We all have hobbies - those favourite activities we dedicate most of our spare hours to as they seem to make us come alive. Healthy hobbies are known to be rewarding for both our physical as well as psychological well-being.
While most of us don’t usually get into hobbies looking to make money, some of these activities can be converted into a revenue stream, if tweaked accordingly.
It is often said, ‘do what you love, and you won’t work a single day in your life’ and depending on how we choose to direct our talents and interests, it is quite possible to earn extra spending money or even set up a full-fledged business hinged around some of these favourite pastimes.
It takes time, patience and persistence to turn hobbies into revenue streams or a full-time career.
Here is a list of 5 hobbies that you could turn into a source of income, with several Kenyans proving that hobbies can indeed rake in a substantial amount of money.
This has to be one of the most common income earners for Kenyan youth, as thousands of Kenyans have directed their writing skills towards income generating platforms.
Writing and publishing online is quite unique in that it offers a lot of practical value outside of being a mere hobby.
The most popular way to make money through writing is to sell it as a service. Thousands of Kenyans are currently freelancing on sites like Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer among other similar platforms available online.
One could also reach out directly to blog sites for paid gigs. Good content writers with niche expertise are usually in demand all year round.
You can create your own blog-based business by picking a niche and building an audience over time.
Following the onset of the pandemic, a handful of Kenyans have turned the crisis into an opportunity by sharing their culinary skills on social media platforms.
BigFish and Chapati Mistress are good examples of individuals who have successfully turned their exceptional skills in the kitchen to rake in profits.
It’s not only amateur chefs who are involved, but people with adventurous palettes looking to explore new tastes.
Cooking is one of those hobbies that offer a wide array of options when it comes to making money. Examples include starting a blog, a YouTube channel, or Instagram account dedicated to unique recipes.
The pandemic has seen a rise in the number of individuals who take their mobile devices into the kitchen, using resources on the internet to find and practice new recipes.
This translates into a market of cooking enthusiasts looking for content (as well as products) you can create to serve them.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also seen an increase in the number of people who have taken up gardening, as people spend more time at home.
In addition, this is one of those hobbies that can make you happier, healthier, and perhaps even richer, if done correctly.
The key to success lies in the choice of plants and optimization of the available workspace. This means a thorough market research is paramount.
Growing plants for profit is a great way to turn your gardening skills into serious cash. Many specialty crops can bring as much as Ksh90,000 per acre, and are quite easy to grow.
A handful of Kenyans have found success over the last year by breaking away from the norm and focusing on high yield crops such as mushrooms, passion fruit, garlic and strawberries.
As a detailed example, let us look into strawberries.
The in-demand fruit can grow in almost every part of the country provided there is constant water supply and stable temperature.
A ⅛ of an acre would be adequate for a beginner, but if you are in an urban setting you can invest in a few containers (which you can then put in your backyard) and start the process.
It takes about 70 days for the crop to mature and produce the first fruits. But because the fruits are highly perishable (stays fresh for four to five days after harvesting), one should start looking for a market well in advance to avoid incurring losses.
An eighth of an acre of land can produce between 30kg and 50kg of strawberries per week - depending on crop density and other factors. If each kilo sells for about Ksh200 (wholesale price) and your small farm produces 50kg per week a cool Ksh40,000 per month.
There are several government and non-government organisations that offer training and advice on how to get started on growing these niche crops that you can contact for expert help. Some may offer either financial incentives or even provide a ready market.
If you own a decent camera and possess a good eye when it comes to using it, there are a few ways to turn your passion for photography into an income generating activity.
You can become a freelance photographer and get booked for weekend gigs such as office parties, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings etc. To get started you could offer your services to friends and colleagues at a small fee and create a portfolio for your future potential clients.
The internet has even further provided an opportunity to earn passive income from your photography hobby through stock photo websites. You probably know of Getty Images and Shutterstock, but there are hundreds others too where you can submit your photos to earn a cut every time someone buys them from the platform.
Further, Instagram and other photo-sharing platforms present an opportunity to not only attract new clients by showcasing your skills, but also amassing a large following that you can monetize - and become what we'd call a brand 'influencer'.
Probably the most recent success story of that kind is Catherine Jepkemboi's - who was once a househelp and construction worker - now a recognisable social media influencer by the moniker Minicheps.
To succeed in such an influencership pursuit, it is advisable to choose a photography niche that will help your work stand out from the clutter
If you enjoy working with your hands, there are plenty of things to make and sell: mats, jewelry, soap, and more. This is a highly lucrative industry waiting for your next idea.
‘Handmade’ communicates a certain quality and uniqueness that in-store alternatives often don’t offer.
You can test the market for your products by selling them on a smaller scale to friends, and family before scaling into a full-fledged business as you rack up your number of customers.
MatsByVee is a good example of how this can be used to make money.
Valentine Mghoi says her business started out as a hobby where she made custom-made mats for close friends. Now a fledgling business, MatsByVee also offers training to enthusiasts and has expanded the range of handmade merchandise to include bags.
There is always a demand for niche handmade products especially in the urban centres where people have some extra income for a unique accessory, furniture, leather products etc.
Hobbies are already great for our mental and physical wellbeing - they make us happy even when things may be falling apart elsewhere. You bet they'd make us even happier if they can earn us an extra shilling while at it.
What's more? If you have the heart for it, you can turn your hobby into a full fledged business and keep doing what you love doing while you get paid for it.