Millions of people every day are making money doing things they truly enjoy doing. Usually when we think of people who are getting paid money to do things they love, we think of millionaire athletes and musicians, but instead what we should be focusing on is how everyday “common” people turn their interests into income.
Writing has always been something I enjoy. While people for years have said the internet is killing journalism and newspapers, it has been a huge outlet for people like me who are interested in writing on the side. I have been fortunate to have been paid to write in the past from time-to-time, but only until recently have I really tried to turn that into a true side income. Hence why I started Young Adult Money two months ago.
While owning a website is a great way to get your name out there and gain some credibility (as well as contacts), turning it into side income can be a long journey. I don’t focus on the money I make from this blog nor do I seek out additional writing jobs at this time. It will potentially take months before I ever got a writing job for another site or make a dime on here. The key to turning interests into side income is persistence and consistency.
My wife is pursuing photography as a side income and it could be months before she makes consistent money from it. Gaining experience (references) and credibility is key for photographers and anyone else trying to make freelance side income. Many will give up before making their first dollar (funny how similar it is to writing).
There are countless hobbies and interests besides writing and photography that can be turned into side income:
- Graphic Design – I paid someone to create the logo and header for this website
- Pet Care – Millions of people own pets. People are willing to pay others to take them on walks, train them, watch them while they are out of town, etc.
- Foreign Languages – Do you speak another language? People are willing to pay you to teach them (or their kids).
- Music Lessons – My friend made $40/hour giving guitar lessons during college. It’s one of the incomes he used to graduate without student debt.
- Spreadsheet Consulting – This is actually another income stream I am working on.
- Catering – Catering can be a highly competitive industry, but once established referral traffic alone could keep you busy.
- Web Design – If you have an interest in web design you can get clients to pay you money for your skills or you can use them to build your own money-making websites.
- Become a Buyer’s Agent – Do you like real estate and looking at homes? Realtors will sometimes have buyer’s agents who work with them to help someone find a house. When we were looking for a home, we went out with a buyer’s agent one Saturday when our realtors were busy. He’s a pilot full-time and does real estate on the side.
- Make Youtube Videos – Sometime soon I plan on writing a blog post about a couple of people who make a lot of money simply by posting a youtube video every day.
The list goes on. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to turning hobbies into income, there are some things to take into consideration when pursuing it.
Some notes on turning hobbies into side income:
- Don’t just make business cards for the hell of it – I know people who do freelance/consulting work who have business cards but don’t use them. Same goes for LinkedIn. You can’t just set it up and then expect it to bring in clients or new contacts. You have to leverage it.
- Don’t expect income right away – It takes a while to get established in a given area. Most successful bloggers will tell you they didn’t make any money the first 3-6 months (some more than a year). It’s about sticking with it and building a presence.
- The first jobs aren’t about the money – The first jobs are all about the value of the referrals. Money is nice, but really what you want are referrals that will put in a good word for you as you become more established.
- Websites can provide credibility – Having a professional-looking website combined with a few referrals can instantly give you credibility. It can also create referral business. I know quite a few consultants who maintain websites simply because it showcases their work and sends clients their way.
- Stick with it – Many “fail” at making money online or through side businesses; those who learn from those failures and continue to stick with it are the ones who will “make it.” So if you don’t succeed at first…adjust your strategy accordingly and keep on trying!
Turning hobbies and interests into viable side or full-time income is not easy. It takes a while to get established. If you stick with it and love what you are doing, it’s not impossible to do what you love and make money while you’re at it.
Take the first step: Decide what value you can bring to the table and find out what people will pay you for that value.
Have you ever turned a hobby into side or full-time income? What advice do you have for others?
Photo by Rick & Brenda Beerhorst