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Turn Your Hobby Into a Side Gig

Topics: Career Advice
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If you’re itching to make a little extra dough on the side but don’t know how, consider one of your hobbies. It might even turn into more than you imagined.

FlexJobs, a job search site specializing in flexible, freelance and part-time jobs, created a list of 12 jobs that may turn a hobby into a well-paying side job.

Like to read? Library assistant jobs abound nationally, with pay ranging from $9.07 to $18.01.

Enjoy sewing? Perhaps pattern-making could provide some extra pay.

Or if you’re a natural at art, check out gigs as a freelance stationary designer.

The list, which includes pay range data from PayScale, also is accompanied by tips for applying for the jobs.

Tips to Stay Focused

Once you land a solid side gig, make sure you avoid the common pitfall that Sid Bharath wrote about in Entrepreneur — the absence of a structured workplace makes it easy to get distracted. Bharath, vice president of growth at online course platform Thinkific, advised planning your day, dressing for work and creating boundaries, or rooms where work is not allowed. (In other words: make a list of goals you want to accomplish, get out of those pajamas and don’t work in bed.)

Another tip: master the concept of energy management. In an interview with Fast Company, Kimberly Palmer, author of The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life, said one key move for a successful side gig is to use your natural productivity hours, whether you’re a morning person or a night owl.

Chelsea Cardinal, who moonlighted as a fashion designer while working as GQ’s art director, suggests setting a micro-deadline, maybe with a timer, even if it’s for a fake deadline.

“Fabricated urgency heightens focus,” said Cardinal, who ended up going full-time with her ready-to-wear line, Cardinal.

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Don’t Forget the Taxes

Just because your side gig is doing something you love does not mean you can skip paying taxes on the income. You still have to track and report all income from your additional earnings.

You could find some tax benefits if you’re able to deduct some expenses from your side hustle. But there could be tax consequences, too. The distinction between hobby and business ultimately determines if and how you’re able to deduct expenses associated with your side activity. To be safe, consult a tax professional.

Dream Big With Your Side Gig

There are plenty of examples of successful business people whose moonlighting skyrocketed to success. So even if you’re just dabbling in your hobby for some extra cash or fun, don’t be surprised if it takes off.

Gloria Molins was working for Google when she turned her passion for travel into a business, Trip4real, which connects locals and tourists. The peer-to-peer platform enables local residents to create an activity to share with travelers and earn money for providing their local expertise. (Unless you live in one of the 70 European cities where Trip4real now offers the activity booking, you may have to wait for this particular job opportunity to come to your current hometown. It could be a little while — Airbnb purchased the Barcelona-based company, which plans to expand into Latin America next.)

Even if you don’t expect your side gig to blossom into a multi-million-dollar business, you can use it as more than just a creative outlet or way for spending money. As Amanda Abel wrote for Inc, having multiple streams of income is a great way to build wealth. Abel cited research of millionaires over five years by Tom Corley, author of Rich Habits, who found that 65 percent of self-made millionaires had three streams of income, 45 percent had four streams of income and 29 percent had five or more streams of income.

So if you’re super ambitious and have lots of hobbies, you might just be able to hustle your way into the millionaires club.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you parlayed your hobby into a part-time gig? We want to hear how you did it. Tell us about your experience in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

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