Making money from a hobby may sound like a dream, but it’s actually more realistic than many people realize.
If you’ve considered a side hustle, why not pick something that incorporates one of your hobbies? When I gained an interest in photography, I started a photography website to see if I could make anything with it. Several years later, I crossed the $1 million mark with my photography hobby through a few different websites that I’d set up (you can read about it here: How I Turned My Photography Hobby Into $1,138,610).
My experience has made me a big believer in the fact that hobbies can generate income. If you’re not sure how that’s possible, this article covers 10 different ways that you can make money from a hobby.
How to Make Money with Your Hobby
If you’re looking for a way to monetize your hobby, here are some of the specific options.
1. Start a Blog
My favorite way to monetize a hobby is by starting a blog. You can start a blog on any topic of your choice, so it’s possible to start a blog that covers the topics that are most interesting to you and make money by doing things that you enjoy.
There are plenty of popular hobbies that would make an excellent topic or subject for a blog (see this list of hobbies that make money for ideas). Things like photography, hiking, biking, travel, pets, yoga, gardening, golf, writing, video games, woodworking, and more could work well as topics for your hobby blog.
As a blogger, you can make money in several different ways. Some of the most common monetization methods for bloggers include:
- Affiliate programs (promoting someone else’s product or service for a commission)
- Creating and selling your own products
- Publishing sponsored content
- Offering a service
And not only are there many different ways to make money with a blog, but the income potential is also unlimited. Starting a blog could be a good option if you’re looking for a way to make an extra $1,000 per month, and it could also be a good option if you’re looking for a way to generate a full-time income. There are many bloggers earning six and even seven figures per year, so it has the potential to become much more than just a side hustle.
While blogging is only the first option that we’re discussing and we’ll also look at several other ways to make money from a hobby, the truth is, having your own blog can help with every one of these other options as well. Your blog could serve as an excellent platform that allows you to do all of the other things that we’ll be talking about later in this article.
Running a blog that’s based on one of your hobbies means that you’ll be spending your time on things that you enjoy. Obviously, it will involve writing about your hobby, but it should also allow you to spend more time on the hobby itself. For example, if your hobby is playing video games, you’ll be able to try out new video games in order to be able to write about them.
The reason why starting a blog is my top recommendation as a way to monetize a hobby is because it’s the approach I’ve used myself, and the results have been awesome. I’ve built six-figure blogs around two of my hobbies: web design and photography. In both cases, I was able to turn a hobby into a full-time income and spend my working hours on things that I enjoy.
Being able to make some money with my hobbies has been great, but being able to get away from a career that I didn’t enjoy has made a much bigger impact on my overall satisfaction. For the past twelve years, I’ve been able to earn a living as a blogger working from home.
After building several different blogs, I know the approach that has proven to work well for me (Forbes published this article about how I made more than $1 million with my photography blogs).
2. Start a Niche Website
A niche website is similar to a blog in many ways, but also different in some key aspects. Most niche website owners attempt to get the majority of their traffic from Google searches, so building a loyal following of repeat visitors isn’t as important for a niche website as it will be for a blog.
While your blog should be focused on a specific topic, or maybe a few specific topics, niche websites take a hyper-focused approach and all of the content falls under one main topic. A blog will give you more flexibility to cover a wider range of topics.
Most niche websites are monetized with affiliate programs or ads (or both). Amazon’s affiliate program is extremely popular with niche websites, partly because there are products to promote related to just about any topic, so it’s possible to monetize sites in many different niches with Amazon’s affiliate program. Some of the other methods of monetizing a blog (like sponsored content, offering a service, or selling your own product) are not as common with niche websites.
While it’s possible to make plenty of money with a niche website, the income tends to be lower compared to what you could make with a blog. Many niche website owners have multiple niche websites in order to make the income that might be possible with a single blog.
Like blogs, niche websites are also ideal for hobbies because you can start a site that covers the exact topics that interest you. If you enjoy hiking, you could start a niche website that provides hiking tips and reviews products like hiking boots, trekking poles, backpacks, and all kinds of gear related to hiking.
The best way to describe a niche website is to look at a real-world example. Yesterday, I was doing some research on epoxy flooring for a garage and I came across AllGarageFloors.com. I found the site through a Google search, which is the way most niche sites will get the majority of their traffic.
This site is extremely focused on garage floors (in case you couldn’t tell from the title of the site). The site has loads of information on cleaning and sealing garage floors, reviews of different products like paints, epoxies, mats/tiles, and much more.
AllGarageFloors.com is extremely helpful for anyone who is researching or looking for information on these topics. However, it’s not the type of site that is likely to attract a lot of loyal followers who can’t wait to see what content is published next. With a blog, you want to grow your audience of regular readers that keep coming back to your site (including email subscribers), but that’s just not as much of a concern for most niche websites.
3. Start a Podcast
Podcasting is similar to blogging in some ways. In both cases, you’ll be created content for your followers. The difference is the format. As a podcaster, you’ll be creating audio content for listeners rather than focusing on text-based content for readers.
With podcasting, like blogging, you can cover any topic that’s of interest to you. There are podcasts on just about any topic that you can think of, so the possibilities truly are endless.
Podcasting also offers mostly the same monetization options as blogging, however, most podcasters make their money primarily from advertising/sponsorships or from affiliate programs.
The downside to podcasting is that it will typically take more time to create the content since recording and producing audio can be very time-consuming. Many podcasters outsource the production in order to free up their own time, but of course, that’s an added expense that may not be possible when you’re just getting started.
4. Start a YouTube Channel
So far we’ve talked about written content and audio content. Starting a YouTube channel continues the trend of focusing on content-related online businesses, but this time with video content.
YouTubers are able to make money with the YouTube Partner Program once they’ve reached at least 1,000 subscribers and at least 4,000 active watch hours in the past twelve months. Once you’re in the YouTube Partner Program, you can start making money for advertisements on your videos. The great thing about this is that it requires no extra time or effort on your part. You’ll focus on creating video content that viewers will enjoy and Google will take care of everything with the ads. Google/YouTube already has plenty of advertisers who are willing to pay for exposure, and you’ll benefit from that.
Aside from the YouTube Partner Program, YouTubers can also make money through direct sponsorships that they’ve set up, as well as through affiliate programs. Affiliate links can be placed in the video description as well as within the video itself.
Just like podcasting, creating video content can be a little more involved compared to writing content. It may take more time and effort to create a polished video that is ready to be published on your channel.
When it comes to monetizing a hobby, a YouTube channel could be a great option. Regardless of whether you are teaching others through your videos or simply entertaining, it’s possible to make money.
5. Create and Sell a Digital Product
There are all kinds of digital products that you could create including:
- Online courses
- Audio files
- Stock photos and graphics
- WordPress themes or plugins
- Shopify themes
- HTML website templates
- And much more
There are plenty of different ways to incorporate your hobbies into digital products. If you have a lot of knowledge and experience with your hobby, creating an online course may be a great option. If photography is your hobby, selling photos could be a great fit.
Creating and selling printables is an interesting option because it’s a realistic possibility for a lot of people with many different hobbies. You don’t have to be a great designer to create printables and these low-cost products may allow you to get started making some money relatively quickly, even if it’s only a small amount of money from each sale.
If you’re considering selling a product, you may be wondering how you’re going to get that product in front of the right audience. This goes back to my point that starting a blog can help with any of the monetization methods covered in this article. If you start a blog that covers topics related to your hobby, maybe creating and selling a digital product is your way of monetizing the blog.
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Even if you don’t have a blog or an existing audience of your own, there are still some ways to sell your digital products.
- If you’re a photographer or a graphic designer, you can sell at stock photo sites like Deposit Photos, iStock, and many others.
- If you’re a photographer or videographer, you could sell at marketplaces like FilterGrade.
- If you’re a designer, you can sell at marketplaces like Creative Market and GraphicRiver.
- If you’re a developer, you can sell web templates/themes at marketplaces like ThemeForest.
- If you’re a musician, you can sell audio files at AudioJungle.
- You can sell just about any type of printable at Etsy.
The marketplaces listed above really only scratch the surface. There are plenty of other possibilities that may be a great fit depending on your hobby and the type of product that you want to sell. By selling at a marketplace, you’ll be able to tap in to the marketplace’s existing audience. Of course, that’s not always easy since there are other sellers who have much more established profiles, so it may take some time and effort to get some momentum.
6. Create and Sell a Physical Product
While digital products are popular because there are no issues related to inventory or shipping, creating and selling a physical product is an option too. This may be a great fit, depending on your hobby.
For example, if you’re crafty, selling your own handmade goods at Etsy or other sites like Etsy may be the perfect option. And while there are plenty of websites and online platforms for selling your products, you could also sell locally through flea markets or by getting your products carried in local stores.
While blogging is often associated with other monetization methods, a blog can certainly be helpful for selling physical products. Some blogs are monetized by selling things like binders and organizers, photos and artwork, handmade goods, and much more.
7. Write a Book or Ebook
Writing and selling a book or ebook could fall into either of the two previous points (digital products and physical products), but I want to cover books/ebooks separately because it’s such a huge opportunity and because the options are a little bit different.
In the past, becoming an author was extremely difficult, and many authors didn’t make very much money. Today, you don’t need a deal from a publisher in order to become an author. Thanks to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing and other self-publishing options, anyone can become an author.
By selling ebooks and/or print-on-demand paperback books, you can avoid the need to pay for a run of hundreds or thousands of books that you may or may not be able to sell. You can make money as a self-published author while investing nothing into inventory.
Amazon is an extremely popular platform for selling anything, and that includes books and ebooks. You can get your book or ebook in front of millions of people with the help of Amazon and many authors are making a great income by selling exclusively through Amazon.
Of course, Amazon isn’t the only option. You could use any number of other similar platforms, or use a service like SendOwl to sell books or ebooks from your own website or blog.
Writing a book or ebook could be a great option for monetizing your hobby, depending on your level of experience. For example, if you’ve got a lot of gardening knowledge, an ebook may be a great way to capitalize on that knowledge and turn your hobby into a business.
8. Offer a Service
Depending on the hobby that you’re trying to monetize, offering a service may be an option. It won’t work for every hobby, but it can be an ideal option for the right hobby. For example, hobbies like design, coding, photography, writing, and many others could be turned into a freelance business.
While those types of freelance businesses are common, options for other hobbies may exist as well. For example, if your hobby is history, you could offer guided tours in your local area. Dog walking, landscaping, gardening, painting, and many other services may allow you to make money from a hobby.
The downside to making money with a service is that your income is directly tied to the number of hours that you can work. Since we’re talking about hobbies, you may be looking for things that you can do on top of a full-time job. If you’re already working a full-time job, the amount of time you can dedicate to a service-related business is going to be limited.
With options like blogging, niche websites, or selling digital products, you can be making money around the clock, so you’re not facing all of the same limitations.
9. Teach Others
A teaching or tutoring side hustle may also allow you to monetize your hobby with a service-related business. If science is your hobby, maybe you would enjoy working as a science tutor. While teaching and tutoring in a typical academic setting is an option, there are other ways to incorporate teaching as well.
You could monetize a yoga hobby by working as a yoga instructor. If you enjoy fitness and exercise, you could work as a personal trainer or teach some sort of class (like a spinning class).
Sports and music are also excellent hobbies for making money in this way. You could get paid to be a coach (either for a team or individuals), or you could offer music lessons and teach others that are still learning.
10. Become an Influencer or Micro-Influencer
I’m sure you’ve read articles or heard stories about people making huge amounts of money thanks to social platforms like Instagram or TikTok. An influencer is a user who has developed a significant following. “Significant” may mean different things in different cases. Most influencers have very large followings, but it’s really more about engagement and influence than it is about the number of followers.
A micro-influencer is still an influencer, but on a smaller scale. Becoming a micro-influencer is a more realistic option for most people since growing huge followings isn’t easy.
As an influencer or micro-influencer, you can make money through sponsorships. You’ll be paid by brands that want to get their products or services in front of your audience.
Now that we’ve taken a look at ten different ways to make money from your hobby, hopefully, you have some thoughts about what might be a good fit for yourself.
I’ve mentioned the reasons why blogging is my favorite option for monetizing a hobby, and if you’re interested in starting your own blog, you can find step-by-step details here: How to Start a Blog.