Most hobbies cost money, even if it’s just a little. If you like drawing in your garden on Sundays, you invest in art supplies. You need to buy books if you enjoy reading and get good shoes if you like hiking.
However, there are also plenty of hobbies that can offer you returns on your investments.
With a little skill and talent, you can turn your favorite hobbies into money-making opportunities, bringing in over $500 a month doing what you love. Here are some of the most profitable hobbies and how to make them pay.
1. Start Pet Sitting/Dog Walking
If you’re an animal enthusiast, you’ll have no trouble monetizing your love for cats and dogs. According to research, two out of three households in the US own a pet. Many pet owners will spare no expense when it comes to their fur babies, and you can easily play this to your advantage by offering pet sitting or dog walking services.
On average, most households will need such services during the typical 9 to 5 while everybody’s at work, so it could be an excellent option if you work different shifts. Pet sitting services are also in high demand around the holidays and during the summer and winter months when many pet owners choose to travel.
Top Ways to Get Started With Dog Walking/Pet Sitting
If you’re interested in dog walking or pet sitting, here are some ways to get started.
- Offer to look after and walk dogs for friends and family members;
- Post flyers about your services around the neighborhood;
- Post flyers about your services in the vicinity of dog parks;
- Announce your new hobby on social media platforms;
- Create a social media account for your dog walking/pet sitting services.
However, if you pursue this money-making opportunity, remember that it comes with responsibilities. You won’t just spend your time getting puppy kisses and playing with pets. You’ll need to feed and exercise the pets, pay attention to their behavior, and maybe even handle their health issues. You’ll need to know the basics of animal behavior and be patient and caring with every animal you care for.
2. Take Photos
Photography is an incredibly popular hobby, especially seeing how simple it is to get your hands on a pretty good phone camera that delivers surprisingly high-quality results. Although this can be a great way to earn money using your phone, if possible, invest in a professional camera if you want to get the most out of this hobby.
The simplest way to make some extra cash with photography is by selling stock photos on platforms such as Shutterstock, Unsplash, and Alamy. You could take landscape photos, street photos, portraits, real estate photos, and more, then list them on one of these websites.
Most sites will give you a percentage of their earnings once someone buys your photos, though some will offer a one-time payment when you upload the photo.
Top Ways to Monetize Your Photography
Here’s how you can start monetizing your photographic skills.
- Sell stock photos;
- Freelance as a photojournalist;
- Offer amateur event photography services;
- Sell prints on your social media accounts;
- Become a freelance wedding photographer;
- Offer portrait photography.
As a hobbyist, you can’t expect to receive the same rates for wedding photography, for instance, as a professional photographer would. Still, if you have some talent and you’re prepared to put some effort into marketing yourself, you can easily earn well over $500 a month with this hobby.
3. Sell Your Art
If you like drawing, sketching, painting, or even working with paper mache, your art could be lucrative.
Though there’s undoubtedly a market for generic art, most people love nothing more than displaying authentic artwork in their homes. Original art is always attractive, whether it’s custom portraits, gorgeous landscapes, or whimsical caricatures.
While most amateur artists create paintings for their friends and family for a small commission, you don’t have to stick to your immediate social circle to make your hobby pay off. You can create artwork for small businesses, design simple logos, or even create murals for your favorite restaurant. Your options are endless.
Top Ways to Sell Your Art
There are many ways to sell art.
- Offer commissioned art;
- Create book illustrations;
- Create murals for local businesses;
- Sell your paintings at stock photo marketplaces;
- Design logos.
- Offer your work at local art fairs or similar events.
Your earnings will largely depend on your skill level, so you’ll have to be patient if you want to make this hobby truly pay off. Keep working, keep honing your skills, and market yourself. As a hobbyist, you don’t need a comprehensive portfolio and an entire website, but an active Instagram page where you frequently post your work can help you increase your earnings.
4. Play Around With Graphic Design
If you’re more into digital art rather than painting, you could try your hand as a freelancing graphic designer.
While most people see graphic design as a full-time career, it doesn’t have to be. As long as you know your way around the basic photoshop tools and design software, you can offer amateur services to individuals and businesses alike.
Top Ways to Monetize Graphic Design
Graphic design artists are in high demand, but professional artists have quite expensive rates. Therefore, finding clients as an amateur should be easy, especially if your rates reflect your current skills. Here are some potential starting points.
- Design small business logos;
- Design business cards;
- Create T-shirt designs;
- Sell digital art over social media;
- Create stock graphics.
As you skill up and develop a unique style, you can start charging more and, who knows, maybe even transition to being a full-time graphic designer.
5. Create Custom Jewelry
Custom jewelry is all the rage at the moment. Everyone from brides-to-be and their bridesmaids to influencers, event planners, and birthday boys and girls wants a custom piece of jewelry they can show the world.
Now, in all likelihood, anyone whose hobby is making jewelry doesn’t work with precious metals and gemstones. Though, if you’re interested in that, you can choose jewelry making as your profession and earn as much as $487,331 per year if you’re good at your craft.
If you want to stick to jewelry making as a hobby, you won’t earn nearly as much, especially if you work with cheaper materials such as plastics, resin, and clay. However, you’ll still be able to make some money on the side.
Top Ways to Make Money from Custom Jewelry
Jewelry doesn’t have to involve expensive materials. Here are some possibilities.
- Make jewelry from affordable materials (clay, plastic, resin, wire, etc.);
- Spread the word about your hobby to friends and family members;
- Sell jewelry through your social media accounts;
- Create a dedicated website for your custom jewelry;
- Share tutorial videos on YouTube, Facebook Stories, or Instagram Reels.
Whether you’re making friendship bracelets from macrame, beaded necklaces, or clay earrings, you’ll need to market your work to make sales. The easiest (and cheapest) way is by using your social media accounts to share your work. However, if you want to attract more customers, creating a dedicated website is a must.
6. Start Knitting
Knitting fell out of fashion for a while, but it’s making a solid comeback. It’s a beautiful hobby that can help you relax, de-stress, and improve your overall well-being. It’s no wonder most of our grandmas loved nothing more than sitting in their rocking chairs knitting all day long.
If you’re just getting started with knitting, it might take a while before you can start making any earnings from it. Don’t expect to be making over $500 a month right from the get-go. After all, there’s quite a learning curve, so you’ll likely need to spend some time honing your skills before you can monetize this hobby.
Top Ways to Monetize Knitting
Here are some places to start.
- Create custom blankets for newborns, beanies, and wool toys;
- Sell knit patterns;
- Share process videos on social media;
- Set up an Amazon storefront;
- Sell your items at craft fairs;
- Sell on Etsy.
Knitting can be an expensive hobby, depending on what materials you use. You’ll want to ensure that you set the proper pricing. You’ll want to offset the costs of both materials and labor, so don’t sell yourself short.
7. Make Music
Playing music is often one of the top hobbies for teens and adults alike. Whether you like to sing, shred the guitar, play the piano, or maybe even all at once, you can monetize this hobby in multiple ways.
Of course, joining a band and playing at a local bar or venue on weekends is the most obvious way. However, you can also take advantage of sites such as Fiverr, for instance, creating unique jingles for clients. You can freelance as a DJ, sell licenses to your songs, and more.
Depending on how good your work is, you could easily earn well over $500 a month with your music.
Top Ways to Make Money With Music
There are many ways to monetize musical talent, including some that will work even if you don’t like performing in public.
- Form a band and play at bars/restaurants;
- Sell music at digital music stores;
- Work as an event/wedding DJ;
- Start your own YouTube channel;
- Teach private music classes.
How much you’ll earn with your music depends on how you’ll approach monetizing this hobby, how good of a musician you are, what genres you play, and more. Regardless, if you have talent and know how to market yourself, you should have no problems making this hobby pay for itself.
8. Monetize Your Writing Skills
Writing isn’t as easy as it may seem, but it’s fulfilling and enjoyable nonetheless. While most think of fantasy books and romance novels when they think of writing, this hobby can take many different forms.
Of course, you can dedicate yourself to writing and publishing full-fledged books–it can help you make a profit. However, if you’re more of a casual writer, you’ll have many different options, from running blogs to publishing articles and working as a freelancer on platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer.
Top Ways to Make Money With Writing
There are many types of writing and many ways to make money by writing.
- Publish books and short stories;
- Become a freelance writer;
- Start a blog;
- Guest post on other websites;
- Write for magazines;
- Create product descriptions for third parties;
- Write ad copy.
A talented writer is always needed for businesses across industries, so you’ll find it easiest to monetize your hobby by becoming a freelancer. You can choose your clients, decide what you want to write (blog posts, product descriptions, service reviews, or anything in between), and even set your own rates.
If you plan to write web content, it helps to specialize. There are websites focused on almost every niche you can imagine, so writing combines well with other interests or hobbies!
9. Read Books
Getting paid to read books sounds almost impossible. Only well-respected critics and literature journalists can get paid for it. You can’t just sit at home, passively enjoy your favorite pastime, and earn money, right? Not quite.
Reading books and other written work can quickly turn into a profitable hobby if you know how to monetize it. You can join sites like Reedsy and post book reviews in exchange for compensation, get a part-time job at your local library, or even get into editing on the side.
Top Ways to Make Money Reading Books
Many hobbies could pay better, but if you love reading more than anything else, there are ways to make money going it.
- Publish book reviews on different platforms;
- Freelance as a proofreader or editor;
- Offer book translation services;
- Offer voice narration services for audiobooks;
- Run your own book-focused blog.
You won’t make large amounts overnight, but if you’re creative and persistent, you can make money reading books.
10. Start Your Own Blog
So far, we’ve already mentioned a few hobbies you could monetize by starting your own blog. However, blogging itself could be a hobby that brings some extra income.
Keep in mind, though, that it takes a little bit of work to get a blog up and running. You primarily have to choose your niche. Do you want to use your blog as a simple online journal, sharing details from your day-to-day life? Do you want to share your family recipes, offer car maintenance tips, post about your art, or run a travel blog?
Then you have to create a website, choose your hosting provider, and start marketing your blog on social media.
Top Ways to Monetize Your Blog
If you want to make money blogging, you will usually need to choose a specific niche where you can contribute unique expertise or perceptions. Once you’ve don’t that, there are multiple ways to monetize.
- Create subscriber-only content;
- Use affiliate marketing;
- Publish sponsored content;
- Display ads;
- Offer additional services;
- Sell your own products through your blog.
📚 Read: For more ideas on how to make money from blogging, check out this article from Themeilse: How to Make Money Blogging in 2023 (Complete Guide)
It will likely take you a while until you can actually monetize your blog. You’ll first need to establish a loyal audience, attracting as many website visitors as possible. If you don’t have enough visitors, monetizing your content through affiliate marketing, for instance, or guest blogging, can be difficult. So, first and foremost, focus on building up your audience.
11. Start a YouTube Channel
Just like blogging, running a YouTube channel can be a lucrative hobby. As a beginner, you might not earn much, if anything. If you happen to go viral and start attracting millions of views, you could start earning thousands in no time.
Of course, like with blogging, you’ll have to choose your niche. Ideally, you’ll want to make videos on something you really enjoy doing. You could become a “beauty guru” and create makeup tutorials, paint your nails, or offer hairstyling tips.
You could also make videos reviewing products such as smartphones or watches, show off your DIY skills, offer home maintenance and repair tricks, or anything in between. The sky’s the limit, but it’s always in your best interest to stick to a specific niche.
Top Ways to Make Money from YouTube
YouTube will pay you directly if you develop a large enough audience, but there are other ways to monetize.
- Use affiliate marketing;
- Publish sponsored content;
- Create a Patreon account;
- Use ad clicks.
As always, you shouldn’t expect to start making money on YouTube immediately. The key to boosting your income is staying consistent. Keep publishing content regularly, and keep marketing your YouTube channel. It takes some hard work, but it can all pay off in the long run.
12. Do Some Gardening
If you’re lucky enough to own a big garden you enjoy spending your time in, or even if you have just a tiny apartment and a green thumb, you can monetize your green thumb.
If you don’t have much room in your garden but would like nothing more than to spend time in nature, you can offer some gardening services to your neighbors. Offer simple services like raking the leaves or mowing the lawn, or if you have the skills and tools for it, you could even offer landscaping services.
If you’d prefer to monetize your garden, you also have plenty of options. Start growing fruits and veggies you can sell at a farmer’s market, for instance.
Depending on the type of garden you have and the effort you’re willing to put into it, you could even transform it into a venue appealing to weddings, birthday parties, and more.
Top Ways to Make Money With Gardening
There are several ways to grow money in your garden.
- Sell your fruits and veggies at a farmer’s market;
- Offer mowing services;
- Offer garden maintenance services;
- Organize events like apple picking;
- Turn your garden into an event venue.
Some ways you can monetize your gardening hobby are seasonal, such as mowing or selling produce. So, while you can earn over $500 a month pursuing these hobbies, they won’t bring in income throughout the year.
13. Put Your Cooking/Baking Skills to Use
If you’re good at cooking or baking, you’ll often hear just how grand of an idea it would be if you opened your own restaurant/bakery and ran your own business. While that could be a lucrative endeavor, it would require you to quit your current career and put your savings at risk.
Instead, consider pursuing cooking/baking as a side hustle. You can try your hand at preparing food for special occasions, catering small events, or even working as a weekend personal chef. Depending on your skills, you could even try organizing cooking classes or publishing your own cookbook.
Top Ways to Earn Money With Cooking or Baking
If you cook well and people know it, there’s a natural market for your skill. People always want food, and many people don’t have the time or the skill to cook it themselves.
- Offer catering for small events;
- Bake cakes for birthdays/special occasions;
- Publish a cookbook;
- Organize cooking/baking classes;
- Start a cooking/baking blog;
- Run a cooking/baking YouTube channel.
Cooking and baking can quickly turn from a small side hustle to a full-time job. After all, everyone loves eating delicious food and treating themselves to some lovely desserts, so talented chefs and bakers will always be in high demand.
14. Monetize Your Social Media Channels
You likely have at least two or three social media channels you use daily. You probably enjoy sharing life snippets with your friend on Facebook, posting about your travels on Instagram, and consuming funny content on TikTok.
If you spend a couple of hours a day on your preferred social media channels, you might as well try monetizing that by becoming an influencer.
Preferably, you’ll want to find a niche (such as baking, makeup, travel, etc.), then you can start to share engaging posts, build up a strong social media presence, and start attracting followers. When you have enough followers, you can find varying ways of monetizing your social media accounts.
Top Ways to Make Money With Social Media
Influencers have multiple ways to make money.
- Post sponsored content;
- Become a brand ambassador;
- Use affiliate marketing;
- Sell your own products.
Becoming an influencer is no easy thing. You’ll need to work hard to make your content more visible and attractive to wider audiences. However, once you’ve started collecting followers, making money as an influencer can be a piece of cake.
15. Flip Furniture
Although it’s always exciting to buy new furniture and reimagine the interior design of your home, there’s just something special about finding an abandoned piece of furniture in a thrift shop and breathing new life into it.
While for most, this is just an enjoyable hobby that makes their home feel cozier, for you, it can be an opportunity to make a profit.
Flipping second-hand furniture and selling it can easily bring in hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a month. You just need some skills and basic tools to get started.
How to Make Money Flipping Furniture
Flipping furniture isn’t complicated, but it takes some work. Here’s the process.
- Find cheap furniture in thrift shops;
- Browse the Facebook marketplace and Craigslist listings for cheap furniture;
- Fix scratches and other damage;
- Use your social media accounts or other venues to sell your furniture.
Ideally, you’ll want to have a few test projects first to learn the basics of flipping furniture. It’s generally not a complicated process, depending on the condition of the piece and what you want to do with it. However, it can sometimes be nerve-wracking, and you can make mistakes. So, try to flip a few simple pieces, such as plain wood coffee tables, for instance, then start selling when you’ve honed your skills.
16. Play Video Games
Did you know there are over 3.09 billion active video game players globally? Some gamers are more casual, setting aside just a few hours every month for their favorite hobby. Others are hard-core gamers who spend hours every day enjoying some of the best-known titles.
Regardless of the type of gamer you are, you can monetize this fun hobby in multiple ways. From live streaming on platforms like Twitch or YouTube to creating gaming tutorials and selling digital items such as skins, you can earn a serious penny enjoying your free time.
Top Ways to Make Money With Video Games
Video games are a big business, and as with any big business, it offers many ways to make money.
- Live stream on Twitch or YouTube;
- Publish video game tutorials;
- Join gaming tournaments;
- Write video game reviews for online magazines;
- Sell digital items on Stream and third-party marketplaces.
Whether you like “girly” games like the Sims or more hard-core games like Call of Duty, you can earn well over $500 a month by playing video games. To maximize your profits, you should target popular RPG or MMORPG games, especially if you choose to live stream your gameplay.
17. Make DIY Crafts
DIY crafts can be fun for the whole family and help you make a bit of cash on the side. If you have a knack for arts and crafts, you can try your hand at creating anything from custom wedding invitations using your calligraphy skills to fun home decor, 3D printed objects, scented candles, homemade soap, and so much more.
You could especially find success with homemade, organic cosmetics such as body scrubs, lip balms, bath bombs, and the like.
Top Ways to Make Money With DIY Crafts
Here are some of the many ways to monetize your craft skills.
- Sell your DIY creations over social media;
- Start your own website where you can sell your DIY items;
- Organize monthly sales from your backyard;
- Partner with a local shop.
If you want more flexibility with this money-making hobby, organizing sales events at home or a venue is in your best interest. You can have the sale whenever you have enough items and not worry about fulfilling orders. On the other hand, if you want to maximize your profits, partnering with a local shop or setting up your own website could be in your best interest. It will require more work but will offer you a chance to earn more.
18. Monetize Your Passion for Driving
For some people, driving is a necessary evil. They must commute to work, take on daily traffic, and handle stressful situations and poor driving conditions. For others, it’s a passion. Even traffic jams don’t seem like anything more than an opportunity to stay in the car and listen to their favorite songs a bit longer.
If you belong to the latter group of drivers, you should consider monetizing this hobby of yours. Of course, to get started, you’ll need to have a driver’s license, a car, and a solid driving record.
Top Ways to Make Money Driving
Some ways to make money driving are well known. Others may be less obvious!
- Become a driver for companies like Uber or Lyft;
- Start working as a delivery driver on the weekends;
- Offer moving services;
- Deliver food and groceries to your neighbors;
- Offer services as a designated driver in your community.
While you could make the most money driving your car, there are other ways to make some extra income with your vehicle. You could rent your car to others while you’re not using it or even sell advertising space on your car. Some local businesses will pay you to wrap your vehicle with their advertisement, and your job would simply be to drive around as you usually would. Wrapping your car won’t damage it, and you can always remove the advertisement if you change your mind.
19. Make Money Exploring Your City
Depending on where you live, you could earn money by simply walking around your city. That is, walking around your city with a group of tourists.
If you live in a place that’s particularly attractive to tourists, you can organize tours, visit some of your favorite locations, and introduce others to your hometown. It’s a fun experience for you and others as you’ll enjoy getting to know your city better and meeting diverse people.
Top Ways to Make Money Exploring Your City
Exploring itself won’t make you money. You’ll need to share what you find. The more you explore your city, though, the more unique and marketable your perspective will be.
- Become a host for travelers;
- Organize city tours;
- Lead hiking expeditions;
As a general rule of thumb, this will be a seasonal side hustle. Most cities are attractive to tourists only over winter and summer holidays, so that’s when you can expect to earn the most. However, depending on where you are, your city might appeal to tourists year-round, so you can easily make money exploring your hometown.
You’ll want to find places and experiences that are off the usual tourist trail!
20. Put Your Foreign Language Skills to Use
Over 60% of the global population speaks two or more languages. For many, learning foreign languages is a passion.
If you have a native or near-native understanding of a foreign language and enjoy perfecting your foreign language skills, you’ll have many options to monetize this skill. From offering foreign language classes outside your regular work hours to translating books, transcribing audio files, writing articles, and more, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy monetizing this hobby.
Top Ways to Make Money With Foreign Language
Language skills are in demand, and there are many ways to convert them to cash.
- Teach language classes after hours;
- Translate books, scripts, movies, etc.;
- Transcribe audio files in a foreign language;
- Offer foreign language proofreading/editing services.
The simplest way to make money with your foreign language skills is by joining freelancing platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr. You can specify the precise services you offer, set your own rates, and choose the clients you want to work with.
Having fulfilling hobbies is important. It can enrich your life, improve your physical and mental well-being, and help you de-stress from a hard work day. However, just because most people use their hobbies to escape their regular jobs doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to make some extra income with your favorite pastime.
Whether you like knitting, drawing, playing with pets, trying your hand at DIY crafts, or anything in between, you likely have ways to monetize your hobby. So, explore your options, enjoy your hobby more, and earn more!