(An original article from Money Is Not Important)
Some of the things that hurt us the most financially are the things that make us the happiest. I’m talking about our hobbies. It’s what we do when we need to get back in touch with ourselves, and what we are most passionate about.
With so many of us finding ourselves locked in cubicle prison cells all day, we need something to keep us sane and feeling productive. Some people turn to relatively cheap hobbies, and others seem to constantly find themselves interested in things that really break the bank.
Before I go any further, I want to say that it is okay to been interested in something that happens to cost a lot of money to do. Life is short, and it’s important to passionately pursue that which makes us happiest. However, if you aren’t taking strides to ensure that your hobby isn’t stealing from the rest of your financial obligations, you could find yourself in deep trouble.
You see, when we start spending a large amount of money on one thing, it tends to snowball. Not only do you find yourself lusting after the next best thing, your spouse or kids may begin to feel like they deserve to spend that same amount of money on something they enjoy. In my opinion, that’s completely fair. If you go out and buy a new set of golf clubs, spend money on the latest trendy clothes, or buy some new SCUBA diving equipment, your spouse should have the right to spend that same amount of money on something they love. If you don’t have the money in your budget to allow that, then you need to find ways to spend less on your hobby. OR… you could find ways to make your hobby pay for itself…
This is really much easier than it sounds. I’m not talking about quitting your day job and turning your love of stamp collecting into a career. All I’m talking about is finding ways to generate a little bit of cash so that your love of woodworking doesn’t saw your budget in half.
Here are the steps to finding ways to generate income from your hobbies:
1. Decide which hobbies are worth monetizing
We can’t always generate income from a hobby. I’m sure if you really sat down and thought about it for months, you could find a way. However, some hobbies lend themselves to generating cash, and some simply do not.
2. Find the most lucrative aspect of your hobby, and focus on it
Some hobbies have all sorts of ways to generate some extra dough, but we really want to focus on one aspect that gives us the most bang for the dollar. You don’t want to ruin your love of underwater basket weaving by constantly thinking about having to earn money. Remember, you aren’t running a business. You don’t need to teach lessons, sell your work, and run a blog all at the same time. Pick one and run with it.
3. Write it down
When you come up with a great idea for generating some cash, be sure to write down your thoughts. If we simply find ourselves daydreaming about these things, they don’t have a very good chance of being implemented. It doesn’t have to be very detailed, but just get your thoughts on paper.
4. Take action
A good idea is worthless unless we take action on it. If something is keeping you from getting started, pinpoint what the sticking point is and figure it out. Just take it one step at a time, one day at a time.
5. Keep track of what you earn
It’s important to know exactly how much money we make from our hobby. After all, our goal is to create a hobby that pays for itself, so you need to know if you are coming up short or sailing past your goal.
Here’s an example of a hobby of mine that I plan to monetize. I love motorcycles. More specifically, vintage motorcycles. I’ve always had a knack for figure out how mechanical things work, and I recently purchased a 1972 Honda CL 125 Scrambler. I found it on Craigslist, and decided that it had to be mine. It wasn’t running at the time, but it was in overall good shape. All it needed was a little TLC, and it would be up and running again. I began researching every in and out about the motorcycle. I poured over manuals and parts lists, and day by day it got closer and closer to being road ready. Finally, after a couple of months of fixing things, breaking things, and fixing them again, I found myself in the garage with a motorcycle that had roared back to life. Okay, it’s only a 125CC, so maybe it purred back to life. Either way, I was ecstatic!
Meanwhile, my loving wife started to notice all of the parts I was ordering and began adding up how much I was spending on this little motorcycle. She loved that I had found something that made me so happy, but she wanted to make sure that we were still on track financially. Instead of putting a moratorium on the project, we began to figure out how I could make some cash from it.
Once the bike was up and running, I quickly began to realize that I actually enjoyed working on it more than riding it. Once there was nothing left to work on, I found myself constantly tinkering with (and breaking) things that didn’t need any attention. So, what I’ve decided to do is try to sell the motorcycle for a profit, and use the proceeds for my next project. By no means do I expect to actually earn any excess income, but it will allow me to fund my hobby without stealing from other areas of our budget.
So, what are your ideas for hobbies that pay for themselves? Leave an awesome comment below, and share your thoughts.