Top five hobbies that can pay off

You could be making money while simultaneously doing what you love. These five common hobbies can easily be turned into mini-money-making schemes. Just remember, even if you are doing cash-in-hand work, you are still legally obliged to notify the tax office of your earnings.

Dog walking
It’s not unusual for a family or individual to buy a dog with the best intentions in the world, only to find that in reality they are too busy to walk and play with their new pet. In steps the dog walker. Dog walking has a number of benefits. First, walking is extraordinarily good for your health, so getting regular exercise is never a bad thing. Second, if you don’t have the space or the money to keep your own dog, looking after someone else’s can be very rewarding. You get all the best aspects of dog ownership – walking and playing – without the vet bills and dog hair on the couch. And third you can get paid to do it. People will also pay a reasonable amount for overnight dog sitting, so once you have a relationship with a family as their dog walker it might be something to keep in mind. Just remember, start small with only one dog at a time – later you might be able to work up to taking two or three dogs for a walk simultaneously, but give yourself the best chance of succeeding by learning the ropes the easy way. Try advertising around your local area, or talk to friends to see if they know of anyone who might appreciate your services.

Shopping? How could you possibly make money by buying stuff, things and junk? It may seem counter-intuitive from this end, but knowing your product can be a great way to make money without leaving your laptop. Buying and selling on eBay can be a great way to make money with very little physical labour. You just need to have an area of expertise. Perhaps you know brand names quite well and are able to seek out a Country Road wool jumper at rock bottom price, only to sell it again next week for two or three times the cost. Maybe you know a lot about Austin Healeys and could pick out a few gems from a box of bits being sold off cheap at a swap meet. No matter what your area of knowledge, buying and selling can make you a tidy profit. Just be sure to encourage your buyers to leave you feedback on eBay – this will give you a better seller rating, which will make prospective customers more likely to shop with you. You can find out more by reading the article How to eBay

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Whether you’re a bit of a soccer fanatic or you prefer English grammar to kick-ball, sharing your expertise could make you some pocket money. Sports clubs, from juniors who are just learning the skills right through to adult teams playing in amateur leagues, will often pay for good coaches. You might also consider umpiring if your area of knowledge lies in the rules of the game, rather than the technical skills. If you are better at academics then both parents and organisations will pay for your tutoring skills in a range of areas from English as a second language right through to mathematics and computer skills.

Less of a hobby and more of a life skill, becoming a professional organiser can be a rewarding way to make money. It might entail overhauling someone’s filing system, helping them to sort through their spare room or simply streamlining the way a family runs on a day-to-day basis. Whatever your task, one important piece of advice to remember is to be kind. It is difficult to let someone into your home or business if you are unhappy or ashamed of the way it is running (especially if someone is getting your help with their junk room), so stay positive and try not to look horrified at the box labelled ‘receipts, knitting patterns and theatre programs, 1952 – 2002’. Everyone’s brain works differently, so your task is to help them to find a system which works for them, not just the one which works for you.

If you are good with a camera then freelancing as a photographer can be a great part-time business. If you already have a good camera then so much the better. You might choose to move into wedding and event photography, at which point you will need to make sure you have a printer you are happy to collaborate with, to ensure the final product is up to scratch. Another fast-growing area of photography is in stock photos. Stock photography websites allow you to put your work up online, where businesses can find and use your photos for things like advertising material, book covers or website photos. You get a small amount each time someone uses your photo and the dollars can quickly add up. You just need to make sure you get the subjects of your photos to sign a form stating that they are happy for you to publish their image.