From blogging to crafting, there are so many different ways to turn a hobby into a business. Whether you’re looking to take on a new side hustle or replace your current job, these five creative ways will have you monetizing your fun in no time. All you have to do to get started is single out something you enjoy doing and believe you can actually get paid for it. We’ll show you the rest.
1. Become a Blogger
Whether your favorite hobby is cooking, gardening or something entirely different, there are people out there who will want to read about it. Starting a blog takes just a few steps, whether you use WordPress, Wix or another website builder, but these steps can pave the way to turning your favorite hobby into a business.
If you’re passionate about the topic you’re blogging about, readers will naturally come because you’ll be motivated to keep creating content. Learning some SEO techniques will also help keep that traffic rolling.
Once you’ve got your followers, you can make money through an ad network like AdThrive, Mediavine or Ezoic, which display ads on your site. Another way is through affiliate marketing, where you promote someone else’s products for a commission. For instance, if your passion is cooking, you might become an affiliate for a certain brand of cookware.
Of course, there are other ways to earn money through your blog without ads. One of these ways is to sell a service or a product of your own making, such as an eBook, which brings us to the next business idea.
2. Write an eBook
If you like the idea of writing blogs, you might also like the idea of writing an eBook and selling it online, either through your own website or on Amazon. You don’t even have to amass a ton of followers first.
In the same way that you would blog about a specific hobby, your eBook would center on whatever niche inspires you. According to Michelle Kulas at Niche Pursuits, “One of the main reasons a niche is important is that it makes it easier to establish yourself as an authority on your subject.” If you already have a niche picked out, check out Amazon’s step-by-step guide to publishing on their platform.
3. Start a Podcast or YouTube Channel
Podcasts and YouTube channels are other ways of turning your hobby into a profitable business. With podcasting, you can record new podcast episodes about your hobby or niche and then distribute them to apps like Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher. You earn money podcasting through advertisers and sponsors.
If you prefer video content, YouTubers also make money through advertisers, sponsors, and affiliate marketing by being accepted into the YouTube Partner Program. While an expensive camera and sophisticated sound equipment can make your videos or podcasts stand out, they are not necessary to get started, though you may want to consider them down the line.
4. Teach a Course
If you consider yourself an expert when it comes to your hobby, share your expertise by teaching a course. Aside from traditional routes like tutoring or teaching in-person classes, the internet makes it easy to share courses with platforms like Teachable or Udemy. Most classes use video with screen recordings or slide presentations, and Teachable even provides examples to make your course run smoothly.
If you run a consultancy that specializes in services such as brand strategy, social media management or even wedding planning, consider offering 1-1 paid training on your website, or host group masterclasses twice a year.
5. Learn How to Open an Etsy Shop
If you’re into crafting or rifling through vintage shops and antique stores, Etsy’s platform is an easy place to sell your goods and amass a following. From handmade jewelry and clothing to art and housewares, the options are endless and Etsy offers a step-by-step guide to opening your online shop as well as tons of resources to help you turn your pastime into a full-fledged business. And don’t be discouraged if you think your house or apartment is too small to house inventory for your business. Turn to SmartStop as your official warehouse and store your merchandise there.
6. Sell Products at Your Local Farmers Market
Whether you’ve perfected your very own coffee skin scrub or love making your mom’s famous sourdough recipe for neighbors and friends, the farmers market can be a great place to share your creations with the community at large.
Oftentimes, it can be the ideal gateway to an even larger operation. Candice Wheat, for example, started selling her handmade goat milk soap bars and facial serums at farmers markets in Houston before transitioning to a thriving ecommerce business. Similarly, Los Angeles-based Superbloom Bakery began as a farmers market stall in Oakland before moving it to an online business that includes free local delivery and a packaged gluten-free flour blend that even retails at gourmet supermarkets.
Just keep in mind that the application for selling at a farmers market can be competitive, and you’re not guaranteed to get approved for your first-choice market. If you’re making food items, there are other rules in place, depending on which state you live in. In California, you’ll need to rent a commercial kitchen, develop a food safety handling plan, and eventually buy health permits and supplies such as canopies, tables, safety, devices, etc.
7. Market Your Services to Friends and Family
Is your hobby design work, copywriting, making custom chalk signs or photography? Starting your business from scratch is daunting enough, but getting new clients poses its own challenges.
If you’ve never done much design or copywriting work for businesses, boost up your portfolio by reaching out to friends and family to see if they (or anyone they know) run a business that needs your services. Consider approaching small local shops or restaurants to offer your services at a discounted rate — or even pro bono, if you’re just starting out and have nothing to show for your skills — so you can build a collection of samples that can quickly take you to paid opportunities. Former “Mean Girls” actor, author, and current chalk artist Rajiv Surendra did cheap or free signs for local coffee shops and businesses at the beginning of his career, but quickly used his portfolio of stunning work to land a full slate of well-paid gigs.
8. Final Thoughts on Turning Your Hobby Into a Business
Keep in mind, if you have a hobby, you have the potential to make money from it. While anyone can learn sales and marketing techniques, only you know what drives your passion. If you find yourself counting down the hours at work so you can get home and do that thing you love, you’ve found your ultimate business idea and SmartStop can provide the extra storage space to bring your creative endeavor to life.