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Author Biography:

Geoffrey Michael  is a freelance writer specializing in business, marketing, personal finance, law, science, aviation, sports, travel, and political analysis. He graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and is also licensed to practice law in California and New Hampshire. He has 40 years’ experience in the successful management and execution of high-technology programs and also cofounded an aviation consulting firm. You can contact him at www.geoffreymichael.pro



Hobbies That Make Money
By Geoffrey Michael Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Many people have hobbies that have the potential to be a source of income. There is an unlimited number of hobby possibilites, but here is a short list to promote brainstorming for other possible ideas.

Some people are fortunate to work in jobs they really enjoy. Others spend a lifetime doing what they do strictly for the money. They may have hobbies that are potential moneymakers, especially for those who need extra income after they retire from their fulltime careers.

Many have taken their hobbies and made them into giant businesses. Alexandra Ferguson started by making a couple of custom throw pillows for a friend’s birthday. She made around 30 more to give as Christmas presents that year. Just a few years later, she ditched her old job and is predicting annual revenues of a million dollars. Niche products have an advantage because you can focus on specific markets and demographics.

Most of us have hobbies and some of them have the potential to bring in cash at some point in our lives. In all cases, do thorough research on your local laws, zoning restrictions, licensing and insurance requirements, and tax implications before getting started. Out of hundreds of options, here’s a short list that may stimulate ideas for other possibilities.

Baker

Before you head down the trail blazed by people like Debbi Fields, check your local health laws that regulate the sale and distribution of food items. While there are lots of stories about people who started businesses in their home kitchens, many jurisdictions now require a separate kitchen before you can open for business.

If you’ve got the skills, enjoy cooking and have some secret recipes that have been handed down in your family, this is a way to turn all that into cash with a small initial investment. Stick with just a few specialty products and make yourself known. Local farmers’ markets and food fairs are a good way to get started.

Dance Instructor

Television shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance have popularized and rekindled interest in all types of dancing. If you enjoy dancing and have taken lessons in the past, you may be able to parlay that into a steady income. You don’t have to be an expert to teach beginners, and you don’t have to own a dance studio. Some existing studios will rent their dance floor during their downtime to help pay their own bills. If that option isn’t available, you might convert a room in your home or part of your garage.

Photographer

The opportunities for photography are almost limitless, but you’ll have to invest in high-quality equipment. Freelance photographers can earn $2,000 and up doing weddings, depending on the specific package and photos desired. The internet has created a huge market for stock photos that can be placed with stock agencies for a contracted period and specified commission.

Some photographers choose to fund their own shoots to give them the flexibility to select the subjects they like best. They do their own marketing for the images they produce. Others work with agencies on assigned shoots and are paid fees and expenses. You can also sell your photos directly to the public through art fairs, boutiques, and flea markets. It’s wise to understand copyright laws to ensure you’ve protected your legal interests.

Woodworker

People will pay for quality handmade items of solid wood. If you’ve got a shop in the garage and the necessary tools, there’s a readymade market for wood furniture and custom-designed wooden objects. There’s also a sizable need for the refinishing and restoration of all things made of wood including antique boats and furniture. If you’re a woodcarver with a good imagination, you can create all sorts of things to sell at craft shows and online at websites like eBay.

Coach

You don’t have to coach a professional sports team to make some serious money in a sport that you love. If you’re qualified, you can work year-round coaching seasonal sports. The requirements at public and private schools vary by location, but there are also opportunities at country clubs and youth clubs such as the YMCA. These include sports that aren’t continuously in the limelight such as volleyball, swimming, badminton, and track. You can also freelance as a personal coach to athletes who want one-on-one training. Depending on the sport, you may need access to an appropriate training facility and equipment.

Other Ideas

The best idea is a hobby that you love and are very good at. Here are a few others that may spark some interest: personal shopper, blogger, sewing/knitting, web designer, dog walker, teacher/tutor, party planner, gardener, handyman, music teacher, musician, and homemade crafts of all types.

What To Do

Turning your hobby into money takes some planning and marketing. While the creative part can be lots of fun, it’s important that the business side is locked down before you get yourself in too deep. Put together a system for tracking your expenses and sales, and devise a method for setting your pricing structure. Design a creative logo and packaging scheme to attract maximum attention.

Social media and online advertising have made it easier and cheaper to get the word out. Join online discussion groups that are interested in your products and use those to promote your work. Professional photos also go a long way in showcasing your products and driving sales. Personally interact with the local media, volunteer some of your services, and engage the chamber of commerce. Word-of-mouth goes a long way to help get you started.

Websites such as eBay offer great platforms to sell products with minimal overhead cost to you. The website of choice for crafts is Etsy, essentially the handmade version of eBay. Craft fairs, galleries, flea markets, and state and county fairs rent space where you can set up a sales booth. You can also host home-based fairs for friends and acquaintances who can spread the word.

At some point you may think of taking your hobby full time. Most have found the best way to do that is by easing into it. Test the waters and put together a business plan before making the final leap.


 
 
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