Many a professional web designer started out as a self-taught hobbyist who got hooked and thought, “Why not get paid for this?”
It’s just one example of a passion — or obsession — that can be translated into a money-making venture.
Some hobbies that begin as a labor of love may evolve into full-time careers, while others are more likely to provide just supplemental income. Either way, if you can make some cash from an activity you love, it’s a good thing.
If you hope to turn your hobby into a large business or a small one, go at it like a professional. Research your field thoroughly, interview others who do the work to learn how they got started, and make a thorough business plan.
Whatever you do, don’t touch retirement savings to get started. Instead, read “Ask Stacy: Where Do I Find the Money to Start a Business?”
Here are 25 hobbies with business potential:
1. Web design
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You’ll need a strong portfolio of work and, obviously, a stellar website showing what you can do. The stronger your technical skills, the better your chance for success.
2. Coaching a sport
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If you’re an outstanding amateur athlete, you may be well-suited to train others. The best coaches also are patient and personable, with a special ability to analyze others’ movements.
The nonprofit United States Sports Academy offers free courses, including Introduction to Coaching.
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Unlike freelance writers, who are paid by clients, bloggers make income from ads on their sites or affiliate marketing, generally meaning commissions for promoting products.
You’ll want to identify a focus, or niche, for your blog. Popular topics include food, family, technology, politics, entrepreneurship, personal finance and travel. Blogging isn’t all you’ll do, though. To get your blog noticed, you’ll also need to become adept at marketing.
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In this Fiverr blog post, a cartoonist explains how Fiverr.com enabled her to transform her hobby into a moneymaker. She details how marketing basic, inexpensive services helps her meet and land clients who often go on to buy upgrades that boost her fees.
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With hot yoga, naked yoga, stiletto yoga and winery yoga classes — to name just a few options — you’d imagine that yoga teachers have a good expectation of employment. Be cautious. Yoga is extremely popular, but it turns out that teacher training has outpaced the growth in new students, according to the Wall Street Journal.
By all means, enjoy teacher training and start a business or teach yoga for a studio or gym. You may bring in some spending money, but probably not enough to live on. “Lucrative careers in yoga are rare,” the Journal concludes. Then again, you’ll probably get in great shape trying.
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Personal chefs generally earn between $200 and $500 a day, according to the American Personal & Private Chef Association. If you live to cook, it’s a career to aspire to. The industry is growing, the association says.
To learn more, including tips for getting started, check out “How to Turn Your Love of Cooking Into Extra Cash.”
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Your passion for antiques could be your ticket to making money. Auctioneer and personal property appraiser Wayne Jordan makes a case in Antique Trader magazine that unlike many small retail businesses, which face competition from big box stores and online retailers, antiques trading remains the territory of mom-and-pop businesses. He writes:
“You’re not selling commodities but unique items that can’t be purchased just anywhere. You’re selling history, nostalgia and fantasy.”
8. Jewelry and crafts
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In an era of mass-produced products, a premium is often placed on one-of-a-kind items made by human hands. Etsy — the online marketplace for handmade candles, jewelry, greeting cards, soap, pot holders, toys, clothes and other crafts — gives artists a way to dip a toe in the water. Set up a “shop” there or just assess the competition, prices and viability of selling your products.
To learn about other avenues like Etsy, check out “4 Ways Creative People Can Make Money Online.”
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A treasured recipe for fudge, toffee, shortbread, jam or scones has been the inspiration for many a business that began with small batches made at home. Martha Stewart, for one, ran a catering business from a professional kitchen in her basement.
Health codes often require goodies sold for public consumption to be made in a commercial kitchen. But don’t let that stop you. Restaurants and commercial kitchens often rent space to other bakers who use the kitchen in off-hours.
The U.S. Small Business Administration offers advice on how to start a home-based baking business.
10. Child care
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If your home is the place where children love to gather and you adore entertaining and teaching them, your love of little ones could become a day job. Whether you start your own day care or buy into a franchise business, the demand for quality child care will remain strong as long as parents work away from home.
Child care is a highly regulated business, for reasons of safety and health, however. Small Business Trends tells you what’s involved.
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Does your heart sing with joy from putting a messy sock drawer in order? It’s hard for some of us to imagine, but a few talented people have a gift for making order from chaos.
Check out the video at the top of this article for an interview with Mindy Noble, who built a business on her knack for organizing.
12. Writing and editing
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Dozens of avenues beckon would-be writers — technical writing and advertising copy writing are among nonfiction pursuits and, of course, writing fiction, from literary fiction to bodice-rippers.
Freelance writing opportunities abound online but rarely pay much. No matter how good you are, more training helps and inspires writers. Check into classes at community colleges. Avoid paying for online courses. It’s hard to judge the quality of these, and some are a waste of money. Run from “training” that promises to share the “secret” to a writing career.
Freelancing often pays better for writers who are subject-matter experts in areas such as law, medicine, science, finance or technology. The nonprofit Khan Academy offers free classes in math, sciences and technology, among other subjects.
You’ll need “clips” (published articles) to get started on your career so clients can see your work. AOL Finance lists 25 sites that pay guest bloggers for posts.
13. Pet sitting, walking or grooming
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A love of critters great and small has got many pet lovers starting their own businesses, using services like Rover.com to find clients. Others buy into pet-sitting franchises.
To learn more, check out “Making Extra Money: 7 Steps to Start a Pet-Sitting or Dog-Walking Business.”