Turning Hobbies into Hustles: Make Money from these Four Specialised Hobbies


Most of us have hobbies — activities or pastimes we find fun and fulfilling enough to spend our free time pursuing. However, some hobbies that begin as a homespun interest can transform into a full-time career or a side project.

If you have a few hours to spare and you’re looking for a new pastime, here’s a list of specialised hobbies to master and potentially make a profit.

1. Leatherwork

Leatherwork blends mental and physical focus. It is both industrious and artistic, requiring strength and finesse. This is also a reasonably accessible hobby to pick up. Stroll into your local art and crafts shop, and you often find entry-level supplies to get you started. Tutorials and inspiration for projects can also be found online on many sites such as Pinterest.

Once you get the hang of working with leather, you can try making more profitable products such as shoes, bags and clothes. You’ll have a ready market since many people love the timeless appeal and texture of leather.

2. Making furniture

Furniture making or woodworking may seem like an ambitious hobby, but with the right set of tools and plenty of practice, whittling and fixing timber can be therapeutic. Start with more straightforward projects such as a small table or a compact shelf. You can also experiment working with different types of materials available in NZ such as marine plywood, chipboard, hard and softwoods.

Once you get the hang of woodworking, you will find that there’s nothing more satisfying than taking a raw board and turning it into something beautiful and functional.

3. Painting portraits

Painting a landscapePortraiture is an old art form that dates back to ancient Egypt. It was also an aristocratic, European tradition born out of devotional and dynastic purposes. Once considered a relic due to the invention of cameras, portrait painting is making a comeback as people’s tastes have brought this form of art back into fashion.

If you have artistic flair and a good eye, how about painting portraits on a commission basis? Examine the art of experienced portrait painters to discover the techniques of their work, and look online for advice. Practise makes perfect, so you’ll need a few stoic volunteers before you can start working out your pricing list. Divide your rates into categories such as head, mid-size, full figure and so on.

4. Photography

Full-time professional photography is competitive, but using your hobby to make some extra cash is not so difficult. The popularity of social media has opened up new opportunities for freelance photographers, and the chance to find clients is easier when asking your friends and family to share your photos.

Before taking the plunge into the world of freelance photography, choose an area of speciality. For example, you might want to concentrate on portraits or pets. Once you select an area, you will find it easier to market yourself to potential clients.

One of the best ways to earn extra income is by getting paid to do something that you enjoy doing. If you feel in a rut or want to vary your income sources, now’s as good a time as any to get started.

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