A Blog, a Channel, a Shop: Making your hobby into a passive income generator
We recently talked about passive income and how it can help you better your finances without having to cut more expenses – something that’s often necessary, as there are only so many things we can stop paying for. Luckily for us, there are ways to turn those things we already enjoy doing into extra income.
Now, I’m going to start with a warning: You should only do these things if you already enjoy the activities themselves, hence why I’m mentioning hobbies. Also, you usually will only be able to make any money from them if you’re experienced with them, as naturally a beginner will find it much more difficult to get anyone’s attention. Last, remember there’s a chance you might fail in this endeavor – as in, you might not really end up making much money, or any at all.
The good thing is, if this is a hobby for you, you probably won’t mind if it takes a while before you start seeing any income.
The Right Channel for Your Hobby
This is the first step here. Depending on what your hobby is, and what you want to do with it, you’ll have to choose among several possible options. The main one, however, is simple: Do you want to earn income from doing your hobby or from teaching it? This will in most cases heavily color how you proceed.
If you want to teach…
Teaching people is a hugely popular activity, and one you can actually perform without needing to sink a lot of time. For this task, you’ll ideally want a youtube channel or personal blog, depending on the type of task you’re teaching. You may even want to use both.
The difficulty here will be the same as with all content creators – specifically, gaining enough traction that you start attracting people to your website or youtube channel without having to work too much for it. Sadly, there’s no easy way to attain this – some people manage it without much effort, while for others it can be almost impossible.
The one thing you want to keep in mind is making your content accessible. While there are definitely people looking for content for all difficulties, the simpler you make your explanations the better. The most successful cooking channels, for example, will go down into the details on how to do everything – sometimes even explaining the chemistry behind it. People who already know can always skip content, while newcomers will feel more engaged if a guide they’re following skips nothing at all.
If you want to just do your thing…
Making money out of just doing your hobby as usual can get much trickier. This approach is only advised if you have a hobby that results in a product, which in this case would mean being into crafts or some arts. While other people, like cooks, can sure make money doing what they like, the moment they start making them to fulfill orders it also stops being a hobby and becomes a side job.
The first step here is then making sure you have a product to offer that others may want to buy. While selling crafts or arts items like crocheting, paintings, embroideries and the like isn’t too easy, that’s why this would count as passive income: You produce what you like, as you like, then offer it up until it sells, if it does. No skin off your back if it never sells, as you would’ve made it anyway, and it’s a nice surprise if it does. Who knows, maybe it’ll grow big enough that you’ll be able to turn it into a career.
The main site for arts and crafts in this case would be etsy, although depending on where you are you might have extra options, that being via internet (Instagram is also a popular place to show crafts for sale) or in person, like local markets. Sure, a local market isn’t precisely passive but it’s an occasional activity you may even do for fun, or to connect with others with alike interests.
For certain arts that’s not enough, however. Specifically, people into drawing or writing will find those a bit more difficult. For writers, there are dozens of possible markets to publish, both for free and for a fee, the most famous one being Amazon’s own Kindle store – although Google and Apple also have markets for books where you can self-publish. For those into drawing, there’s a large community around patreon for it you may want to try – be aware, though, that Patreon asks for recurring donation, and thus any potential donors you might have will want to see new things on the regular.
And if you’re into entertaining others…
Last one, and the least secure of them all. For dancers or performers, there’s certainly a market using social networks and video websites. Many a dancer or singer has gone viral after their youtube video or Instagram live is seen by the right person, after all. This is a possibility, then.
However, don’t expect to make money like this. While some people do, they’re the minority – and monetizing social media presence can be much trickier than it seems at first. Performers should assume social media presence is a vehicle for advertising rather than a place to make a living. Even if you manage to make money with these, chances are it won’t be much – and you’ll be required to constantly provide your followers with new content, making this method of earning income hardly passive at all.