Several readers have written with stories of how they make money from hobbies. Today, Scarfish talks about two ways she's found to earn extra income while having fun.
I'm a big proponent of having self-supporting hobbies, and I have two myself.
My first money-making hobby started simply as a way to make money. I had moved to New York City directly after college for an internship (which paid only a small stipend) and was also working at Starbucks. I still couldn't cover my bills, so I began mystery shopping for two companies.
Since then, I've been in two “regular” full time jobs and don't really need the money — but I continue to mystery shop for fun, now for a dozen different companies. I consider it a hobby to watch how businesses treat their customers and I make it a point to become a mystery shopper of businesses that treat me (as a regular customer) either very well or very poorly.
Mystery shopping is sometimes thought of as a scam, because there are a lot of scam companies out there. It's also a completely legitimate business, so it's just a matter of differentiating between various companies. A good place to check for information is volition.com.
My other money-making hobby started out solely as a hobby. After I got my first real job, I started taking belly dance lessons, something I'd always wanted to do. Within six months I was invited to audition for the company, which performs all over the tri-state area. So I am now a professional belly dancer, when I started out taking classes just for fun.
While I haven't actually shown a profit, I've been able to pay for four costumes ($300 each), countless accessories (swords, wings, veils, shoes) and several months of classes that I might not have been able to afford on my regular income.
It would be hard for me to classify either of these as only “hobby” or “job”. I have to bring to each a degree of professionalism that most hobbies don't require. However, I make more off of them than I think I could with any hobby which might help fund itself. If either one were a little more steady or regular, I could see turning it into a full time job (although, on the other hand, my full time job helps fulfill one of my hobbies too — I love to read, and I work in a publishing house).
These are two excellent examples of how one can turn hobbies, or things we like to do, into self-supporting ventures. (Or in some cases, actual profitable endeavors!) If you have a story about a money-making hobby, drop me a line at
Author: J.D. Roth
In 2006, J.D. founded Get Rich Slowly to document his quest to get out of debt. Over time, he learned how to save and how to invest. Today, he's managed to reach early retirement! He wants to help you master your money — and your life. No scams. No gimmicks. Just smart money advice to help you reach your goals.