Investing In Yourself—Hobbies That Can Help You Get Ahead

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All work and no play is no way to spend your days. You have interests. Ideas. Thoughts about how you’d like to spend your spare time. So, why not exercise your inner creative muscles? You might find talents you didn’t know you had and make some extra cash.

Skeptical? Here are few hobbies to consider if you’re looking to enrich your life a little more.

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Crafting

You loved making jewelry when you were younger. Now you live for the moments you get to spend crafting with your kids. You might not be not an avid scrap booker or a fan of knitting feline toys, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create something beautiful.

Sites like Etsy® and ArtFire® were created just for crafty and creative minds like yours. By valuing the human connection that comes with handmade goods, these sites allow you to create to your heart’s content and share your story and your creations with consumers around the world. Stained glass, straw hats, stud earrings. Whatever you make that makes you happy can eventually make someone else happy, too.

Tim Gearles spends his free time working with wood. “I get to create something functional while seeing a beautiful mix of nature and technology. Then I get to share it with family, friends, even strangers.”

Tim admits he wasn’t an expert at first, but he had an interest and that sparked a passion. “I didn’t have much knowledge, but after watching my father, collaborating with friends and of course watching online videos, I’ve been able to gain proficiency and add personal flair.”

Tim’s passion for woodwork started with a cutting board. Now his profits help fund future projects. “I’ve had the opportunity to sell some cutting boards and have had a few pieces commissioned. The hope is to use the sales to fund more projects and tools.”

Not enticing enough, The Penny Hoarder® reported one Etsy purveyor as pulling in up to $70,000 per month from slinging handmade headbands. You might not make that much, but every little bit counts.

Cooking

Even everyday activities could turn into something lucrative. Take a cue from Anya Mills. Anya’s passion in the kitchen evolved into a tasty side gig when she turned a family recipe into an actual Crunch Dynasty. “I watched my mom cook my whole life and when she made this sauce I loved being in the kitchen with her.”

Mom’s tasty sauce sparked something in Anya. Once she saw how friends and family would flock with empty jars just to get a taste, she knew it was worth sharing.

“We launched Crunch Dynasty and started selling,” she said. After earning the attention of popular food bloggers and chefs, their fan base increased, as did their sales. “We have a very loyal following and try to keep growing steadily.”

Find yourself lacking in famous family recipes? Liz Thomson found her niche in food blogging as a way to not only teach herself to cook, but to learn a lot of other creative skills along the way. “I wanted to create easy, healthy recipes that other people could make. It’s been a unique way to learn everything from cooking to photography to search engine optimization.”

And you don’t have to be a seasoned pro to start something up. As long it’s fun, it’s worth it! Thomson can attest, “I had no idea what I was doing at first. I read books about food photography, watched webinars about web design and listened to podcasts about social media.” Since her 2010 launch, Thomson’s blog has not only become profitable, but she recently released her own cookbook. “It’s been fun to learn skills beyond recipe development and I’ve fallen in love with food blogging.” Check out The Truly Vegan Healthy Vegetarian Cookbook to learn more about what Liz learned along the way.

Cars

In the market for something long-term? Car restoration is more than just a hobby—it’s a subculture. Richard Kuhlbars has a background in sculpting, but really, he just loves to build things. Custom bike parts, commissioned sculptures. “For me, this often manifests itself in rebuilding custom cars, but I can build just about anything you need out of metal.”

And you don’t have to know what you’re doing to jumpstart a car restoration project. There are plenty of resources available to help you out. When you’re done you either have a cool car of your own or some sweet wheels to sell!

In Conclusion

Studies have shown that hobbies can not only improve your work performance, but also your overall health and stress levels. Psychology Today® even runs down a quick list of reason why hobbies make life better.

Shopping, opinionating, dog walking, home brewing, home organizing, music lessons—the possibilities are endless. If you can dream it, just do it. And don’t be afraid to stumble along the way. Thomson, says “The first time you try a new hobby, whether it’s softball or knitting, you have to give yourself grace.”

Remember why you started this venture. It’s not for profit. It’s for you. “If my initial goal was to start a business, I don’t think I would have stuck with it,” she concludes. Mills agrees, saying “the greatest goal is to have fun.” 

This article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to provide medical or legal advice, or to indicate the availability or suitability of any product or service for your unique circumstances.

Capital One does not provide, endorse, or guarantee any third-party product, service, information or recommendation listed above. The third parties listed are solely responsible for their products and services, and all trademarks listed are the property of their respective owners.

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