So you like to knit mittens for corgis. Awesome. Would you like to make your quirky hobby a side hustle?
Side hustles are growing in popularity, and can mean anything from driving for Uber on your day off to building your own business. What it means is extra cash in your bank account.
So what if you could turn your favorite hobby or past-time into a money-making side hustle business of your own? Totally doable. Believe it or not, sometimes quirky hobbies are easy to monetize.
Best of Both Worlds
If your hobby is your passion, why not turn it into a money-making business? You'll spend your time doing what you love and making a profit at the same time.
Its the best of both worlds. The dream job. And its yours for the taking – you just have to decide a few things first.
Chiefly, what, where, and how.
What will you offer your customers? Products, templates, lessons?
Where will you market your stuff? Local or online?
How will you find your customers? If you love knitting mittens for corgis, there's probably a lot of people out there who would love to do it too. You'd be surprised.
Not to mention the Corgi owners who would love a set of mittens for their new pup.
The question is – do you want to sell mittens, or do you want to teach knitting? Or do you want to help your followers find products that you recommend for knitting?
In fact, there are a number of ways you can turn your side hustle into a hobby.
Make Things and Sell Them
If your hobby involves making things, take your craft to the next level and make some side cash. Slap on a fancy label with a logo you printed at home, and you are Etsy-ready.
On Etsy, you can sell unique products you've already created, or you can list customizable products and make them after you receive the orders. Alice the Corgi owner may want an S for Spot on those mittens.
You can also sell unique products at local shops in town. Boutiques love to offer unique items from local artists and craftspeople.
A third option is to create several items and then sell them at trade shows, farmer's market, or holiday craft fair. Corgi mittens in every color.
Teach Your Hobby
Turn your side hustle into a hobby by teaching it to others.
There are a number of ways to make money teaching others about your hobby. Here are some local and online options:
My mother used to teach sewing machine customers how to use their new Pfaff sewing machine. She did that at the sewing machine store on weekends. She had a great time teaching the classes and spending time doing her favorite thing.
Connect with your local community college to see if they are interested in offering a live class on your area of expertise.
There are many different ways to monetize your hobby online. Start a blog and write posts teaching others about your hobby. You can cover topics from where to get the materials, projects, tutorials, industry news, and so on.
- Start a Blog: Blogging is fun and rewarding, but there is a learning curve involved with making a blog profitable. And it doesnt' happen overnight. If you choose to go the blogging route, be ready to commit 1-2 years of your time (at least) before expecting to make money.
- Youtube Channel: If you're not camera shy, consider a Youtube vlog where you can entertain and teach your viewers about your hobby. You can make money on Youtube with advertisements, by launching a Patreon account, or finding sponsors – companies who sell products or services related to your hobby.
- Online Course: Create an online course on Udemy or Skillshare. The great thing about a course is that you only have to create it one time instead of creating a new Youtube video every week.
Write a Book
Turn your hobby into a side hustle by writing a book.
Self publishing is simple in today's online world, so writing a book is an option for anyone brave enough. Amazon will print your book on demand, or offer it in their Kindle store.
If writing a book sounds like something you want to do, you can make it happen with or without an editor and publisher.
Writing a book is a huge commitment that won't pay off until the book is completed and marketed to an appropriate audience. That's a tall order if you don't build a following, or some hype, before publishing.
A book can be instructional, or it can tell your story.
- Instructional – How to knit, how to knit for pets, or how to design your own knitting projects.
- Story – How you found your quirky hobby, how it changed your life, or how it impacted the world around you.
Lead A community
Start a Facebook group. You can make money in a Facebook group by offering affiliate products to your members. There are guides you can find that will teach you how to monetize your Facebook group.
You can also require them to sign up for your email list, and then market relevant products or affiliate content to them using email campaigns.
If you want to build an email list, I recommend Convertkit. Converkit is an email service provider that makes it easy to build an email list, set up automated email campaigns, build landing pages (even without your own website), sell digital products, and send emails to your community.
If you have followers on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest, you can make money online without a website, Youtube channel, or a product like a book.
How? Affiliate links. Sponsors. Become an influencer in your niche and opportunities will abound.
Grow your followers by engaging others on those platforms and becoming a voice people look to for interesting content. You can use Visme, a great new tool using the latest technology, to create interesting posts, providing valuable tips and information for people who are interested in your hobby.
Marketing Niche Hobbies
Its alot easier to market a niche hobby online than it is in real life. Imagine a store that sold nothing but underwater basketweaving supplies. You probably couldn't find an audience of fans or customers in a single town that would be interested.
But online, there's an entire world full of potential customers. And those serious underwater basketweavers are looking for a community of like-minded weavers.
My friend's husband has a Youtube channel focused on on paramotoring. You may not have heard of paramotoring – most people probably haven't. But guess where paramotorers go on Youtube to learn about the sport? They go to one of the few channels that offer content in that niche.
When it comes to online content, the more specific the niche, the better. That's a hard lesson many of us have learned over time. Be an expert in one specific thing and people will flock to you.
- Choose a hobby, preferably one where you can offer something unique and high quality. If, like me, you can't cut a straight line to save your life, paper cutting projects probably aren't your best offering.
- Decide if you want to sell your things, teach things, or market/sell other people's things.
- Local or online
- Local – Make a list of where you will sell your things or teach your things.
- Online – Decide if you want to create your own website, or use social media as your home base.
- Choose a name for your business
- Research your niche and identify your potential customers
- Set up your home office
- Make a simple business plan
- What are you selling?
- How much money you can contribute to start your business?
- If online, where will your home base be?
- Social Media Page
- Medium or other 3rd Party Blogging Platform
- Online Course Site
- Marketing plan
- How you will advertise your products
- Product research – who will buy your stuff
- Competitors – which sites or products are similar to yours
- Financial plan
- Get Started
Or skip all of those steps for now and get started with a blog today.
- Start by finding a website name that's available and register it with a domain registrar.
- Purchase a hosting package and update your name server with your domain registrar. Your hosting provider will email you details on the nameservers after you sign up.
- Install WordPress (its free) and start creating your blog.
Learn as you go, like many of us have done. Refine and improve your site and knowledge of how to run an online business over time.
Here are the services I use for this blog:
Domain Registrar – Epik I use Epik because they don't raise prices on you, they don't make it difficult to cancel, or try to upsell you on other service. If you need help updating nameservers, email them for help. They offer great support.
Hosting Provider – WPX I moved my site to WPX a few months ago and it loads very fast compared to the old provider. Their interface is easy to use, and they cater specifically to WordPress users. They will install it for you, and help you optimize the speed.
WordPress Theme – I use Generatepress for my WordPress theme. Its lightweight, easy to work with, and the code is clean.
Successful Hobby Side-Hustles
Below is a list of ordinary women who launched successful online businesses based on their hobbies.
The Ornament Girl – She sells kits to make fabric Christmas ornaments via a monthly subscription. 7-figure business. She was a stay at home Mom prior to starting her business.
Mimi G Style – She became a millionaire selling sewing patterns and teaching basic sewing and design skills online. Formerly an administrative assistant.
Carla Sue Greeting Cards – Offers sassy greeting cards with messages of positivity and empowerment. Carla Lyles, the owner and creator, was named one of the Top 10 Entrepreneurs Who Turned Their Hobbies into a Successful Career by Entrepreneur Magazine.
Use Your Uniqueness as a Tool
You are unique from everyone else in the world. Focus on monetizing what you're really good at, and put your personal touch on it. Your business should be an extension of you, and not just something you do for a living or side hustle.
You don't have to be good at every aspect of your business from the start. Learn as you go, and when its time, you'll hire help to fill in the gaps.
So what do you think? Ready to get started?
If you decide to turn your hobby into a side hustle, here are some my favorite resources where you can learn more about how to launch your business:
- Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days by Chris Guillebeau
- How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup
- Vlog Like a Boss: How to Kill It Online with Video Blogging by Amy Landino
- 10 Steps to Starting a Small Business by The Balance