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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I’m Diane Ziomek, and I am the founder of Take on Life After 50. I’m here to help you find your perfect side hustle and create the life you deserve.

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Mid-roll Commercial End

#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.

Self-Publishing for Authors [Ep. 3]

What is self-publishing? And why should an author consider it?

I’m going to change my format just a little from here on in. The last couple of weeks I have been writing a blog post on one topic, then doing a podcast episode on another. By the time the show notes and transcript is finished, it’s time to start all over again. As of today, you can read the blog post, listen to the podcast…or both.

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.

Episode 3: Self-Publishing for Authors

Since I still write out my script, no additional transcript will be included. As I get more comfortable with talking into the mic without the entire episode written out, transcripts will be included.

Without further ado, here is Episode 3: Self-Publishing for Authors

Self-Publishing for Authors

Self-publishing. What is that exactly you may be wondering.

In a nutshell, it is getting a book or other work published without going through a publishing house or label.

There are pros and cons to self-publishing just as there are with practically any other business venture, but in my opinion the pros outweigh the cons.

This episode is going to focus on independent authors self-publishing their books, with comparisons and references made to other types of publishing. 

As I mentioned in my first episode, I chose to self-publish. It is becoming a lot more common, and acceptable to do so nowadays.

When some people hear the words self-published they automatically presume the book wasn’t good enough to get accepted by a traditional publisher. In all honesty, that’s what I thought in the beginning too. As I did my research though, I realized there’s a lot of pressure put on independent authors. 

If you want to be taken seriously as an author and are doing it all on your own, you have to make sure to dot your i’s and cross your t’s. Doing a half-assed job will not earn you any good reviews.

It doesn’t matter how good your story or subject matter is. If you have a book filled with typos, spelling errors, and poor formatting, your readers will soon tell others how bad your book is. A publisher wouldn’t accept poor quality, so you shouldn’t independently publish poor quality.

When you decide on your genre, content, and book length it’s time to start writing. And also time to start telling the world about it. I made the mistake of finishing my books before saying anything to anyone about them. By doing so I didn’t build an audience waiting for my book’s release. Sometimes I’m a little too introverted for my own good.

One of the first things a traditional publisher wants to know is what you’ve done to market your book. If you haven’t done anything then it’s going to be that much harder to convince them you’re serious about making sales. Gone are the days of a publisher doing all the work.

Something else that may tip the scales in favour of being self-published is the dollar factor. Very few authors are writing just to help or entertain others. 

Publishing your own books does give you more control over title, content, and pricing. Plus with platforms such as Kindle, Kobo, and Lulu, you have options in terms of ebook, print, audio or a combination of the three. I have only named the three because they’re the ones I’m most familiar with.

In the first episode I briefly touched on the low percentage an author actually earns when traditionally published. Let me explain.

A traditional publisher pays, on average, an 8% royalty rate to the author. An ebook might get you 25%. If you publish on your own via Kindle, Kobo, or other platforms, your royalties for a print book can be up to 60%, and as high as 90% for an ebook.

If you were to publish one book traditionally at $25 retail and you got an advance of $25,000, it would take 12,500 copies sold for the advance to be paid off. And yes, you do not earn anything extra until that advance is paid in full. (Side note here: the royalty you earn will only be $2 per copy, which is why it’ll take so many books to be sold.)

If you self-published that same book and sold it for the same price, it would only take 1667 copies sold to make that amount of money. And you’d even be $5 ahead. I think it would be much easier to sell 1667 copies as opposed to 12,500, don’t you? Granted you don’t get an advance when self publishing, but with the print on demand services available you don’t have the upfront costs either.

I personally prefer the ebook route, but do have my romance novellas available in print on Amazon as well. My Pipestone Creek Series is also available as a bundle download in my NotJustAlpacaDesigns Etsy Shop. I will be moving it to my website in the not-too-distant future, which will then allow me to earn a little more. Etsy is really not the best place for ebooks; at least not for me.

In the first episode I also mentioned what is called a vanity publisher. What they do is print and market your books, to a point. They’ll also try to upsell you editing packages, whereas a traditional publisher does all of the editing for you.

Vanity publishers prey on authors who want their books done quickly, but said authors also pay the price. I almost fell for their scheme, and I think if I would’ve had the thousands of dollars they wanted to publish my book, I probably would have gone that route. Thankfully my bank account was almost empty, and upon further research I realized I had almost been taken advantage of.

They call themselves independent publishers, but if they’re asking for money upfront they’re really a vanity publisher. There are small publishing companies that do pay authors an advance, so do your homework to make sure you’re not being taken for a ride.

Here’s how you know if you’re dealing with a legitimate publishing company or a vanity publisher. A legitimate publisher will never ask the author to pay anything up front. The vanity publisher will. If you’re being asked to pay, turn around and walk away.

Whether you’re self publishing or going through a publisher, there’s a lot of work to be done on your part. The planning, outlining, writing, first edit, second edit, marketing, pricing, cover design, blurbs, and so on. Books of more than a few thousand words are rarely written in a weekend, and even then it takes time to make sure it flows smoothly.

Self-publishing may not work for everyone, and that’s okay. And there’s nothing wrong with being traditionally published. In fact, I think having my name on a book published by HarperCollins or Simon & Schuster would be my greatest achievement as an author. 

I am more of a “let’s get it out there” type of person, rather than waiting for an acceptance or rejection letter. I write what makes me happy, and to entertain and educate others. And the money plays a part too. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t.

I suck at the marketing end of it, which is why my sales aren’t as good as they could be. I’d much rather be writing than marketing, but truth be told, that attitude hasn’t helped my cause any.

As a self-publisher you need to do all of the things, and if you don’t want to do certain tasks, then you’re going to have to hire some help. A virtual assistant could take care of the marketing so you can concentrate on the writing. It all depends on how much you want to earn as an author, and how quickly you want to be in the top 100.

An editor may be necessary if spelling and sentence structure isn’t your strong suit. Just because you weren’t a Straight A student in English doesn’t mean you can’t write and publish a book. That’s why speech to text was invented I’m sure.

I find when it comes to editing my own work I have to step away from it for a while. Reading out loud also helps me catch mistakes, as does using the text to speech feature on my computer. When we edit our own work we automatically put the words in as we’re reading, even if they aren’t there. I’ve done it more than once, and was thankful I caught it before it was published.

That brings me to another point. When self-publishing it’s a lot easier to fix errors and resubmit a manuscript. And with the print on demand services, you’ll never be stuck with 5000 copies of a book with a major error in it.

Pricing your book is one of the most difficult tasks as far as I’m concerned. I firmly believe an ebook should not be as much, or more than a print book; yet the experts advise differently. In my opinion once the file is submitted there’s no additional cost directly related to that file. However, if you look on Amazon and other ebook retailers, you’ll see prices for ebooks sometimes higher than their print counterparts. 

Audiobooks on the other hand, I can see why they’re on the higher end of the price point. It takes a lot of prep time and work to get them just right. I have listened to several audiobooks through the years and can’t imagine how long it must take to get each chapter just right.

Audiobooks are, however, another avenue you can take with your self-published books. I plan on narrating my own as I become more comfortable with the microphone and hearing myself talk. Have I said I don’t like the sound of my voice?

The topic of self-publishing is one that has its pros and cons. I like the versatility I have when publishing, and have been able to take what I have learned and help others avoid some of the mistakes I made. As I continue my self-publishing journey I’ll be able to relay more information. 

I have to be honest: my book writing has been at a standstill since Ross passed away. He was my biggest supporter, and teased me about being a kept man whenever I made a sale. As I’ve been writing the script for this episode I realize how much I have missed working on my books. And perhaps getting back to my unfinished manuscript will help with the healing and moving forward as well.

Authors write for different reasons, and publish in whatever format works for them. If you choose to self-publish, keep these key points in mind.

  1. Do your very best work so you get the very best reviews.
  2. Decide which format will work best for your audience. Not everyone likes an ebook.
  3. Price competitively. You’re undervaluing your work if you price too low. (Oh dear…I just had an “aha” moment. I guess I need to practice what I preach here.)
  4. Write to educate or entertain.
  5. When you self-publish you don’t have to have a 100,000 word manuscript. Short ebooks can be in the 5000 word range and be packed with valuable information.
  6. Be yourself in your writing. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. (This point was brought up in Episode 2 but also applies to you as an author.)
  7. Hire help for the tasks you don’t have time for or don’t like to do. Your teenager could be a wonderful asset if they’re given social media tasks.

In the next episode I’ll be talking about turning your hobby into a side hustle. Have a great week and I’ll see you then.

And in case you missed them, I have included the first two episodes below.

Episode 1: Take On Life After 50
Episode 2: Information Products and How to Create Them

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

3 Steps to Creating an Information Product

Creating an information product is probably one of the easiest things to do, and can bring you the highest return.

Disclaimer: This post contains links for my products. I will receive full payment should you decide to make a purchase. The information does not guarantee financial gain simply by reading this post or my product. It takes time and effort to create an information product, but once done the possibilities of increasing your bank balance is real.

Before I get too far into the steps, you must first know what an information product is. In all honesty, this blog post is essentially an information product, because it will teach you how to do something.

An information product is designed to teach the reader/viewer/listener how to do something. It can be written, video, or audio. And the beauty of it is you create it once, and can sell it over and over again…even while you sleep.

I have been creating information products for at least three decades. When I started I didn’t even realize I was doing it. It wasn’t until up to about 10 years ago that I came across an article online (I don’t remember the title of it now) that talked about information products and marketing. It was then that the lightbulb went off, and I realized I could do that as a side hustle.

I started by writing articles online and when I realized people liked what I had to say, I took it a step further and began self-publishing my own ebooks, PDFs, print on demand books, and printable products in my Etsy shop.

My most popular articles have been on quilting, making and using weaving sticks, and how to earn money with side hustles. As much as I enjoy crafting, I enjoy helping others make the extra money they need/want for bills, vacations, or a new home.

This post will tell you what you need to do to create your own written information product.

Step 1: Come up with an idea.

This is where your brainstorming skills will come into play. Think of all of the things you like to do. Then think of all the things you are good at. Make a list of each, then pick your top 3.

Step 2: Outline your product.

Remember back in school when you had to write an essay? Your teacher probably told you to make an outline. It wasn’t because he/she wanted to give you more work (well, maybe that was part of it), but rather to help you stay on track as you wrote.

It’s quite easy to start writing about something, then stray off topic. The outline is there to keep you focused.

Step 3: Create your product.

This is the fun part. My guess is you already know a lot about your topic. If you don’t, it’s time to do some research.

You don’t have to write thousands of words, unless of course that’s what it’s going to take to get your point across. I do want to say the easier you make it for your reader the better. They’re going to want quick results, especially if they’re impatient like many people (me included).

Use words, short sentences, pictures, diagrams, and whatever else it takes to show your reader how to get from an idea to a finished product. For example, if you’re teaching someone how to make a macrame plant hanger you’ll include a materials list, cutting lengths, knot directions, and steps to make the hanger.

Since a lot of people need a visual to understand how the knots are made, take photos as you go along and insert them after the written part of each step. You could also include a video tutorial within the product, or link to it on your YouTube channel.

Conclusion:

Once your product is created, it’s time to market it. For a more in-depth look at the process of creating an information product, I have written a course which is available in my Etsy Shop (NotJustAlpacaDesigns) and priced at $19. Grab your copy today, and you will be on your way to earning passive income tomorrow.

Creating and Selling Nonfiction

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