One of the core ideas of FIRE is that you should diversify your income streams, so a common follow up question is what are some hobbies that make money? The truth is, The 21st century is the golden age of individual creativity and self-expression. At what other time in human history can you write a story, sing a song, or share your hobby with literal billions of people at once? Even better, you can actually make money from this sharing. Most people don’t take advantage of this opportunity though, likely because it feels phony or fake, they’re overly self-conscious, or they just don’t know the opportunity exists.
When it comes to hobbies that make money, the internet is the great equalizer.
You probably already knew this, but the internet gives you the opportunity to share and communicate your ideas to literal billions of people. However, most people still view the internet as a tool to consume social or other media. We all have passions and things we’re interested in, and many of us share our interests through social media. This has value on its own, particularly if you can build an audience (think instagram followers), but unfortunately, this is the worst way to monetize your passion.
In fact, you’re basically generating value for the social media companies by producing the content that they squeeze ads into. Your hobbies are making money for Facebook when they could be making money for you. Luckily there’s a whole wide world outside of social media: blogs, stores, and video sites like Youtube. You can share your passion through one of these channels and receive money. Shocking, right? Let’s take baby steps.
To Write or Record
How easy is it to make money from your hobby? You can go on medium.com, put in your social security number, and be eligible to begin receiving money for your writing in about 5 minutes. You don’t need a special website, the platform is very easy to use, and you can share all of the same content on social media while actually earning money for your effort. Patreon makes it possible to earn money from subscribers, while youtube is great for sharing video content. You can even create a podcast, it’s really up to what medium is best for your hobby.
Do you have it in you? Yes.
Let’s face it, a lot of us enjoy hobbies because they’re not work – they restore our energy and give us joy. We fear that by sharing our hobby with the world, we’re going to be exposing ourselves. So we spend extra time, effort, and energy to make our content as good as it can be, and suddenly our hobby turns into a slog. Instead of actually doing the thing we enjoyed, we’re spending too much time editing a video or a post.
I’ve struggled a lot with this personally, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s ok to share content that you think could be improved. My motto is ‘make it not shitty.’ A low bar that almost everything I write hits haha.
I know that a lot of the posts I write could be better (this one is no exception), but I also know that I can always go back and edit my work overtime. By going for ‘not shitty’, I’m more likely to spend a Sunday morning banging out a post. How can I expect to write a great, even good article when I haven’t even had my morning coffee? I wouldn’t bet on it. But not shitty? I can do that just fine.
Focus on OK, not good.
All this is to say that there are millions of hours of content being published on the internet every minute, and with minimal effort (basic writing / video editing skills), your expertise in your chosen passion or interest will virtually guarantee that your content is in the top 20%. By accepting OK, you’ll be more motivated to continue building your passion and your content, which will produce exceptional results over time.
Is it fake, phony, or dishonest to make money from your hobby?
Absolutely not, as long as you’re honest and open about it. Your providing value by sharing your hobby or passion with the world: you deserve to be compensated for that value. The key is in making sure you’re actually creating value. If you have a genuine interest in the topic, I’m sure you will.
What does this have to do with FIRE anyway?
It’s rare to achieve financial independence through one income stream, that’s why finding hobbies that make money is a great way to diversify your income. Even if your hobby is particularly niche or weird, that’s actually even better! It’ll be easier to carve out your piece of the internet and monetize your content through advertising or affiliate links. That’s why you can make money off of any hobby you can share on the internet.