10 Hobbies That Make Money and How to Get Started

Raul Abner of Radis Furniture is a self-taught craftsman. Woodworking has been his passion for 40 years - he is an example of how to turn your craft hobby into a business.

Introduction: From Passion to Profit

We live in an age of entrepreneurs. The Internet allows people who are not content with their job to find alternatives. There are hundreds of people who start successful businesses in their garage every year. They found the hobbies that make money.

E-commerce platforms allow even the most niche businesses to find their audience and flourish. 

Many times, someone like you happened to make something for fun and the idea took off. 

There doesn’t have to be an impenetrable difference between hobby and business. Almost any craft hobby can become a successful income stream. Many of the most successful entrepreneurs started out doing something they enjoyed. They grew their passion into their full-time career. 

They made something for fun. A friend or colleague sees said person’s work and immediately says: “That’s so cool! Where can I buy one?”

And the rest is history. Through word of mouth, hard work, and smart marketing the hobbyist becomes an entrepreneur. They gain independence and financial freedom whilst maintaining the creativity and fun of their first idea.

Their hobby is one of the many lucrative hobbies out there. You can find one too. 

But where to begin? Even if you don’t feel you have a practical bone in your body, you possess skills that can be leveraged into a side-business. 

The first question is: what hobby can you do that makes money? You need to choose the right thing to pour your time into. Figure out the things you enjoy, and how you can develop these into a skill that produces in-demand goods. 

The list of profitable craft business ideas is almost endless. There is a craft hobby out there for everyone.

Once you have gotten good enough - you can learn how to turn your hobby into a profitable side business. 

If you are already proficient in a productive skill – great! You can turn your hobby into a business straight away. If you are still looking for hobby business ideas, then read on to find out some of the best earners in 2018

Categories of Hobbies That Make Money

If you can think of it, someone has started a craft hobby around it. Here are some categories of what you can make as a craft hobby, with examples. We will take some of the most profitable hobby business ideas and discuss them in more detail below. 

  1. Homeware: candles, cushions, ceramics, pottery;

  2. Beauty and Self-Care Products: skin creams, soap, organic shampoo;

  3. Papercrafts: decoupage, cards, posters and prints;

  4. Textiles: macramé, quilt-making, embroidery, rope-making;

  5. Clothes: T-shirt printing, leatherwork, accessories;

  6. Food and Drink: beer, wine, liquor, health food, ice-cream, chocolate;

  7. Musical Instruments: making complex or simple instruments and/or accessories;

  8. Outdoor Pursuits: lawn games, hiking accessoriesarchery equipment (bows, finger tabs, and so on). Make sure you abide by the legal requirements in your area; 

  9. Salvage, restoration, and upcycling: antiquing, giving items a new life, e.g. classic car restoration, furniture restoration;

  10. Woodwork and Metalwork: furniture, toys, jewelry, tools, kitchen equipment, skateboards;

  11. Servicing: general maintenance, IT support, constructing or upgrading computers, repairing tools and instruments; and 

  12. Nature Hunting and Refining: natural beauty products, flower pressing, bee-keeping, souvenirs.

Ideas for Profitable Hobbies

Let’s go through some of the most profitable hobbies in more details. This is by no means a full list, but tried and tested ways that show you how to turn your hobby into income. 

  1. T-shirt prints: Believe it or not, many of the top online entrepreneurs made it with T-shirts. This is a great example of a business where you can add lots of value to a low-cost product. Plain T-shirts are cheap but add the right slogan or design and you can multiply its sale value. This is one of the best and easiest hobbies that make money. 

  2. Bags: Do you know a tote bag from a bowler bag? You can choose from a huge array of styles and materials and create bags that makes a statement. A fun hobby with a good sales markup, especially for leather bags of all shapes and sizes. 

  3. Greeting Cards:  The US greetings cards market is valued between 7 and 8 billion dollars. Low-overheads of greeting cards and postcards mean this is a very viable business idea. The better your designs get, the more value you can add to your product. Not to mention big holidays and festive seasons when you can really rake in the cash. 

  4. Woodworking: A popular and satisfying hobby. People love the aesthetic and feel of handcrafted wooden products. Woodworking practitioners even report the meditative and stress-relieving benefits of this hobby. There is so much variety to this craft, and you can choose how specialized you want to be. The higher quality and more unique your product, the more you can charge. What’s more you have the skills to make things for your own home. 

  5. Candle making: The US candle market is worth over $3 billion annually. What’s more, they are actually quite simple to produce on a small scale. You can really let your imagination go wild, as people are willing to buy creative artisan candles for $200! This is a popular idea for a craft business, and for good reason.

  6. Craft Brewing and Distilling: Beer drinkers everywhere are converting to craft beer. The craft market stands at 26% of the $111 billion beer market in the US and is growing every year. Starting a craft distillery is also among the lucrative hobbies to get on board with. There is even a new market for non-alcoholic liquor that is about to take off.

  7. Healthy Snacks: You don’t have to be the next Gordon Ramsay to start a successful food business. There are numerous examples of regular people finding a workable idea. People’s lives are getting busier and busier. This means the market for convenient, yet healthy food is booming. There are successful health food businesses in everything from granola to protein cookies. This is an industry with serious market value.  

  8. Prints: Everything from printing motivational quotes, to your own digital designs. This is an industry with many niches. The more original and eye-catching your prints, the more popular they will be. The only limit is your creativity;

  9. Salvage / Upcycling: We’ve all seen the little life-hacks from recycling used stuff. But there is a real and growing market for high-end upcycled products. From jet engine seats to piano waterfalls, there is something for everyone. Upcycling is fast becoming one of the most profitable hobbies, with low entry barriers. You may already have a lot of the necessary skills to take advantage of this emerging market. Eventually you can make high-end bespoke items that sell for thousands; and

  10. 3D Printing: This is certainly one of the hottest pieces of tech out right now, and it’s not as hard to get into as you might think. There are affordable 3D printers already on the market. Once you have that set up, you have the ability to produce almost anything you want. You can make things like phone cases, coasters, sound amplifiers - the list goes on. You can design your own products, or make to order. This is a very underrepresented and profitable niche at the moment.

These are some suggestions on how to turn your craft hobby into a business. This list is by no means exhaustive. If you have started a craft business in another industry, then get in touch in the comments below!

Do none of these take your fancy? Find something unique. No one knows you like you do. You can use these suggestions as inspiration, combine them, or just do something completely unique. You never know – you could start the next craze

How to Turn Your Hobby into a Business

Obviously, there are many hobbies that you won’t get paid for. No one will pay you to eat ice-cream. But if you can make your own delicious brand, then you’re in business. You need to find a hobby that brings value to the table. Figure out what people will part with their money for. Knowing the difference between hobby and business is important.

How to do this? 

Well, put yourself in the customer’s shoes: what would you spend your money on?

The good news is that people have never been more willing to spend money. 

People want goods that stand out from the crowd. They like the sense of uniqueness and identity they get from lovingly-crafted products. 

Think about it. A label saying ‘Handmade’ is always a mark of quality. 

Once you have an in-demand product that’s scalable you can take your hobby from passion to profit.

Don’t make the mistake of going all in!

Many people see the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs who risked it all to pursue their dreams. These are the vast minority. What you don’t see are the thousands more who risked everything and didn’t make it. Even though it seems that many successful people benefited from high risk, don’t fall into the trap of survivorship bias

The sensible advice on how to start a hobby business is to hedge your bets. 

Always be planning.

Start out by seeing if your hobby can work as a side business. As your success and confidence grows, it can transition to your full-time hustle.  

You don’t need to be a world-class inventor to start a successful business in 2018! A lot of the most profitable businesses have thrived on some of the simplest ideas. There are always going to be people who want printed T-shirts, or handmade jewelry. 

Pick something that you enjoy - this is supposed to be better than the regular 9 to 5!

So you’ve become proficient in a marketable hobby. What next?

Fear paralyzes you by making you question every decision. Instead of figuring out the best route for your business, you are stuck asking yourself: “Should I turn my hobby into a business?”

Were here to tell you these immortal words: “Just do it!”

If you follow this guide, starting your own business will be low-risk. Maybe you are afraid of failure. This is a natural response, but don’t let is paralyze you. Ask any successful entrepreneurs, and they will tell you that they have failed many more times than most people do in their whole life.

If you don’t fail, you won’t find out what works and what doesn’t. Make sure a failure will not be disastrous for you by only investing a bit at a time.

Bone up on your target market, and figure out the best ways to reach them. These days it’s not necessary to spend thousands on advertising. You can promote yourself for free on social media. You could even start a YouTube channel or podcast. This way you can build up a core audience of people who have found you!

There are thousands of people in the US alone with hobbies turned into successful businesses. If they can do it, so can you. 

Remember – help is out there.

There are many people who have started businesses helping out people to turn their hobby into a business. If you can find a community of like-minded people, this will be a big help. 

Once you have your product, you need to find your customers. Of course you have your local community.  Selling at craft fairs and markets is a good way of making cash and fans from your profitable hobbies. When you’re ready to reach a wider audience, there are e-selling platforms that allow you to start an online store. No technical background required. They even come with ready-made tools for you to manage everything in your store.

Be patient.

Turning your hobby into a small business takes planning and perseverance. Success, or even profitability, won’t happen overnight.

What’s stopping you?

You can turn your hobby into a business – starting now!

10 tips to turn your hobby into a business

  1. Feel the fear and do it anyway: don’t fear failure, or what people will say. Fear regret of not starting your business when you had the chance;

  2. Just start: the first step is the hardest but take it and everything else becomes easier;

  3. Research your market: is there a demand or gap in the market for what you make? Figure out the specific needs and challenges for your target market;

  4. Dip your toe in the water: don’t sell your house and spend all your savings. Be prudent and see if you have something first;

  5. Have a plan B (and C): if something doesn’t work, no sweat. Just try something else. You might need to back to the drawing board multiple times in your business career;

  6. Become a marketing ninja: Starting a Facebook page is free. In fact, you can utilize all social media to reach your widest audience. Know where your audience hangs out, and target them with content that they will like (ads, promotions, blogging);

  7. Keep going: If you hit some bumps in the road, persevere and find a solution. Use the community of makers and sellers for support;

  8. Streamline your making process: design your workflow so it is understandable, repeatable, and scalable. This will pay off, especially if you bring on other people;

  9. Keep costs down: Shop around for cheaper equipment and supplies. Make to order rather to minimize upfront costs; and

  10. Enjoy it! Remember this is your hobby, and an escape from the office grind.

We hope you have some great ideas about how to turn your hobby into a career. Maybe you already have a craft business and have found new inspiration. Either way, we wish you the best in your journey of creating more awesomeness. 

No matter what your craft business is, it will need managing. You need to know how much inventory stock you have, and when to order more.

It is also vital to keep track of deadlines and get everything done on time. Maybe you will have a workshop and a small team to manage.

All of this can snowball and distract you from your real job – creating cool stuff. 

Whatever the case, Katana – The Smart Workshop Software has been created with the small craft business in mind. 

You can try it for free to see if it can fit into your business. 

Spend less time sorting through facts and figures, and more time making!

Try Katana for free

David UpshallComment