Hobbies – those things you enjoy doing with a bit of time to yourself. Parents may never find time, and single folk may keep themselves busy with dating or social activities. Many people see having hobbies as something you do when you don’t have friends or you live that cat lady life, but hobbies are something everyone should have in their lives. They are also healthy activities that could eventually make you some passive income!
Most people use hobbies to relieve stress for those constantly on the go, weighted with responsibilities and working their lives away. They are also a source of good stress (or eustress1) for those who don’t have enough to do – those without children, a demanding job, or other ways to pass the time. Some hobbies can relieve anger, make you more mindful, and some serve as an emotional outlet for depression or loneliness.
Why not use some of these hobbies as a way to make a little cash on the side? Hobbies that give you a “product” at the end can bring you stock for an Etsy store, wholesale to a retailer, or even a future full-time job. Now, of course, some already use their passions, art, and past hobbies as their career (this isn’t for you, you are already doing it!). But for those of us that haven’t spent every waking moment creating our own business from the ground up, those that have a different career or found themselves on a different path, this could be for you!
It’s playing the long game, with even short-term goals stretched for as long as it takes you. You don’t need to spend hours a day making something to eventually sell. If you are a creator and knit, crochet, paint, write, rock tumble, antique, build, weld, carve or, wrap – you are coming out at the end of your project with not only the accomplishment of finishing something, but you end up with a product you can slowly build! If you are a collector of thimbles, antiques, coins, stamps, comics, or anything you can stick in boxes and take care of, hell, we all know we are hoping to collect that thing that will put your kids through college or build your own private 401k. Don’t just create and give it away to friends or throw it in a Goodwill box; build your store!
Hoarding or Collecting?
When do you start selling? When your collection needs purging! If your living room, art room, or garage can no longer hold the product that you make, that’s the time. This is where the type of hobby you choose to spend your time on can help or hinder you. If you make coffee tables or build Burning Man floats in your spare time, you may have a bit of a space issue. In these cases, the word bespoke is the place for you. Take an order ahead of time from friends of friends with the idea that you will finish it when you finish it. They’ll take it, or they won’t – you’ll be making something either way. Having limited space to hoard your product isn’t a problem for passive income, as you’ll only need to rent out a storage unit if you lean into your hobby and start making real money.
You don’t need to worry about creating quickly to keep up with sales. Remember, this isn’t your career; this is passive income. You work at your own pace with no worries about making a specific number. This is something you are doing anyway, in your own time. However, you also want to make sure you know the difference between holding on to a product you can sell and hoarding crap no one will ever want to buy.
Cash or Cap?
How do you know if what you are making is saleable? Friends and research! Hopefully, you have mouthy friends like I do, who have no issues telling you if what you bring to the table is bank or bust. Leaning on family can always be hit or miss if you have the kind of family that thinks everything you do or make is pure gold. Mom and Dad goggles are strong – they are great for support if you have that, but not great on objectivity. Do research online, looking up the kinds of products you make with other people doing the same. Redbubble, for instance, has millions of items from artists that sell screen print clothing, pins, wall art, home décor, etc. Browse the many creator sites and see the quality of work, price, and sale-ability of your own art.
Many of the most popular hobbies only make money in the wholesale or “bucket” sale areas (like the tumbled crystals below). Still, these can end up making you quite a bit of money and generally don’t take up too much in the way of space.
Keeping it together
I may have one or two too many hobbies myself. Still, I am always trying to incorporate them into my daily life in a way that doesn’t take too much time (we can’t spend our entire life engrossed in hobbies, I suppose) and also trying to find a way to eventually make passive income out of some of them. For this, I try to organize my hobbies with a schedule. I divide them by pure introvert entertainment (reading, movies, Netflix, puzzles) and ones with potential future passive income (rock tumbling, photography, writing, calligraphy). I add social media as a large part of this as well (as much as I genuinely dislike the grind of social media, it is a tool we all need in our back pocket at this point).
Utilize the strengths you already possess for creation by taking something you love and turning it into a joy that works for you further than a well-deserved mental health break or completely disassociate for an hour or two. I won’t detail listing hobbies you could be doing that create product as there are hundreds of list-o-manias for that, but I will post below my goal list for a few of mine!
Setting The Bar (And Pace)
You can see that these goals are small and generic – that’s the point. Nothing too stressful or hurried. They are things you can take in stride, and if life gets too busy to work on them, it’s not the end of the world. They will be there when you get back. The point is that you can always be working towards a goal, even if you don’t feel like you have anything much to look forward to or that your work isn’t worth the fabric it’s printed on. Chances are, someone is willing to chuck a schilling at you for a cute sticker. Whether you do it for a break or to keep your mind busy, the process gives you something to show at the end to anyone who might be interested in dolling out some dough for your doilies!
The Hobby Foyer
I would love to do more hobby chatting with you! Highlighting hobbies, talking tools, and hearing your stories. Chat in the comments: What is your hobby and what does it bring to your life?
1Read more about hobbies and mental health in this article from verywellmind.com