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10 Side Businesses You Can Start from a Hobby

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Refurbish FurnitureWhat many people don’t realize is that the hobbies that they have can be turned into legitimate side businesses. If you enjoy doing something, and do it well, there might be someone willing to pay you for it. One of the great things about technology now is that you have the ability to get the word out on your hobby, and your ability to provide something of value to someone else.

As you consider how your hobby might be able to help you make a little extra money on the side, think about how you could sell it, and how you can turn it into a real moneymaker. And, to get you started, here are 10 side businesses that you can start from a hobby (in alphabetical order):

  1. Blogging: This is one of the most popular side businesses. If you set up a blog, and enjoy writing, there’s no reason not to try to monetize your blog, and try to make money from your hobby.
  2. Catering: Do you like to cook? You can provide your culinary services to others. You can bake and cook for others, including providing meals for others. Even if you don’t want to do everything that comes with catering, you can still providing cooking services, including specialty desserts, and putting together freezer meals for others.
  3. Event planning: I know people who thrive throwing parties. However, it can get costly to always be entertaining. If you are talented at putting on events, hire out your services. This way, you can enjoy putting together great parties — and save money as well.
  4. Furniture refurbishing/refinishing: Many people enjoy projects that allow them to refurbish furniture. However, there’s only so much refurbishing you can do before you run out of room in your house. Instead, sell the results of your labors — or hire out to do custom jobs for others — and you can enjoy your hobby, keep your house clutter-free, and make money. I have a friend who makes money by refinishing furniture to look antique, and she loves it.
  5. Garden consulting: If you have a green thumb, and love to garden, you can offer your services as a garden consultant. Help others learn how to lay out a garden, and help them learn how to fertilize, as well as figure out the best plants for a particular region. If you specialize in organic gardening, even better.
  6. Instruction: If you have knowledge to share as a result of your hobby, you can teach classes, or provide one-on-one instruction. I used to be a piano teacher. This is a great way to earn money from a music hobby. Other hobbies that are friendly to instruction include fly-tying, furniture-building, dance, theater, and painting. Teach others how to do what you enjoy, and you could earn.
  7. Knitting, crochet, sewing, quilting, etc.: These hobbies offer great opportunities to make money. My sister-in-law sells crocheted doll clothes on Etsy. Additionally, she creates her own patterns to sell. This is possible with knitting, sewing, and quilting, as well as crochet. If you spend a couple hours knitting while watching TV each night, go ahead and start selling what you make.
  8. Personal shopping: Like shopping? Go ahead and do it for someone else. There are plenty of people out there who don’t have the time and energy to go shopping. You can turn your love of shopping into help others. Become a personal shopper, and get extra points if you can be deal consultant, getting your clients the best bargains.
  9. Photography: One of my friends used to take pictures for a hobby. She began taking pictures of her friends’ children, and soon she had a business on her hands. You can hire out to take pictures of weddings and other events, as well as provide portraiture for families. You can also do something similar as a videographer.
  10. Scrapbooking: If you know how to make attractive scrapbook pages, some people might hire you to create beautiful pages for their memories. You can even assemble entire themed scrapbooks for clients who want an attractive way to display milestones, but don’t know to do it.

What home business ideas do you think you could start from a hobby?

(Photo: The Pulitzer)

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14 Responses to “10 Side Businesses You Can Start from a Hobby”

  1. Stacey says:

    Yikes! Taking someones wedding photos as a “hobby on the side” is a dangerous slide. What if you screw it up? Are your ducks in a row for a lawsuit? I’m guessing probably not.
    Professional photographers everywhere would appreciate you rethinking you’re “It’s so easy to be a photographer and charge people money” approach, especially when it comes to someone’s wedding….
    And if you are looking for a wedding photographer, remember: you get what you pay for!

    • mannymacho says:

      Really? I can see maybe getting sued if you carelessly lose all of the photos or something, but it would be difficult to fault a photographer if not everything came out exactly how you like it.

      Photographers are usually not credentialed, and all you really need is a nice camera, photoshop, and experience. People will charge less if they have less experience, and many people appreciate that, especially since they know the whole industry is very overpriced.

      • Matt says:

        What if camera breaks or something like that. If you worked for a photography company or where a professional I’m sure you would have insurance to protect yourself in a lawsuit.
        But a lot of these businesses have the same problem with liability.

    • saladdin says:

      It doesn’t matter how the photos turn out. They will all be burned after the divorce any way.

  2. Glenn Lasher says:

    I would likewise be cautious on the catering front. Will your kitchen pass a health inspection? Are you sure? It’s one thing to feed your family and friends, but another altogether when you start feeding paying customers.

    On another front, I have turned my hobby as an audiophile into a side business doing sound engineering and DJing. It is actually a lot less inovlved than I thought it was going to be.

    • Scott says:

      There was an article in our paper about this a month or two ago. From what I remember, our state (Virginia) does not allow catering out of your home. You have to set up a completely separate shop and have it inspected, which creates a pretty hefty startup cost.

      • Seth says:

        Yeah, I know others who have looked into it as well, and found the same. It can be possible to have a personal kitchen approved in some states, but there are strict restrictions. For starters, I know there is a zero pet rule regardless of how they may be kept separate from the area.

        But, I do also know others who have rented kitchens that exist just for the purpose of on-demand catering. So, there can be a compromise between trying to do it in home, vs. renting a building.

  3. I would HIGHLY advise you to rethink what you are saying about photographers, specifically wedding photographers…you might be right if the wedding is taking place in town hall and theres four people there but REALLY READ the following link and think again…

    http://www.kristenboothblog.net/2012/01/for-brides-why-wedding-photographers-are-so-expensive/

  4. Wilma says:

    Got an Etsy account a while back but never got around to putting any of my blankets on it for sale. I see more hassles than money coming from it. Quilts are an impulse buy and photos of anything aren’t as good as seeing it in person. No matter how many pictures you post or how close up or nice they are.

    I’m very confident in my craftsmanship but my people skills and patience are lacking. Once put some of my quilts up at a yard sale. People can be so rude or have no idea what they’re looking at. I unfortunately live in Amish Country here in PA. I don’t sit with a dozen others working on a blanket and I never use a sewing machine but peoples preconceived notions of how those quilts are actually made are usually dead wrong.

  5. Jeff Crews says:

    I have hired many freelance writers….definitely brings in some nice, extra income for them. Win/Win for both parties!

    • TKay says:

      Hello! I love to write and have recently been trying to find a way to make a little money doing it. Would you e-mail me some advice? I appreciate it. ~TKay

  6. Derek says:

    I have been volunteer coaching for a number of years and have turned in that hobby by running camps, clinics and leagues for youth. I like the idea of bringing in a little extra doing something you really enjoy. Great Post!

  7. Jenn says:

    In this day and age, doesn’t everybody do something “on the side” to earn extra cash? These are great ideas though! I have one to add: fitness instruction or teaching to all gym rats out there.

  8. Layla says:

    I suggested an idea to my friend who is extremely gifted at art, and also a graduate of art school…and loves working with kids; to consider holding art classes at her home, to teach kids (and adults) who might be interested in classes. Basically the same way a music teacher or tutor teaches their skill but it would be for art. Personally I’m an adult, and would gladly pay to be taught how to do some drawings and improve on what little art skills I have, and get more experience.


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