Living in the Hustle Era, millennials often feel the need to monetise their hobbies. This can be attributed to a few factors.
A 2019 Deloitte Millennial Survey revealed that "only 26 per cent of respondents expect economic conditions in their countries to rally in the coming year", while "income inequality and unemployment were cited as top challenges facing the world today and are likely factors in their pessimistic views toward the economy".
If you have the same sentiments, you could lift your spirits by turning one of your hobbies into a side job and make money doing something you enjoy. Here are 5 hobbies that can become money-makers.
If you've been dabbling in photography and can take decent photos, you can start building a portfolio or showcase your work on social media. Like most creative endeavours, photography requires years of practice, investment in good equipment and developing a natural vision, especially if you're self-taught.
However, getting people to pay for your work also requires your unique vision to connect with an audience. If you're looking to monetise your photography hobby, you should zero in on your style, whether its nature photography, editorials, street photography or portraiture.
Afterwards, you can start building your portfolio that can be sent out to potential employers or clients.
Estimated rates for freelance/hobbyist photographersPHOTO: ValueChampion
To improve your skills, you can contact editorial photographers and offer your assistance in shoots, where you can learn about lighting setup, composition and direction.
Being an assistant also helps you to form professional relationships with experienced photographers who might pass you jobs that they can't take on in future.
In this industry, who you know matters as much as what you know, so you should put yourself out there at networking events where you can meet corporate clients that might hire you to shoot their events.
If you want to do freelance work, you can also start small by doing wedding shoots for friends and family for a fee slightly below the market rate and work your way up as your clientele grows.
If your hobby is video games, then why not make some money while playing your favourite games every day? While esports or professional gaming is nothing new, Twitch has gained popularity as a video game streaming platform in recent years and can be a good choice if you want to monetise your gaming passion.
The platform allows gamers to live-stream themselves playing video games in real-time with audio commentary, while subscribers can chat with the gamers.
According to a Streamlab report, Twitch has 3.4 million unique broadcasters monthly and 1 million concurrent viewers as of Q4 2019. This level of competition can make it tough to achieve the ranks of Ninja or Shroud, but you can still make some money if you are charismatic and can engage your viewers with the games you play.
Estimated Twitch streamer earningsPHOTO: ValueChampion
To gain followers, it's important to set the tone of your channel and personality. Do you want to be funny, helpful, or serious? Having a niche would work to your advantage. It's also important to consider the games you broadcast yourself playing.
There's a lot of viewership competition for the most popular games, so it might help to broadcast a game that's not being played by the top broadcasters. Once you've amassed a sizable following, you can apply to be a Twitch Partner, which lets you earn money from viewer subscriptions.
But out of the millions of broadcasters, only 12,000 are partners, so the odds of being accepted are tough. However, you can join off-platform affiliate programs like Gear on Amazon to market gaming products through your channel. You'll receive a percentage of the money after a customer buys a product through your affiliate link.
If you have a passion for yoga, you can consider earning some money by becoming a freelance yoga instructor. However, monetising this hobby requires a bit of investment on your part.
To earn a Registered Yoga Teacher credential from the Yoga Alliance, you would need to attend a 200-hour course that typically costs between $1,000 to $3,000.
If this is too costly and you have some spare time, you can find cheaper YTT training programs in India-the birthplace of yoga-for less than $1,000.
Estimated rates for yoga teachersPHOTO: ValueChampion
After getting certified as a yoga teacher, you can start by teaching friends and family at their homes or yours, or even in a park for a small fee. Ask them to spread the word to people they know.
You can also apply for a freelance position at yoga studios, attend networking events that can help you secure corporate clients who can afford to pay a higher fee, as well as meet potential students for private yoga classes. According to PayScale, an entry-level yoga teacher earns an hourly rate of $10 per hour.
To be a commercially successful musician, not only do you need to have musical talent, but you also need a marketing team or be media-savvy enough to market yourself. However, the hobbyist musician can utilise channels in Singapore's diverse music scene to make some money from their passion.
For instance, Timbre Group, a live music platform and food establishment, even has its own roster of bands that regularly perform at Timbre's venues. You can also consider joining Merry Bees, a live music provider with its own rosters of bands, singers and DJs available for booking.
Whether you're an independent live musician or a DJ, performing at an open mic or open decks at bars, clubs and pubs is a great way to get started.
Average freelancer rates for musiciansPHOTO: ValueChampion
If you're a bedroom DJ who's been practising your mixing skills and you're ready to play in a club or at a party, you can record your mixes and upload them on Soundcloud or Mixcloud.
Alternatively, you can also send your mixes to club bookers, party promoters and electronic music sites. As a bedroom DJ, you've probably also been active in the nightlife scene as a punter, so don't be afraid to ask bookers and promoters you're friends with for an opportunity to play.
Lastly, in a generation so fixated on social media, having a strong online presence and image is essential to your success as a musician and DJ. Money will follow when corporate clients like fashion and beauty brands book you to perform at their press events and product launches.
5. MAKEUP & BEAUTY
If you have a great eye for beauty and your friends always come to you for makeup advice, why not capitalise on your skill by showcasing it on Youtube? With hundreds of beauty Youtube channels out there, the YouTube market can seem a little saturated at the moment.
It can also seem intimidating going up against famous YouTubers like Michelle Phan, Jeffree Starr and Huda Kattan. However, you can still easily find your niche audience if you are genuine in your passion and you have a unique style.
As your audience grows, you can even start incorporating your other interests into your content, whether its fashion, travel or even baking to appeal to a wider demographic.
Estimated beauty Youtuber earnings per videoPHOTO: ValueChampion
However, there are a few things you need to know about monetising your hobby via Youtube. First, the most common way of making money is through Adsense.
However, income via Adsense is not guaranteed when you start out because Adsense pays you based on how many people click or watch the videos on your ads, which is typically 15 per cent of the viewers.
Second, once you have received a large enough following you should look to monetise your channel in other ways. For instance, you can start selling merch, ask for donations with a Patreon account or participate in affiliate marketing.
This way, you will have a second source of income from your videos if one of your videos is deemed not "advertiser-friendly". Nonetheless, unless you're trying to turn your hobby into a full-time job and need to amass millions of followers, you can still make a few hundred dollars per month from having as little as 5,000 views per video.
How to evaluate your income potential
The hobbies with the highest income potential are the ones that people are most willing to pay for. Get a sense of what's in demand and what sets you apart from the rest. Photography is always in demand, but what can you do that doesn't put you in direct competition with other photographers?
Similarly, Yoga is a wellness trend and there are hundreds of Vinyasa, Hatha and Yin yoga classes out there, so perhaps you can occasionally incorporate alternative yoga concepts into your teaching like Cat Yoga, Beer Yoga or Stand-Up Paddle Yoga for novelty factor.
However, do keep in mind that you shouldn't feel pressured to commodify your hobbies and that they are meant to be enjoyable first and foremost. Any money you make is supposed to be a bonus you can add to your nest egg, not something that can take the joy out of your passion.
This article was first published in ValueChampion.