How to turn your hobby into a business + 9 examples

February 01, 2021

Turn your hobby to business

It’s fair to say that the digitalisation has had an even bigger impact on life and work than the industrialisation. Nowadays, you’re just a click away to turn a hobby into a business. The internet offers more opportunities than ever before. That being said, you can have a full-time job and still earn on the side from your hobby business. What’s great about hobbies is that we enjoy doing them, so working on your hobby business would be a lot of fun. You’d feel no obligations or have a fixed schedule.

But how to monetise fun and how to turn your hobby into a business? Namely, there are a million ways to do it but at the end of the day it all comes down to several key steps which we’ll cover in the following paragraphs. However, you should remember that competition has never been harsher and you should find a way to stand out in order to come from passion to profit.

Is there a market for your hobby?

Is there an audience for your hobby? What is the competition? Is there a place for you on the market? Is the demand big? Do you offer a solution to a problem?

Analyse the demand

We can’t stress enough the importance of analysing the market. Unfortunately, one of the main causes for small business failure is that there is no market need for the particular offering. Be careful when researching and don’t get blinded by your own feelings. You can create the most unique product or service but if there’s no demand for it, it’ll flop in an instant.

Take a look at competition

Additionally, you should be careful of competition too. An oversaturated market leaves almost no space for newcomers, unless your offer is revolutionising and solves a problem more efficiently than the already existing solutions. 

On the other hand, competition is good because it’s what keeps innovation going and spices up the game. One thing is for sure, you can learn a great deal from analysing your competition, just don’t get caught too much into it or you’ll lose your focus.

Test before going all-in

Lastly, you can always test the product or service coming from your hobby business before investing in it. For instance, you can attend fairs and observe the public response. If the feedback is positive, nothing is stopping you from turning a hobby into a business. By the same token, if you offer a service, try advertising it first and see what happens. If it generates enough buzz, it might be time to create a business model around it.

Slow but consistent transition from hobby to business

Obviously you already have a job so take things slowly – baby steps. You still have bills to pay and going broke is out of the question.

Invest more time than money

At the beginning, you should invest more time than money into it. Of course, having a full-time job leaves you with fewer hours on your watch than you’d like but there are ways to work around that too. If you use public transport, use the commute time to work on your side hustle. Instead of aimlessly scrolling on social media, write your business plan. Plug off your TV and grind. Listen to podcasts to educate yourself while doing whatever. We don’t say it won’t be tiring, but at the end it will be worth it.

But also, don’t be a cheapskate

However, don’t expect to find your name on magazine covers if you’re not willing to put a single dima into your business. Building a brand, marketing, production, hiring or outsourcing – these are all things that require a certain budget. If you have personal savings and you intend to use them be extremely careful. Alternatively, you can find an investor or a partner to help you turn a hobby into a business.

Eventually, as things start to unfold you’ll come to a certain point when you will have to quit your job and seriously devote yourself to your baby business.

Grow an online presence

If the first two decades of the 21st century was all about the internet, you’re free to guess the third one will be too. As a matter of fact, being present online has become more of an essential necessity than luxury. Yet, whether due to the challenges of going online, research shows that an overwhelming percentage of SMEs don’t have a website, aren’t listed anywhere or don’t manage social media accounts. 

If there were 11 commandments, “Be online” would have been the eleventh.

These days there’s no excuse for your passion turned into business to not be present online:

In other words, if you’re hobby-turned-business doesn’t have a website or is not found on Google, you might as well give up on your dreams and stick to your 9-5 job.

Sure, becoming viral is trickier than before, but with the right storytelling and SEO writing, marketing tactics and growth mindset nothing is impossible. But even so, building a brand that is consistent and has a solid base of clients, even if it is a small one, is sometimes more important than being famous on the internet for one minute.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

Remember not to stop having fun once you turn a hobby into a business. The thing you once loved so much can easily become a burden and you’ll be as miserable as you were at your job if you’re not careful. To put it briefly, every once in a while remind yourself why you started in the first place and stick to your true self. Don’t let the current take you deep underwater.

A passion turned into business that lost its original appeal is not much different from a corporate job. Hence it’s important to keep looking at your hobby as just a hobby and not work. That way you’ll never have to work a day in your life.

Extra: 9 hobbies turned into successful businesses

There are many examples of hobbies turned into successful businesses.

For example, we have all heard about Craigslist but did you know that it all started with an email containing a listing of only two events?

Also, are you familiar with Twitch? With it, people are now making thousands of dollars each month just by playing video games. Imagine a hobby that was once flagged as being unreasonable and childish now is a billion dollar industry.

Tom’s of Maine, Harley Davidson, Darn Good Yarn, Rent the Runway, Yankee Candle – these are all a fraction of the list of hobbies turned into successful businesses.

But if you still need reassurance, here are ten real-life examples of hobbies turned into successful businesses.

Truism Fitness

I used to write freelance fitness articles for fun after I got out of the marine corps and never meant for it to turn into a business or passive income, but after doing it for a couple years I decided to start my own website and it is now a 5 figure monthly income.

I had a period where I got away from working out and eating healthy and gained a lot of weight. When I decided to get back into shape I noticed how deceiving the fitness industry can be and that is what made me go from a writer to creating a website that gave people a tool to help them change their lifestyle without being taken advantage of.

I have more fun doing it now then before, especially when I receive comments from our readers and get to help them one on one.

Jamie Hickey, Personal trainer/Nutritionist at Truism Fitness


I have been into songwriting and music production since an early age. Matter of fact, I started playing the piano when I was nine years old. Music has always been my main hobby growing up. In my early and mid 20s, my music started generating some income. 

Eventually, in 2016, I co-founded the music/tech company Tunedly, which is an online recording studio and trusted music publishing company. We raised angel capital and managed to put together an advisory board consisting of Mathew Knowles (Beyonce’s father) and Harvey Mason Jr. (interim CEO of the Grammys). 

I turned my hobby of songwriting and music production into one of the market leaders for online music production for songwriters worldwide.

Chris Erhardt, Co-founder & CEO of Tunedly

Mye De Leon

I’m a lettering artist who teaches creatives how to draw the art of letters and turn it into a profitable income. My story started when I was just rediscovering lettering while on the verge of depression after giving birth to my son with Down Syndrome and I used lettering to keep me sane from all the challenges of raising a child with special needs and twin daughters in a foreign country without any help around. I started making 6-figures from my hobby by teaching other creatives what I know since 2019.

Mye De Leon, Hand Lettering Maven and Business Mentor for Creatives

KidsNaturally Photography

I run my own photography business, and have done for 14 years. Before that, I was an astronomer, at various Universities and NASA. I had the enviable job of travelling to telescopes in far-flung locations like Hawaii! The trouble was I had job contracts that lasted for 3-5 years, and I moved around following the jobs. 

In the end, with my wife and young son, we decided to stay in one place and I turned my lifelong photography hobby into a business. I started with photos of my son and friend’s children, and I loved it! I went from a dry academic environment to a much more creative, people-based business.

Learning business skills was all new to me, however. Back then I didn’t know cash flow from a profit and loss statement. My wife has been very supportive. Gradually, I’ve learned from my mistakes, had good advice along the way, honed my skills, and I’m still loving the freedom and the responsibility years later. I earn a decent wage and have lots of very happy and appreciative clients.

Laurence Jones, Owner of KidsNaturally Photography

Metropolis Collectibles

When students head off to college, the questions are always the same: What’s your major? What are you going to study? The focus is on academics. People hardly ever ask, “What are you going to do for fun?”  

Following their passions can be the key to students leading successful, happy lives. Not only does pursuing a hobby give them a way to blow off steam and relieve stress, it could lead to a future career. I should know. That’s exactly what I did.

For me, the passion was (and is) comic books. I first discovered a love of comic books when I was 4 or 5 years old. In my teen years, I began buying and selling comic books with friends. While in college at St. John’s University, I studied marketing.  I then set up on the streets of Manhattan shortly after graduating and sold comics to stockbrokers coming out of the Exchange.

I used the marketing skills I learned in college to help grow my business. In 1999, I co-created the world’s largest vintage comic book dealership, Metropolis Collectibles and later launched an online auction house, The companies hold five Guinness world records for comics bought and sold. We also created the Metropolis Gallery featuring comic book art.

Vincent Zurzolo, Co-Creator of Metropolis Collectibles

DRD Enterprises inc of Davie

Post Hurricane Andrew I began designing and building a tornado proof storage building for the Broward County Boys Club. From what was to be a single project very quickly became an object of interest for those who saw it. 

Flash forward, 4 hurricanes hit Florida in one year! Demand for safe rooms increased as did my hobby of building portable 8 ton dome safe rooms.

Today the safedome is saving lives for Miami Dade County and most areas of Florida as well as Fort Sill OK 12 safedomes bought by the Department of Defense that classifies safedomes as bunkers.

David Pressler, Owner of DRD Enterprises inc of Davie


I lost my Event company of 12 years due to covid in spring of 2020 and put all my effort into apparel design and wood wall art which has been a hobby of mine for years. It is now my full time work! If it wasn’t for covid and losing my job I would not be doing this full time. I wake up every day excited to work in my new hobby turned full time job.

Lindsey Ferris, Owner and Designer at FerrisBuilt

Mangrum Career Solutions

Before Mangrum Career Solutions was founded in 2009, it was a hobby of mine to refer my friends and relatives to companies that were hiring.

After they got hired, I realized I had a knack for matching people with meaningful work. This is when I decided to open my own executive search firm in 2009.

Since I know word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool, over 80% of my placements come from referrals. I’ve learned the value of connections and having an active network. I was able to establish supportive partnerships to become the one-stop-shop for clients seeking manufacturing jobs in Ohio and nationwide.

Today, I absolutely love what I do. It still feels like a hobby and less than work, because I do my best to accommodate my clients’ needs while supporting manufacturing businesses with their hiring process. I hope this is helpful for your readers.

Anjela Mangrum, CPC, President at Mangrum Career Solutions 

Racket Expert

When I was 10, my father bought me a red table tennis racket and I started playing on a table tennis court in the backyard with friends. After instant success I started playing in tournaments. When I was 18 I left the game because it was not rewarding as I expected it to be and tried other options. 

However, I had developed a network of people and a lot of knowledge and so I decided to start a consulting and marketing company for the racket sports niche. It’s been the most fun and I couldn’t imagine having a normal job anymore. 

Thomas Roterd, Founder of Racket Expert 


The road from passion to profit is often surprising and not everyone who ended up driving on it intended to. Doing something you love is ten times easier and more rewarding than something you’re not inclined to. And that’s your biggest advantage when you decide to turn your hobby into a business.

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