using your own garden to make money, you could also offer services to help others with their garden, like weeding and trimming.

Ways to Make Money with a Gardening Hobby:

  • Sell your produce
  • Offer activities at your farm or garden
  • Offer services like weeding and trimming

21. Cooking and Baking

If you love to cook or bake, there are a few different ways you can make money. Of course, you could offer services, like baking birthday cakes or wedding cakes. There are also a number of ways that you can use your skills with an online business, which give you a lot of flexibility in your working hours and schedule. You could also teach your skills to others.

If you’re a good cook you’ve probably been told by people that you should start a restaurant. While that is an option, restaurants fail at an incredibly high rate, and they also require an insane amount of work and crazy hours.

Ways to Make Money with a Cooking or Baking Hobby:

  • Bake birthday cakes or wedding cakes
  • Offer cooking classes
  • Write a recipe book or ebook
  • Start a blog or YouTube channel

22. Sewing

Sewing is a talent that seems to be increasingly less common. That means that if you can sew and you enjoy doing it, there are probably other people who will pay you to do it for them.

A few years ago my wife and I had a business selling products on Amazon, and one of our shipments of products that we ordered from China had a stitching defect (hundreds of products). I found a local woman on Craigslist through an ad for sewing and alterations, and we hired her to fix the items for us. Her business was mostly alterations and customizations, and she said she was really busy through prom and wedding season just from word-of-mouth and posting on Craigslist.

Ways to Make Money with a Sewing Hobby:

  • Offer alterations and repairs
  • Create custom clothes for clients
  • Create and sell home decor
  • Teach sewing classes

23. Decorating

If you have a good eye and some ability with design or decorating, there are a few ways you could turn this hobby into money. As an interior designer, you could get involved with all different kinds of projects, including commercial and residential.

There are also opportunities to create and sell your own home decor products. You could use a marketplace like Etsy or set up your own ecommerce site using Shopify.

Ways to Make Money with a Decorating Hobby:

  • Work as an interior designer
  • Create and sell decor products
  • Start a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel

24. Fashion and Beauty

If you love fashion and beauty, you could start a service-related side hustle like working as a makeup artist or stylist, or by offering fashion consulting. This could be something that you do on the side of your full-time job, or you could pursue it more aggressively and grow it to a full-time income.

You could also create and sell your own products. It could be your own hand-made products, or you could start a private label brand and simply find a manufacturer to create the products for you.

Ways to Make Money with a Fashion and Beauty Hobby:

  • Become a makeup artist
  • Become a stylist
  • Create and sell your own products
  • Start a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel

25. Art

If you love art, it may be your dream to make money with your work. You don’t have to be a “starving artist” to pursue what you love. You can either have a full-time job and make money from your art on the side, or make use of available technology to make art more profitable.

There are a lot of ways you can use the internet to make money with art and design skills. I used to run a web/graphic design blog. While I am not an artist myself, I hired several freelance designers and illustrators to work on projects related to that blog and the products that I sold on the blog.

Ways to Make Money with an Art Hobby:

  • Sell your art at galleries or exhibits
  • Work as a cartoonist
  • Work as an illustrator
  • Sell your creations at stock photo and graphic marketplaces
  • Teach art classes locally
  • Create a video art course and sell it online

26. Woodworking and Carpentry

Woodworking is a really popular hobby, and there are plenty of ways that you can make money with it. I’ve seen several examples of people using this skill online through the creation of a YouTube channel, ebook, or online course. And, of course, there are also plenty of services and products that you can offer in your local area.

Ways to Make Money with a Woodworking or Carpentry Hobby:

  • Build custom furniture
  • Home and furniture repair
  • Create a sell handcrafted items

27. Fixing Things

Do you love to fix things? I do, but I’m not very good at it, so it doesn’t happen very often. Usually I try it myself, fail, and then search Craigslist for someone who I can hire to do it for me.

Earlier this year I found a guy on Craigslist to fix two leaf blowers that I couldn’t get to start. He fixes all kinds of small engines in his home garage in the evenings after his full-time job. From what I could tell, it seems like he stays pretty busy with this side hustle.

There is also plenty of handyman work available. This can include all kinds of different things like painting, installing lights or ceiling fans, and minor repairs. When our family moved two years ago we had about 15 light fixtures to replace and I knew it would take me forever to do it all. I hired a friend who works as a handyman so I wouldn’t have to take time away from my business.

Websites and apps like Handy.com, Jiffy, and Takl can help you to find work as a handyman.

Ways to Make Money Fixing Things:

  • Work as a handyman
  • Repair small engines (lawn mowers, snow blowers, leaf blowers, etc.)
  • Work as a mechanic
  • Create a YouTube channel with DIY tutorials

28. Health and Fitness

Health and fitness is a passion for a lot of people. If that’s the case for you, why not turn it into a money-making hobby? There are a lot of possibilities.

You could start a service related business. Offering services as a personal trainer is probably the first thing that comes to mind, but there are other possibilities as well (some are listed below).

The internet also creates a lot of other opportunities for product creation, teaching, and content.

Ways to Make Money with a Health and Fitness Hobby:

  • Work as a personal trainer
  • Offer nutrition consulting
  • Teach/lead classes (yoga, pilates, spinning, etc.)
  • Start a blog or YouTube channel
  • Create a video course or ebook to sell online

29. Sports

When I was growing up I dreamed of being able to make money with sports. Being a professional athlete wasn’t in the cards, and I never gave much thought to other ways that I could make money by working around sports.

There are some really good possibilities, and most of them could easily be done on the side of a full-time job.

Ways to Make Money with a Sports Hobby:

  • Coach a team
  • Offer private lessons or instruction
  • Referee
  • Start a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel
  • Cover sports for a local newspaper

30. Riding a Bike

Riding a bike is great exercise and can also be a lot of fun. You may be surprised by some of the possibilities. This article at Penny Hoarder talks about how you can make extra money as a bike courier.

Ways to Make Money with a Biking Hobby:

  • Deliveries by bike
  • Teach a spinning class
  • Work in a local bike shop
  • Start a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel

31. Music

If you love music but have a full-time job in another field, you may enjoy a side hustle that allows you to make some money from your hobby. There are several different possibilities involving performing, teaching, and entertaining.

One of the most popular options is to work as a DJ. There are plenty of weddings and events that provide opportunities to make some extra money.

Technology also offers some new possibilities, like teaching online lessons through sites like TakeLessons and Lessonface.

Ways to Make Money with a Music Hobby:

  • DJ weddings and events
  • Start a band
  • Sing/play at bars, restaurants, and events
  • Teach private lessons (locally or online)
  • Start a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel

32. Bartending

Bartenders can make good money through evening and weekend shifts, so it’s a great side hustle. In most cities there are plenty of bars and restaurants where you could work. You can also bartend at events. Check out this article at Budgets Are Sexy – How to Make $25-$50 Per Hour as a Freelance Bartender.

33. Travel

Traveling is a passion for many people, and some have been able to turn it into a full-time career. It’s kind of crazy how many travel bloggers out there are making a living in the industry. Of course, there are also other careers that involve plenty of travel.

But even if you have a more traditional full-time job and you’d love to make extra money that somehow involves travel, there are possibilities. Probably the biggest challenge of involving travel in a side hustle is doing it in a way that doesn’t interfere with your main responsibilities like a full-time job, school, or family.

Not all travel bloggers are full-time. Many start off by just writing about their weekend trips or vacations, which is a great option if you’re not in a position to travel all the time. You can also write about local attractions that you can visit without spending a lot of time on travel (for example, setting up a website or blog that features the attractions in your own area).

For some, travel hacking with credit card rewards could be considered a side hustle. Instead of making money, you can save a ton of money and travel around the world for very low prices, or even free.

Ways to Make Money with a Travel Hobby:

  • Travel hacking
  • Part-time travel agent
  • Start a travel blog, podcast, or YouTube channel

34. Hospitality (B&B, hosting experiences)

If you love hosting and entertaining people, there are a few ways that you could turn it into an income. I’ve known a few people who started their own bed & breakfast. This is a good option but requires more time than a side hustle. A similar option that would take less time would be to rent out a room on Airbnb.

Ways to Make Money from a Hospitality Hobby:

35. Comedy

If you love being funny and making people laugh, there are actually a few ways to make money with it. Earning a living as a comedian isn’t easy, but with some creativity you can make a little extra money on the side and have fun while you’re doing it.

Ways to Make Money with a Comedy Hobby:

  • Work as a standup comedian
  • Work as a clown or customed character at events (check out GigSalad)
  • MC events
  • Start a YouTube channel
  • Start a satirical news website

36. History

Are you a history buff? It’s possible that you could turn your knowledge and love of history into a nice little side gig.

Finding a way to make money with history may be a little harder than some of the other options on this list, but there are a few possibilities. I live about 45 minutes away from the well-known Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg. There are all kinds of guided tours going on there (including small private tours), so if you live in an area that attracts tourists, offering historical tours can be a good option.

Ways to Make Money with a History Hobby:

  • Offer guided tours
  • Start a blog or website about a historical topic
  • Write a book or ebook

37. Investing

Investing is a hobby that obviously comes with the potential to make money. The downside is, you need some money to get started (if you want to invest but don’t have any money, see How to Get Free Money Right Now and Fast). The other downside is that you can lose your money, so only invest with money that you can afford to lose.

There are lot of different ways to invest. Some require a lot of attention from you, and others are more passive (see this list of passive income ideas).

Ways to Make Money with an Investing Hobby:

  • Buy and sell stocks
  • Buy and hold stocks
  • Invest in rental properties
  • Peer-to-peer lending and real estate crowdfunding

38. Working with Kids

If you love being around kids there are a few different ways that you can turn this into money. None of them are extremely lucrative, but they can all be sources of some extra money from your spare time.

Ways to Make Money from Working with Kids:

  • Be a babysitter or nanny
  • Start an afterschool program
  • Tutor

39. Language

There are several legit ways to make money related to language skills. Most of these could be either a side hustle or a full-time income.

Ways to Make Money with a Language Hobby:

40. Speaking

If you enjoy speaking in front of people, there are ways you could turn this into a side hustle. This could involve speaking at events on a particular topic, or it could involve being paid to be on camera (or just audio) as a spokesperson.

Ways to Make Money with a Speaking Hobby:

  • Speak at events like seminars and conferences
  • Work as a spokesperson for companies in videos
  • Offer voice acting / voice over services

Which One is for You?

Now that we’ve taken a look at 40 different hobbies and the different ways you can make money from them, hopefully you have some ideas that you can put to use with your own hobbies. I know from firsthand experience that monetizing a hobby can be rewarding, fun, and lucrative. If you’d love to make money doing something that you enjoy, now is the time to take action and get started.

Hobbies That Make Money