Earning money with hobbies: 13 activities you can do to earn money on the side (one of them you probably already do!)

Earning money with hobbies: 13 activities you can do to earn money on the side (one of them you probably already do!)

We all have hobbies – activities to which we devote many hours of our free time because they are fun and fulfilling.

Some of these activities could even become more than just recreation. If we take them a little more seriously, we can even make money with a hobby. Depending on how you use your talents and interests, you can get anything from free stuff to extra spending money to a full-fledged business selling items online. And doable thanks to an activity you do anyway. Probably you already have a hobby that brings in money!

So here are 13 hobbies and ideas on how to make money, be it as a freelancer, affiliate, by having many followers or with your own business.

13 profitable hobbies to make money

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1. Writing

how to make money from writing

Writing and publishing texts online can easily be much more than a mere hobby. You can build a career on it or position yourself as an expert in a particular field. You can create a platform where you share yourself or offer your talent.

The most obvious way to make money from writing is to offer your services freelance on sites like Upwork or Fiverr, or by contacting blogs directly and offering them your writing for a fee. Good content writers with expert knowledge in specific niches are usually always in demand.

However, if you have the discipline and know how to write good blogposts, you can alternatively build your own business around your blog – with the readership finding its way to you sooner or later.

Whether you’re into technology, travel or cooking, our guide to starting a blog that can become your business tells you what you need to know.

You can find more English inspiration here:

  • Best Self Co. blogging to sell productivity tools.
  • Wait But Why has built a business around Tim Urban’s fun and insightful ideas.

Reading Tip: You want to start your own online store and need inspiration? We’ll show you 20 great Shopify examples.

2. I llustrations and design

how to make money from drawing

"What can you sell that makes a lot of money", you may wonder? Art and graphics can be an idea. As with writing, you can also work very well as an illustrator and designer on a freelance basis. Especially on Fiverr newcomers with different styles meet people who need creative help. From marketing projects to portrait drawings, everything is possible.

If you want to keep the artistic control over your work, you can also print your work on t-shirts, posters or canvases and sell them. It’s important to understand that in order to turn your art into a successful product, you should serve a specific market or create a clear brand. The former is usually easier.

Hate Copy is a good example of a business started by an artist by printing his work on sellable materials and objects.

And you don’t even need a lot of startup capital. Print-on-demand businesses are an almost risk-free way to make money by selling your art on clothing and other items. All you have to do is create prototypes of your products and post them online. Once you generate sales and know what’s popular, you can invest in your inventory.

Your own print-on-demand business in 30 minutes

In this compact tutorial, you’ll learn how to start your own store and sell your designs – without having to buy inventory first! Plus, we’ll tell you how to make your store legally compliant and market it.

More info can be found here:

3. Music

Watch the video with German subtitles: click the cogwheel, select "Subtitles", "Translate automatically and put "German" a.

Earning money from home works especially well with one hobby: music! You can direct this hobby business thereby in different directions.

For starters, you can take the traditional approach – produce and sell music. You record your own songs or albums, sell them on your website or host them on a platform like SoundCloud.

You can also create different kinds of sounds that are not full-fledged songs or albums, but shorter sections like beats or samples. Beats are short hooks composed of various sounds and are meant to be background for musician:s, while samples are a part of a sound recording that can be reused elsewhere.

You can list beats on third party sites that work similar to stock photo sites. Essentially, people buy your music to use in their own content. These tend to be shorter and rely more on instrumentals and less on song lyrics. There are plenty of websites where you can list your beats, like Airbit and BeatStars. Airbit paid out $32 million to its art creators in 2019, while BeatStars sellers earned an estimated $40 million – double what they made in 2018.

Samples by Vanity sells samples that artists:inside can remix and put together to create their own music.

Earning money with hobbies: 13 activities you can do to earn money on the side (one of them you probably already do!)

You can make your audio exclusive or non-exclusive. If you sell exclusives, you can make more money, but you need to produce high-quality work, like SoundOracle. His excellent work has earned him a stellar reputation – and his sounds have been used in more than 20 Grammy-winning songs. He sells his beats with both exclusive and non-exclusive rights.

4. Comedy

how to make money from jokes

Are you good at making people laugh? You always know what memes are hot right now?

Why wouldn’t you try using your humor to find an online audience?

You probably also know a whole bunch of Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or Twitter accounts that do nothing but share funny content or have found their very own comedy niche.

Once you’ve built an audience, you can work with brands to create sponsored posts. You can also print your best running gags on t-shirts or other products.

Here are a few good English examples:

5. Cooking

how to make money from cooking

Food has become an art form. People invest a lot of time in its preparation and shoot artistic photos. Not only amateur chefs get involved, but also people with adventurous tastes in search of something new.

You can easily share this hobby with the world. You can start a blog, become active on YouTube or share recipes on Instagram, in addition you can sell your own cooking products. Some even have their own food truck on the road.

Reading Tip: How to make money from Instagram (no matter how many followers you have).

According to Google, 59 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds take their cell phones into the kitchen to find information and recipes on the Internet. So there’s definitely a market of do-it-yourself cooks looking for content (and products).

For more ideas, click here:

6. Gardening

Watch the video with German subtitles: click the gear, choose "subtitles, "Translate automatically" and stell "German a.

There is a real hype about plants and gardening has seen a huge increase in popularity – not least because people are spending more time at home. It’s a hobby that can make you happier, healthier and maybe even richer. Millennials spent $13 billion on plants in a single year.

The Bloombox Club company has also discovered the business for itself. You distribute plants on a subscription basis or for one-time purchase.


Another idea in the plant business is to sell ancillary products so your customers can indulge in their own gardening hobbies. For example, the technology seller ēdn has included an indoor garden in its range for this purpose.

Earning money with hobbies: 13 activities you can do to earn money on the side (one of them you probably already do!)

7. Travel

how to make money traveling

If wanderlust has bitten you and there are still dozens of countries on your "bucket list," here’s a great reason to boost your Airmiles account.

According to Sarah Owen, digital media editor& Marketing at the trend forecasting company WGSN, is to travel the world one of the coming lifestyle trends. So influencers are increasingly sharing their travel experiences and not so often the clothes in their closet.

Be sure to read our guides on How to make money on Instagram (and YouTube, respectively). Check out more tips on monetizing travel content there.

You will also indirectly benefit from the lifestyle of the "digital nomad" Benefit as you satisfy your own wanderlust. This way you can introduce your products to completely new markets. You can run an online business anywhere there’s Wi-Fi.

Oopsmark and Boreal Folk Apothecary are good examples of companies whose founders live the digital nomad lifestyle.

8. Photography

how to make money from photos

If you have a good camera and know how to use it, there are many ways to earn money on the side.

You can become a freelance photographer, but then you are limited to local gigs, which you can easily reach.

You can reach more customers by selling your photos through photo agencies or as prints. Or you can use your photography skills to build an audience on Instagram and monetize it. Just choose a niche or lifestyle you want to represent.

Fun Fact: Professional photo accounts are the second most lucrative on Instagram in terms of what brands pay for sponsored posts. You don’t need hundreds of thousands of followers either.

Be sure to read our guide "How to sell photos online" (in English). There you will find many more details about monetizing photos.

9. Gaming

Watch the video with German subtitles: click the gear, select "Subtitle", "Automatically translate" and "German a.

For a long time now, no one has been skeptical about the idea of making money playing their favorite games. YouTube celebrities like Gronkh, who has 4.9 million subscribers and over 3 billion video views in 2021, show that you can pay for viewers’ attention. Earning money from home has never been easier!

In this case, thanks to the "Let’s Play"-Make money from video formats, especially if you stream live on Twitch. Just like on YouTube, revenue is generated through advertising. In addition, with a large community, you can also earn money through subscription models and one-time donations. This means that you will sometimes earn more and sometimes less, but as a starting point this is pretty good.

Although you need to invest a lot of time in your hobby to generate a good income, it can still be a lot of fun if you choose games that you enjoy and that showcase your personality.

Gaming is a fast-growing industry that is run with heart and soul. If you are passionate about games and understand the needs of the market, you already have a real starting advantage.

You can, for example, open a business aimed at gamers like you.

Podcast Tip: Janet Carstensen also had a dream of starting her own business around gaming. It became a super successful small company for gaming chairs! In this exciting episode of our podcast, Janet reveals how she went about it and what tips she has for your business. In addition, you can find out how Janet was selected for "Die Hohle der Lowen" has convinced.

10. DIY products

Watch the video with German subtitles: click the cogwheel, select "Subtitles, "Automatically Translate" and put "German a.

If you like to work with your hands and make candles, bath salts, jewelry and other do-it-yourself items, you can also share that with the world and make money with homemade items.

"Handmade stands for quality, care and uniqueness that a department store can’t offer. You can test the market for your products by selling them in small quantities to friends, family and on Etsy. If your products are well received, you can build a real business.

Here are a few ideas on how to make money. This is all about DIY businesses along with advice on how you can build them:

  • Candles (Guide, in English)
  • Bath Salts (Guide, in English)
  • Soap (Guide, in English)
  • Jewelry
  • Furniture (podcast, in English)

11. Brew beer


Home brewing or making your own beer at home is next on our list of hobbies that can make you money. In 2018 alone, the global market for home-brewed beer had an estimated value of $12 million.

If you like to experiment or do your own brewing, there could be a realistic business opportunity there, because you can make money with homemade stuff here, too. The Brooklyn Brew Shop sells homebrew kits and accessories so its clientele can take up the hobby themselves.

If you want to go this route, be sure to familiarize yourself with the legal requirements and your local jurisdiction. Alcohol products come with additional restrictions and regulations – and not knowing about them can end up costing you a lot of time.

12. Coffee


Selling coffee online is a great way to turn a common passion into a business idea. Globally, people drink more than 400 billion cups of coffee each year, fueling an industry worth $60 billion annually. And since coffee drinkers have become accustomed to getting their caffeine kick at home, now is the best time to make this opportunity work for you. If coffee is one of your own passions, this could be next on your list of lucrative hobbies.

Whether you’re always on the hunt for the best coffee, can make a perfectly frothed cappuccino, or just sit down with a book to your morning cup, coffee drinkers can take this business idea in different directions.

Creative globetrotters Jeff Campagna and Tania LaCaria found that coffee mixes well with one of their other passions: motorcycling. They opened their own motorcycle garage, Steeltown Garage Co., complete with coffee shop and merchandise for sale. With their hobby business, they cater to an entire community.

Watch the video with German subtitles: click the cogwheel, select "Subtitles", "Translate automatically" and put "German a.

Here you can find more ideas for your coffee business:

13. Memberships


When it comes to what’s a good sell, memberships are a great business model. Because they give you recurring income. You often receive payments automatically, depending on the payment method chosen by your customers. Companies specializing in memberships make money by charging their customer base a recurring fee in exchange for products and/or services.

This is where the hobby aspect comes in: memberships can be based on almost anything, in almost any niche. Gardeners might take inspiration from the California Native Plant Society. These memberships grant access to educational content, events and discounts at partner businesses.

Danielle Spurge has turned her craft hobby into a full-blown business. Now her company, The Merriweather Council, sells memberships to help entrepreneurial decision makers leverage their talents and start their own sustainable artisanal businesses.

Earning money with hobbies: 13 activities you can do to earn money on the side (one of them you probably already do!)

The possibilities here are literally endless – all you need is a hobby and some imagination to get the ideas for your own membership-based business off the ground.

How to make money from a hobby

To start a business based on your hobby, you need to take the following steps:

  • Validate your business idea: conduct market research to make sure there is a demand for what you offer.
  • Find a company name: Give your business a unique identity.
  • Create a plan: a business plan will keep you on track and help you reach your goals.
  • Understand your company’s finances: set up business accounts, payment processing and other monetary matters.
  • Develop your product or service: this is where you turn your hobby-inspired offer into something customers are willing to pay for.
  • Choose a business structure: Legitimize your business and protect your personal assets.
  • Research licenses and regulations: make sure you’re operating your business legally.
  • Choose your software systems: Build your website (or online store), set up accounting software, and get the rest of your tech stack up and running.
  • Find a business location: Determine where you can operate your business, whether it’s from home or another location.
  • Plan workload and team size: hire help when needed, depending on your plans.
  • Start your business: Let the world know!

If you earn money with a hobby

When you start selling, you need to keep track of money coming in and money going out. This eases tax time, simplifies the process in the event of an audit, and protects your personal assets. It also helps you make sure your business stays profitable. It’s a good idea to set up accounting software to manage your books with it.

Monetize your hobbies

I enjoy writing, so I’ve been earning a bit on the side as a freelancer since school days. I also like to dance, so I started a Shopify store and do dropshipping for LED dance shoes.

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Our small side projects are mostly hobbies that we enjoy doing for free, and which have developed into real businesses that we run with extraordinary passion.

So if you want to start something new but don’t know exactly how to get started, first ask yourself what interests you and what you’re good at.

What hobby do you pursue in your spare time that you can build into something bigger?

The banner image comes from Burst (where you can find free photos, by the way)!)

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Frequently asked questions about earning money with a hobby

What hobbies can make you money?

What to consider to make money from the hobby?

How can you earn money with your own hobby?

Posted by Hendrik Breuer: Hendrik is the editor of the German Shopify blog. Would you like to publish a guest article? Then please read this guide first.

This article by Braveen Kumar originally appeared in English on Shopify.com blog and has been translated.

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