25 Hobbies You Can Turn Into a Business

Wouldn't it be great to parlay your passion into profits? It's easier than ever to make that happen.

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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.

Freelance designers use many online job markets, including Upwork.com and Fiverr.com. Another way to get started is by working locally and growing your business through word of mouth.

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.

3. Blogging

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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.

4. Drawing

 Prometheus72 / Shutterstock.com Prometheus72 / Shutterstock.com

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.

5. Yoga

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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, in many markets, 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.

6. Cooking

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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.”

7. Antiques

Andrey Armyagov / Shutterstock.comAndrey Armyagov / Shutterstock.com

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.”

9. Baking

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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.

11. Organizing

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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 this video 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. There are loads of places to look into, depending on your area of expertise. Check out this compilation from GuestPostTracker.

13. Pet sitting, walking or grooming

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A love of critters great and small has led many pet lovers to start their own businesses, using services like Rover.com to find clients. Here’s a recent article explaining how the online pet-sitting network helps connect sitters and pet owners.

To learn more, check out “Making Extra Money: 7 Steps to Start a Pet-Sitting or Dog-Walking Business.”

14. Photography

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If you’ve got the equipment, the talent and the spunk, get out there and compete with the pros by shooting portraits, weddings, graduations and other events.

As with many freelancers, self-employed photographers must also become adept at marketing, and that includes creating a beautiful website to showcase your portfolios of work.

For more details, check out “4 Ways Creative People Can Make Money Online.”

15. Collecting

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When the collecting bug bites, it’s a hard — and expensive — passion to shake. Some collect salt and pepper shakers, others baseball cards or comic books. No matter. Your love for your collectibles can make you an expert. And expertise offers the ability to buy, sell, trade, consult and advise — all for a profit.

16. Event planning

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Could you transition from planning kids’ birthday parties to organizing corporate events or weddings? Event planning is demanding work, but if you’re the super-organized, creative type who sees the big picture and has the people skills to work with everyone from corporate types to bridezillas, you might be able to pull it off.

Unsure how to get started? Post your services on Fiverr.com. Although Fiverr gigs may not pay much, you can ask happy customers to write testimonials that you can use on your website and in your marketing.

17. Bookselling

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Selling used books underwent a revolution because of the internet. Prices have been driven way, way down, even for rare and collectible books, one longtime bookseller told me. That’s because a customer today needs only to walk into a bookstore with a smartphone to check for a better price elsewhere.

On the other hand, a bookseller today does not need to maintain a storefront. Booksellers can work from home. In an article for the Independent Online Booksellers Association, veteran bookseller Vic Zoschak Jr. advises learning the field by attending book fairs and seminars, reading incessantly and joining professional organizations, including the IOBA and the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America.

18. Retail arbitrage

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Some people make serious money by buying stuff at liquidation and clearance sale prices and then selling them online for a higher price. These sellers may not specialize in any particular items or categories of goods. Rather, they are experts at knowing what sells well and at finding it at low prices.

For a primer, check out “How You Can Make Extra Money Buying Locally and Selling Globally.”

19. Home inspecting

 Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko / Shutterstock.com Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko / Shutterstock.com

If you are handy and know your way around the inner workings of a home, you might be a perfect candidate for a career in home inspecting. Generally, inspectors are licensed by states and can receive training or certification through national industry organizations like the American Society of Home Inspectors. Their services often are required for most home sales.

20. Financial planning

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If your hobby is investing and planning your retirement, becoming a certified financial planner, or CFP, could be a natural second career choice. It offers a good living and the freedom and flexibility that many people wish for, especially after they’ve spent years working for a company.

The job isn’t just research, investing and planning, however. One of the primary roles is working with clients, often educating and reassuring them. Preparation for getting certified includes a college degree in financial planning or a similar background, a rigorous examination and some professional experience or work as an apprentice, according to the CFP Board of Standards.

21. Boating

Andrey Burmakin / Shutterstock.comAndrey Burmakin / Shutterstock.com

Many’s the weekend sailor who dreams of chucking the 9-to-5 life to become a charter boat captain, fishing and sailing for a living. If you live in — or move to — a seaport where fat-walleted tourists are abundant, it can be a reasonable goal. Boatsetter — an online network that connects boat owners, captains and boat renters — offers a rundown of requirements for different types of commercial licenses.

But keep in mind that chartering requires more than just some expertise — it’s a service business, and you’ll do best in this job if you are someone who loves people and doesn’t mind waiting on them.

22. Hosting

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Your cinnamon rolls are to die for, and you love nothing more than creating a cozy, hospitable environment and hosting guests. If so, you may be made for the role of bed-and-breakfast host.

Or maybe not. If hosting is one part blueberry scones and happy guests, another part is midnight plumbing repairs and the fact that you may have nowhere to hide from demanding customers. Before you run out and buy a B&B, you could dabble in this lifestyle by offering a portion of your home — all or part of it — through Airbnb.

23. Property management

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Do you love fixing everything you can get your hands on? Becoming a property manager might be a way to get paid for doing what you enjoy. The work is varied, from finding and screening renters to making repairs and doing grounds maintenance. To manage a single property you may not need much more than being handy, organized and adept at online research. But managing many properties can mean you’ll need business and real estate skills.

The website of All Property Management, a network of professional property management services, has links to state requirements for property managers.

24. Video editing

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Maybe you’re the kind of creative type who compiles and edits friends’ and relatives’ photos and videos into short films. Maybe you’re thinking you’d like to break into the field professionally? Upgrading your skills is the ticket. It may eventually be necessary to enroll in classes, but before you spend money on tuition, take advantage of the many free resources online.

25. Desktop publishing

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Desktop publishing involves using software to create handsome, professional-looking books, brochures, posters and advertisements. Writers and amateur graphic designers who are comfortable in a digital environment may find a career transition to desktop publishing to be the right fit. You can train yourself at your own pace while continuing in your current job. ThoughtCo lists top software programs used in the field, including free ones.

What hobbies do you think you could parlay into money-making ventures? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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