Hobbies are important to a work-life balance. They are an outlet to express yourself, de-stress, and dream. However, they can also lead to extra income and personal reward. If you’re considering turning a hobby into a side-hustle, read this guide to prepare properly.
Side-hustles are a secondary job for supplementary income. This means a primary job still takes precedence as the main source of income. There is always room to grow your hobby into a business—dream big, but start small. You should still put the same effort into your primary job, but if you have extra time and loads of passion a side-hustle could be for you.
Keeping it legal
Liability insurance is important to look into when considering any side-hustle that involves working directly with people. It’s relatively cheap if you expect to make more than you spend on it. Average liability insurance will cover your equipment, like a camera, from damages on the job and it covers you if someone suffers any emotional or physical damages as a result of your services and/or products.
You should consider insurance if any of the following apply to your business:
- Your vehicle is involved in deliveries or travel
- Animals are involved
- Expensive equipment is used for services
- Food is provided as a service
- Customers give personal information and payment information to you
When shopping around, look for commercial general liability insurance (CGL). The type of hobby you’re turning into a business will greatly affect the price when considering what types of risks you could incur. Generally, CGL will cost anywhere from $25 to $83 a month, or $300-$1,000 a year. It’s important to work with a trusted insurance advisor before finalizing a policy.
Hobbies that can bring in cash
Any hobby can be turned into a side-hustle if you if you have passion and drive behind it. However, if you have multiple passions and are weighing your options, here are some of the top-earning hobbies:
Photo or video services
If you have a decent camera (you don’t need an expensive one) try building your portfolio with nature shots and borrowing friends and family for portraits. Offer to take a video for someone’s wedding, recital, or business. With a good portfolio built, you can attract interest that will easily add $800 a month to your income —if you average twelve hours a week and charge the industry average of about $17 per hour. With more experience, people will be willing to pay more for quality images and videos.
Baking and catering
Sweet tooths and foodies who spend time looking at recipes on Pinterest and experimenting in the kitchen should consider starting a small baking or catering business. Limit your menu based on season to avoid overwhelming yourself, and have fun creating your signature flavor. Baking is an expanding market with demand projected to increase five percent between 2019 and 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. Baking and catering is a family-friendly side-hustle that can involve kids and partners.
Blogging and vlogging
Do you feel comfortable writing or being on camera? Try your skills at blogging and/or vlogging. Both will take time to grow, as you’ll need a follower base to see any income. So, if money is not an immediate need, you can start creating and see where it takes you! Top vloggers on YouTube usually make this a full-time job, but part-time YouTubers can still get some income from ads. This calculator shows how much you can earn vlogging based on views and engagement. With blogging, developing a niche is important for engagement and bringing in revenue through ads, as well as selling written pieces like guides or how-tos. Websites like wix.com and squarespace.com can help you get started for free.
Homemade art, candles, furniture, and decor
Homemade is so much more satisfying than store-bought. When people can’t make an item themselves, they look to friends, family, and small shops that can fulfill that need. It can be almost anything, from art to candles to furniture. The sky is the limit for products and earnings. People like selling and purchasing products for what they’re worth: time, talent, and materials.
Define success and your “why”
Success is not black and white, as it will vary between people. The key is defining how success in your side-hustle will look and feel. Success can be a mixture of monetary value and progress in your hobby. Remember, this is not your primary income, so money should not be the leading motivator.
Consider defining your goals within the hobby. Reward yourself at milestones, perhaps with new equipment and supplies when you gain skills. The most successful people define reasonable and challenging goals for themselves. You’re more likely to make progress if you break down the bigger picture of success into SMART goals.
Once you define what your side-hustle is, you can get into the specifics of your business. You’ll need to know the “five W’s”: who, what, when, where, and why.
Who will you involve in your business? Are you flying solo or making this a joint venture with a friend?
What are you selling? Define the products or services clearly.
When are you devoting time to this? Make sure this is a good use of free time when other responsibilities don’t need attention.
Where are you creating? Have a space to call your own separate from sleep, work, or other hectic spots.
Why are you doing this? Define your “why” and make that passion clear to customers.
Based on these answers, research who and where you can market to reach your goals. Define an audience in light of your goals, don’t conform to an audience.
Where to sell
There are many ways to sell products and services now without a physical storefront or studio. You can make this venture a hundred percent virtual with some of these beloved apps and platforms:
Etsy is best for homemade products that you intend on shipping. The site has over 2.5 million “shops” and continues to grow every day. You will need to ship and create your products, but this expands your visibility.
Facebook marketplace exploded in popularity during the pandemic. Users often sell unwanted items, but did you know you can sell your side-hustle products and services locally there, too?
Artists should consider Redbubble for selling products with your unique artwork on them. (You can sell just about anything, including prints, shirts, mugs, and stickers). While the company takes a cut of your profit, you won’t need to do any manufacturing and shipping. This cuts costs for you dramatically and ensures you don’t get overwhelmed with tasks so you can focus on your creativity!
Create an Instagram for your side-hustle and post products and updates. You can now sell items directly on Instagram using the “Instagram shop” feature on the homepage.
You likely cannot devote most of your day to a side-hustle, so make sure you have time mapped out. The average side-hustler says they’re comfortable devoting about twelve hours per week to their craft, which is roughly the same amount of time as a secondary job.
Divide your time between those twelve hours for work, marketing, and miscellaneous tasks. That’s four hours of work, four hours of marketing, and four hours to cover miscellaneous tasks like brainstorming, shipping, and research. Set up a routine to avoid over-budgeting or under-budgeting with your time. When you first start, track time spent and analyze it to develop a comfortable, realistic schedule.
Overall, your side-hustle should be something rewarding financially and emotionally. Don’t wait to turn your passion into practice—get creating!