Turning Your Hobby Into a Side Hustle [Ep. 4]

Welcome to Episode 4: Turning Your Hobby Into a Side Hustle

In this episode I’m going to give you 3 hobby examples, and how you can turn them into some extra cash. Keep in mind these are suggestions, and the amount of money you make is entirely up to you. Remember though, implementation is the key factor no matter which route you take.

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read I have added a Buy Me a Coffee button, which is going to be used for a 4 Season Sunroom (aka Solarium).  Thank you for your continued support.

Turning Your Hobby Into a Side Hustle

Note: This blog post is copied from the episode script. There may be slight changes during the episode but for the most part it’s verbatim.

#1. For the Gardener

Many people, myself included, love to garden. It’s relaxing, is a good form of exercise, and is a provider of healthy snacks.

  • Market Garden. If you love to plant but find yourself with an abundance of produce during the growing season, selling your excess at a local Farmer’s Market or even at your farm gate is an option. Plant things such as carrots, cucumbers, radishes, cabbage, beans, peas, potatoes, lettuce, spinach, beets, etc and you will have a good customer base. 
  • Word of mouth is probably the best type of advertising, as are posters put up in your local community. If you’re active on social media you can post updates when you’re at a market or let others know how to contact you if they would like to buy. 
  • You will need access to at least an acre of land, depending on how much you want to plant. This is an ideal side hustle for farmers or acreage owners, simply because of the amount of space needed.
  • U-pick garden. Similar to a market garden, except your customers come to you and pick their own produce. U-pick’s are generally for fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, saskatoons, and apples. Your location will determine the types of fruits and vegetables you plant, as well as the amount of traffic you’ll get. A u-pick along a frequently used roadway will do better than one that’s off the beaten path.
  • Greenhouse. If you love to plant and tend to seedlings, then this is an ideal venture. A lot of seedlings can be grown in a backyard greenhouse that’s as small as 8’ X 10’. Access to water, and electricity for fans and heaters is beneficial. Depending on where you live, you could easily need the heater at night, and a fan during the day to cool down the greenhouse.
  • This is where you can experiment with flower varieties, vegetables, fruits, and even houseplants. Unlike the Market Garden and U-Pick, this is a gardening side hustle that you can do from your urban backyard.

If you have a green thumb and enjoy getting your hands dirty, gardening may just be what earns you some vacation money.

The tip of the iceberg when it comes to hobbies.

#2. For the Fiber Artist

This is one of my favourite pastimes. I love to crochet, spin my own yarn, and design new patterns for practical things. I have been crocheting since I was 8 or 9, and have made dozens, if not hundreds, of items over the years. I have earned thousands of dollars over the years by selling my items, designing and selling patterns, and by teaching others via Skillshare.

  • Sell ready made items. This avenue is perfect for craft sales, farmer’s markets, an Etsy shop, or even your own website. It’s the one I have pursued over the years, mainly around the holidays. It’s perfect for those of you who like to make the items, even though you don’t need them.
  • In addition to selling ready-made, you could also do custom orders. That way you won’t be filling up closets with items you might sell. Rather, you’ll be making the item for a customer after they have paid you for it.
  • Design patterns. If you like to design patterns for clothing, practical household items, or even toys, this could be for you. I have designed crochet patterns for placemats, clothing, and other household items. One of my best-selling patterns is for a lingerie bag, which is made from cotton yarn and can be used for lingerie, reusable make-up pads, or even doll clothes.
  • Teach others. If you’re good at a craft why not teach others what you know? Not only does it help someone else learn a new skill, it also gives you an additional stream of income. You can either teach one-on-one, have a small class, or record your lessons and upload to a platform such as Skillshare. I have made a few hundred dollars doing the latter over the years, and with only two short classes.

No matter what form of the fiber arts you pursue, there is money to be made. And since the entire world has had to spend more time at home, more people are utilizing the time to learn something new, or they’re shopping online. Why not try your hand at selling directly to customers, designing and making the patterns digital downloads. Or teaching via Skillshare, Teachable, or even your own YouTube Channel. No matter which format you choose, your earnings could be enough to buy that new RV or a lakeside cabin.

Mid-roll Commercial Start

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#3. For the Artist

Anyone with some artistic ability can cash in on their talent. The invention of PNG and high resolution printers and scanners has made it so much easier for artists to share their work with the world.

  • Drawing. If you’re good with a pencil and paper, you can sell your art on sites like Etsy, or make it available for commercial use via sites like Creative Market. You can sell your drawings as PDF files for wall art, or JPEG or PNG files that other creators can use in their planners, calendars, journals, colouring books, and so forth. I myself have purchased commercial rights graphics from designers on Creative Market.
  • The beauty here is you can design, draw, upload, set your price, and it then becomes a form of passive income. I’m trying to convince my daughter to take this route, as her artistic talents could easily supplement her maternity leave in a couple of months.
  • Painting. Whether you paint portraits, abstract, or landscape, you can sell your art online, do custom orders, or consign it to galleries. Or you can scan your finished paintings and make them available as digital downloads customers can purchase via Etsy or another digital products platform. If you have your own website you can sell directly from there.
  • Making your paintings into greeting cards could also prove to be quite lucrative. No matter what you decide, be sure to sign your works of art. You could become a famous artist one day.

When it comes to creating, do what works best for you. If being put under pressure stifles your creativity, don’t commission portraits or other custom work. If a timeline fuels the fire, by all means, run with it. Either way, your artistic talent could fund a trip to Rome, Paris, or wherever you want to go.

Conclusion

This episode has only touched on a few ways on how to turn your hobby into a side hustle. And I haven’t even talked about the financial side of it, aside from giving you ideas on what you could do with your side hustle earnings. I am not here to tell you where to invest, or how to spend your earnings. I’m here to help you find little ways to add to your bank account, or the coffee can under your bed. 

I’m also here to tell you to keep it fun. If it is no longer enjoyable, then it is no longer a hobby. It becomes a chore, and we all dislike chores I’m sure. Keep it fun for you, and don’t let it interfere with your family time. I’m the first to admit when I start something new I eat, sleep, and breathe it. As I get older I am learning to prioritize and take a step back from spending every waking minute on one thing. 

Remember, it’s a hobby. If you want to turn it into a full time thing, that’s entirely up to you. But based on personal experience, take it one step at a time. There’s nothing worse than burning yourself out doing something that once gave you joy.

With Christmas just around the corner I’ll be taking a little break to spend time with family, get caught up on some little projects I’ve been putting off, and planning out the first quarter of 2022. I’m excited to continue this venture; or perhaps I should say adventure. My podcast and blog posts will resume the first week of January, with more about me and why I do what I do.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. Thanks for joining me, and I’ll see you next year!

If you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.

Teaching as a Side Hustle?

It was summer of 2016 and an online friend told me about a platform she was using to teach others how to make homemade wine, cheese, and more. Enter Skillshare.

Disclaimer: Links included in this post are either affiliate links or links to my own products. If you purchase using an affiliate link I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

I have always enjoyed teaching others how to do something, but up until that point it had been in person or through my books and articles. I was both intrigued and terrified by the thought of teaching online.

After some persuading on her part, I bit the bullet and published a class titled How to Spin Your Own Yarn.

That class still earns me a few dollars a month, and I only had to do the majority of the work once. Of the 62 months since I first published, there have only been 9 months where my payments have been $0.00. I don’t consider that terrible, since I haven’t really done anything to promote my classes. The majority of the students found my classes through the platform’s search feature.

I only have two classes published at this point, the other being Make Your Own Weaving Sticks. I tried to teach my Creating and Selling Nonfiction course but was not happy with the format, so left it as a digital download in my Etsy Shop instead.

Are you a teacher at heart?

Whether you’re camera shy or not, teaching others is doable on Skillshare. In fact, because you do the videos yourself, you can do as many takes as necessary to get it the way you want it.

The lessons consist of short videos so your students can consume them in bite-size pieces. There’s nothing worse than trying to go back through a video that’s an hour long to find a segment you want to replay. By having several short videos your students can rewatch a step they may have not understood the first time, or missed because of a distraction.

Recording the lessons can be done with your phone, a camera, or webcam. I recorded mine using either a digital camera or my phone; I honestly don’t recall which it was now. You don’t have to have top of the line equipment; as long as it gives you a clear picture and audio you’re set.

Classes can be anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours long. They must be structured, have an introduction (this is basically where you tell your potential student what the course is about and what they will learn when they take it), as many lessons as it takes to teach the subject, and a conclusion.

As I write this I am using a 5+ hour class for a reference. One thing I have noticed is none of the teacher’s lessons are over 20 minutes. The average lesson ranges from 5 to 15 minutes, with more or less time for some of them. His entire class has 31 videos, which includes the introduction and conclusion.

Skillshare has a wonderful reference section, as well as a teacher handbook. They explain how to structure your classes, how to optimize the description with keywords, and how to record and edit. The handbook also covers class promotion, earning revenue, building your channel, and more.

A snippet of the Getting Started Menu.

As you can see in the photo above, the Teacher Handbook is full of information to help you record a great class. Plus they want you to succeed. If you do well, they do well.

Are you in?

You don’t have to teach classes about spinning or making weaving sticks like I published; you can teach anything you wish. From A to Z, any topic you pick, chances are there’s a class on it. And if there isn’t, then you can be the first to teach one!

The best part is you can sign up for a free trial and take some classes, set up a teacher account, and earn some extra cash for as long as your class is published. Like I said earlier, I have had only 2 classes published for the majority of the past 5 years and I earn a few dollars almost every month. If I promoted my classes more, I know my earnings would be much higher.

It’s nice to get the email from PayPal mid-month saying “Skillshare has sent you $$$.$$.” It’s one side hustle I really haven’t put any time into once the classes were published. It’s almost a set-it-and-forget-it type of deal. However, it’s better if you engage with your students and followers regularly. (I need to practice what I preach in this regard.)

Let me know in the comments if you are currently a teacher on Skillshare, or if it’s something you’re considering. And if you teach on another platform, which one?

If you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.

My Week in Review

I hope everyone has had a good week and weekend. Mine has been busy with my writing course, a couple extra shifts at work and getting my site updated. The latter was fun for me, and it really made me think about where I want to go in my writing career.

I write almost every single day. My journal is my thinking space, and it provides me with a place to voice my concerns, share my worries and come up with story ideas. Some days are vent days, while others are more productive.

My writing courses have been an eye opener for me in terms of what readers expect from different types of writing. I’ve been utilizing what I’ve learned so far, and can’t wait to see the results.

Even without formal training, I’ve had plenty of positive feedback from clients. Updating my website helped me realize that my work has been valuable to others, and has provided great content for their sites. What more could a person ask for?

Having short stories published has also been good for easing the self-doubt most (if not all) writers harbor occasionally. Polar Expressions Publishing holds annual contests for short stories, and my work has appeared in Shoreline (2016 Summer Collection) and Wherever We Roam (2015 Summer Collection). Seeing them in print among others gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Submitting articles on behalf of our library to a local newspaper helps me exercise my skills as well. There is never a lot of space for an article, so saying all that’s needed in less than 150 words can sometimes be a challenge. I envy those who can write flash fiction, because in some cases a newspaper article is much like that. Short, sweet and to the point.

As you may be aware, I do not spend my entire time writing. I also enjoy crocheting, spinning yarn and needle-felting. Yesterday I invested in a drum carder to make the process of carding my alpaca fiber easier and faster. I have several big bags of it, as well as no less than a dozen smaller bags. Plus I also have four bags of raw sheep wool. Do you think that will keep me busy for awhile?

Crocheting and spinning are my way to relax, and I often find my stories taking shape while I work with my hands. I’m the first to say I’m not much of a plotter, but when a story takes hold I will run with it. If any of you have read The Hidden Estate, you’ll see my hobbies have worked their way into the novel. It was the first novel I ever wrote, and those who have read it have given it a good rating which makes any new author do a little happy dance.

As I wrap up this post, I have to remind myself to take the time to just be. My mind is often going in several directions at once (are all writers like this?), and I have to center myself. And as a writer, I like a challenge. I have my usual topics to write about, but have found satisfaction in writing about something out of my element as well. Should you ever find yourself needing a blog post or article for your website, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Have a great week everyone,

Diane

Getting ready for another couple ounces of alpaca fiber.

Photo credit Copyright Diane Ziomek 2019. The photo is of my new drum carder, taken after I carded some dyed alpaca fiber.