The Perfect Hobby: One That’s Cheap, Makes Money Or Becomes A Business

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2007-05-1538

When I was growing up, I had a lot of hobbies, but most of them just sucked my allowance dry while I enjoyed what they had to offer. I had an aquarium of guppies which I eventually promoted in size and fish variety, I took up piano as well as a number of sports, and collected stamps and coins. The only form of recreation I had that didn’t cost a dime was my interest in collecting various shiny rocks and stones which I picked up from any place I visited.

I didn’t realize of course, that a hobby can be just the opposite. It could help you out a little with your finances if you embark on the right kind.

I suggested a while ago that taking up a hobby that didn’t cost you anything or could cost you very little may probably help you avoid overspending. Since with less idle time which you would conceivably be spending on your new activity, your mind won’t go floating around wondering where to alight next, especially if it happens to be a retail counter in a Great Mall near you. As something to do during your leisure hours, “shopping” or its more harmless sibling called “window shopping,” don’t score high on my recommendations list as this is exactly what you should aim to replace with something less financially draining. Nevertheless, the right interest can be therapeutic and many bored minds will do well on well selected activities.

Even better, you could pick a hobby that actually makes you money! Here are some ways to find and manage one that’s financially friendly.

How To Pick The Right Hobby For Your Enjoyment And Your Wallet

#1 Do some research and determine your potential outlay before getting into something new.


Do a little bit of research on the hobby before committing to it. Does it take a lot of equipment to work with? Will it cause you to fork out a bunch of money on a regular basis? If so, then you may want to reconsider if that model building you’re getting into is not just addicting, but becoming a money pit. Anything that’s large, entails a lot of pricey parts, and requires labor and materials on a regular basis can potentially be hazardous to your wallet. Now if you were on the other side of this equation and you’d like to get into a great revenue producing business, then be the one manufacturing these “hobby kits”, video games, or model supplies.

#2 Check out inexpensive or even “free” hobbies.
Do you read to relax? Going to the library to spend your leisure time there, or perusing internet pages from your favorite sites at work provides us “free” occupation. Cooking is another creative activity that pretty much just piggy backs onto your need to eat. So brushing up on culinary skills is a great choice. The point here is that there are definitely more affordable alternatives to more exotic, complicated and typically costly passions. That’s something you can figure out by doing this sort of analysis. Of course, nobody can stop you if you’re really eager to find yourself in the Great Barrier Reef someday with a camera, or decide to take up polo, and NOT the water kind. It is your money!

#3 Cut down on hobby costs.

So you’re aspiring to be the next Mario Andretti, or you’re really mean on skis. There are still ways to pare down your budget when starting a hobby that has some outlay. Try a few of these techniques:

  • Share your equipment
    Maybe invest in some equipment that can be shared across other like-minded individuals? Not everyone needs to travel to the Alps all at the same time right? Yeah, even though it would be more fun that way.
  • Rent or lease before buying
    Test out the waters with some used equipment before committing to some heavy purchases.
  • Buy used stuff
    Though it’s fun to break in the new materials for your activity, it wouldn’t hurt to start out by using second hand stuff and seeing how it works out for you.
  • Just pick up what you need
    You don’t need to go overboard right away with top of the line merchandise. Have enough to get started. After you’ve gotten the hang of it and you’re a certified expert, you can invest in more 1st class equipment.

#4 Turn your hobby into a business.

You get into a hobby because you like and enjoy it. However, you could become so good at it that you don’t realize it has money making potential! That’s something to explore. There are definitely some recreational activities that can potentially turn into businesses because they happen to result in products that have a market for them.

Some examples? Baking cakes, dressmaking or designing embroidery, fashioning candles, creating art, making jewelry. Taking up a hobby that allows you to hone your skills and serves as a creative outlet may very well be one of those things that can easily become a business. Ready for more possibilities? Here’s more advice on the subject.


If you want to get inspired, here’s how well some people have done with their internet businesses that could’ve just been a hobby to start with.

adsense check

From what I’ve seen, internet based interests are quite easy to turn into some form of money generating scheme: just ask some software programmers out there.

But just don’t let it turn into work. When it’s no longer fun and you’re just doing it for money, then you may as well find another hobby to enjoy.

Copyright © 2007 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Majic May 15, 2007 at 1:41 pm

Yay! Thanks for referencing my article! Sensible advice, even If I do say so myself.

mapgirl May 15, 2007 at 3:16 pm

“Just pick up what you need.”


Every knitter I know is now laughing at you.

There is something called ‘stash’. It’s extra yarn for future projects, leftovers from old ones, etc. No one who knits has no yarn in the house. There is always some tucked away.

I could seriously sell of my stash and end up with $500.00 or more if I sold every last bit. But there is no way I’d do it!

limeade May 15, 2007 at 6:02 pm

Great post. I’ve always got the thought in the back of my mind of how I could monetize a hobby of mine. We’ll see how it goes.


Silicon Valley Blogger May 15, 2007 at 6:58 pm

@ Mapgirl, thanks for calling me on this. I guess there are some hobbies that need extras like you say. My sister is a big knitting freak. She spends gobs of money on her projects and to this day is still ruminating over her plans to make money out of her arts and crafts passion! So mapgirl, do you ummmm…. subsidize your knitting with your blog? 😀 Nice equilibrium if I say so myself!

@limeade, are you talking about your blog :)?

Anitra May 18, 2007 at 7:16 am

Some hobbies might not necessarily make money for you, but they can save you money as long as you follow the other rules above (especially #3). Take bicycling, for example. There are lots of people who bike for fun – but not many who think through the incredible cost-savings of biking as transportation. Even if you only replace one car trip per week (to work or the grocery store), you’ll start saving money. Same thing with hobbies like cooking, knitting, sewing, or other crafts. You might not make money (by selling your product), but you could save yourself money by making things that you would otherwise buy.

amanda October 18, 2007 at 12:48 pm

Just wanted to say I am doing a powerpoint presentation for school on how to pick a hobby and your site was very helpful thanks

Kat August 31, 2008 at 1:14 pm

I started my candle business as a hobby. It doesn’t bring in thousands, but I love it. And there is always overstock…in crafting you can never just “buy what you need” LOL

Monevator November 19, 2008 at 2:35 am

My favourite cheap hobby is walking. Or, as I like to call it ‘exploring’. (Makes it sound less cheap, more exciting!)

You’re totally right about hobbies, though. Keep away from digital photography, that’s my advice. Definitely don’t start thinking you’ll become a great landscape snapper if only you have that *one* right lens…

Cabe December 4, 2008 at 10:29 am

Although I have tons of hobbies I don’t have any that could make me money. They could, especially if I applied myself. I just need to exert myself a little more and I could make money. Music being the best way, I think I will try and start playing at local venues and see what I can churn up. Thanks!

HH February 10, 2009 at 5:58 am

Hobbies is something personal to you. It is what you like. You know computers and how to draw, so how about combining the two to design cards, scap booking, print your original designs on fabric? Buy craft magazines or books to see what you like to do, for a hobby is something you enjoy while someone else may not. I hope you find it.

Clara February 17, 2009 at 10:25 pm

Great article on making best out of hobbies. Well for me that would be photography, as i could sell them to stock photography or news papers. It depends on the persons interest in specific field.

Ed Thomas July 7, 2009 at 10:51 pm

I heard a wise man once say, if you’re not making money from what you are doing, it’s called a hobby. If you are, it’s called a job. If you enjoy what you are doing and you’re making money, it’s called freedom.

Glenn September 5, 2009 at 3:57 am

I love all sorts of hobbies some ask what do I do with all my time. These people don’t have hobbies and have free time and are usually bored with it. Me, I always find something to do, whether it be candle making or tending to roses or even writing a bit. Thanks for a great write up about hobbies.

PowerPointing October 31, 2009 at 3:15 am

I agree with you about hobbies. According to me the best way to earn through hobby is teaching something, say playing guitar or piano. You will kill many birds with single stones this way. You will enjoy playing on piano or guitar, you will earn money as well as sharpen your skill.

Rey December 6, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Oil painting is one of my favorite hobbies, but until now I’ve never sold any of my art works, because it’s very personal to me.

Well, the cost of oil painting materials is just minimal, plus you can make a good profit from it, if you can create unique pieces and sell it to galleries or online stores.

Tobie March 7, 2010 at 4:24 am

My hobby is candle making and I make a steady profit from it — not as much as I would like — but the more time i put into it the more profit in return!

Gift Ideas for Men May 1, 2010 at 3:38 pm

I agree with you 100%. I never thought in a million years that my hobby of writing poems and articles could one day become a steady source of hefty income on my end.

Lucy May 3, 2010 at 10:50 am

I agree with you. A hobby can definitely be a great way to make money on the side or even become a full blown business. Our business actually started off with my fiance’s hobby of coin collecting. At some point a light bulb went off in his head when looking on Ebay for coins to add to his collection. He realized that he was able to get some great deals on coins with coin dealers and turn around and sell it on Ebay for a profit. At first I was a little skeptical, but once we starting selling and actually made a profit I was a believer and quit my job to do it full time with him. Even though it’s our full time job it is still a lot of fun and we are constantly learning more and more about coins and selling in general. I highly recommend anyone to try it out and see how your hobby might bring in some money!

Photo Guy June 26, 2010 at 7:51 am

I did just that and turned my hobby into a living. I was into photography from an early age and used to process my own films and print in a darkroom. This carried on into my adulthood as a hobby until I was made redundant from my job. That’s when I ended up getting more serious about things.

Although I am full time freelance now I still enjoy enjoy my photography very much. I work in business, news and PR photography, but anyone can enjoy this hobby and make money from it. Weddings, portraits baby pictures, landscapes, you name it, people make money with photography.
Great blog and enjoyed reading the comments.


tyler dalley December 3, 2011 at 10:58 pm

I started a profitable hobby in addition to my full time job to supplement my income. Since it is all extra income I can reinvest it all into my hobby. When I reach a bench mark of 20,000 I again reinvest in rental properties for the steady positive cash flow. I then take the extra income from both ventures and invest in my hobby and the cycle continues. My end goal is that of many others, place the most emphasis on generating passive income to free up your time, because freedom of your own time to pursue your own interests and live a life you’d choose if you already had all the money in the world. If anyone comes to Maui, check out my website and call anytime. 🙂

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