Lockdown has meant a period of change for many, a chance to reflect on what is important to you. Maybe you’ve had to adjust to working from home, been furloughed, or lost your job? Maybe you’re already retired and have been shielding over the past few months?
You might be looking for a career change or just a way to earn a little extra cash.
An estimated five million people in the UK are freelancers or on short-term contracts – members of the so-called gig economy.
If you’ve spent your free lockdown hours indulging in a hobby or interest for which you have a real skill or passion, why not turn your favourite pastime to your advantage?
Here are three ways you might earn some extra money from your hobby.
1. Get crafty
It could be knitting, painting, pottery, or anything else besides. If you have a love for crafting, you might find that there’s a market for the sorts of things you like to make.
Craft fairs are reopening across the country, so if you’re looking for inspiration, or want to research what’s already on the market – and the prices they fetch – why not visit one?
With physical distancing still an important part of the government’s coronavirus message, you might prefer to do your selling from the comfort of your own home.
Online selling platforms have made selling your wares and reaching a wide audience easier than ever. Online marketplace eBay revolutionised the online space when it arrived nearly 25 years ago, but there are other sites you might try too.
Folksy and Etsy are two of the most popular dedicated craft marketplaces with millions of items on virtual display and great opportunities for buyers and sellers.
If you enjoy making crafts, selling your products can be an excellent way to make some additional money. There is a lot of competition out there though, so understanding your target audience is key.
2. Get creative
If you have a creative talent that sits outside of the craft market sector, you might find other areas to make money.
If your passion is photography, for example, the wealth of stock image websites out there means that making money from your photographs could be really simple.
Just set up an account with the likes of Shutterstock or Stocksy and upload your photographs. You’ll receive a payment each time one of your photos is downloaded.
The amount you get will start from around 20p. At that rate, it’s unlikely to be a massive earner, but Shutterstock’s website confirms that it has paid out more than $1 billion since the site was launched 15 years ago.
Similar sites exist for other interests too. If your passion is writing, apps such as Medium allow you to submit written works of fiction or non-fiction.
Medium’s algorithm will then calculate an amount payable to you based on several factors, including the amount of time people spend reading your article.
3. Go freelance
There are numerous online platforms such as Upwork where you can sell your skills and connect with someone looking for the service you provide.
From website design to translations and cover letter writing, if you have a skill or qualification you might use it to take on freelance work for instant cash.
Simply set up a profile explaining the skill you are offering, any qualifications you have in the field, and your hourly rate. Anyone using the site and in need of your particular skill will come to you.
It might not be a regular income or even a large amount of cash, but it could be great for a one-off income boost. You might also find that networking leads to working relationships, giving you the chance to use your skills or qualifications more regularly.
And you don’t need to turn to online platforms.
If you have a skill that can be taught, why not seek out those willing to pay to learn it.
You might play an instrument, speak a foreign language, or have a TEFAL qualification, allowing you to teach English as a foreign language. Maybe you have a professional qualification from your former career and can pass that knowledge on in the form of tutoring or mentoring.
As well as earning some extra money, there’s the chance to meet new people and to know that you’re making a difference to someone’s life, passing on your skills to a new generation.
Things to consider
Be aware of the difference between making some money from a hobby and being self-employed.
If your total income for a tax year is less than £1,000 you won’t usually have to declare it. The Trading Income Allowance allows for an income of up to £1000 in most circumstances.
If you earn more than this though, you will usually have to register as self-employed with HMRC. This will also mean filling out a self-assessment tax return.
Your earnings will be classed as income and be taxed as such. It’s worth keeping in mind tax thresholds and how your earnings could see you move into a higher tax bracket.