How to make money from your hobby

How to make money from your hobby
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Do friends beg you to make their birthday cakes, or colleagues offer to pay you for clothing alterations? If this is you, you could make money from your hobby!

And it's not just baking and sewing that could be money spinners, photography, pet services, crafting, jewellery, tutoring – can all return a profit if you approach it in the right way.

Getting started

Start small – if you love baking, run a bake sale once a week at your local community centre. Once you know which products are popular, why not take a stand at your local car-boot sale? If that goes well you could look into setting up a market stall (contact your council) or offer local cafe?s a regular supply of cakes.

If you start getting reliable work and regular requests, that's when you need to decide if you want to set up as a business.
Research is important – set up a survey (available via free online survey websites such as Surveymonkey) to check if there's a need for your service and involve your friends and family. Get them to answer honestly!

Things to consider

  • There are a few elements you need to keep in mind when you work out how much to charge for your service. How much do the materials cost, how much time does it take you to do it and what is your hourly charge; how much do competitors charge and how much are customers willing to pay?
  • Obviously you need to cover the cost of making the items and, ideally, pay yourself for your time. However, you should keep in mind what others are charging and try not to charge more, unless you can argue your product is worth more because it's better quality or truly handmade
  • If you're planning on working from home you may find your utility bills rise, so factor this in, too. Working from home could also affect your home insurance so speak to your insurer
  • As long as you intend to earn money from your hobby, the taxman will consider you to be partly self-employed. You will therefore need to register with HMRC at Gov.uk to declare your income and you will need to work out your own tax and National Insurance contributions and set aside money to pay your tax
  • Get advice on growing your business from people already doing it and websites such as Greatbusiness.gov.uk and your local enterprise agency via Nationalenterprisenetwork.org.

6 ways to promote your hobby business

  1. Offer something free to entice people such as a free sample or taster lesson.
  2. Make flyers and post through letterboxes – persuade local shops to display them.
  3. Social media is a vital promotional tool. Get busy on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, build your followers, interact with them, do special offers and create an interested community.
  4. Sell your wares via free local Facebook selling sites, and other online sites such as eBay, Etsy, Gumtree and Amazon.
  5. Set up a website. Sites such as Wix.com and Squarespace.com allow you to pay small monthly fees to host a website which you can design yourself and free sites like Wordpress are worth exploring too
  6. Upload a fun and informative video to Youtube using your smartphone

Read our top tips on getting a job after 50 and how to start a franchise at 50-plus.