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Getting paid to do something that you love doing anyway is the dream, right? If you asked almost anyone if they’d give up their nine-to-five to pursue their personal hobbies and interest, they’d almost certainly say yes – the only thing getting in the way is money.
Except maybe money actually doesn’t have to get in the way at all. There are plenty of ways to make money from hobbies, and you could start monetizing yours today. The only real thing getting in your way is your own mind
I’m a firm believer that, with a certain amount of hard work, a little self-belief, and a lot of determination, anything is possible. Start believing that you can do it, and you could transition from your day job to a professional hobbyist in no time at all.
That being said, not all hobbies are equal in terms of earning potential. You might have a hard time finding someone willing to pay you for that navel fluff collection you’ve been working on, for example.
With that in mind, we’ve put together this list of the top 10 hobbies that make money, all of which are practically goldmines if you’re willing to put in the effort.
I’m going to go into a lot of detail on each so feel free to skip past those which you’re not into.
Now, let’s get into it!
Ok, I might be a little bias here, but I’d say that writing is probably the best and easiest way to start making money from your hobbies. Why? Because the demand for quality writers is super-high right now.
We live in a digital age; an age in which content is king. There are literally hundreds of thousands of online businesses, all of which need landing pages, blogs, product descriptions, sales copy, and lots of other types of written content. And for all of that, they need writers.
The demand for writers far outweighs the supply, which means that you can make really good money if you have the ability. If you can write well, with a distinctive voice and good grammar, you can set yourself up as a freelance writer and earn up to and over $50,000 a year.
Of course, how much you can really earn varies from one person to the next. It all comes down to how lucrative the niche you write in is, the type of content you write, your ability, and your experience.
But right now, you’re not a ‘writer’, you’re just someone who enjoys writing. So how do you go about transitioning from a hobbyist to a real, functioning writer?
I might be able to provide some insight here. After all, I’m getting paid to write right now, which means I must be a writer, right?
As far as I’m concerned, there are basically two ways you can go about it: the easy way and the hard way. Let’s explore both.
The Easy Way
The easy way is to sign up for a content mill and start earning money right away. I’ll be honest here though – content mills do not pay you what you’re worth. However, if you have no experience, you’ll find it hard to find clients without them in the beginning.
Content mills are essentially websites which connect writers with clients on a large scale. We’ve written more about them in this blog, but I’ll give you a brief overview again here.
Some content mills vet their writers more than others, but most of them will accept writers with little to no experience. This means the content produced in mills is relatively poor, and the writers are paid accordingly.
Most content mills will pay $0.01 – $0.03 per word. However, even on $0.01 a word, you can still make $10 or more per hour if you can write at least 1,000 words an hour. This blog provides some more insight on how much it’s possible to make through them.
Here are some content mills which you can sign up for and start getting paid to write straight away (if you’re accepted):
- Writer Access
- Crowd Content
- Constant Content
I personally started out writing for these kinds of sites, but I’d recommend breaking free from content mills as soon as you can.
The Hard Way
The hard way involves cutting out the middleman and finding real clients that pay real money directly. Find someone to pay you to write, and you’re a writer. Easy.
Once you’ve landed your first client, you have credentials, and you can use that to find more clients willing to pay you. The hard part is landing your first client.
Before we get into how to do that, here are three words you need to be familiar with:
A byline is basically the part of an article which names the writer. If you look at the top of this page, you’ll see mine – ‘Matt Moran’. Not all articles are bylined, some are ‘ghostwritten’, which means the writer can’t claim it as their own. They’ve signed a non-disclosure agreement with the person they’ve written for.
Your writing niche is the area that you specialize in. I write about money, so you might say that my niche is ‘personal finance’. A lot of writers have several niches, and some are ‘generalist’ writers who write about anything.
Your portfolio is a list of your best work for clients to see – kind of like a showcase of what you can do.
To start getting clients that pay good money, you’ll need all three. You’ll need a portfolio of work to convince people to hire you; ideally, some of the pieces on your portfolio should have bylines, and they will all be in a specific niche to prove that you’re an expert in writing on that topic.
The problem is that you won’t have any of this yet as you haven’t started writing. This can be a bit of a frustrating ‘chicken and egg’ situation, so I’m going to give some practical tips that can help you to build a portfolio of bylined work.
Here are some actionable steps you can take to get started:
Step 1: Figure out what niche you want to write in
Step 2: Create a website and self-publish some blogs in your niche
Step 3: Look for websites relevant to your niche and ask to guest post on their website.
Step 4: Put your bylined guest posts and self-published blogs into an online portfolio
Step 5: Start looking for clients
There’s a lot more too it than that, but I’ve talked too much about writing already, so you’re on your own from here on out.
Now, let’s move on to the next hobby, which is….
So maybe you don’t like to write, but do you like to read?
If so, there’s no shortage of opportunities to monetize those reading skills of yours. Here are three ways you can start getting paid to read:
Are you the kind of person that can’t stand to see a comma out of place? Someone who understands the technical difference between “uninterested” and “disinterested”, “less” and fewer”, “who” and “whom”? If so, there are lots of companies that would love to sign you up as a proofreader.
Proofreaders can earn anywhere between $10/hr and $65/hr, depending on how fast and accurate you are.
Ok, so maybe proofreading is a little too technical for some people’s tastes. If you’re looking for something more fun, then consider reviewing books instead.
There are various online publications that are willing to pay for book reviews. There’s also the option of using Fiverr or a similar gig website to reach out to authors who want Amazon reviews of their books – just steer clear of those wanting fakes as this can get your account banned.
Book editors read through books, correct spelling and grammatical errors, and reword jarring or poorly written sentences. You can find lots of editing gigs on sites like Upwork and Freelancer.
3. Playing Games
I recently heard a friend of mine brag that he’d once spent 48 hours straight playing PUBG. Unhealthy habits aside, I couldn’t help but think, imagine how much you could have earned if you’d have spent those hours getting paid instead.
But I guess it would have been possible for him to do both, as there’s actually plenty of ways to get paid to play games. Here are just a few:
Become an Online Video Game Coach
There are lots of online companies that are willing to employ video game experts as coaches. One of the most popular examples is GameCoach. To work as an online video game coach for GameCoach, you’ll need to have a headset with a microphone, webcam, and a solid internet connection.
Become a Game Tester
There are plenty of gaming jobs online for game testers. You can look on regular regional job boards like Indeed and Glassdoor for opportunities in your area. Some companies will also hire remote workers.
If you’re going to be playing games anyway, why not stream it live on Twitch? You never know, people might just enjoy watching you and you could join the ranks of professional Twitch streamers. Professional streamers on the platform can make thousands of dollars a week from viewer subscriptions alone.
Sell Your Gaming Account or In-Game Items.
If you have a high-level account on a popular MMORPG or lots of expensive in-game items, you may be able to sell them for real money on online marketplaces.
Sign Up For a Website Which Pays You To Play
There are lots of websites and apps that will pay you to download and play certain games. These are kind of like paid-to-click sites and don’t typically pay very much, but they may still be worth looking into. One such app is CashPoint, which we’ve written an in-depth review about already, so check that out to find out more.
If you want a real-life example of just how much money it’s possible to make from simply playing games, look no further than PewDiePie – a YouTuber who rose to fame from playing games and sharing it with the world and has since earned $155 million in the last 8 years alone according to Money Nation.
And whilst we’re on the topic of YouTubers…
4. Start a YouTube Channel
If you’re someone who likes to create video content and share your experiences, you might want to consider starting your own YouTube channel.
According to a recent survey, a third of children want to be a YouTuber when they grow up. The reason for these career aspirations is clear – YouTubers make good money. In fact, the top ten creators on YouTube all made over $10 million each last year alone.
Of course, you’re unlikely to make that much unless your channel is hugely successful, but you can definitely make enough to provide a nice side income whilst doing something you might also enjoy.
So exactly how much can you earn from YouTube? The exact answer depends on a lot of different factors, such as the type of content you’re creating, how attractive your channel is to advertisers, and the revenue streams you open up.
There are multiple ways to earn money from your YouTube channel, such as through:
- AdSense revenue
- Donations through sites like Patreon
- Selling merchandise
- Affiliate links
Most YouTubers generate the majority of their income through Adsense revenue. How much you make from Adsense varies but a good rule of thumb is to estimate around $0.50 per 1,000 video views. This means that, if you were to get 1,000,000 views per month, you’d earn $500.
You might be wondering if this is really achievable. With so many would-be YouTubers out there, it’d be easy to think that you might be too late to the party; that YouTube is now too oversaturated with creators for any new ones to be successful. But is that really true?
Well, according to a study published by the International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, only those creators who are in the top 3% in terms of popularity earn enough from Adsense revenue to make a living.
That seems disheartening at first glance, I know, but let’s think about it for a moment. The study considered a creator to be someone who had uploaded at least 5 videos. They didn’t discriminate between inactive channels or those with really poor content, which means that the 97% who weren’t making enough money might have been total rubbish.
This actually seems plausible, as the vast majority of people publishing content on YouTube are amateurs with no real knowledge of what it takes to be successful. This means that, if you put the effort in, do your research, and take it seriously, it’s more than possible to reach that top 3%.
So how do you go about growing a successful YouTube channel? Well, to start with, you’ll need to think about what type of channel you’d like to create. Here are some popular channel types
- Vlogging channels
- Gaming channels
- Travel channels
- How-to guide channels
- Music channels
Once you’ve done that, you can create your channel straight away and start making and uploading content. If you make consistently good content, use proper SEO techniques, and promote your content effectively, there’s no reason your channel shouldn’t be successful.
5. Arts & Crafts
If you consider yourself an artsy person, one crafty way to make money is to start selling the things you make. There are lots of different handmade items that can be sold for a decent profit both online and offline.
The best way to go about this is to find something that sells – or that you think should sell – and start making it. This really could involve anything, whether it’s:
- Customizing dolls
- Adding Swarovski Crystals to Converse
- Glassblowing unique decorative pieces
- Making your own Christmas baubles
- Designing your own fashion line or printed T-shirts
- ‘Upcycling’ furniture
All of the above are real, practical examples of ways that a lot of people are already making money from crafts. These items can be created by hand and then sold on for a profit. It’s a fun hobby and a good way to make money.
The most popular place to sell handmade products and crafts is on Etsy – a global online marketplace for unique and handmade goods. You can also list them on sites like Amazon and eBay, or create your own Facebook page or business website and sell them through there.
If you’d prefer to sell offline, a great option to look into is local markets. Alternatively, you can speak to an established retailer and ask them if they’d consider selling them for you.
If you’re someone who is passionate about photography, there are lots of ways you can start making money from your hobby. The first thing you should do, though, is create a portfolio.
If you’re already doing it as a hobby, the chances are that you have hundreds of beautiful photos already, so upload them online to your own website or to a portfolio site like PhotoShelter. Once you’ve done that, you can use it as a way to market yourself and start getting paid for your photos.
Here are some of the best ways to get paid for your photos:
Sell Your Photos to Stock Websites
Stock websites are websites which sell licenses to use royalty-free photos to businesses. There are quite a few of them, but some of the biggest names are Shutterstock, iStock, and Bigstock. It’s possible to upload your photos to these websites and get paid a small amount based on how many times your photo is downloaded.
The pay per download really is small, so it’s all about quantity. You’ll need to sell a lot to make a decent amount of money.
Be warned though – competition is fierce. There are around 150,000 new photos added to Shutterstock every single day, which means your photos are at risk of being buried beneath a sea of other options.
To combat this and make sure that yours are seen, try to think closely about the kind of keywords that businesses which might want to use your photos might search for and tag your photos accordingly.
Start an Instagram Channel
Ok, this one could be a whole other section all on its own. There’s a lot of people out there that make a lot of money from monetizing their Instagram accounts so, if you love social media and photography, this can be a great way to combine both hobbies into one.
As a photographer, you’re uniquely placed to start a successful Instagram account. After all, it’s a platform based on photos, and who knows more about photos than someone who loves photography?
Start an account and post beautiful, eye-catching, or generally entertaining photos consistently. Work on promoting your channel and growing your audience and, once you have enough followers, you can start making money from it.
Be an Event Photographer
One of the most classic ways to make money as a photographer is by shooting weddings, birthdays, graduation parties, and any other events that people might want to commemorate. To land event gigs, it’s important to have a good portfolio as you’ll be marketing yourself directly to clients.
Photograph Airbnb Apartments and Small Businesses
There are lots of small business owners out there that don’t yet have an online presence, and a crucial component of any website is top-quality photos. Just by walking around your local area, you could probably find plenty of businesses that might be interested in having professional photos taken of their property to use online.
Similarly, Airbnb hosts might need a photographer to take photos of their property that sell. Connect with both and pitch your services to them, and you could start getting paid to take photos.
There are a lot of yogis out there who are really passionate about what they do. If you’re one of them, you might be interested to know that there is a huge demand for yoga teachers.
This means that yoga might not just be a hobby that gives you physical and spiritual fulfillment – it could give you financial fulfillment too.
Most yoga instructors work in gyms or yoga studios, but some also host their own private classes. To be an instructor, you’ll have to be a very experienced practitioner of yoga, have a knack for teaching, and be a confident public speaker.
If that sounds like you, then search online for yoga instructor jobs in your area. If you’re a keen traveler, you’re especially in luck as a lot of yoga instructors are able to easily find work abroad in places like Chiang Mai, Thailand and Bali, Indonesia.
If you struggle to find employment, then you can always go at it alone. By that, I mean set up your own website and simply conduct your own yoga classes in a park or other public space. You can offer free yoga classes at the start to build your customer base and then start charging once you’ve gained a following.
It’s hard to say how much you can earn as a yoga teacher, as there are a lot of factors that influence the pay rate. Some gyms will pay the instructor per student, which means you can earn a lot but will have to market yourself well and fill your classes to do so, whilst others will pay a flat rate per class.
Alright, I’ll admit it – calling ‘chatting’ a hobby is a bit of a stretch. But seeing as the whole point of this article is to help you make money out of things you might enjoy, it had to make the list!
If you’re the kind of person that loves to chit-chat, did you know that there are lots of companies willing to pay you for it? It sounds too good to be true, I know, but you’ll just have to take my word for it. You’re probably wondering why on earth anyone would pay for that, so let me explain.
There’s a whole market of ESL speakers out there that are trying to learn English, and textbooks can only take them so far. At some point, they need to practice what they’ve learned by speaking to a real native English speaker.
Unfortunately, many of them live in remote places where there’s just not many native English speakers around. So what do they do? They go online.
To meet this need, several so-called ‘conversation practice’ platforms have opened up and begun connecting native speakers with English learners across the world.
Now, companies like Cambly, iTalki, and Palfish will all pay you around $10/hour or more to just have a conversation with someone who’s trying to learn English. No teaching – just talking. It almost sounds too good to be true, but trust me, it is!
Baking is one of those things that you either love or you hate. Personally, I hate it. I love cakes – don’t get me wrong – but ovens and I just don’t get along.
As someone who really doesn’t have what it takes to bake, I’m always in awe of those who can. It takes some real skill to bake, and anyone with a skill deserves to be paid for it.
With that in mind, stop giving out those cupcakes to your colleagues in work for free and start getting paid what you really deserve! Here are some ways to do just that:
- Set up your own Facebook page and sell birthday/celebration cakes through it
- Open up a stall at a local market and sell your baked goods there
- Sell to local stores
- Go down to a school fair or car boot sale and start selling.
- Start your own home-based baking business.
The last of these might seem like a big undertaking, but the pay-off will surely be worth it if you can start doing what you love for a living. But I’m not here to teach you how to start your own business – I’m just the ideas man – so check out this blog if you’re interested in going down this route and want to know how to get started.
Shopping and frugal living aren’t two things that you’d think would go hand in hand. Shopping is all about spending money, whereas being frugal is about saving and earning money. But what would you say if I told you that it’s possible to spend and earn at the same time?
That’s right, getting paid to shop is not only possible, but it’s also probably easier than you think. Here are some ways you could get paid to shop:
Be a Mystery Shopper
This is probably the easiest way to start getting paid to shop. All you need to do is sign up (and be accepted) for a mystery shopping company. You’ll then be given small buying tasks to complete, and will fill in a survey about your experience at the end. If all goes well, you’ll be paid a small fee for your service.
The reason mystery shoppers exist is to give feedback to businesses about their customer service efforts. This feedback is valuable, so there is a larger demand than you might think for mystery shoppers.
I’ve been employed as one myself, for the company Market Force. I was only a teenager at the time, so I was mainly asked to make age-restricted purchases in places like betting stores and report back on whether I was asked for ID. It feels a little like being a secret agent, albeit without the danger or cool suits.
The whole process would take around 1-2 hours and I’d be able to keep my purchase and earn around $10-20. As you can see, it doesn’t pay that much but it’s easy work that is also pretty fun.
Be a Personal Shopper
A personal shopper is someone who goes out and buys things for other people to enjoy. A high-end personal shopper will be working with wealthy clientele and, as such, can make a lot of money. However, these kinds of jobs can be hard to come by.
Buy Unique Items and Sell Them on eBay
There are a lot of collectibles and merchandise items that are only available in certain areas, as well as items that just aren’t mass-produced or easy to find on the high street. It’s possible for shoppers to find these interesting, unique, or hard-to-get items and sell them online for a profit.
For example, there is lots of regional Disney merchandise which can only be purchased in certain parks, such as DisneySea in Tokyo. A lot of people will buy this merch and ship it overseas at a marked up price to enthusiastic collectors who can’t make it all the way to Tokyo.
Another example is limited-edition products, which can be bought and then sold at a later date for a profit once they become harder to get.
Of course, there’s always the risk that you’ll make the wrong buying decisions and lose money here, as well as legal issues related to the resale of products, so exercise due caution and do your research if you plan to try this.
That concludes our list of 10 hobbies that make money. There are plenty more hobbies out there that have the potential to earn you money, but this is probably enough for you to be getting on with for now.
Check out our make money section for more great ways to earn money and, as always, happy frugaling!