Turning a hobby into a business
Your hobby can make you money. Some people get lucky and become millionaires. Others just make a few extra quid doing what they were doing anyway. I have personal experience of this and while my hobby/business didn’t make me a millionaire, it gave me a substantial extra cash bonus every month that paid for some great vacations.
Now I cannot promise you millions, but with surprisingly little effort you can definitely make a decent wodge of extra cash from what was just a hobby.
How much you make is dependent on a number of factors.
- How many people like what you do
- How many other people are trying to ‘monetise’ (hate that word) the same thing (i.e. how much competition)
- How you decide to monetise your hobby.
There are two main ways ofhow you make money.
- You can make and sell things directly to people
- You can show people things for free and take a cut of advertising in the place where you show things.
For many people the simplest way to start making money from a hobby is to make and sell things. If you are making bird boxes from pallet wood for example, you could let your friends know and offer to make one for them for a fee.
You can put adverts in local shop windows or at supermarkets and see if anyone wants a handmade bird box, or whatever you are making. I met a man who enjoyed making beautiful garden furniture by hand as a hobby and discovered a nice market of wealthy clients who all wanted his beautiful designs. It allowed him to quit his day job and spend his days playing in the shed instead.
If you make crafts then make a stall’s worth and then get down to a craft fair for the day. Remember to tell people the story of your crafts. It is as much a part of selling your pieces as the physical appearance of the pieces themselves.
The second way of making money from a hobby is to gather an audience and let advertisers speak to them too.
The simplest example of this is to post a ‘how to’ video on youtube. There are hundreds of thousands of hobbyists who want to learn new techniques and if you make a good video that gets lots of visitors you can tick a box to allow adverts appear with your videos. Google might only give you a small cut of a small fee, but if you get a million views, then those few pennies per view soon mount up into big payments. There are quite a few people who make how to videos for a living and make a decent living too. You don’t need expensive equipment either. A simple cameraphone is enough to get you started.
- Sign in to your YouTube account.
- In the top right, select your account icon > Creator Studio.
- In the left menu, select Channel > Status and features.
- Under “Monetization,” click Enable.
- Follow the on-screen steps to accept the YouTube Partner Program Terms.
Now every video that you upload will be eligible (provided you don’t break the rules.. they are particularly hot on audio track copyright issues) to earn money. We suggest you make lots and lots of videos all around the same topic area and suggest that people subscribe to your channel. That way when you upload a new video, all your subscribers get told about it and many may come back to see what you have added.
If you don’t like the idea of having your face in front of the camera you can either make the video without ever showing your own face or make a website instead of a video.
There are free or very cheap systems that allow you to build beautiful websites. I really like Wordpress based systems and have been using them for years.
As it says above, this site is hosted on 1and1 and uses wordpress. Their basic wordpress package costs about £60 a year.
Once you have set up your site, write articles about your hobby and people will come and read them. The advertising is all handled through Google’s Adsense system which is easy to set up.
The third way to make money from your hobby is to do live demonstrations. There is a seemingly endless number of clubs and social groups who meet each week and like to have guest speakers come and visit them. If you can turn your hobby into a 45 minute presentation that will hold an audience’s interest, then start by contacting your local WI and offer to do a slot. If it works well, then keep going and you will soon get known and your details will get passed around.
These are just a few ideas and there are millions more. Do a google search and you will find plenty of people have made videos on this topic (and they get a cut of the ads that Google shows to you). With just a little care and effort you really can make real money from your hobbies.