Do you have a hobby that can generate some income? I used to enjoy several hobbies. I wasn’t particularly good at any of them, but I enjoyed spending time on them.
We have gone though a lot of changes over the last few years and I feel like I don’t have time for hobbies anymore. First of all, we had a kid and that soaked up tons of time. Next, I turned one of my hobbies in to a money maker – blogging. That took up almost the rest of my time. Today I’m going over my lost hobbies and mourning them. 🙁
- Playing video games – I used to spend hours playing video games on the computer and XBOX. That’s until my XBOX overheated and got the dreaded Red Ring of Death a couple of years ago. I decided not to fix it and gave up gaming. I love playing video games, but it just took up too much precious time. Maybe when I’m really retired in my 70s, I’ll start playing video games again.
- Playing ukulele – I still play occasionally, but recently Baby RB40 throws a tantrum every time I pull out my ukulele. I have no idea why he’s doing this. Am I that bad? Hopefully he’ll get over this phase soon so I can play again.
- Yoga and working out – I loved going to the Yoga sessions at my company’s gym when I was working. Now that I’m a stay at home dad, I work out at the playground and sneak in a few poses whenever I can. Recently, I started going to a drop-in yoga class about twice a month. It’s very relaxing and I feel great every time I go.
- Snowboarding – I haven’t gone in a few years and even sold my board. 🙁 That is me below in the good old days.
- Reading – Is reading a hobby? This is one thing I can’t give up. I love reading and can’t imagine life without books, blogs, and other reading materials.
- Photography – Photography is fun and easy. I want to take some classes, but haven’t managed to find the time to go yet. The good thing about having a blog is that I can take my own photos and expense the photography equipment. I should be able to expense tuition, too, so maybe I should take a class soon.
- Blogging – I started blogging without a lot of expectations. Once it started making some income, it turned into a micro-business. At this point, I probably can’t call blogging a hobby anymore.
Anyway, let’s get back to why you shouldn’t turn your hobby into a business.
You won’t have a hobby anymore…
Who wouldn’t want to make money from their hobbies? It could be a trap, though. When you start making money from your hobby, you’ll have to seriously consider turning it into a business. By the end of 2011, my online income started to stabilize and I was making at least $500/month from blogging. At this point, I figured out there is potential for earning more money from blogging and started to put more and more time into it. I had to treat it like a business so I can grow my online income. Once you do that, it’s a good bet your hobby won’t be as fun as before.
You’ll spend a ton of time on it
Once you start treating a hobby like a business, you’ll realize that the more time you spend on it, the more money you’ll make. Blogging is still fun, but I have 4 articles to write per week and each article takes at least 3-4 hours from start to finish. I also spend a lot of time networking, answering emails, running the backend, and working with advertisers. Some weeks, I also have extra newsletter and freelance projects to write, and that takes even more time. Currently, I probably spend 3-5 hours every day online. That’s almost like a full time job. I probably should hire some help to run my blogs.
You might not make any money on it
There are over 31 million bloggers in the US and 81% of those never make $100 from blogging. Generally it’s not that easy to make money from your hobbies. You probably should keep your day job and try making money from your hobby on the side for a while. Blogging in particular will take up a lot of time and you probably won’t make much money for a long time. Glancing at my list of hobbies, I don’t see how I can make money from any of them either. Perhaps if I get really good at photography, I might be able to sell a few pictures. That’s a long way off, though.
More pressure to over-deliver
The better you are at your business, the more customers you’ll have. If you teach piano on the side and are great at it, your students will recommend you and you’ll gain more customers. It’s the same with blogging. If you want more traffic, then you need to write excellent, in-depth articles that add value for your readers. Leading bloggers like Pat Flynn, Mr. Money Mustache, and Financial Samurai all write great articles and over-deliver every time. This is a lot of pressure to put on yourself. I try my best, but I have an off day once in a while.
You’ll have to send in estimated tax
If you’re making a good amount of income on the side, you will need to send in quarterly estimated tax statements to the IRS. The first payment is due April 15th and this will be the first year I need to send it in. Yuk! Well, I guess this isn’t really a bad thing. If you are have to send in estimated tax, that mean you are making money so it’s actually a good thing. I still hate writing a big check to the IRS though.
It’s not all bad
Turning your hobby into a money making business may seem like a dream, but there are downsides too. I would encourage you to try it on the side for a while to see if it’s viable and sustainable. Blogging in particular is quite tough to turn into a business because it takes up so much time and many bloggers never make any money. On the other hand, I love not having to go to the office and doing my own things. It’s still way more fun that my previous job too.
Do you make any money from your hobby? Something that doesn’t take too much time and make decent income would be ideal. 🙂
If you are a blogger and want to be one who makes more than $100, I recommend Crystal’s book – How I make money blogging. She has a money back guarantee so you can always return it if you don’t think it’s worth the price.
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Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help DIY investors analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.