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Tips for Turning a Hobby into a Sideline Business

Looking for a little extra income, but don’t want to be committed to a part-time job or risk moving up the income ladder? Hobbies often can be turned into a side-hustle generating extra funds for a vacation, new car or even helping to pay off debt.

While every hobby shouldn’t be turned into a business, many can provide extra cash, a creative outlet and enjoyment. According to, 27%1 of Americans use side hustles to help make ends meet, doing everything from party planning to walking dogs to selling plant clippings online. Most earn around $500 a month from their efforts, but many earn $200 or less.2 The income generated varies on the amount of time put into the venture and what the hobby is.

Hobbies aren’t the only thing that can be turned into a side-hustle; skills that can save others time can be turned into a side job, too. The gig economy is thriving and there’s a demand for numerous types of services. Tutoring both online and in person, writing skills such as editing or proofreading, organizational skills, and household skills like child or elder care, even folding laundry can also generate additional income.

Do Your Research

Before offering to plant a garden for a neighbor or start knitting dozens of hats, there are a few things to know. First, make a list of all hobbies that not only might earn some money, but are enjoyable for you and could satisfy a need or a niche you perceive. Next, check online for similar ventures. Review their sales, what platforms are used, price points and the like. Consider speaking with someone who already has a side business for some tips and lessons learned. Don’t want to use the internet? Check local newspaper ads or fliers posted at municipal buildings, libraries and even stores. Is it possible to sell this item in person at local street fairs, farmer’s markets, consignment stores or is it better placed online? Sometimes a combination of both in-person and online may bring in the most profit.

Test Out Your Idea

Try flipping collectibles on eBay, Facebook Marketplace or hold a garage sale. Bring fresh cut flower bouquets from the garden to a farmer’s market. Get a table for handmade items at a street fair or open an Etsy store. How well did these items sell? Was it worth the time and effort? Most of all, was it enjoyable? If the answer was yes, it’s time to get started.

Don’t Forget

Remember that running a business requires marketing and advertising, accounting, invoicing and keeping organized files for the IRS. These tasks are not likely what sparked your interest in developing a side business, but they are necessary if you are going to be successful. In some cases, you may need to learn a new skill to support your business or get some assistance from within your network. Some of the mundane paperwork can be avoided by listing services on apps like TaskRabbit or Rover. However, they take at least 15% in service fees, so after taxes and expenses a $100 gig may turn into $60 profit.3 Also be mindful that some hobbies, like blogging, will take time to generate profit and most will never make you rich.4

Whichever path you choose, make sure goals are set that reflect why you decided to start the side gig, whether it’s to earn more money, explore creative outlets, build skills, or save for something specific. Keep in mind there will be challenges that may make it hard to maintain the original passion. Clients aren’t always patient, and some want services at inconvenient times, which can create stress. Setting goals can help measure how the side-hustle is going and whether it should stay or go.

Each of us has a lifetime of experience that can be leveraged to earn a side income or just to stay active and have some fun.






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