6 Ways to Make Money Doing What You Love

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A guest post by Suzannah Windsor Freeman of Write It Sideways.

I have always loved to write.

As soon as I learned to string words together into meaningful sentences, I imagined my future career would have something to do with writing.

Unfortunately, life happened. I didn’t become a novelist, a journalist, or a freelance writer. I became a teacher. Although I enjoyed it, I always had the sinking feeling that my career was not what I was meant to be doing.

Years later, becoming a stay-at-home mom changed everything for me. Without the 9 to 5 grind and endless evenings of planning and marking, I suddenly had a small amount of time each day to do something completely for myself.

So, I wrote. I reignited a lifelong dream.

After a taste of having time to do what I love most, I began to wonder: is writing something I could do for money? In my soul-searching, I thought about the other things I’ve always loved to do, including playing the piano, sketching, and painting.

But there are a few key differences between writing and my other passions:

  • I want to do it every day. Writing is something I not only want to do each and every day, but something I feel I must do. By contrast, I play the piano only a few times a week, and my artistic endeavors have dwindled to a few times a year.
  • I want to share it with other people. When I write, I do it with the intention of being read one day, whereas playing the piano and painting are hobbies I do only for myself.
  • It’s an area in which I’m skilled. I have excelled in English and creative writing my whole life, while my piano playing and art skills are only mediocre.
  • I’m motivated to learn more about it. I’m naturally drawn to professional development when it comes to writing. I want to know all there is to know about the craft, and practice regularly. While I’d love to be able to play the piano like a concert pianist, or paint like Van Gogh, I’m not compelled to put in the time and effort necessary to make that happen.

Writing, I discovered, is a passion I could successfully monetize for all of these reasons, and that’s exactly what I’ve committed to do.

Should you try to make money from your hobby?

Is it something you want to do every day? Something you want to share? Something you’re good at? Something you want to learn more about?

If you’ve answered yes to these questions, there’s one more consideration.

If you’re thinking of trying to make either a full-time or secondary income from your hobby, first ask yourself:

Is there a market for what I have to offer?

Like a fabulously-written book no one wants to read, some interests appeal to only a small audience and, therefore, offer little in the way of a market.

In the case of writing, the market is big enough to sustain my goals of making an income (in my case, a secondary income). If your hobby has a similarly large audience–or a strong niche market–consider these 6 ways to earn some money:

  1. Sell a product. Writers can sell books. Knitters and sewers can design their own fashions. Woodworkers can market home furnishings. Musicians can record CDs. Artists can sell their paintings. Many hobbies hold the opportunity to create and sell a product, through a local business, a craft market, or online.
  2. Write an eBook. The digital age has arrived, and you no longer need a traditional publisher to write, market, and sell your book. EBooks can be fiction, but more often they’re information-packed guides for people who want to know more about a topic. You can write an eBook about virtually anything, so the sky’s the limit.
  3. Freelance. Magazines, journals, newsletters and blogs all present opportunities for you to write about what you love doing. Articles can be informational, but don’t necessarily need to be. Try teaching a new strategy, sharing some great resources, or telling an anecdote about your hobby.
  4. Perform. If your passion is an artistic one, why not plan a performance? Give a concert in the park, play at weddings and social functions, join a local festival line-up.
  5. Offer a service. Skilled writers can offer editing and proofreading, mentoring, or manuscript evaluations. Advertise your tailoring services if you’re handy with a needle. Love flower-arranging? Offer to do centerpieces and bouquets for special events.
  6. Teach workshops. If you’re an authority in your subject area, people will be willing to pay money for your expertise. Try teaching a course through your a college, the library, a community center, or online.

Not all of these monetizing options will be possible or appealing for everyone, but a few well-chosen strategies can help put you on the road to making an income doing what you love.

One caveat: Be sure the very thing you love doesn’t become a burden once it’s something you must do, instead of something you choose to do.

The best way to determine whether you should make money from your hobby is to trial one strategy at a time. Write a few articles, teach a workshop, or sell a product for a few months. Do you still enjoy doing it? Are you making a bit of cash?

Decide whether you’ll continue, and what strategies you’ll implement to make it happen.

What’s your hobby or passion? Have you ever considered trying to make money doing what you love? Do you have other tips to share on monetizing your hobby?

For quality advice on writing and productivity, visit Suzannah at Write It Sideways.

Download a copy of my FREE eBook, How to Live a Meaningful Life, and receive regular email updates.

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Comments

  1. Jean Sarauer says:

    I’m a writer too and have done it for love and money, although not necessarily at the same time. I’ve done a lot of experimenting and have found that some of the better paying options (technical writing, for one) are definitely not my thing. Fortunately, I’m a minimalist at heart so my lifestyle allows me to do the type of writing I enjoy.
    .-= Jean Sarauer´s last blog ..Celebrating Our Blogging Success =-.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Doing it for love is a lot more fun! Technical writing is not my thing either Jean. Having a blog is such a wonderful creative outlet and potentially a great way to make money too. Thank you for commenting.

    • Hi Jean,
      Don’t think I’d be terribly interested in technically writing, either :)
      I think it’s less about how much you make, and more about being able to do what you love for any amount of money. If someone wants to pay me for something I do all the time anyway, who am I to argue? Thanks!

  2. Wonderful post, Suzannah. I can so relate to your desire to do what you love. I’ve only recently found an outlet for my writing, my visual brain and my independent spirit that seems to fit into what I love. I’ve dabbled in other areas, but always came back to writing. It is what I did as a child and I think that’s why it speaks so directly to my heart. Lovely inspiration and really great guidance for those of us in the early phases of new ventures. Thanks for bringing this wise woman to your readers, Barrie.
    .-= Katie´s last blog ..Taking Stock and Letting Go: Week 4 of the 7-Week Life Cleanse =-.

    • Thanks, Katie :) I know what you mean about ‘dabbling in other areas.’ We might be good at or enjoy many things, but there’s usually that one talent or passion that never quite leaves us. For me, that’s writing.

      One thing I love about writing is that there are no physical limitations. When I play the piano, I’m somewhat limited by the size of my hands and my left/right coordination. I can get better at playing, but only to a certain degree. For me, writing is something I know I can constantly improve.

      All the best for your own writing!
      .-= Suzannah Windsor Freeman´s last blog ..What Are Your All-Time Favourite Poems? =-.

  3. that’s exactly what i am doing now, however i didn’t quit my day job yet and that’s why i still can’t fully enjoy what i love, i am sure i will quit soon, thanks for this post
    .-= farouk´s last undefined ..If you register your site for free at =-.

  4. Farnoosh says:

    So very very insightful…..thank you for articulating on how a hobby may or may not turn into income-generation and doing it so well. Answering those questions honestly is probably the first step – and I am glad how I fared when it comes to asking them about my writing!! Maybe someday. Until then, I will be refining it, following your advice and sharing this with my husband immediately! Thank you Suzannah!

  5. Hi Suzannah,

    I used to think that a hobby is merely a hobby which will never bring you any money but to waste it. Your post here has increased my belief that hobby make you generate more money since you do business or work based on your true passions! For that, me and my girlfriend, we have quit our day job to just give full concentration on blogging business. Although, we find the journey is quite tough, but we have already met our satisfaction in our lives proceeding something we love.

    Thank you for sharing very useful & inspiring information here. Cheers!

    Tariq n Shaheera

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