We’ve all got our hobbies - things we turn to in our spare time, lose ourselves in, and love to do - but not everyone realises that in some cases, our fun and fulfilling pastimes could be turned into paid sidelines or even lucrative businesses.
Over the last 12 months we’ve all turned to our hobbies more than ever, after all, what else has there been to do?
We don’t typically take up a new hobby to make money, but if you’ve embraced and enjoyed spending more time doing what you love and honed your skills have you ever considered leaving the nine to five grind behind and making a go of turning your hobby into a business?
In this article, we’ll cover 10 common hobbies that can make money and finish with some top tips on how to get the ball rolling and turn them into a business.
Do you consider yourself a bit of a Mary Berry in the kitchen? Love nothing more than donning an apron and getting your hands dirty? Watch Bake Off and think to yourself, I could do that!
A love of baking provides the perfect opportunity to take your skills and turn them into some pocket money (or more!) by selling your creations to friends, family, neighbours, colleagues, delis, cafes, and even strangers on the internet.
Winner of the Apprentice, Alana Spencer, started her now market-dominating bakery business from her home kitchen making tasty treats for local customers.
If getting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) is more your thing, writing and publishing online has the potential to be turned into a real money maker.
A good content writer with a niche area of expertise is always in high demand, so selling your services as a freelance writer is one avenue to consider.
Or if you’re super passionate about an industry or subject and have the discipline and time you could start up your own blog business and build up a dedicated audience over time.
Painting and drawing are hobbies that have taken off big time throughout the multiple lockdowns of the last year, with research by takepayments showing the UK search volume for painting and sketching rose to a whopping 434,600 and 333,600 searches respectively during the first lockdown alone.
If you’ve refined your artistic mastery during the pandemic, then why not use your newfound skills to make some money? You could sell original pieces, prints, or even offer custom orders.
Other options include having your work printed on merchandise like t-shirts and bags, or taking your skills online and posting tutorials online to build a following - if you get enough views you could start making money using the likes of YouTube.
If you enjoy working with your hands, you’ve got the opportunity to tap into a billion-pound industry by selling your creations.
It could be crocheted animals, peg families, clay models, knitted blankets, or anything else homemade - chances are if you think it looks good so will other people.
The unique quality of handmade items is big business right now, and more and more consumers are looking to buy from smaller-scale businesses than the big names on the market.
And if you’re less keen on the making aspect, you could also sell arts and crafts kits for shoppers to experiment with themselves!
Fun fact: in lockdown 2.0 the volumes for arts and crafts-related searches soared; candle making kit 40,1000, embroidery 67,000, and jewellery making 38,400.
Just like with arts and crafts the beauty of woodwork is the unique nature of each piece and the craftsmanship behind it meaning if you’re good with your hands and have spent lockdown knocking up bespoke pieces you could be onto a winner.
Bespoke and custom furniture is all the rage from tables and shelves to planters and outdoor seating and consumers are willing to pay top dollar for it.
Gardening too has seen a spike in popularity as we’ve all been stuck at home, so if you’ve found a new passion for plants then your green fingers could bring home the bacon.
Again you’ve got options, from propagating and selling your own flowers to offering a gardening service for others and even setting up a plant subscription service.
Millennials, in particular, developed a newfound love for gardening amidst the pandemic, spending an estimated £9.5 billion on plants in just one year and the UK search volume for gardening rose to a whopping 514,300 during the first lockdown alone.
The takeaway? Consumers have fallen headfirst for gardening and you could use that to make your business bloom.
If you’ve turned snap-happy rather than stir crazy throughout the pandemic then there are a few ways you can turn your photography phase into cold hard cash.
One option is to go freelance and offer your services at events such as weddings, christenings, parties, etc. This can be a pretty lucrative avenue but you’ll only be able to do your thing while events are happening - dare we think about another lockdown?
Alternatively, you could set up an Instagram page for your snaps, build up a following, and monetize it. Brands are willing to pay big bucks for a sponsored post on a popular page.
The tip to success here is picking a ‘niche’ or lifestyle to capture i.e. travel or food.
Fun fact - professional photography accounts are the second biggest money makers on Instagram.
Finally, for photography, you could sell your images as either stock photos or prints.
Do you love to sew? Could you knock up some bunting out of a pile of fat quarters? Make a dress of dreams out of a simple roll of jersey? Then your haberdashery hobby could soon be a burgeoning business.
Not everyone wants to buy their clothes from the big names on the market, especially given the bad press the fashion industry has gotten over recent years regarding its environmental impact.
More and more style-savvy and eco-friendly shoppers like to buy from boutique independent dress-makers, so selling your creations is a realistic business idea.
The kitchen is the heart of the home and many of us have turned to cooking as a pastime over the last year. But if to you cooking is more of a passion than a pastime then there’s money to be made from your culinary prowess.
One avenue to consider is selling your delicacies in the form of catering to functions and events, but if you don’t like the idea of taking your adventurous cuisine and batch cooking for the masses, you could also make money by taking it online.
You could start a blog, a youtube channel, or an Instagram page to show off your dishes - remember, if you get enough traction you can monetize your page.
Fun fact: 59% of 25 to 34 years olds take their phone into the kitchen for inspiration, how-to guides, and recipes.
Be honest, who doesn’t love spending time with our four-legged friends? It’s the stuff dreams are made of, spending your days with adorable fur babies and being paid for it!
The number of animal adoptions has gone through the roof since COVID hit because we’ve all had the time and attention to give our pets what they deserve.
But as the world begins to open back up post-lockdown and many of us head back to the office, pet owners are going to be looking for ways to keep their pets cared for in the manner they’ve become accustomed.
If you’ve always dreamed of starting a pet sitting, dog walking, or pet grooming business then there’s no time like the present!
Before we go, we’ll leave you with a handful of top tips for getting started to ensure your new business venture is as successful as it can possibly be.
Before making any big moves or drastic decisions, test the waters with your friends, family, colleagues, or willing volunteers.
Do they think your business is a good idea? Would they buy from you? What would they change or do differently? Welcome all feedback and take it into consideration going forward.
It’s also wise to conduct a little market research, scope out the competition, see what’s already out there, and differentiate yourself.
Creating a business plan is a must, it’ll keep you on track at every step of the way going forward.
Outline your goals, a breakdown of how you intend to get there, any marketing initiatives, milestones, etc.
Pssst: you can find more information here.
Give your business its own unique identity by coming up with a name. Do some research to check it’s available and consider registering with Companies House.
You’ll find more information on registering a business including whether or not you need to do it here.
Are you going to operate from home? Will you need to look for premises? This is an important element to decide on as if you do work from home you may need to take out a different level of insurance to cover your business.
Last but not least is payments - how will you accept them? You need to nail this down before you start making sales or things could get sticky.
The way you take payments will depend entirely on the nature of your new business, for example, if you’re an online retailer of cupcakes you’ll likely need a payment gateway whereas a mobile gardener would be better suited to a mobile card machine.
Remember: our experts are only ever a phone call away and can help you decide on the best card payment solution for your business.
We wish you every success in your new business venture! You’ll find guides on every element of running a small business from setting up shop to hiring employees and everything in between over on our jam-packed blog.