Make money from your hobby the easiest way

Posted by on December 14, 2016 3:35 pm


I just read a great article by Zac Johnson where he lists three great ways to make extra money online in your spare time. Number two (stock and currency trading) is a bit tricky and risky, but it’s one I’ve considered.

(I did do some very successful – and equally small scale – stock trading in the early days of eTrade. Believe it or not, I bought Apple stock for something like $13 a share. This was before Steve Jobs introduced the first iMac.)

I wanted to add something to the third item on Zac’s list, which is to start a niche blog. Instead of a niche blog, or in addition to a niche blog, start a niche YouTube channel. Further, I have a simple strategy for you to do this and I know it works because it has worked for me:

Make short videos of you doing your hobby. If you don’t have a hobby, well, either get one or stop reading this article. Learning how to make money from your hobby is a win-win. It puts some cash in your pocket and you’re enjoying yourself while you do it.

Fishing for YouTube views

Fly fishing is one of my hobbies and I often try to make videos when I head out to any of the streams here in Tennessee. My simple video Fly fishing Great Smokey Mountain National Park near Townsend is my most popular video and it has helped me earn more than $100. It’s not much, but I would be doing the fishing anyway, so why not monetize it? To be honest, I wasn’t evening thinking about how to make money from my hobby when I started out.

I remember listening to a podcast once with a very successful blogger and she said that she would never put a link in an article on her website unless she earned money from it. You may think that attitude is too extreme, but the principle underlying it is sound: Grab income from all sources. I had a minor in economics and the idea of maximizing profits was one of the first concepts taught.

With that short Econ 100 lesson out of the way, let’s get back to my thesis: Make short videos of you doing your hobby and post them on YouTube. There’s one way this is a superior money-making idea when compared to starting a blog. When you create a Google AdSense account, and opt-in for ads on your YouTube videos, Google takes care of the rest. You don’t have to paste any widgets into a web page or mess with page design.

Around the world with knitting

When setting out to make money from your hobby, the specific activity isn’t important. I think almost any hobby will find an audience. Let’s take knitting for example. If you’re a knitter you could:

  • Demonstrate technique tips,
  • Go yarn shopping and explain the reasoning behind your choices,
  • Show off and critique completed projects, and
  • Cross over into travel territory by knitting or visiting knitting shops in different cities or even countries.

To do any of these, all you would have to do is fire up your smartphone video app and record for a few minutes. Taking a little time to polish the videos in editing before posting them would also be a good idea.

Finally, “marketing” or promoting hobby videos is very easy. Most hobbyists have like-minded hobbyists as social media “friends,” so there is a built-in “starter audience” for these videos. Post links to the videos and encourage your friends to repost these to their friends and who knows, you might have some of your videos go viral.

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