Want to start a side hustle to earn extra income? For inspiration, check out this list of creative hobbies that make money.
If you’re reading this post in 2020, you know there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world right now. People are losing their jobs, the economy is tanking, and nobody knows what’s going to happen.
To make yourself feel more secure in the changing economic climate, it’s a good idea to diversify your income. (Hint: You can do it with your creative hobbies!)
There are many benefits to starting a side hustle, but I think the best part is earning a living while doing something you enjoy.
I don’t want to spend 40+ hours a week hating my life. That just doesn’t seem like a fulfilling way to live.
Part of the reason I started this blog was to turn my passion for writing into profit. I don’t know if I’ll ever become a full-time blogger, but I do like the sound of that!
A few months ago, I wrote a post on creative hobbies to try this year. Hobbies are great for self-care, but that’s not the only benefit. They can also be profitable!
If you have any creative skills at all, now is a great time to capitalize on them. If you can turn your creative hobby into a business, you’ll enjoy more financial security and peace of mind as we navigate this unpredictable situation.
Just for you, I put together this list of 25 ways you can turn the creative activities you love into lucrative side hustles:
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase. All opinions are mine alone. Read my full disclosure policy for details.
1. Start a blog.
I’ll start by talking about the creative side hustle I know the most about, which is blogging.
A lot of people are baffled by how bloggers make money, but the truth is that it can be very profitable if you have a good strategy in place.
However, blogging will not make you rich overnight. If you see anyone claiming that they “made $10,000 in their first month blogging,” I’d be wary of their advice. I’m sure there are people who have miraculously done that, but you shouldn’t bank on getting such crazy results in the beginning.
Although it is not a “get rich quick” scheme, you can set up a blog to be a great source of passive income. If you’re willing to commit to blogging for a few years, I highly recommend it!
Ways to monetize your blog:
There are many ways bloggers make money with their platforms. Here are just a few:
- Affiliate marketing
- Sponsored content
- Selling digital products (ebooks, online courses, printables, etc.)
- Selling services (coaching, social media management, etc.)
And on top of that, your blog can advance your career! It can help you land paid guest posts on other sites, speaking opportunities, and more.
2. Become a freelance blog writer.
In addition to creating content for my own blog, I work as a freelance writer and write blog posts for businesses. This can be lucrative, especially if you’re an expert in digital marketing, medicine, finance, business, or another in-demand niche.
The first step to becoming a freelance writer is to set up an online portfolio to showcase your work.
If you already have a website, I’d recommend creating a portfolio page there. If you don’t want to spend time creating a whole website, you could use Medium to host your portfolio. Basically, you just want a clean and easily accessible platform to showcase your writing samples.
Where to find freelance writing gigs:
Here are some sites I’ve used to find freelance writing jobs:
- ProBlogger – Most of the jobs posted here are vetted and high-quality
- Write Jobs Plus – This is a paid job board, but it’s very affordable. It’s updated daily with new jobs.
- Craigslist – You have to be wary of scams, but there are some good jobs posted here. Believe it or not, I landed one of my long-term clients by pitching a listing on the New York Craigslist job board!
There are plenty of job boards out there, but I only want to suggest ones I’ve personally had success with.
Also, I recommend cold pitching small businesses and startups if you can’t land any gigs from job boards. (I still haven’t gotten 100 percent comfortable with cold pitching, but it’s a great way to land consistent work if you can master it!)
The life of a freelance writer is tough, so don’t expect it to be easy. But if you enjoy writing and want to make money doing it, there are plenty of opportunities out there! You just have to be persistent in your search.
Let’s face it: almost every business needs to be online nowadays. If you’re an Instagram addict and have a talent for writing captions, you could become a social media copywriter!
I currently work as a part-time copywriter for a marketing agency, and I can tell you this: all kinds of businesses need social media content.
Many full-time copywriting jobs require you to have an English or communications degree, but don’t worry! Even if you don’t have the “required” education, you can work independently and make money as a copywriter.
You’ll need to create a portfolio, just like you would if you wanted to be a freelance blog writer. (I explained more about that in the section above!) If you’ve never had a client before, just create mock social media content calendars to put in your portfolio as examples.
If you’re a total beginner, I would recommend cold pitching local small businesses to see if they need help with their social media content. There are plenty of people out there who don’t fully understand social media and could use your help!
The way you pitch yourself will make all the difference. You want to come across as confident and experienced. (In this case, you have to fake it ’till you make it!)
4. Earn through affiliate marketing on Pinterest.
You’ll find it easier to earn money with affiliate marketing if you have a blog. However, it’s not a requirement!
You can attach affiliate links to your pins and earn a commission whenever one of your followers purchases a product. It’s easier said than done, but with a proper strategy, you can multiply your earnings!
To be a successful Pinterest affiliate marketer, you’ll need to learn:
- Best practices for pinning
- Pinterest SEO strategies
- Effective pin design
- How to research the right keywords
Here are some resources to help you:
- How to Make Money on Pinterest with Affiliate Links
- 3 Simples Ways to Make Money on Autopilot with Pinterest Affiliate Marketing
5. Become a Pinterest virtual assistant.
This is another great idea for people who are passionate about pinning!
Even if you think it’s fun, pinning is a ton of work! Busy bloggers and e-commerce based businesses often hire Pinterest virtual assistants to create and schedule pins for them.
How to become a Pinterest VA and land clients quickly
I took this amazing course called VA Ninja that specifically teaches you how to become a Pinterest VA!
It’s jam-packed with helpful info and resources to help you launch a profitable virtual assistant business. Because it’s specific to landing Pinterest clients, there’s truly no other course on the Internet like it.
Along with the course, you get Canva templates for your contracts, welcome packages, etc. that will save you time so you can get clients ASAP!
Click the button below for more info about this awesome course:
6. Become an Instagram manager.
If Instagram is your jam, you could make money handling Instagram engagement for bloggers, influencers, and small businesses!
The Instagram algorithm updates have made it nearly impossible to grow organically, so authentic engagement is more important than ever for businesses who want to get new followers.
An Instagram manager will usually log in to the client’s account for 30 minutes per day, like and comment on other users’ posts, and conduct research to determine the best ways to reach the client’s target audience.
Instagram managers can work from their phones, so it could be a great side hustle for you if you like the idea of being able to work from anywhere.
7. Become a micro-influencer.
You don’t have to have 100,000 Instagram followers to make money as an influencer.
Micro-influencers are influencers with 10,000 or fewer followers, as defined by Buffer. When selecting influencers for collaborations, brands look at way more than just the follower count.
If you have an Instagram account with good reach and engagement, you could land paid collaborations with fewer than 10,000 followers. Especially if your account is dedicated to a specific niche and your audience demographics match, you could be an excellent candidate for paid brand collaborations.
How to build your audience
Here are some helpful strategies to help you grow an authentic and engaged audience on Instagram:
- Post consistently. This is the most important thing! You must post consistently if you want to grow. Try to post every single day if you can. And if you’re unable to publish a feed post, create stories to keep your audience engaged.
- Use targeted hashtags. Research relevant hashtags to help you get your posts seen by the right people. Find accounts similar to yours that have good engagement and see which hashtags they are using. I’ve had the best luck using niche-specific hashtags that have between 10,000 and 100,000 posts within them. You don’t want to use hashtags that are too big because your posts won’t get seen by as many people. In general, you’ll get more impressions if your post ranks in the “Top Posts” section of one of the smaller hashtags.
- Reply to every comment. This is one of the best ways to engage with your followers and show them you care what they have to say!
- Dedicate 30-60 minutes per day to Instagram engagement. Like and comment on other users’ posts. Look through the posts in the hashtags you researched and engage with the top posts there. The Instagram algorithm favors active users, so be sure to dedicate time to Instagram engagement!
Pitch brands through email or DM for collaborations
Once you’ve put together a nice feed that conveys your personal brand, try contacting brands for collaborations via email or DM.
To get an idea of how much you should be charging for paid collaborations, check Social Bluebook. You don’t have to use the exact amount they recommend, but it will give you a ballpark range to start with.
If you’ve never collaborated with a brand before, you may want to ask for product compensation at first. Then, after you get an idea of how collaborations work, you can start charging for sponsored posts.
It’s all up to you! Those are just my recommendations, coming from someone who has completed many blog and Instagram collaborations with brands.
Monetize with affiliate sales
Sponsored posts aren’t the only way to make money on Instagram! You can also monetize your platform with affiliate sales. Here are a few affiliate programs that Instagrammers use:
8. Design printables and sell them online.
I recently started designing printable products to sell in my online store.
In my store, I plan to sell printable to-do lists, self-care workbooks, project planners, and other tools that will help my readers get organized and live their best lives.
There are plenty of printable products you can create, however! I know printable worksheets and games for kids are really popular. Kids’ printables are easy to market on Pinterest because there are moms on there who are looking for screen-free activities for their kids.
Creating printables is a great way for bloggers to earn extra passive income from their platforms. I use the Shopify buy button feature to sell printables on my blog.
However, if you don’t have a website, you can open up an Etsy shop and sell your printables there. Whatever works best for you!
Design tools I recommend
- Canva – This is hands-down the most user-friendly design tool out there! For context, I have worked professionally as a graphic designer, and even I choose to design my printables in Canva. I can create and export printables way faster using Canva as opposed to an Adobe program.
- Adobe Creative Suite – Although they are more difficult to use, Adobe programs provide far more customization options for your creations. Printables are usually simple, however, so I don’t think you’d need an advanced program to design them. If you want to make your printables in an Adobe program, I’d recommend Illustrator, Photoshop, or InDesign.
9. Sell your crafts online.
If crafting is one of your creative hobbies, you should consider selling your creations! I don’t have any personal experience selling online crafts, but I know a lot of people make stuff and sell it on Etsy.
With any online business, marketing is key. Keep that in mind as you plan your online store.
Here are some crafting business resources to help you:
- Work-at-Home: Share Your Craftiness with the World!
- 20+ Crafts That Make Money (+ How and Where to Sell)
- 30 Places to Start Selling Crafts Online
10. Create jewelry and sell it.
I see jewelry makers selling on Etsy, but there are plenty of other places to host your shop.
You should consider renting a booth at a local market. Whenever I go to the farmer’s market in my town, I always see vendors selling their handmade jewelry!
Here’s how to launch your jewelry business:
- 13 Best Places to Sell Jewelry Online
- Where to Sell Handmade Jewelry Online
- How to Sell Your Jewelry Online and Locally for Extra Cash
11. Make custom embroidered goods and sell them online.
Once again, Etsy is an excellent place to open your custom embroidery shop. Personalized products are popular because they make meaningful gifts.
Types of embroidered products you could sell:
- Baby clothes
- Greek life (sorority/fraternity) accessories
- Shirts, shorts, and shoes
…you get the idea.
12. Create custom drawings or paintings for people.
Traditional art is not lost! There are still ways for drawing and painting pros to make money from their creations.
On Facebook, I often see artists offering custom drawings and paintings to Instagram influencers. To succeed on Instagram, it’s crucial to maintain an interesting feed. There are tons of influencers out there who would love to pay artists for custom portraits!
If you want to create custom art for people, I recommend joining Facebook groups for bloggers, influencers, and creative professionals. Post and see if anyone is interested in a personalized portrait! However, before posting, make sure you read the group rules. Not all Facebook groups allow self-promo.
13. Design logos and graphics for businesses.
Graphic design is an in-demand skill right now. Small businesses everywhere need logos, web graphics, promotional flyers… you name it.
You’ll need to have an online portfolio to showcase your work. 99.9 percent of clients will want to see your portfolio before hiring you!
Places to host your design portfolio:
- Your own website – This is the option I recommend.
- Dribbble – Helpful because it has a job board and resources to help you get clients as a freelance designer.
- Behance – Social media network for designers, owned by Adobe. It also has job listings.
Other places to find design clients
- Facebook groups – Like I mentioned above, niche-specific Facebook groups can be good places to find job listings, promote your services, and land clients.
- LinkedIn – If you’re not on LinkedIn yet, you need to be! When used strategically, it can be a valuable platform for your business.
- AIGA job board – AIGA is “the professional association for design” and it’s basically a huge networking group for designers. It has a job board on its site that you can use to find gigs.
14. Make creative assets for designers and sell them online.
If you love designing but hate working with clients, thankfully there’s an alternative business route for you! Not all creative hobbies that make money require you to communicate directly with clients.
You could open an online store and sell assets for other creative professionals to use. Check out some examples below:
Types of creative assets designers will buy:
- Vector graphics
- Website themes
- Presentation templates
- Photoshop/Illustrator/Procreate brushes
- Patterns and textures
Places to sell creative assets:
- Creative Market – This is one of my favorite websites to purchase assets!
- Etsy – Another popular choice
You may need to do some research, but if possible, you should try to find a site that’s specific to the type of product you’re selling.
15. Take and sell royalty-free photos.
Wanna know a secret? Most bloggers and small businesses don’t take their own photos.
Instead, they use royalty-free photos to make their content look spectacular!
If you have a knack for photography, you should try selling your photos to businesses online. You could start out on Etsy or Creative Market, which I’ve already mentioned in this post.
Or, if you want to scale your photography hobby into a full business, you should consider starting a stock photo membership site!
The membership business model is booming. And because blogging is so popular right now, there’s a huge market for stock photos.
Below, I included links to the stock photo memberships I have so you can get an idea of what I’m talking about.
Examples of great stock photo membership sites:
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16. Edit photos for businesses or Instagram influencers.
Yet again, Instagram has created new ways to monetize creative hobbies.
Ever wonder how big influencers get their photos to look perfect every time? Chances are they’re not photo editing pros themselves. I bet at least 80 percent of them outsource their editing.
Check in influencer Facebook groups to see if there’s anyone who will pay you to edit photos for them in bulk. There’s definitely a market for photo editing, so who knows what you’ll find!
17. Create a YouTube channel.
I will warn you that, like blogging, YouTube is not a “get rich quick” scheme. If you want to monetize a YouTube channel, be prepared to spend years creating content before you see a return.
I’m not saying that to discourage you. YouTube and content creation are creative hobbies that could turn into full-time jobs down the road! And if you got to that point, it would be well worth the effort. Trust me.
Video equipment I recommend
I want to share the equipment I use for video creation. None of these things are requirements. Honestly, you can shoot decent videos with a smartphone if you want to!
However, this equipment has saved me a lot of time, and it’s made my life as a content creator easier. Here’s the list:
- UBeesize 10″ LED Ring Light with Tripod Stand & Phone Holder—This is a great desktop light that will make your videos look sharp!
- Blue Yeti USB Mic for Recording & Streaming on PC and Mac—A little pricey, but this is a top-of-the-line microphone that’s great for videos, podcasting, etc.
- Lightweight Tripod 55-Inch—An essential tool for photography/videography in general
- UBeesize Mini Bendable Tripod—Because this is bendable, you can attach this tripod to weird things… like poles, tree branches, or anything you can wrap the legs around. That makes it an AMAZING tool for vlogging or taking Instagram photos by yourself. You’ll get the perfect angles with ease!
- Canon PowerShot G7X Mark II—I use this camera often for vlogging or taking Instagram photos. It’s expensive, but super high quality. An amazing investment for any aspiring blogger or YouTuber!It has a viewfinder that flips to the front, so you can see yourself while you’re shooting. And because it’s small, it fits conveniently in my purse. I take it everywhere, even to brunch or music festivals. That way, I always have a great camera with me to take professional photos and videos!
- Canon EOS 5D Mark IV—This is the main camera I use to shoot video. Definitely a big investment, but this is the type of camera that professional YouTubers use. I don’t recommend you purchase this if you’re just starting out, but if your channel takes off and you want the best camera for your videos, just know that I think the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is fantastic.
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.8—An affordable lens for Canon cameras that creates a shallow depth of field, so the background is blurred out and the subject is in focus. I love this lens for YouTube videos and portrait photography! There are better lenses out there, of course, but the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 is the most budget-friendly option if you want to create the shallow depth of field effect.
Info on how to start a YouTube channel
Here are some blog posts that will help you get started:
- How to Start a YouTube Channel People Want to Watch
- How to Start a YouTube Channel
- Starting a YouTube Channel: How to Achieve YouTube Growth
18. Start a podcast.
Podcasts are all the rage right now! I want to start listening to some, but I haven’t gotten around to it. When I find podcasts I like, I’ll share them on this blog!
Here’s some helpful info on starting a podcast:
- How to Start a Podcast: Every Single Step for 2020
- How to Start a Podcast in 2020: The Complete Podcasting Tutorial
- Podcasting for Beginners: The Complete Guide to Getting Started with Podcasts
19. Launch an online coaching business.
Coaching is a great entrepreneurial avenue for people who are highly specialized in their industry. If you’re a “people person” and you love helping others, you’d likely be an excellent coach!
You can also work 100 percent remotely as a coach, if you choose to do so. I’m currently working with an Instagram coach, and we video chat using Zoom every two weeks.
Want to learn more about starting a coaching business? Check out these links:
- How to Start a Home-Based Coaching Business
- How to Start a Coaching Business
- The 5 Key Steps to Starting a 6-Figure Coaching Business
20. Become an online teacher.
This is a less personal option for people who want to teach but feel intimidated by the idea of 1-on-1 coaching.
Skillshare offers a platform for creative professionals to create lessons, share their knowledge, and earn a profit as an online teacher. Because the video lessons are pre-recorded, there’s an opportunity to turn Skillshare into a passive income source.
21. Write and publish an ebook.
I briefly mentioned ebooks earlier when I was talking about ways bloggers monetize their platforms. If you’re interested in creating and selling an ebook, there’s an excellent course I recommend you take!
Ebook Ninja is a course that will tell you everything you need to know about creating an ebook and marketing it on your blog. Check it out below:
22. Create an online course and sell it.
Skillshare is a done-for-you platform where you can share your expertise. However, you could earn even more profit by creating and selling your own online course.
Ebooks are great, but online courses are even better. They help you organize information more effectively, they’re more user friendly, and you could sell them for a higher price than an ebook.
I’ll create my own online course one day. I see many bloggers do it, and it seems like an extremely profitable way to earn passive income!
Teachable is the course creation platform I see the most. I haven’t created a course with it, but many of the online courses I’ve taken are hosted on Teachable. Overall, I think it provides a great user experience!
23. Become a virtual stylist.
Here’s an idea for people who love fashion! I mean, if you’re a shopping addict, what’s better than helping people figure out what to buy? Sounds like an exciting job to me.
Here’s some info to get you started:
24. Create and sell music samples.
I threw this idea in there because I personally love electronic music, and it seems like everyone in the scene wants to become a DJ.
When they’re not touring, musicians can make money by creating sample packs of sounds and selling them online. This is especially popular in the electronic music industry.
If you want to learn more about music samples, check out the links below:
- How to Make a Sample Pack
- How to Make and Market Your Own Sample Packs
- 9 Music Digital Products to Sell Online to Make Money – $300k Product?
25. Start a dropshipping business.
Last but not least, if you’re looking for a side hustle to generate serious passive income, consider opening a dropshipping business. As an entrepreneur, you can enjoy many creative hobbies at once!
With few startup costs, dropshipping is a cost-effective way to create and sell your own merchandise online. You can design graphics and text to put on t-shirts, mugs, socks, notebooks, or pretty much whatever you want!
Shopify is one of the most popular dropshipping platforms out there. I use the “buy button” feature to sell products on my site, but you can also create an entire online store with Shopify.