The hobbies and passions we love to do for fun can actually help us earn some extra money. From flipping furniture to sewing baby blankets to hosting author events, these three women have found ways to turn their hobbies into serious cash. Learn their secrets so you can start to make money from your hobby too!
“I bring in up to $4,100 a month sewing blankets!”
Alexis Priddy, an Army veteran, took up an old hobby during the pandemic — which now earns her thousands each month!
“I used to sew a lot when I was younger, but then I joined the Army, and my sewing machine didn’t make the list of things I wanted to take with me from post to post. But during the pandemic, I picked it up again and I started making baby blankets for my friends. Then I learned that customized baby blankets had a good profit margin, and since I had an embroidery machine, I decided to sell my creations — and The Sew Loved Shop (SewLovedShop.com) was born!
“I set up a site on Shopify, sourced materials online from a manufacturer and purchased boxes from Amazon Business to mail the blankets out to buyers. A few friends took photos of the blankets and made custom labels. My husband, who does woodworking and is handy, helped me to quickly cut the fabrics. The blankets are made with a super-soft material and people can customize them and see what they’ll look like with an online tool I created. I also sell school-themed blankets. Our motto is ‘Sewn With Love.’
“To get the word out, I post on social media and ask friends and family to like, comment on and share my posts. I have also purchased Facebook ads and network with other women business owners.
“I work about three to four hours a week and sew at night, which helps me wind down. I have two women who help me sew too, and it’s rewarding that I’m able to give them flexible work. I make up to $4,100 a month, money that pays for extras like takeout or a vacation to Disney!”
“I earn up to $1,200 a month hosting book events!”
Avid reader, Pamela Klinger-Horn, found a way to earn over $1,000 per month simply by hosting book events!
“Reading has been a lifelong hobby and brings me so much joy. I’ve been a member of a book club for 28 years, and this past year, I read 176 books! When my kids were younger, I started a book club at their school. I’d invite local authors and have a book sale. The kids loved it, and it was so fascinating to meet the authors and learn from the publishers about what was coming down the pike. I figured adults would enjoy these events too, so I started Literature Lovers’ Night
Out™ (Lit-Lovers.com). “When I first started, I reached out to local authors and bookstores. At the events, the authors talk about their books, the book writing and publishing process and share fun tidbits about their lives. Then, the audience gets time for Q&A. I’ve held the events at local venues, churches and outdoor spots, and have hosted virtual events too. We usually have two to five authors and/or publishers or just one author if it’s someone who is well-known. At the in-person events, we have themed snacks and wine and attendees get a shopping coupon to purchase the book. I host one event a month and have up to 300 people in attendance.
“Depending on the event, I make a cut of the ticket sales or a flat fee and can make up to $1,200 per event. The money I make pays for my kids’ college tuitions and allows me to attend book conferences.”
“I make 6 figures a year reupholstering chairs!”
Wendy Conklin, a teacher and longtime FFW reader, turned her passion for upholstery into a hobby that earns her six figures each year!
“About 10 years ago, while working as a teacher, I took a couple of upholstery courses for fun. I reupholstered a few chairs that I found on Craigslist and, on a whim, opened an Etsy shop to see if I could sell them — and sold two immediately! With more requests, I decide to launch a side business, Chair Whimsy.
“To spread the word, I posted on social media, started a website (ChairWhimsy.com) and grew an email list. I sourced designer fabrics directly from textile companies and online from places like Mexico, the Middle East or eBay. Some chairs I buy are new, while others are antique or vintage. When I work with new clients, I look at photos of their spaces, then customize the chairs. After about six years, I became so busy that I quit my full-time job!
“I still use social media and email to market the business, as well as Pinterest. Whatever I post, I always focus on telling a story: what the design of the chair means to me, the emotions I feel when I make them, photograph them and see them.
“I earn 6 figures a year — money that pays the bills, pays for family vacations and allows me to donate supplies to someone who can’t afford them!”
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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