By: Solange Lopes
Got a hobby? If you do, (and yes, knitting ugly Christmas sweaters or counseling your desperate friends counts), there are actually some serious chances you could be turning those hours spent unwinding into some serious cash… or at least some pocket money to buy the shoes, hook up your tired feet with a (much needed) pedicure, or pay off those pesky student loans.
Listen, I get it. As career/business/buy gals (and dudes), fitting in anything in addition to work, kids and those pain-in-the-neck loads of laundry is a challenge. Who has time to devour romantic books anymore, when we’re fifty-shades-of-too-busy? And when we have time, we’d rather spend it watching ratchet TV to give our overworked neurons a break. Ok maybe not everybody, but you know, some of us…
[Related: A Side Hustle Can Enhance Your Career]
So how do you turn a hobby into actual coins when you have limited time, limited energy, and all kinds of to-do’s on your life laundry list? Because that’s kinda where a lot of us are right now — somewhere between “I forgot my kids’ names,” and “I left my keys in the car.” (Ok, those are extremes, but you get my drift.)
I know I’ve asked myself the question many times over when it comes to my love for writing. The first time a friend asked me if I monetized my writing, I gave her such a big side eye I thought my eyeballs were going to remain stuck. Did you see the size of my laundry loads? But I later picked myself (and my eyeballs) back up, started looking around and realized that there is indeed a plethora of ways to turn that thing you like to do into extra cash, and even fit in the laundry in between.
Put it on Social Media
Social media has become the single most powerful marketing tool ever made. After all, where else can you freely get to advertise pretty much anything (with some exceptions of course)? If you happen to love knitting ugly Christmas sweaters, why not show them off on Instagram or Facebook? Why not share your expertise in 140 characters or less on Twitter, or through a cool video on YouTube?
Now more than ever, the opportunities to put yourself out there are endless. Take advantage and experiment with your hobbies on social media. If you’re open to showcasing your work online, this could be a great way to start monetizing the stuff you love to do as well.
Freelancing is another great way to start earning some coins for those things you enjoy doing. Love to write? Start freelance writing and offer your services to blogs, websites or businesses. Are you into intro decorating? Start freelancing for local clients by offering your services at a discount or even for free to start building a clientele. Are you a fitness buff? Volunteer to teach classes at your local gym, and start asking for money once you’ve proven yourself.
There are many areas in which you can use your talents to freelance for small and large clients. Actually, freelancing has become a way of life for many in the new gig economy. Start small by researching potential clients, or even offering your service for free to build your portfolio.
Blog About It
Yes, there are a gazillion blogs out there… but blogs still remain one of the most powerful and most influential ways to share your talents and hobbies. People are hungry for information in all areas, from hunting to scrapbooking. There are virtually no limits to what you can blog about.
So start today, and set up a blog around your hobby, passion or talent. Your biggest advantage, and limit at the same time, is that blogging is a labor of love. You must blog about something you truly enjoy in order to keep up with its demands and the competition. While blogging about a hobby you enjoy may prove fulfilling, making money out of your blog may take some time, so be patient!
Join a Network Marketing Company
There are a number of traditionally-called network marketing companies out there, recruiting for people with a certain passion/interest in their business area. If you’re not inclined to start a blog, or would rather a more structured environment to pursue your hobby, these may be a god alternative.
If you’re a fitness and health addict for instance, numerous companies such as ItWorks and Herbalife are always expanding their openings for brand ambassadors. These can be great opportunities to share your passion for exercise and healthy living and make some coins in the process.
Become an Affiliate
Whether you decide to share your hobby through blogging, on social media, or through freelancing and other ways, you can actually get affiliated with brands selling products in your area(s) of interest. If you’re active online and on social media, and have a decent following, you can now score some pretty decent deals with companies interested in marketing their products/services to a larger audience.
Look for affiliate opportunities with companies that market products or services related to your passions and interests. Most of these companies offer an affiliate program that you may be able to participate in. You may also sign up with third-parties like Massive Sway or CJ.com, which may offer affiliate opportunities with brands as well. Then all you have to do is tap into that hobby/talent/passion of yours, and bring in the coins.
Make it and Sell It!
If you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty (literally), then you may look into actually producing selling goods out of your hobby. My friend N. is great at making candles and has started selling them to her close network of friends. You could do the same, and even expand your network to online sites such as Etsy, Craigslist, or Ebay.
Go All Out and Create a Real Business
Now this is the ultimate step when you actually go all out and create a real business — as in actually filing for a business tax ID, having a business plan ready to go, and picking the business structure of your choice. While it may take time to get to this point, you want to keep it in the back of your mind.
Many entrepreneurs have started by just practicing a hobby or exploring a talent or passion. These have later gone on to become full-fledged, successful businesses. So why not yours?
Solange Lopes is an author, CPA and writer/blogger. She blogs about career and lifestyle for professional women in her blog The Corporate Sister. She’s passionate about writing and women’s issues.
Ellevate Network is a global women’s network: the essential resource for professional women who create, inspire and lead. Together, we #InvestInWomen.