Personal finance

Monetize Your Hobbies for Extra (or Even Full Time) Money

"Do what you love, not what you're good at." It's a sentiment that has thrown the entrepreneurial world for a loop. At its core, though, it's true: if you are going to be pouring your heart and energy into a business, you really should love what you're doing.

But what if you aren't really an entrepreneur (at least, not yet)? What if you have a solid day job but you want to earn a little bit of money on the side? This is where "do what you love, not what you're good at" comes into play for you too. Rather than spend your hard earned free time doing something about which you might not necessarily enjoy, why not monetize one of your hobbies? It's possible. It's so possible that some people have managed to build full time incomes around their hobbies (just look at Heather Armstrong, who has built an empire out of a personal blog).

If you're creative and not afraid to market yourself, just about any hobby can be monetized for extra income. Here are just three hobbies that have proven particularly lucrative.

Arts and Crafts

Do you love knitting? Are you a needle pointing wizard? Do you hate the early part of the year because it's too early to start working on next year's holiday presents? Why not make things you love and set up an Etsy shop? Art and craft based hobbies are absolutely the easiest hobbies to monetize thanks to sites like Etsy and eBay.

The great thing about this particular approach is that they are very low pressure. You simply create as much as you are able. The other great thing about selling via a portal like Etsy is that the shoppers there understand the value of something that has been handmade so, at the very least you'll be able to recoup the cost of your materials plus a little something for your time.


Home brewing has exploded in popularity over the last few years and many people have turned their passion for home brewing into full blown businesses. Charging Hippo in Seattle, for example, is a startup label that Kyle Stevens created because he loved brewing his own craft beers at home and, after realizing that there really is a market for craft and independent brews, started the label and is has started releasing it to the public via local taprooms and brewing festivals. Even if you don't want to go pro, you can still make your own label and sell your creations to your friends.


Yes, seriously! Today anybody who is willing to go through the proper training can learn to fly and, with enough money, can even buy their own planes. Of course, flying is expensive so why not put your new license and plane to use for your community? In Southern Oregon, one pilot pairs his love of flying with his photography skills (another great and monetizable hobby) and takes wide landscape photos of local small towns and then sells prints of the photos to residents.

He is even working on putting together a coffee table book for fans of his work. If you don't have photography skills, you can always use your plane to fly banners that advertise local businesses, offer to do crop dusting, give rides, etc. If you do your research, you can find one of the many pilot shops that hook up affordable gear, so—like with the other hobbies we've mentioned–recouping your investment should be relatively painless.

The point is that there are lots of ways that you can monetize just about any hobby you have. And—if you're willing to really work at it, you might even be able to make your hobby your primary source of income. Talk about doing what you love instead of just what you're good at!

If you have any questions, please ask below!