Many Singaporeans already make money off their hobbies. Find out how you can do the same.
For most of us, hobbies are a total money sink. If you're big on diving, you're probably spending quite a bit of money on equipment. If you're a huge movie buff, you might have splurged on a subscription service like Netflix or your large collection of DVDs.
But some hobbies can actually make you money. Why not jump onto the bandwagon yourself?
Please don’t read this and get the impression that your hobby will make you rich.
There is, for example, a huge difference between photography as a hobby and photography as an actual job. This article offers ways to make a few hundred dollars a month off something, without turning that something into work (i.e. the opposite of a hobby).
If you are looking for serious side-income, it is unlikely to ever come from a hobby. Serious side-incomes involve intense effort, the sort that makes you pop headache pills and swallows your weekends like a fat man in a cake shop. Look at our side-income article if you want that kind of thing.
The following should make you some money while staying fun:
1. Making Videos
Singaporean companies have recently left the Triassic era, and are now jumping on the social media bandwagon. That means a surge in the number of companies, particularly small businesses, which need video content.
A professional video company charges anywhere from S$5,000 to S$10,000 for a 20-minute video. Small businesses typically can’t afford that, so they’ll want much more limited video projects--but their S$500+ initiatives don’t interest serious videographers, which is where hobbyists like you come in.
Another way to make money is if you have some traction on your YouTube channel (at least 10,000 views per month). Reach out to companies, particularly those that rely heavily on web content, to sell advertorials--they might be willing to pay you to review their products.
2. Making Cosplay Stuff
If you haven’t heard of cosplay, skip to the next one. Cosplay is a hobby that’s impossible to explain without starting a 20,000+ comment flame war.
If you can make decent cosplay stuff, there are two people you can sell to. The first group are other cosplayers, who may not have expertise in making the same things you do. The second group, which is a much larger market, are brick and mortar store owners.
Most video game stores, hobby stores, or comic shops would rather get their cardboard Iron Man or whatever made locally. It saves on the shipping costs, and you’re easier to contact.
If you’re running out of space but don’t want to destroy your work, this is also a good way to get paid and give it a good home.
Note that, in terms of dollars per hour, this is a very inefficient way for amateurs to make money (professionals are a different story). You might have spend six or seven hours to make a replica AK-47, which ultimately makes you S$200. But if you’re going to make it anyway, then why not?
3. Make Custom Lego Sets
There are some cool Lego ideas that, for reasons of corporate policy, will never exist in the catalogue. If Lego made a Game of Thrones wedding massacre set, or a Breaking Bad meth lab set, parental organisations will go berserk. But there are fans who want it, and are happy to pay for it – just make it, snap some photographs, and E-bay it.
Alternatively, you can go the “proper” route, and create sets Lego actually can market. To do that you need to build the set, send the proposal, and get 10,000 supporters on the Lego ideas site. Once approved, they’ll get their design team to work out the details (you even have input on the box design), and a royalty on sales.
If you have no idea what would go into a marketable set, try doing the MBA course.
(No, seriously, there is a pretty fun, affordable MBA course to become a master Lego builder.)
You’ll never replace a professional photographer. But there are plenty of blogshops and wannabe E-zines that need basic photography, but can’t afford a professional. This is where stock photos come in.
A website has two main places to get imagery (if they don’t want to be sued). They can either grab free images off Flickr’s Creative Commons--which has a limited range--or take the pictures themselves. For the latter, they may not have the time and skill required.
Most skilled amateurs sell images for around S$25 to S$50. Just be sure the images were taken as a hobby. If you actually need to go down for a shoot and edit images, you’re just being ripped off--you’re being asked to do a professional’s work for a pittance.
5. Basic Drawing
It’s amazing how useful basic drawing skills can be. As with photography, there are plenty of sites that need images, but aren’t in a position to hire professionals yet. There’s solid demand for people who can draw simple, almost vector style images for infographics (free infographic templates can get quite restrictive).
Your skills will also be valued for storyboards, book illustrations, and even mascots. Try introducing yourself to local publishers and project management firms, who tend to need imagery on an ad-hoc basis.
Which of your hobbies make you money? Let us know and like us on Facebook–we might be able to give you a few leads.
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Why Following Your Passion (Usually) Won’t Make You Money