There are lots of things that you can do to start your own business—even while working full time at another job! Even if you aren’t ready to start a fully-fledged business just yet, a great way to bring in extra money is to find ways to monetize your hobbies.
Obviously there are some hobbies that are easier to monetize than others. For example, if you love knitting but your family has threatened revolution if you force anybody into another handmade (and insultingly ill appreciated) sweater, you can always sell your work on Etsy for material cost and a little extra for profit.
But what about hobbies that aren’t as common place? Here are some hobbies don’t look monetizable at first…but can bring in some great money.
Shabby Chic is all the rage right now as is refurbished furniture. Slap some chalk paint on that end table you found at the thrift store (it had good bones!) and voila! You have a piece that you could easily sell for at least the cost of materials if not something more. Jen Lancaster has written extensively about her love of rehabbing furniture—she even has shows around Chicago to show off and sell the things she’s made and rehabbed.
Do you love building your own furniture, making carvings and other types of woodworking? There is a huge market for homemade furniture and installation pieces now. Try selling your pieces on Craigslist or at local consignment shops. You’ll be amazed at what you can get for them. You might even be able to justify having taken over your entire garage for your hobby.
You’ve got your flying license, you managed to find some great deal on headsets and other equipment at Pilot Mall and you even managed to save up enough money to buy your own small plane. Now…you just need an excuse to go flying. Why not offer to fly banners for local businesses? You can offer quick rides at local air shows or other community events. You can also hire yourself out to fly people on quick day trips (make sure you don’t violate any laws required for private piloting). There are lots of things that you can offer that will get you up in the air.
It’s okay to admit that you love going shopping. There really is something about seeing products lined up, all shiny and new, just waiting to be taken home. Of course, not everybody (including you probably) can afford to indulge their shopping habit. Why not, then, offer your services as a private shopper or errand runner? This way you can keep tabs on the newest and greatest products, get that thrill that comes from finding great deals and help people at the same time.
No matter what your favorite hobby might be, you can bet that there is someone else out there who wants to learn to do it and will gladly pay someone to teach it to them. Set up what you think is a fair hourly rate and start advertising your services to your local community in the evenings or on the weekends. Depending on the hobby, you might even be able to offer lessons virtually, using Skype and other web conferencing tools.
There are so many different things that you can do to monetize your hobby. The great thing about these side and pocket money gigs is that you can be as creative as you want with them. As long as you put a real effort into marketing yourself and your hobby, there’s no reason even something like bird watching can’t be monetized (take photos and sell them to stock photography sites)!