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From Hobby to Hustle: 9 Ways to Make Extra Cash Doing What You Love

Yes, opportunities to bring joy and supplement your income are out there

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Ever since my aunt retired, she’s taken to making the most adorable stuffed gnomes. Christmas gnomes. Seasonal gnomes. Gnomes for every occasion and sports teams. When she first gifted a pair to me, I had to ask, after admiring these adorable creatures: “Where do you sell them?”

She hadn’t considered it. It was just a hobby, she told me. This left me wondering whether she should invest in turning her hobby into a hustle.

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Having a hobby that lights you up is essential, but sharing it with others is also very fulfilling. There’s nothing like finding a community of other creators and artists so you can share your skills and ideas.

You can find other people who enjoy the same hobbies anywhere. You can join a million virtual or in-person groups to interact with a community of fellow creators. From crocheting Christmas trees to cross-stitching your favorite sayings, by sharing your hobby you will make new connections.

Earning extra cash to supplement your income or boost your rainy day fund is a wise plan. But before jumping in with both feet, consider these specifics to set yourself up for success:

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1. Assessing your audience

Some places yield more sales and traffic than others. Knowing who will be there is key.

“Finding an audience isn't always easy,” Adam Goldfarb, an animal advocate who took up pet portraits in ink for fun, told AARP Experience Counts. He now sells prints online and at events.

“In-person shows are nice for finding an audience because you can talk to customers and find out what interests them and what doesn't,”he said.

2. Factoring in expenses and fees

Beware of any costs you’ll pay upfront, such as online listing fees or vendor fees. Also, factor the cost of any supplies you use into your bottom line.

3. Amazon Handmade

Amazon has this dedicated seller site for artisans. Create a selling account, then complete the Amazon Handmade application to waive the monthly fee. When you make a sale, Handmade will deduct a 15 percent referral fee.

4. Other online vendors

These are online sites such as eBay and Etsy, where you can sell pretty much anything. Make sure you are aware of listing and transaction fees. Also, check out Uncommon Goods. For this online vendor, you submit your product for review to get the ball rolling.

5. MakerPlace by Michaels

There are three options for monetizing your hobby at MakerPlace. You can sell your handmade items, sell tickets to live online classes or share how-to guides and earn commission off the products on the supply list.

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6. Craft fairs

Inquire in your local community to see if there’s an open space for new vendors. If you want to cut costs and make another personal connection, consider asking a fellow crafter to split booth fees with you and share the space.

7. Farmers markets

Rain, shine, sleet or heat, your local farmers market isn’t just for selling food. It’s an excellent place for buying gifts for family and friends or knick-knacks for the house.

8. Niche groups

You might try your hand at niche events such as Comic-Con or another theme-specific convention. These events are perfect opportunities to connect with people who are just as passionate as you about their craft.

9. Don’t forget about taxes

Unfortunately, themoney you earn from your hustle is subject to taxes. Check with your tax consultant to get all the details, and look at IRS rules on self-employment taxes to aid your planning.

Bottom Line

My aunt’s gnome-making hobby inspired my daughters to start making their own creations. So my aunt’s creativity has now been passed on to the next generation. Whether you decide to turn your hobby into a hustle or not, investing your time in something that brings you joy is always the right decision.

Share your experience: Which of your hobbies could you turn into dollars? Tell us your ideas in the comments below.

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