Hobbies are the things we do when we’re not working, the things that help us to de-stress. But they can also be great ways of earning additional income. As a writer, I know all too well how to turn a hobby that you enjoy into a career, but while no hobbies stop being fun when you have to start worrying about the financial side of it, the following hobbies that earn are enjoyable from the day you start to the day you make your first million.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer (except for a brief period when I wanted to be a garbage man – I was a strange child) but if you had told me that I could have made a career out of playing games I would have taken to that just as obsessively. When I was growing up, the only conceivable way to make money with video games was to make them or to review them. These days, there are several ways you can make good money with video games, even if you don’t really know what you’re doing.
Streaming: Countless gamers get their kicks watching others play, as opposed to playing themselves. This concept is still a little alien to me because if someone is playing my only thought is “When is it my turn?” and not “boy, this is fun”. But a huge industry has been built around this and you can make a killing by playing games and streaming your activity on Youtube, Twitch and social media.
eSports: If you can consistently beat all opponents in a single game then it might be time to turn pro. You can make a 7 figure salary playing games professionally, but there is a huge leap from being able to beat your friends in split-screen, to beating the best in the world. Events like DreamHack, as well as leagues for games like League of Legends, FIFA, Hearthstone and more attract players who have spent thousands of hours mastering the game.
Virtual Mogul: Games like World of Warcraft, Eve Online and Second Life are like vast online universes where many thousands of players spend their lives and their hard-earned money. If you get enough virtual currency in these games you can swap it for the real thing. In WoW, gold earned by high level grinders can be sold on, making them upwards of $30,000 a year. In Second Life, you buy, lease and even sell real estate, ranging from small nightclubs to huge towns, and this has netted some users millions.
In the 1970s, you were considered a geek if you collected Star Wars merchandise. These days, we call those people millionaires. Star Wars merchandise is no longer where it’s at, because with Disney onboard those rare collectibles have now become mass-market tat, but there are many more things to collect that can earn you good money in the future.
Vinyl: No longer just an obsolete medium, vinyl is now prized more than CDs and digital music. If you take good care of your vinyl records today then they could make you a small fortune years from now.
First Editions: Always collectible and always worth something, but even more so in a digital age where the real thing is heavily prized. Learn how to spot them, focus on first prints and understand that not all first editions are equal. After all, some of them have print runs in the millions.
Figures: Little kids and big kids alike will ensure there is always a market for these, and if they relate to popular films or TV shows, even better. Because one day those films will fade, those shows will be cancelled and the fans will go up. When that happens you basically have older kids with more expandable income and the same obsession they always had.
Trucks: Currently one of the biggest earning collectibles, trucks, trains and other automotive toys have always been expensive collectibles. But if your little priceless truck has an accident, its value will plummet, so keep them in the box and away from kids.
This is one of those things that we all want to do when we see the shows, but then give up on when we realize how much goes into it. If you love a bargain and you love to shop, then couponing is the perfect hobby and it can save you a small fortune on your weekly shop.
This is not really possible anywhere other than the US, where coupons are readily available and are usually less restrictive.
Sites like Etsy have opened up new possibilities for anyone with a skill and the desire to show the world. Whatever you create, if you think it’s worth selling then you can sell through Etsy. You can also use eBay, Not On The High Street and many other sites that provide a platform for independent creators. There is no limit to what you can create and because buyers on these sites are generally averse to the mass market products and are willing to pay more for something unique, you can make a good living.