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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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