Hobbies That Make Money – Our 16 Favorites
Everyone’s looking for ways to make extra money. It’s a smart goal to have; the more income streams you have, the more money you can stash away. Plus, you’re less dependent on any one stream.
In other words, if you lost your job tomorrow, you’d still be alright if you’ve built other income streams.
Speaking of jobs, many aren’t happy with their’s. The go-getters of that group hustle to build side businesses so they can eventually quit their job.
You might’ve though about building a side business yourself, but at the same time, you might not want to invest hours into a business you don’t enjoy.
Which brings us to an excellent solution: what if you could make money AND have fun while doing it?
In today’s world, it’s easier than ever to monetize a hobby.
Want to have fun while you stack cash, but don’t have any hobby ideas?
Check out some of our favorite hobbies that make money.
Blogging is the quintessential hobby that makes money. Writers will love blogging (especially when the money comes rolling in), but you don’t need to be Shakespeare to get good at blogging nor to enjoy it.
Blogs can be monetized through
- Affiliate marketing
- Info products
- Membership subscriptions
Full disclosure: blogs take a long time to get off the ground, even if you run ad campaigns to bring visitors. You’ve got to write tons of content, structure your site well, and wait for SEO to do its thing.
But work at it for several months. One day, you’ll wake up and see those first few passive dollars hit your PayPal.
And that’s when you’ll realize it was worth it all along.
2. Freelance Writing
Blogging can be a fun hobby that makes you money if you love to write, but not everyone wants to manage all the non-writing stuff like website management/maintenance and constant idea generation for new posts.
But writers can make money from their talents without running their own blog by breaking into freelance writing.
Freelance writers can take on a huge variety of assignments such as
- Blog posts
- Sales copy (for sales letters and emails)
- Landing pages
- Web copy/content
- Social media content
- News columns
- News stories
- Academic writing
- Product description copy
- White papers
You’ll find the most money by niching down and becoming an expert in one area; more money can be had if you specialize in one or two of the above types of writing within that niche because you can understand and target a specific type of client.
For example, a health supplement business that sells supplements for bodybuilders is much more likely to hire a writer that sells themselves as a “product description copywriter in the health/fitness niche” than they are to hire a writer who is simply a “freelance writer”.
Being a generalist isn’t all bad, though; it’s quite possible to succeed without specializing. You can just tell clients you specialize in the type of writing they need done, as long as you’ve had a little experience in that type of writing.
It’ll take longer to move up since you’ll be learning several types of niches and writing pieces, but on the bright side, you’ll learn tons of interesting stuff across many niches AND you’ll be in HUGE demand if you can build your reputation up.
Speaking of building your freelance business, clients can be found on/in
- Freelancer marketplaces (Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer)
- Writing job boards
- General job boards
- Other social media
- Cold email pitches
- Cold direct mail pitches
- Your marketing funnel (once you progress far enough, clients will come to YOU via your website)
Already write for fun? That’s all you need to get started, so you may as well seek out clients to pay you for your writing hobby.
Maybe writing isn’t your forte but you excel at all the mechanics of good writing. You could use these skills to earn money through proofreading.
Technically, proofreading is just fixing any last-minute grammar and spelling errors. People often use proofreading interchangeable with editing. Editors help to improve the quality of the writing through tasks like reducing passive voice use, ensuring correct pronoun usage, improving word choice, and reducing wordiness, among other tasks.
Either way, you can maximize your earnings by offering both services as part of a complete package or as standalone services.
Proofreaders can’t charge the same rates per word as writers, but don’t get discouraged; you can proofread a lot more words than you can writing in the same time frame. It evens out.
As for client acquisition, the same methods of client acquisition for other freelance careers apply here. However, you’ll need to make sure all communications are polished perfectly.
You are a proofreader, after all.
4. Web Development
Businesses can no longer survive in today’s world without a web presence. If you’ve got basic design knowledge and programming chops, you could make a killing developing websites for businesses.
Web developers have a lot of options. If you enjoy job security, you can work as an employee to sharpen your skills while under the protection of a guaranteed paycheck. When you’re ready, financially and otherwise, you can leave and turn your hobby into a full-time freelance gig.
However, with a little extra elbow grease, you can start your own web development firm in your free time while working an irrelevant full-time job. If you enjoy web development and hate your current job, then your hobby will do a few things for you:
- Keep you sane when you aren’t at your 9-5
- Sharpen your web development skills
- Teach you skills that you can carry over to your job
- Two sources of income: job for living expenses/fun money, web development for further savings/investing in your web development business
Freelance web developers can find clients many of the same ways other freelance professions can find them.
However, a beautiful professional website can do wonders for your web development career. After all, you’re a web developer, so what better way to show off your skills than an amazing website you crafted yourself?
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of increasing website traffic by getting your website to rank higher in search engines.
SEO basics are easy to grasp, but many businesses simply don’t have the time or care to work on ranking their business higher in the search results. There’s a lot of money to be made here.
As an SEO specialist, you’ll perform tasks like
- Keyword research
- Website SEO analysis
- Search engine marketing (SEM)
- Paid ads
- SEO writing – Freelance writers can specialize in SEO writing, but SEO specialists do need basic writing abilities to implement keywords and other SEO techniques in web content
You don’t need any programming knowledge at first, but picking up HTML and other languages can be of immense help AND allow you to charge much more for your services.
Again, businesses can’t afford NOT to have a great web presence. In this case, they can’t afford to be on anything but the front page.
Think about it: how many times have you gone beyond the first page of search results? We bet you can count that on one hand.
Which makes for an excellent way to acquire clients.
For example, pretend you’re an SEO specialist that helps small financial advisor practices. Financial advisor “X” shows up on page 3 of the search results, meaning they’ll get almost no clients from their web presence.
Using an email-finding tool, you can find the personal email address of the financial advisor, contact them about how you found them far back in the search results, and sell them on why they need to be on the first page.
You may get some rejections, but business owners are always looking for ways to make more sales. Work on your pitch and you’ll soon be closing multi-thousand dollar deals for your SEO business.
Businesses need attractive visuals and designs matching their brand to stick out in the minds of their customers.
Creative types can make some good cash off this need by performing design work.
Design doesn’t take much to get started. You may have to put together a portfolio of samples, though. Create a few simple pieces and pretend they were from previous client work, or be honest about it.
These businesses don’t care as much about what you’ve done anyways; they care about what you can do.
Earning certifications will help your raise your rates as you progress into your design business, though.
You can find clients through the same methods as other freelance-type jobs. All you’ll need is the portfolio we mentioned, some basic design skills, and programs like Photoshop that allow you to perform your work.
7. Social Media Management
Spend a lot of time on Twitter or Facebook? That can be monetized too if you become a social media manager.
Social media managers aim to maximize social media as a lead acquisition tool. As a social media manager, you might
- Plan and strategize
- Write social media content
- Perform basic SEO tasks
- Communicate with customers using company social media
- Manage company reputation
You can find clients by reaching out to local businesses, as well as through previously-mentioned freelance client acquisition methods.
Got a thing for being in front of a camera? Not everyone can make it to Hollywood, but if you enjoy making videos, YouTube can be the ship that takes your video-making hobby to the land of passive income streams.
YouTubers primarily monetize through AdSense advertisements. You need to be at least 18 to participate, but if you’re a money-hungry teenager, your parent/guardian can handle the adult money stuff for you.
Here’s a full list of YouTube monetization methods:
- Ads – Display, overlay, and video ads
- Affiliate marketing – Using video description, pinned comments, etc.
- Channel membership – Viewers can pay you monthly in exchange for exclusive, channel members-only perks
- Merchandise shelf – Create branded channel merchandise like shirts. Put your branding or catch phrases on them. These are then showcased on your watch pages.
- Super Chat – Viewers can pay to have their messages highlighted in stream chats.
- YouTube Premium subscription revenue – You earn a portion of every YouTube Premium subscriber’s subscription fee when they view your videos.
There’s also Patreon. Patreon provides you a way to crowdfund your productions and incentivizes you to invest into more creative work.
Your viewers can donate to your work by becoming a Patron and paying either a few dollars a month or a few dollars per new release. You then get paid those amounts each month and per new release.
You can also create several tiers within Patreon, each offering a different level of benefits at a different price point. Patrons can decide which tier to join depending on how many benefits they’d like.
YouTube can be combined with other hobbies to really ramp up your income. For example, if you’re a blogger with some authority in a niche, you can start a YouTube channel as another arm of your business.
That way, you’ll maximize the accessibility of your content and therefore the avenues in which you can make money.
We’ve discussed a lot of hobbies that involve the computers and the internet so far.
But people still need things fixed in the real world, too. If you’re one of those people who rejoices when something breaks around the house because it means you get to perform some repairs, consider becoming a handyman.
Handymen can offer a large array of services for any part of a home, such as
- Bathroom repairs/maintenance
- Window installation/repairs
- Drywall services
- Deck services
- Outdoor installations/repairs
If it exists in a house and it can break, you can most likely charge someone to fix it.
You can specialize in a couple types of handymen services, but this is a business that works just as well if you remain a generalist.
We will admit that being a handyman isn’t the most lucrative hobby unless you run a full-stop business with employees. On top of that, you’ll be trading your time for money.
But it’s easy to get into and can be quite enjoyable, especially when you’re getting paid for it. As you perform work for your customers,
Handymanning also gets you on your feet and outdoors. Free exercise and fresh air is a nice bonus.
Clients are everywhere. There’s a good chance someone in your neighborhood is sick of stuff breaking and sicker of paying whatever current handyman they have, if they have any at all.
We bet they’ll be glad to hire a neighbor that charges less for the same services as their current handyman.
10. IT/Computer Repair
Tech-savvy? Like to tinker on computers in your spare time?
There’s an ocean of cash out there just waiting for you to dive in.
You could offer IT services or repair services, but ideally you’d offer both. That way, you can sell them separately but also offer a bundle deal where clients get both services for a small discount.
Older adults are an excellent target market. Not only do they tend to be less tech-oriented, but they tend to have more money.
Meaning they’ll be willing to pay a pretty penny if you can solve some of their computer issues.
Don’t exploit people’s lack of tech knowledge; it’s not exactly ethical and it’ll catch up to you if your business grows a lot.
Speaking of business growth, you could take on higher-paying business clients as your enterprise gets larger.
11. Application Programming/Development
IT/computer repair makes for an excellent service-based business, but you could turn your tech hobbies into a passive income stream by creating apps.
If your app’s a hit, you’ll be making good money 24/7/365.
To expand access to your app, make a free and a premium version. The free version can be monetized through ads; the premium version will cost a few dollars but it won’t have adds, providing an incentive to upgrade to the full version.
But do you want to multiply your passive income potential?
Make it a subscription-based app. Maybe customers pay a few dollars a month instead of a few dollars up front. You’ll be making passive income from new signups AND from subscription fees.
12. Uber and Lyft
These ride sharing services are some of the most flexible gigs on the planet.
You don’t need to set working hours; you can clock in and clock out whenever you’d like right in each company’s app.
Base earnings are decent enough, but the big money comes in the various bonuses. Among several other bonus opportunities, both companies offer some sort of increased/”surge” pricing for busy times, which tend to be weekend nights in most cities. Giving up a night out will not only save you money on drinks, but make you even more by transporting bar patrons safely to/from home and the bar.
And you’re doing a great service as well by keeping drunk drivers off the street.
Both companies do ask to inspect your vehicle to make sure it’s in working order, though. They’ll let you know of any repairs you must make to become a driver, then it’s up to you if you want to pay for those repairs or find another money-making hobby.
We recommend signing up for both to maximize your ride opportunities. Since there are no fees or set hours, there’s no reason not to be a driver for both as long as you pass both vehicular inspections without needing to spend a lot of money,
13. Garage Sales
Cleaning out the house isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, but when you have a spare weekend, exploring what random old junk sitting around your house can be its own little adventure.
But you can turn that little adventure into a few extra dollars by hosting a garage sale.
Before setting up your garage sale, check local laws. Many cities require a permit to run a garage sale. On top of that, some localities have banned garage sale signs, so make sure you’re allowed to set those up before you spend money on supplies.
With permit in hand, pick a date, preferably a weekend as more people have free time to visit your garage sale. Then, scour your house up and down for old stuff. Leave no couch cushion unturned.
Make some garage sale signs if allowed and consider taking out a newspaper ad if you’ve got room in your budget.
Want to reach more people? Try to list some of your hottest items on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. With more potential customers, you might be able to negotiate a few more dollars out of your best items.
Online marketplaces are also good for your less desired items. If no one in your neighborhood wants to buy your broken laptop, another one of the planet’s 7 billion residents might!
14. Thrifting (And Flipping)
Enjoy thrifting? Did you know you could turn it into a side hustle?
It’s simple: hunt for cheap items at thrift stores, spruce them up if necessary, then resell them on a platform such as eBay. You’ll be able to set a price that’s higher than the thrift shop’s but lower than what the item would be new.
Thus, you’ll profit while getting an item into someone else’s hands at a discount.
Thrifting for profit is quite an active hobby, so you do have to enjoy the process for it to be a viable money-making method.
However, the active nature means you’ll be out and about getting the blood flowing.
In addition, you could come across some highly interesting yet under-appreciated items.
15. Online Shopping
Most people shop out of necessity. However, online shopping has become a hobby for many.
Now, you aren’t truly “making” money when you use any of these cashback rewards sites because you have to spend money to earn money.
In reality, cashback acts more like an easily-obtainable delayed discount on your purchases.
However, you were going to do the shopping anyways…
So why not be rewarded for it? The only extra effort involves signing up for a cashback site (which takes only minutes at the max) and clicking through that site to earn.
Unless you download one of these sites’ browser extensions, then you don’t have to do anything at all to earn cashback.
Ok: surveys aren’t exactly the most fun activity out there. But surveys might be the lowest-effort way to pocket a few extra dollars.
And if you’re in the right mindset, you can enjoy taking surveys for cash.
See, these survey sites serve as market research sources for tons of companies worldwide. When you take these surveys, you’re providing your consumer opinion to companies looking to improve sales and marketing.
So you’re actually in a position to influence massive the actions of massive companies, even if that influence is small.
It’s an interesting situation to be in.
Most survey sites have mobile apps, allowing you to earn right form your phone. Put that daily commute to good use and earn some survey money. Well, not if your commute involves driving, as that’s dangerous.
Other times you could do surveys?
- During commercial breaks
- Long road trips (if you aren’t the driver)
Making “Making Money” Fun
Maybe you love your job, but if we had to guess, maybe you’re looking for any avenue out of your cubicle nightmare.
The job pays the bills, but making money doesn’t have to be a drag.
All these hobbies and more can turn into part-time income streams and if you work at it, full-time income streams.
As your hobby business of choice grows, you can combine it with other models. We already discussed YouTube and blogging, but real-world businesses can add some of the online business models to supplement income.
For example, a handyman could create a professional website with a blog. The handyman can monetize the blog with ads for DIY-type products. Then, the handyman can create info products on DIY and fixer-upper projects around the house to supplement their primary handyman income.
Doing all that can create a substantial income doing what you love.
And remember: when you’re doing what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.