25 hobbies that you can turn into moneymakers
Many a professional web designer started out as a self-taught hobbyist who got hooked and thought, "Why not get paid for this?"
It's just one example of a passion (or obsession) that can be translated into a money-making venture.
Some hobbies that begin as a labor of love may evolve into a full-time careers, while others are more likely to provide just supplemental income. Either way, if you can make some cash from an activity you love, it's a good thing.
If you hope to turn your hobby into a large business or a small one, go at it like a professional. Research your field thoroughly, interview others who do the work to learn how they got started, and make a thorough business plan. Whatever you do, don't touch retirement savings to get started. Instead, read "Ask Stacy: Where Do I Find the Money to Start a Business?"
Here are 25 hobbies with business potential:
1. Web design
You'll need a strong portfolio of work and, obviously, a stellar website showing what you can do. Freelance designers use many online job markets, including Elance and Craigslist, but another way to get started is by working locally and growing your business through word of mouth. The stronger your technical skills the better your chance for success.
2. Coaching tennis or golf
If you're an outstanding amateur athlete you may be well-suited to train others. The best coaches also are patient and personable, with a special ability to analyze others' movements. Considering coaching? The United States Sports Academy, which offers certification programs, has a free course, Introduction to Coaching.
Unlike freelance writers, who are paid by clients, bloggers make income from ads on their sites or affiliate marketing, commissions for promoting products. You'll want to identify a focus, or niche, for your blog to help readers find it. Some popular blog topics are food, family, technology, politics, entrepreneurship, and personal finance and travel. Blogging isn't all you'll do, though. To get your blog noticed you'll also need to become expert at marketing.
Cartoonist Alyssa Alyssaerin explains how she transformed her hobby, drawing, into a full-time job by offering cheap services at Fivver. She offers some insights in this Fivver article and audio interview into how marketing basic, inexpensive services helps her meet and land clients who often go on to buy upgrades that boost her fees.
Also see unusual ways to make quick money in the slideshow below:
5. Yoga instructor
With stand-up paddle-board yoga, hot yoga, naked yoga, stiletto yoga and winery yoga classes — to name just a few — you'd imagine that yoga teachers have a good expectation of employment. Be cautious. Yoga is extremely popular, but it turns out that teacher training outpaces the growth in new students says the Wall Street Journal. By all means, enjoy teacher training and start a business or teach yoga for a studio or gym. You may bring in some spending money, but probably not enough to live on. "Lucrative careers in yoga are rare," the Journal concludes. Then again, you'll probably get in great shape trying.
6. Personal chef
Personal chefs earn between $200 and $500 a day, according to the American Personal & Private Chef Association. If you live to cook, it's a career to aspire to. The industry is growing, the association says. Understand what you're getting into before you get started: Chef training can be expensive, grueling and difficult, and working in a professional kitchen is nothing like cooking at home. Check out: "How to Turn Your Love of Cooking into Extra Cash."
7. Antiques trading
Your passion for antiques could be your ticket to making money. Antiques auctioneer and appraiser Wayne Jordan makes a case, in Antique Trader magazine, that unlike many small retail businesses that are under the gun from competition by big box stores, antiques trading remains the territory of mom-and-pop businesses:
You're not selling commodities but unique items that can't be purchased just anywhere. You're selling history, nostalgia and fantasy.
8. Jewelry and crafts
In an era of mass-produced products, a premium is placed on one-of-a-kind items made by human hands. Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade candles, wreaths, container gardens, jewelry, cards, soap, bath salts, pot holders, toys, clothes and other crafts, gives artists a way to dip a toe in the water. Set up a "shop" there or just assess the competition, prices and viability of selling your products. The Week offers these tips on "How to Make a Living on Etsy."
A treasured recipe for fudge, toffee, shortbread, jam or scones has been the inspiration for many a business that began with small batches made at home. Martha Stewart, for one, started a multimillion-dollar company with a catering business run from a (professional) kitchen in her basement. Health codes often require goodies sold for public consumption to be made in a commercial kitchen. But don't let that stop you. Restaurants and commercial kitchens often rent space to other bakers who use the kitchen in off-hours. The Small Business Administration tells how to start a home-based baking business.
10. Child care
If your home is the place where children love to gather and you adore entertaining and teaching them, your love of little people could become a day job. Whether you start your own day care or buy into a franchise business, the demand for quality child care will remain strong as long as parents work away from home. Child care is a highly regulated business, for reasons of safety and health. Be prepared to submit to police screening and inspections and apply for licenses. Small Business Trends tells what's involved.
Does your heart sing with joy from putting a messy sock drawer in order? It's hard for most of us to imagine, but a few talented people have a gift for making order from chaos. Professional organizer Gerald Thomas's hyper-organized Pinterest board is loaded with lists and tips on getting started in this field, including an article, "6 Steps for Starting a Professional Organizing Business."
12. Writing and editing
Dozens of avenues beckon would-be writers — technical writing, advertising copy writing, ghost writing and blogging are a few nonfiction pursuits and, of course, writing fiction, from literary fiction to bodice-rippers.
Freelance writing opportunities abound online. The problem: They rarely pay much. No matter how good you are, more training helps and inspires writers. Check into classes at community colleges. Or try the many free classes at Elance University, training arm of UpWork (formerly Elance), a large marketplace where freelancers, including writers and editors, compete for jobs.
Freelancing pays best for writers who are subject-matter experts in areas like law, medicine, science, finance or technology. Khan Academy offers free classes in math, sciences and technology. Use a free trial at Lynda.com to sample classes on writing web content, ad copy and the like. You'll need "clips" (published articles) to get started on your career so clients can see your work. Aol.com lists 25 sites that pay guest bloggers to post.
Avoid paying for ebooks, online courses and websites. It's hard to judge the quality of these and many are a waste of money. Run from "training" that promises to share the "secret" to a writing career.
13. Pet sitting, walking or grooming
A love of critters great and small has got many pet lovers starting their own businesses now that they can advertise and book services online with such sites as Rover.com or DogVacay.com. Others buy into pet-sitting franchises. Read "Making Extra Money: 7 Steps to Start a Pet Sitting or Dog Walking Business."
If you've got the equipment, the talent and the spunk, get out there and compete with the pros by shooting portraits, weddings, graduations and other events. As with many freelancers, self-employed photographers must also become adept at marketing, and that includes creating a beautiful website to showcase your portfolios of work.
When the collecting bug bites, it's a hard — and expensive — passion to shake. Some collect salt and pepper shakers, others baseball cards or comic books. No matter. Your love for your collectibles can make you an expert, and expertise offers the ability to buy, sell, trade, consult and advise, all for a profit.
16. Event planning
Could you transition from planning kids' birthday parties to organizing corporate events or weddings? Event planning is demanding work, but if you're the super-organized, creative type who sees the big picture and has the people skills to work with everyone from corporate types to bridezillas, you might be able to pull it off. WikiHow tells "How to Become a Certified Event Planner." Unsure how to get started? Post your services on Fiverr. Although Fiverr gigs don't pay much, ask happy customers to write testimonials that you can use on your website and in your marketing.
Selling used books underwent a revolution because of the internet. Prices have been driven way, way down, even for rare and collectible books, one longtime bookseller told me. That's because a customer today needs only to walk into a bookstore with a smartphone to check for a better price elsewhere. On the other hand, a bookseller today does not need to maintain a storefront. Booksellers can work from home. In a post at the Independent Booksellers Association's website, veteran bookseller Vic Zoschak Jr. advises learning the field by attending book fairs and seminars, reading incessantly and joining professional organizations, including the Independent Online Booksellers Association and the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America.
18. Retail arbitrage
Some people make serious money by buying stuff at liquidation and clearance sales and then selling it online for a higher price. (Read: "How to Make Money Buying Locally and Selling Globally.") These sellers may not specialize in any particular items or categories of goods. Rather, they are experts at knowing what sells well and at finding it at low prices.
19. Home inspecting
If you are handy and know your way around home systems and construction, you might be a perfect candidate for a career in home inspecting. Inspectors are licensed by states and trained and certified by two national industry organizations, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI). Their services often are required for a home sale and purchase to be completed.
20. Financial planning
If your hobby is investing and planning your retirement, becoming a Certified Financial Planner could be a natural second career choice. It offers a good living and the freedom and flexibility that many people wish for, especially after they've spent years working for a company. Remember, though, that the job isn't just research, investing and planning. One of the primary roles is working with clients, often educating and reassuring them. Preparation for getting certified includes a college degree in financial planning or similar background, a rigorous examination and three years of professional experience in the field or two years of work as an apprentice, according to the CFP Board, which lists the detailed requirements.
21. Charter boat skipper
Many's the weekend sailor who dreams of chucking the 9-to-5 life to be a charter boat captain, fishing and sailing for a living. If you live in — or move to — a seaport where fat-walleted tourists are abundant, it can be a reasonable goal. But keep in mind that chartering is a business, so plan carefully how you'll stay afloat. What's more, it's a service business, and you'll do best in this job if you are someone who loves people and doesn't mind waiting on them. The U.S. Coast Guard's website lists credential requirements for charter boat captains.
22. Bed and breakfast
Your cinnamon rolls are to die for and you love nothing more than creating a cozy, hospitable environment and hosting guests. You may be made for the role of bed-and-breakfast host. Or maybe not. If hosting is one part blueberry scones and happy guests, another part is midnight plumbing repairs and the fact that you may have nowhere to hide from demanding customers. Before selling your home to purchase a B&B, read this Wall Street Journal story, "Living the Dream of Owning a B&B."
23. Property management
Do you love fixing everything you can get their hands on? Becoming a property manager might be a way to get paid for doing what you enjoy. The work is varied, from finding and screening renters to making repairs and doing grounds maintenance. To manage a single property you may not need much more than being handy, organized and adept at online research. But managing many properties can mean you'll need business and real estate skills. All Property Management, a national network of professional managers, has links to local and state requirements for property managers.
24. Video editing
Maybe you're the kind of creative type who compiles and edits friends' and relatives' photos and videos into short films. Maybe you're thinking you'd like to break into the field professionally? Upgrading your skills is the ticket. It may eventually be necessary to enroll in classes but before you spend money on tuition, take advantage of the many free resources online, including Lifehacker's "Basics of Video Editing: The Complete Guide." Don't forget the 10-day free trial at Lynda.com, which has numerous video production classes.
25. Desktop publishing
Desktop publishing involves using software to create handsome, professional-looking books, brochures, posters and advertisements. Writers and amateur graphic designers who are comfortable in a digital environment may find a career transition to desktop publishing to be the right fit. You can train yourself at your own pace while continuing in your current job. This About.tech review looks at the types of tools used in the field and describes popular programs.