Like many of you, blogging started out as a hobby – an interest. Sure, I always had a goal of turning it into a career somehow, but I also thoroughly enjoyed reading blogs – and the process of conceptualizing shoots and turning them into stories. And honestly, I didn’t now if it would ever be a viable income. I was able to generate a small income out of it at some point – and eventually scaled it to be my full-time job. You guys probably have various hobbies that range anywhere from graphic design, photography, and writing to DIY crafts. No matter what your hobby is, I can assure you that there’s a way to make money from it. Let’s take a look at a few strategies for how to turn your hobby into side income.
1 Analyze the market
It can be hard to determine whether or not someone would pay you. And when you're just starting out, having that level of confidence is even tricky especially if you have no portfolio, no big names under your belt, or a ton of experience. However, I believe you'll be super surprised at what people are willing to pay for. I personally feel that there's no such thing as "too much competition". In face, the fastest way to find out if you can make money off your hobby is to see if there are people out there who already are! I remember "industry experts" predicting the collapse of the influencer industry yet look at us now.
So, your first step is to analyze the market. Who's out there already making money off the hobby you want to make money from - and figure out how you can do it better, faster, or easier.
In the context of blogging, my competitive edge was my daring, inimitable style and unique photography thanks to my husband, Dan. Note that I didn't always know my style was very bold and peculiar - it came about through reinforcement from you guys and brands I began working with.
2 Start small
Once you know what’s out there on the market, start small and aim to get your first paying client. This is going to put you out of your comfort zone, but you need to get out there and talk to people who would pay for the product or service you are offering. I’m going to use blogging as an example in this post a lot because that’s where I have experience. However, you really have to get creative.
As my social presence grew and I had numbers I felt comfortable sharing, I started contacting brands directly and making them aware of my brand, reach and engagement, and services I provide such as styling, content creation, and photography. I had a lot of rejections in the beginning but it only took one “yes” to gain confidence and momentum.
If you’re a photographer, maybe you should reach out to bloggers on Instagram, and if you’re a writer, reach out to established bloggers. Start with free work and transition into paid work!
3 Focus on actionable, productive activities
It’s so easy to get stuck on activities that won’t bring you paying clients in the beginning. Things like making your website as pretty and perfect as possible, figuring out “brand” colors and typography, or spending hours writing one blog post. I’ve done plenty of these silly things in the past. While they are important activities, they won’t necessarily bring you paying clients immediately. I suggest focusing on them later and instead put your energy into productive work.
For me, that meant interacting and engaging constantly on social media rather than working only on the blog. For you, maybe it’s making calls and publishing valuable social media content while running a basic site.
4 Set and measure goals
Goals are essential for productivity – and I swear by them. Get as broad or specific as you need to get things done. Some examples of my goals would be “posting on Instagram twice a day and engaging with users 30 minutes everyday”. Since you’re just getting started, it could be send out 20 pitches by the end of the week and turn one of those pitches into a phone call. These deadlines will give you something to work towards and you’ll miraculously figure out a way to make them happen. Silly as it sounds – I feel like the universe align your needs with you if you just declare and believe.
5 Share with those who support you but refrain from those who don’t
This last point is something I strongly believe in because as crappy as it sounds, not everyone will support you in this journey. If you start sharing your ideas with everyone, you can lose sight of your vision and get discouraged when others disagree. This happened to me so many times when I started blogging…so many people thought I was crazy. I then learned to filter my thoughts based on who I was conversing with and shortly after, I left my corporate job.
Pick a few people you know support you and speak to them once a month about your progress and struggles. The encouragement and positive energy can take you far even in your darkest moments.
What are your hobbies and how are you turning them into a money-making side hustle?