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Ways To Make Money From: Hobbies And Pastimes

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Hobbies And Pastimes

IF YOU’RE LOOKING for a part time extra money making project, why not join those lucky people who earns pounds from pursuing their hobby?

Or to put it another way, if you’re looking for a new hobby then why not go for one that will actually make you money, rather than become a drain on your resources? Here are five profitable hobby projects you can enjoy as you earn:

  1. Antiques and collectibles

If you like discovering old treasures this is one area you’ll find both fascinating and massively profitable. You don’t need to be a big antiques buff to get started in a small way.

The secret of success is to buy cheap and sell at a mark-up. So, for example, you could buy your stock from cheap locations such as junk shops and car boot sales and sell it at the smartest, most expensive antiques and collectors’ fairs you can find.

You’re bound to make money, if only because sellers at car boot sales seriously undervalue their treasures, while people are prepared to pay much more in the push surroundings of an antiques fair.

You can’t expect to become an expert in every kind of antique overnight, so it’s best to choose an area to specialize in. Most dealers do this – by having a thorough knowledge of one area they are able to spot little-known treasures which they can buy for a few pounds and maybe sell for hundreds.

Easy areas to start in pottery, glassware, jewelry and ephemera (printed collectibles). If you’re working on a limited budget then don’t be limited to the ‘over 100 years old’ rule which applies to most antiques. Collectibles, which are interesting items of any age, are just as profitable and there are loads of desirable collectible items from the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

Whatever area you decide to deal in it pays to buy authoritative books and guides so you’ll know what to look for. The monthly Antique Dealers and Collectors Guide will give you a good background to most subjects. To subscribe, call 01442 876661. For details of fairs you could attend try British Antique Fairs, published annually.

  1. Toy making

There are few things more rewarding than making children’s toys. If you like working with your hands you can turn this into a very nice little business, quite apart from the enjoyment of making unique handmade toys for your children or grandchildren and their friends.

First decide exactly what you are going to make. Good choices are either soft toys (dolls and teddy bears are a favorite), or wooden toys. Toys made from carved, natural wood are very fashionable at the moment.

With toy making you don’t have to start from scratch. There are several companies that sell plans, patterns, and all the bits and pieces you’ll need to make toys. Always obtain supplies that carry CE European safety approval and use a fair degree of common sense as regards safety. Obviously, if the toy is for fairly young children it shouldn’t have any small parts, shouldn’t contain anything sharp (use glue instead of nails and similar), and should only use non-toxic paints.

Once you have made a small stock of toys you can turn to selling. You should find plenty of demand from friends and relations, but you might want to go for something more organized – craft fairs, market stalls and Sunday markets are possibilities. Also consider selling through toy shops and craft shops on a commission basis. If you like, you could even donate some of your profits to your favorite children’s charity.

Sources of books, kits and parts for toy making include:

  • W Hobby Ltd., Knight’s Hill Square, London SE27 OHH; Tel: 0181 761 4244
  • Fred Aldous Ltd., 37 Lever Street, Manchester M60 1UX; Tel: 0161 236 2477
  1. Calligraphy

Calligraphy is the art of creating beautiful handwritten documents. You will probably have seen the sort of things in old manuscripts, certificates and the like. It’s a fascinating hobby and although there’s not a great deal of money in it you’ll find it is easy certainly a skill you can sell.

All you need to get started is a calligraphy pen set and some paper. Any good stationery shop should be able to help you here. A calligraphy set usually consists of a fountain pen and several interchangeable nibs of different shapes and sizes which you can use to create different shapes and sizes which you can use to create different styles of writing. Always use good quality bond or laid paper which will add a distinctive touch to your work.

Take some time to develop your new skill. You’ll find it takes a bit of practice to create styles such as Italic or Gothic, but it’s not too difficult.

Once you feel you’re proficient then start advertising your service. Shop window cards are good, or you could also try a small classified ad in the paper.

Customers might include schools and clubs requiring certificates, and hotels or restaurants requiring certificates, and hotels or restaurants requiring menu cards, place cards or attractively written notices, so target your marketing accordingly. A good source of business for any calligrapher is to take on the writing of exclusive, handwritten invitations for weddings.

  1. Bicycle repairs

The bicycle boom could lead to a profitable little side line for you’re interested in cycling and bikes in particular. Just consider that the vast majority of people who go out and buy a bike today don’t actually know the first thing about maintaining and repairing them. Plus, the disappearance of the traditional bike shop that used to be found in every village has meant that there will be very little competition for your fixit service.

You need very little to set up as a bicycle repair man or woman. In fact, if you’ve got a bike you’ve probably got most of the tools you’ll need already. A warm, dry, well lit shed or garage with a work bench will make your work a whole lot easier.

Most of the repairs you’ll be expected to do will be fairly minor – buckled wheels, puncture repairs, brake repairs and so on, plus those regular adjustments and services that every bike should have. It is a good idea to buy in a stock of popular parts (such as tyres and tubes in a variety of sizes, brake blocks) which is easier than having to go and buy them individually for every job.

Once you’re all set up begin advertising your service. Local papers are good for this business, as are shop window cards. You could also have some leaflets copied and drop them round all the houses in your area. Once you become known you shouldn’t need to do much advertising – you’ll probably get plenty of work by word of mouth and get as much as you need to fill all your spare time hours!

At a charge of $10-plus per hour parts you’ll find that this hobby is more lucrative than many full time jobs.

  1. Computer services

If you’ve got, or are thinking about buying, a personal computer, then quite apart from its uses in playing games and doing word processing you’ll find it can be an extremely powerful money-making tool. In fact, for the price of a software package you can become an ‘instant expert’ in a vast range of businesses and professions.

Nowadays there are some marvelous software packages on the market. For anything from $20 up to a couple of hundred pounds you can buy a package that will provide all you need to set up a small home business. It will allow you to produce professional results, without requiring extensive previous knowledge of the subject.

To give you some ideas we’ve listed some computer based businesses you could operate and some of the software packages that will allow you to run them. Obviously you will get better results the better your PC and printer, but these packages will run perfectly well on a 486 home computer:

  • Set up a DTP business using Microsoft Publisher.
  • Set up a book-keeping service using Sage Accountant.
  • Set up a secretarial services bureau with Microsoft Office.
  • Set up and interior design business with Floor Plan Plus 3D.
  • Set up a garden design business with 3D Landscape.
  • Set up a CAD (Computer Aided Design) bureau with AutoCAD.
  • Set up a problem solving service for computer users with First Aid for Windows.
  • Set up a health and safety consultancy using PlanIT Health & Safety.
  • Set up a translation bureau translating from English to German, French or Italian and back with Accent Duo.
  • Set up a graphic design business with CorelDraw.
  • Set up a research bureau with Microsoft Encarta encyclopedia.
  • Set up a business plan writing service with PlanIT Business Plan.

You can obtain these software packages from any computer software retailer, including Software Warehouse who offer a mail order service (Tel: 01675 466467)

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