Everyone could use a little extra money, whether it’s because you’re saving up for something important or because you just want a little extra breathing room. Unfortunately, there are often limits to how much you can make in the workplace–you can’t exactly come out and ask for a bonus, and your employment contract may forbid you from taking on another job. Putting in extra hours may not net you any extra income, and even if they did, it may not be worth your sanity to do so.
That’s where hobbies come into play. Innocuous, non-invasive and fun, your hobbies can give you something relaxing to do in your spare time, relieving stress and occupying your mind, and if you choose the right ones, they can even make you a bit of extra income!
Consider one or more of these hobbies for an extra stream of revenue:
1. Blogging. Blogging makes it to the top of this list because of its versatility. You can blog about almost anything, as long as you can generate a following of loyal readers–in fact, you can even combine it with anything else on this list to potentially double your sources of income. Starting a blog isn’t difficult at all these days–there are tons of free template sites you can grab, and from there all you have to do is start posting. Get social, share with your friends and family members, and after enough time and consistency in your posts, you could build a dedicated readership. This is what Wait By Why has done, the popular blog by Tim Urban, which has generated over $11,000 in recurring monthly pledges from Patreon.
2. Playing video games. The video game industry is huge, and it’s growing rapidly. E-sports are rising to prominence, and live video-streaming of gameplay with commentary is becoming very popular, very quickly. Twitch is leading the live-streaming industry, where anyone can setup an account, and with the proper equipment, live-stream gameplay of any video game they choose. Viewers of the stream can send “tips” to users, much like a pianist at a dueling piano bar makes tips from his or her audience. Depending on your popularity and the quality of your performances, you can make a nice side income from simply playing video games and being interesting or entertaining while doing so. Video game blogger Brittney Brombacher of BlondeNerd.com started her brand by blogging, which has since evolved to include visual media, and has recently started a Twitch channel where she live-streams gameplay while chatting with her viewers. “Twitch allows me to produce great content while simultaneously engaging with my fans, and of course, while doing something I love,” says Brombacher. “The fact that it’s possible to make a side income while doing so is just the icing on the cake.”
3. Programming. Few people who pursue programming only as a means of making money are successful. You have to be passionate about logic and problem solving to be good at it, and even more so to enjoy it. Still, if you like logic problems and working things out, the ability to program can allow you to pursue fun and profitable side projects. Try learning an object-based language like Python or Ruby if you’re new, and integrate yourself into the community. After a few months, you’ll be able to start picking up small projects you can do in your free time for some extra cash (just don’t bite off more than you can chew). Try setting up a profile on Upwork.com to find companies who are looking for part-time or contract-based programmers.
4. Learning an instrument. Picking up a guitar won’t instantly make you a rockstar, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to make a little money. Practice a musical instrument with enough instruction and enough dedication, and you can become adept within a year. Rocksmith is a great learning tool for aspiring guitarists who love video games. From there, you can join a band and play out for a lot of fun and a little extra money, though don’t expect massive paychecks unless you’ve got some serious talent. Aside from that, once you’re well versed in your art, you can give lessons in your spare time to aspiring musicians.
5. Baking or cooking. People will always need food, and they tend to prefer delicious food to others. If you can bake or cook delicious food, people will be willing to give you money for it. Start small, with things you know how to make, and see if you can get a few bucks out of friends of friends and loose acquaintances. Establish a brand, set up a website, and before you know it, you could start seeing a stream of recurring customers and regular orders.
6. Crafting. Crafting is a vague term, but that just means you have more options. You could knit, sew, carve, print, paint, fold, mold, weld, sculpt, or weave together just about anything you want. Make it pretty, make it artistic, and make it unique, and people will want to buy it. There are dozens of nearly-free sites out there to help crafters and artisans make the most of their crafts, including the ever-popular Etsy. Get crafting and see how much money you can make.
7. Design and photography. Design and photography are separate hobbies, but they’re related in the sense that you’ll be creating visuals for fun and selling them for money. Stock image sites can pay good money for good photos if you know where to look, and if you know your way around Adobe Creative Suite, you’ll easily be able to pick up some freelance gigs by shopping around. You can even design your own websites and build a portfolio.
Of course, one of the biggest prerequisites of a hobby is that you actually enjoy spending time doing it. If you don’t particularly like the hobby that’s making you money, you’ll be miserable, and you might as well just call it a job. Find something you’re truly passionate about, and you won’t even worry about the money–it will serve only as a nice extra incentive for an activity you already enjoy.