My father was an entrepreneur. He was always starting businesses. He was always selling things.
When I was very young he operated Steve's Lawnmowing Service. He also sold World's Finest Chocolate. He carried boxes of chocolate bars with him to church, and sold them after Sunday School. I remember standing on the church lawn, waiting while Dad joked and told stories and sold candy.
Last weekend my wife and I browsed a local farmers market. At one stall, Kris found a necklace that she loved. "Will you buy this for my birthday?" she asked. When I learned that the necklace in question had been hand-made by a 14-year-old girl, and that this was how she was raising money for college, the deal was sealed.
This young woman is making money from her hobby. She's also helping her parents to know whether they should provide financial support for college. (My guess: seeing how industrious this girl is, they'll be happy to help with what they can.)
I am a sucker for kids selling things. It's not just that I think it's cute — I also like to reinforce positive behavior. Developing the courage to sell cookies or lemonade or magazine subscriptions or jewelry is an excellent thing. It's one of the best ways to teach children the nature of money (and valuable social skills).
Yesterday I shared the most important money tip: to gain wealth, you must spend less than you earn. Get Rich Slowly has covered many ways to reduce the spending side of the equation. But how can a person increase the earning side?
Consider an entrepreneurial endeavor. Start a small business based around one of your hobbies. It's not difficult to earn a couple thousand dollars each year doing something you love in your free time. The key is to not let the hobby-as-business overwhelm you. Keep it fun. Don't let it become a chore.
With that in mind, here are some real-life examples of hobbies I've seen people turn into side-businesses. I know people who: