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How to Make Your Hobby Pay: Five Hobbies That Can Earn Money Online

Updated on December 30, 2012

Most of us are used to putting aside an entertainment budget for our favorite hobbies. However, some of those hobbies we enjoy don’t have to cost us any hard earned money. Instead, they can pay for themselves or even pay for other expenses.

Keep in mind that some of the choices listed here can still cost you money, but each one of them will be profitable with enough time invested. Adversely, playing the lottery can be considered a hobby, and also amount to a big payday, but it’s not actually profitable. That’s because for every dollar spent on a ticket, usually only sixty-five cents goes to the prize pool. That means the average player will lose thirty-five cents for each ticket in the long run.

On this list, only hobbies that you can actually earn money from are mentioned, despite a few of them holding some risk.

Online Poker

Unlike most other types of gambling, poker is actually profitable. This includes online poker. Be warned though, without caution it can be just as devastating as any other kind of wagering.

There are two main considerations when deciding to look into playing real-money poker. First, making money at the game is more about strict risk management than anything else. A mediocre who plays within his means will earn more money than a skilled player who constantly risks it all. That’s because the chance factor has a very good way of catching risk takers off guard.

The second thing to consider is that while you’re looking for information to help improve your poker skills, it’s best to keep an open mind with everything you find. Since there’s a lot to gain for those who offer players incredible results, it can be challenging to find completely unbiased advice. Forums like are one of the best ways for interested players to learn the ins and outs of the game, even though some of the information there can be very opinionated as well.
Sadly, online poker in the U.S. is not quite the opportunity it used to be due to government restrictions. It is still a profitable hobby, but just not profitable enough to make career from as it was a few years ago. However, in many countries outside of the United States, including Canada and the U.K., lots of players continue to make a living from this hobby.


Writing Content

This is a well-covered subject, but the reason more people don’t write content for websites is because of the amount of work it takes to build up to any decent earnings. For many writers, earning money isn’t the main goal. Writing is a hobby to share their opinion or expertise with others.

The average earning power of an article seems to be about one dollar per month. This comes from the click advertisements on the it’s’s page. Even though that might seem insignificant, earning some passive income for speaking your mind isn’t a bad hobby

The nice thing about writing is that it doesn’t have to cost anything, even if you don’t make a penny doing it. With sites like HubPages, Helium, Yahoo, etc., you can freely upload your content and your articles gain easy exposure and readership. In exchange, these sites keep about 40% of your earnings. This can be a fun way to cover information on other hobbies of your interest, such as sports or cars. It can also be a hobby in itself.


There are different ways for gamers of all skill levels to make money through playing video games. For those who are very skilled, is an option to earn money from other gamers by wagering in zero-sum fashion. It’s probably not a good idea for inexperienced players to attempt this. If the concept seems more terrifying than it does exciting, there are other options for skilled gamers to earn money.

Online and physical tournaments are another way for proficient gamers to earn money through their digital pastime. Sites like can be used to find game tournaments of your interest. Even free-to-play games sometimes have large sponsored tournaments based around them. In 2012, a large League of Legends tournament was hosted, with $2,000,000 in prize payouts.

Starting a YouTube channel or livestream is an increasingly popular option even for gamers who aren’t aiming to be among the world’s elite. Since money from this type of internet “broadcasting” comes through advertisers, being successful is more about growing a following than being great at games. This can be a tough way to earn a living, but loads of fun as a profitable hobby.

Selling Micro Services

What makes this choice interesting is that you can turn your own personal hobby into a money maker by selling micro services. A musician I know does this with their musical services. In their first month, they made about $15 through micro entrepreneuring. The month after, close to $100. The third month, about $650.

By breaking down larger projects you would normally complete whole into smaller pieces, you allow customers to pay for more affordable “micro projects” and order more parts as they need them. With this method, you can earn money from a lot of skills you might not have even considered to be profitable. A few examples are sketching pictures, voice acting, or even dancing on camera (fully clothed).

A few sites that are great to use for selling your micro services are Fiverr, Zeerk, and even Ebay. With a little creativity, this is a good way to turn your personal interests into a small, fun business, without the actual headache of running a business.


Many people are familiar with Etsy, the online crafting marketplace and community. If you enjoy making handmade crafts, opening your own Etsy “store” is a simple method of selling your works of art. The community there is very friendly as well, and happy to help you answer any questions in the forum. There’s a 3.5% sales fee and a twenty-cent listing fee for every item sold on the site (as of late 2012), but this seems pretty reasonable compared to similar services.

From handmade soaps, clothing, jewelry, to countless other creative goods, Etsy and similar sites can help you make your crafting hobby pay for itself, and possibly pay a few other bills too.

Hopefully you found something personally interesting in this list. Many hobbies seem wasteful after you realize how much time and money they can require, especially when those resources are needed in other areas of your life. Fortunately, they can also have the opposite effect. This list was created to help give you a few ideas on how to make your interest or passion pay for itself, and possibly even become a full time venture. Thanks for reading!


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