Special Report

Hobbies You Can Actually Make Money On

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11. Robot making

Building robots once seemed like a far off sci-fi endeavor, but now amateur robotics is a hobby that just about anyone can enjoy. Developing these skills can help hobbyists turn their side project into a full-time job if they are discovered by a robotics company like Boston Dynamics. There are also amateur robotics competitions, one of the most famous of which is BattleBots. This competition pits techies and their creations against one another, each attempting to destroy the opponent’s bot. Teams that make it to the tournament have in the past earned $500, and the winning team took home $25,000.

12. Trading card collecting

Trading cards are meant to be collected, and the differences in values from one card to the next is part of the appeal for many, so it should come as no surprise that savvy collectors can make some money off their hobby. Baseball cards, at least in the United States, may be the most sought after type of cards. Baseball cards gain their value from the player on the card, the card’s condition, scarcity, age, and if there are any errors on it that make it especially unique. The most valuable baseball card of all time featured Honus Wagner and was sold for over $3 million, and several others have been valued at over $500,000.

There are plenty of other cards to be collected, whether they are for other sports or card games such as “Magic: The Gathering.” The most expensive Magic card ever purchased is believed to be a Black Lotus card that was sold on eBay for over $87,000.

13. Rock climbing

Professional rock climbers earn their money by getting sponsorships. Climbers who become high-profile by making difficult climbs in new and impressive ways can be signed endorsement deals with climbing gear companies. This career path is only available to the absolute best climbers in the world. Climbing magazine Rock and Ice reported that though the top climbers can earn six-figure incomes, most earn less than $5,000 per year.

14. Wood carving

Wood carving is one of the oldest art forms in the world. It has served many practical and religious purposes throughout history but now is primarily decorative. There are many local, state, and national wood carving associations that bring together hobbyists to share techniques and display their work. Wood carvers can make money from their hobby either by selling their sculptures online or going fully professional and opening a gallery or shop. Some smaller carving can cost around $20, though larger, more ornate pieces can run into the hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

15. Stamp collecting

Since the 1840s, stamp collecting has been among the more popular hobbies in the United States and elsewhere in the world. Even today, as the use of traditional mail has declined dramatically, the American Philatelic Society has over 28,000 members, so there is still a large market for stamps. Like other collectibles, a stamp’s value depends on its condition, rarity, and age. Many of the most valuable stamps became highly prized because of mistakes. The most expensive American stamp features an inverted airplane and was sold at auction for over $1.3 million in 2016. The most expensive stamp of all time was the British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta stamp, which sold for $9.5 million in 2014.

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