I admit that I have been guilty of vegging out in front of the screen. Not the TV, but the computer. But I realized that after getting sucked into a game or Netflix, I wasted too much of my time.
A few years ago we decided to try and home brew our own beers and eventually meads. If you haven’t done it, I want you to know it’s not complicated (just watch your temps and make sure everything is properly sanitized) and it was a fantastic way to unwind.
And the best part was at the end of the process, we had something we could sit back and enjoy by ourselves or with friends. (People tend to like free beer!)
I want you to find a new (or rediscover an old) hobby that you love and will make you some money on the side. (Sorry while I highly recommend home brewing as a hobby, you can’t sell your brews )
I’ve came up with some hobbies you can try out where you can tap into your creative powers, provide something useful, and make some money on the side. I narrowed them down to skills that you can learn online or with a short weekend class in town.
When my mom told me how much those big box tech services were charging her to get programs installed and removed, it drove me crazy. Fortunately she was in that windows of free coverage, but I worried about what would happen after that.
Since we’re not in the same town, we can’t help out sometimes. Using YouTube though, my mom has gotten much better with computer maintenance and she now helps others with their tablets and laptops. Go mom!
It goes to show that there is a need for technical help and you can teach yourself the essentials.
Besides software, there are also hardware repairs like cracked screens on phones that can be terribly expensive that you can do at home at a fraction of the cost.
If you know some basics, you can be a neighborhood tech guru and earn some cash being a hero.
Where to Hone Your Skills
Upgrade your own computer and extend its life as you get some practice. There is so much available online that you can pretty much get everything you need without leaving your home. Sites like IFixIt can be an incredible resource for you.
Restoring and Refinishing Furniture
Furniture can be pricey so if you can help others keep their stuff lasting longer and looking good, you’ll be saving them a ton of money.
While you may think that you have to be a master craftman or woman, some pieces, especially wood furniture just need a little TLC.
You can start with small projects around your house to update your space. You can offer your help with neighbors or you can pick up pieces from yard sales or buy them cheap, restore, and sell on Craigslist.
Where to Hone Your Skills
The great news for those starting out is that there a ton of free and cheap resources you can tap into when it comes to DIY furniture restoration. Many home improvement stores have classes throughout the year. YouTube has lifetime amount of video tips to give you ideas and techniques on home improvement. I also like subscribing to channels like Mike and Lauren and see what projects they come up with.
Are you a pretty decent cook? Can you get great deals on groceries? You might want to combine those two skills and make some cash.
Since eating out every day can drain wallets, offering some gourmet style meals that your neighbors can take to work is a win-win for everyone.
Buy and cook in bulk and you can cut costs down, allowing you to make a profit with your convenient meals.
Where to Hone Your Skills
Practice and improve your skills right in your own kitchen. There are also a ridiculous amount of cookbooks, videos, and sites you cna borrow or buy to learn more. If you’re looking at mastering the essentials fairly quickly, try out the Meta and Domestic section of The Four Hour Chef.
Besides financial independence, I have discovered many couples also want creative freedom when it comes to their careers. For some, getting their financial freedom leads to have the resources to make the leap while others take the opposite approach – they use their creative talents to work their way towards financial independence. Whether it’s with hobby that becomes a business or a side projects that leads to a new career, more and more couples are looking to gaining more options with their time and money.
Using Your Creativity to Launch Your Career
I’ve written a few times about the joys and work of freelancing and on occasion, I’ve shared resources that I think those looking to start their business would appreciate. One of my favorite freelancers – Chris Gullbeau has taken it one step further by not only writing on how he made the leap, but he’s also been collaborating with others to dissect how to start a profitable business.
Ever since publishing his book The $100 Start-Up, Guillbeau has been working on projects and guides on specific niches including publishing,
Designed to Sell is the most recent release and Jen Adrion and Omar Noory, the illustration duo and owners of These Are Things, are the voices behind it. They are a great choice to head this new project as they have personally have started a thriving business that has included international clients such as 3M, American Greetings, Rodale, and T. Rowe Price.
Starting with their modern world map, the creative pair have grown and developed their business to suit their needs.
What’s Included in Designed to Sell?
Jen and Omar have compiled and organized resources to create a thorough guide for the creative entrepreneur.
Designed to Sell – A 130 page manual that walks you through you from finding a profitable business idea that aligns with your talents, starting a business, and expanding it at your pace. You can preview the book here.
Roadmap to Creative Freedom -A handy checklist to help you stay on top of your tasks.
Creative Business Directory – No business is an island Jen and Omar share some wonderful tools, services, and suppliers to start and grow your business.
For those looking for even more material, there are even more resources including audio interviews, video interview where Jen and Omar share all their mistakes so you can avoid repeating them, pricing toolkit, pitch samples and templates, and more.
Your Big Idea: The first section dives into refining your idea and turning it into a viable business.
Creativity and Cash: Setting up the business means making it official with proper bank accounts, budgets, and fundraising in some cases.
Open for Business: Jen and Omar go into e-commerce business platforms and getting the launch ready.
Spread the Word: With your product or service polished for launch, it’s time to spread the word.
The Road Ahead: The last section covers expanding your business without losing control.
As you can see this from the topics covered, Omar and Jen give a fairly detailed road-map on starting a profitable and creatively oriented business.
Is Designed to Sell Right for You?
Like most of Chris’ projects, this guide is not everyone. Designed to Sell is for entrepreneurs who are willing to put in the effort to start a real and sustainable business. It’s more than’ find your passion, start a business'; it is about using your talents in a way that fills a specific need that customers are willing to pay for. That success takes careful thought and it means making significant efforts.
There is really no way around – you have to be willing to work to start a business and grow it. Designed to Sell is a guide that can help you make the transition. It’s not the only way to be a creative entrepreneur, I just think it’s a concise guide that can help you. If you do want to grab a copy for yourself, you can do so here.
For those who are on a smaller budget or you just want to test out the waters, you may want to check out The $100 Start-Up. It’s a wonderful book that can help you jump start your side business. You may be able to get it at your local library, which makes it an even better deal.
Thoughts on Building a Business
How many of you are thinking of starting a business this year?
Disclosure: If you purchase the guide through our affliate links, you’re supporting Couple Money; thank you!