These throwback hobbies are now making money as side performances

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The pandemic-ravaged gig economy is reviving some past hobbies that are more associated with retirees than entrepreneurs.

Living indoors led many people to experiment with tactile hobbies like bread-making and quilting. What started out as a pastime could, with a little know-how, become a side business.

Online platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Etsy and Instagram, as well as the revival of flea markets – often with a trendy indie touch – offer new ways to make money from these age-old crafts and activities.

Here’s a look at six trending hobbies you can make serious money off of. These are not your grandma’s side appearances.

6 throwback hobbies that make money as trendy side gigs

1. Antiques

Buy old furniture and / or tchotchkes and then sell them on for a profit. The concept is straightforward and is sometimes referred to as upscaling or upcycling when you use a little magic on the item to increase the price.

The Penny Hoarder spoke to Sara Chen, a master of upcycling. She focuses on flipping furniture and searching online for antique, modern mid-century dressers through the Facebook marketplace.

If she finds a good deal, she’ll buy it, sand it, paint it, prime it, and sell it on – usually for three or four times the price. She can consistently make $ 3,000 a month.

Your secret (besides serious painting skills)?

“Post as many pictures from different angles as you can,” she told The Penny Hoarder, noting that taking photos is her favorite part of the flip. “It’s probably the most important part too.”

Make sure they are high quality and have good lighting. The more the better.

2. Bake

It will take some time for the dough to rise.

Baking is a hobby that is difficult to turn into a side gig or business due to the equipment required. But over the years, The Penny Hoarder has spoken to several bakers who made it work and some who started during the pandemic. You can take their advice no matter what stage you are at.

Sarah Tennant started baking as a hobby when she was 14. She decided to try to capitalize on her skills by taking ad hoc requests from friends, family, and recommendations.

In her guide to The Penny Hoarder, she described how her cakes, which she made much cheaper than pros, still made her $ 400 a month.

College roommates Sarah Chappell and Julia Finfrock had success with their sourdough bustle called EarlyRisers. In October 2020, the duo began selling plain sourdough for $ 7 per loaf. As orders increased, they experimented with flavors, adding chocolate chips, rosemary, garlic, and other flavors to the menu. These specialty breads sell for up to $ 11.

“It was a lot of trial and error,” Finfrock told The Penny Hoarder.

Finfrock and Chappell are among some accomplished college entrepreneurs who found inventive ways to make money while in school.

3. Crafting

Thanks to online marketplaces like Etsy and Amazon Handmade, the craft is making a big comeback. And we have lots of ideas for you to take advantage of its popularity.

Local fairs and online marketplaces are ideal places to sell easy-to-make Christmas decorations.

Some examples of inexpensive decorations are:

Of course, you are not limited to Christmas decorations. You can also try your hand at DIY greeting cards or handmade wedding invitations. Once you’ve decided exactly what to make and sell, keep costs down by finding cheap craft supplies. Dollar stores are a good place to start.

Pro tip

Search Festivalnet to find a nearby market or fair to sell your creations.

Two women plant potted plants.

4. Gardening

Millennials love plants, according to Money, the Huffington Post, CNBC, Business Insider, the New Yorkers, and apparently the entire Internet.

Another proof: a plant aesthetic has developed on social media, especially on Instagram. The hashtags #Plants and #PlantsofInstagram have tens of millions of posts. Outside of the local market scene, many small businesses use Instagram to sell their plants.

Selling succulents probably won’t allow you to quit your day job, but it can replenish your savings or help you pay off debts.

One gardener, Stephanie Spicer, made $ 1,200 in a single season. In her Guide to Selling Plants, she describes exactly how to select, fertilize, present, rate, advertise and sell them.

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5. Knitting, sewing, quilting

Boo, fast fashion trends. Yes, make your own clothes and change them up. As sustainability becomes a conscious choice for many consumers, skills such as knitting, sewing and quilting are in demand again.

Pro tip

If you’re looking to start small with handmade clothing, blankets, or accessories, Amazon Handmade or Etsy are two of the best places to sell online.

If you want to lean into the gig – aside from a few online sales – you need to make some cash. The Penny Hoarder spoke to retired geologist Pat Martinek, who had found a way to monetize her weaving and spinning skills through her side business, The Fyber Cafe. Martinek made $ 10,000 a year using Chiengora, also known as recycled dog fur, to make clothes and keepsakes.

“It’s warmer than other fibers, so a Chiengora scarf or sweater can help you withstand the harshest temperatures,” she said.

Ella Trout, a student at the University of Vermont, is another example of how to capitalize on the handmade trend. A few years ago she founded Puppycatco, her sustainable fashion industry.

She started off screen printing her dog and cat designs onto T-shirts, but changed her business model over the years. Now she is sewing and changing clothes to be more environmentally friendly. Trout uses Instagram to sell her creations, and she told The Penny Hoarder that she makes up to $ 1,500 a month from her handcrafted clothing and accessories.

A woman searches the book collection in a library.

A woman searches the book collection in a library.

6. Use the library

Libraries are one of the few remaining places that you can only exist. Free. There is no expectation to spend money. That alone should be reason enough to visit.

As an added incentive, in addition to books, libraries also provide access to a number of interesting things to use to start a sideline or business. Tools, baking equipment, seeds, and even hi-tech are often available for free through a process known as an intra-library loan.

“Maybe you want to make a cow-shaped cake. You don’t have to buy this cake pan, ”said Bob Anstett of Broward County, Florida’s library system. “You can check it out from a library.”

In addition to the fun things to borrow for free at your local library, Anstett explained that the libraries have expanded into home community workshops called Makerspaces. Makerspaces provide the locals with all kinds of equipment for crafting and improving new skills.

“You can come in and take a basic class [our makerspace] and use our sewing machines, ”said Anstett. “In the past you were called a knitter, carpenter or woodworker. Now you are a creator. “

Adam Hardy is a former employee of the Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder which allows millions of readers worldwide to make and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest growing private media company in the United States in 2017.