Making products by hand is a great way to turn a hobby or passion into a business. You are already an expert at your craft—why not sell your work? Or, explore a new hobby and learn a hands-on skill that you can monetize. Hand-making goods gives you full control over product development and quality, but can be time consuming. Also consider allowing customers to customize each order to their specifications. This is called bespoke, or one of a kind (OOAK).
Startup time: It will take just an hour or two to set up your ecommerce store
Effort level: Depends on whether you already produce goods. High effort to maintain.
Time to first payment: After you sell a product, expect a wait period of around five days to receive funds on most platforms.
What to know:
- While this is a rewarding small business idea, scaling this model is challenging. To grow, consider bringing on other artists you can train.
- Most ecommerce platforms require that you are at least 18 years of age.
- Requirements vary by country and region, but some products may require you to have licenses, permits, or certifications.
👓 Success Story: How a Crafter Scaled Her Eyewear Business
Kerin Rose Gold started designing her own sunglasses before being spotted by top celebs. Now she employs other artists as she grows her brand, A-Morir.
2. Write and sell books or ebooks
In the same way that you can monetize your expertise with an online course or your influence as a YouTuber, you can also earn cash selling books or ebooks online. There are a number of formats and genres, from novels to memoirs to self-help books. Try using a print-on-demand book service to print and sell books online on your own ecommerce store, or use a service like Amazon Direct Publishing to sell ebooks.
Startup time: Varies by book, but could take years to write, edit, and publish.
Effort level: Hard to start. Medium ongoing effort to market and sell the book.
Time to first payment: Depends on how and where you sell your books.
What to know:
- Grow a following for your personal brand as an author.
- Digital delivery apps can be useful if you plan to sell ebooks directly to customers on your own website.
- A publisher or print-on-demand service to print physical books.
- A platform for selling your book or ebook.
🍜 Success Story: How a YouTube Chef Became a Published Author
Serial entrepreneur and self-taught vegan chef Wil Yeung built his business with a YouTube content strategy. He now sells his recipes as books, ebooks, and courses online.
3. Monetize a blog
While many businesses use blogs to help drive traffic to their products, did you know that you can make money online with a blog alone? You can monetize a blog in a number of ways, including selling ads, using affiliate links, writing sponsored posts in partnership with a brand, or selling merch or custom products to an audience.
Startup time: A few hours.
Effort to start: Medium to start, but it will take a lot of effort to maintain.
Time to first payment: Varies depending on how you are monetizing your blog.
What to know:
- While blogging can be a low-investment, small business idea, it can take time to pay off.
- Use SEO practices to drive organic traffic and read about more ways to monetize a blog.
- A blogging platform.
- An interest or skill you want to write about—consider a topic where you can bring a unique perspective and offer value to readers.