If you’re looking to try and buff up your income and you’ve already maxed it out through your current job, then you’ll need to look at other options. Although many will look to a second job, for those with less pressing needs for additional income consider trying to monetize your hobbies. It’s a great way to give yourself a win-win situation in which you can make money and have fun doing it.
In this article we’ll go over different ways that you can try and monetize your hobbies, provide some suggestions on tools to help you with your goals, and end with some examples from people who are cashing in on having fun.
Why Monetize Your Hobbies
Most hobbies are a cash sink because we are exchanging time and money for enjoyment. I’ve always enjoyed Scuba diving, but when you look at the costs from buying equipment to travel to dive destinations to renting a spot on the boat it is a hobby that constantly takes. Regardless of your hobby, this is likely the case, whether it be painting, planting flowers, going to concerts or movies, camping, hunting, or fishing. But it doesn’t have to be this way – there are lots of ways that we can either make our hobbies self-funding or even cash sources.
Not all hobbies are created equally when it comes to monetization, so the first thing to do is go through and make a list of what you enjoy doing and put some serious thought into how each one is potentially monetized. A good way to do this is by looking at what you spend money on with respect to that hobby, what others spend money on, and who makes money off of it. The other key element is what people get out of the hobby. Let’s take a couple of examples.
Example 1: Target Shooting. You might spend money on guns, ammo, sporting clays, shooting range fees, protective eye and ear wear, and more. You may notice that your friends spend money on many of the same things, but some additional things like scopes, paper targets, and renting out different types of guns. Why do you do it? Competition to see who is the best shot among you and your friends and to improve your skill. The people making money are those who are selling you the goods (gun shop owners and big box stores) and space providers (the firing range).
So, what potential business are there here?
- Trying to sale niche items, like a specific type of accessory on Ebay or Amazon.
- If you have enough land you might be able to set up your own outdoor range, especially if you are on the edge of the city limits and there are fewer zoning restrictions.
- You might be able to organize a competition, complete with prizes, with entry fees (I know a guy that turned his old garden into a shooting range that has a twice monthly competition which now pulls in hundreds of competitors and makes him several thousand dollars per night.
Example 2: Gardening. My former neighbor loved growing her own vegetables. She was out there every day during the spring, summer, and fall planting, weeding, and watering. She always grew significantly more than she could ever use herself and would take bags around to all the neighbors just so it wouldn’t go to waste. All her spending was at big garden centers, so there was no chance to monetize there. However, she did notice that people were making lots of money selling their fresh produce at the small local farmers market. She also noticed that a few people with smaller plots were growing windowsill produce. She turned her garden into a cash generating machine by:
- Renting out rows of planters to people who wanted to grow their own produce but didn’t have the space.
- Selling her produce at the local farmers market.
She eventually stopped selling at the farmers market and started selling it to the people who were renting planters from her. I don’t know if the ever turned a profit, but she certainly turned it from a cash sink to a cash source.
There are lots of tools out there that can help you along your path to monetization. Below is a short list of some for each category:
- If you are going to sell items online, you have to consider Ebay and Amazon. Both have huge reach and offer a range of programs designed to help you reach customers. Although Amazon has more reach, Ebay is better for some niches and is generally takes a smaller commission.
- If you are creating something to sell consider getting funding for it by using platforms like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, which can connect you to thousands of people who want to pre-buy your product.
- If you want to run your own e-store consider options like Shopify or WordPress with WooCommerce, which will allow you easily set up and get selling.
Finally, don’t forget to protect yourself, especially once your business starts to grow. Consider setting up an LLC and getting an umbrella insurance policy to protect your assets in case someone files a lawsuit.
10 Success Cases
- A Scuba diver turned Scuba instructor to pay for trips and gear
- A live music fan started hosting backyard festivals that became a major draw
- A painter turned her guest house into a gallery for other local artists
- A local artist reached an international audience selling on Amazon
- A Blogger turned on ads and started doing sponsored posts to cash in on his writing
- A photographer started doing family photo shoots and now has a full-time studio
- A dog lover became a dog-trainer and now teaches 100s of dogs every year
- A gym rat became a personal trainer allowing him to make money and muscle
- A hobbyist programmer released a simple puzzle game that made millions
- An avid kayaker became a local guide and takes dozens of tourists down the river every weekend.
Although many of you will want to keep your hobbies strictly for fun, there is also an opportunity to monetize on them if you are a bit entrepreneurial and are willing to experiment. Start small at first, explore the tools you’ll need to use to make sales, and take steps to mature it into a business if you can. Remember, you can always go back to it just being fun, but what not try to make some cash off of it as well.
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