Turning Your Hobby into a Money-Making Sideline

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

Engaging in a hobby can be a relaxing and rewarding way to spend leisure time. Those who utilize their talents to create often make beautiful, useful or even tasty things for which others are willing to pay. That can turn a hobby into a tidy sideline, bringing in some extra cash. Hobbyists may not ever be able to quit their day job and support themselves with the proceeds of selling the products of their hobby, but it can certainly add some money to the coffers while providing a relaxing and creative outlet.

Do you have a hobby you’d be interested in turning into a money-making sideline? Many people have; here are some tips to help you make it happen:

  • Research demand – Begin by doing a little “market research” to discover who might buy what you make. Have people told you they’re crazy for your homemade scented soaps or candies? If you give your knitted scarves as gifts, what types of reactions do you get from the recipients? Ask friends how much they would consider paying for the items you make – the answers will inform and may surprise you.
  • Determine a marketing strategy – It’s a good idea to locate some places at which to sell your products before you make a bunch you can’t unload. Research some means by which to sell your handcrafted items. Arts and craft fairs? Via a website? At a local boutique or specialty shop? Consider the costs associated with these means of selling (entry or consignment fees or website creation and administration costs) and figure them into your expenses.
  • Source affordable materials – When you’re pumping up production, you’ll be spending more on supplies. It’s a smart idea to discover wholesale or bulk sources of the supplies to help keep your costs down to increase your profit.
  • Carve out a workspace – When it was exclusively a hobby, you may have been able to create from your living room or on the train. Once your hobby becomes a sideline, you’ll want to have a dedicated place to more easily work on projects and conveniently store supplies, away from anything that could cause them damage.
  • Set realistic goals for your enterprise – Sure, you’re excited at the prospect of making some extra money doing something you love – but avoid getting carried away. Although it’s still your hobby, be “businesslike” enough to set modest goals at first, and experience what’s entailed in attaining them with regard to time, expense and effort. Once you know, you can plan your growth accordingly.
  • Keep financial records – It will be gratifying for you to look at your records and determine the amount of profit your hobby has earned. You also will need to claim your income on your tax returns.
  • Tell your product’s “story” – As opposed to mass-produced items, handcrafted items are infused with a personal energy. Your strongest marketing will be in telling customers about what makes your product special and unique – and why you derive so much pleasure from making it.
  • Continue enjoying your hobby! – Remember that your hobby was your hobby in the first place because you enjoyed it and it provided relaxation and fulfillment. When and if that ceases to be the case, go back to making it your hobby – forget the extra income! To lose affinity for your hobby because it’s something you feel you “must” do will rob you of the hobby experience – and that it sad indeed.

The prospect of earning some extra money doing that which we love is compelling. It can be accomplished by following these tips – while retaining your love of the hobby itself.

Bonus Tip:

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