You may think that your favourite geeky hobbies are just that: hobbies. That means that although you love to spend your spare time live-streaming yourself playing video games and creating new costumes for cosplay conventions, you aren’t actually making any money from these pursuits. But the fact is that it’s very possible to make money from these hobbies if you’re passionate about what you do and you know your community well. Here are a few tips to help you get started…
Think About Your Community
Nobody knows a fandom like someone who’s part of it. Unless you have been a big-time fan, it’s hard to understand that kind of mindset: the love, the power, the energy, the passion. This means that you’re well-placed to think about what your community requires and – even more importantly – what they might be persuaded to pay for. It could be fan-art of their favourite characters, it could be costumes for conventions, it could be buttons that you make and sell on Etsy, it could be knitted stuffed toys of your favourite anime characters. There can be a stigma inside fan communities when it comes to making money: a lot of people think that if you’re an artist, you should only create work for free, or that if you’re a professional editor, you’re fine with beta-reading fanfiction in your spare time. This may be the case, and if so, that’s great. But it’s important to remember that your skills have value and worth outside goodwill.
What Skills Do You Have?
First of all, consider what skills you may have because of your hobbies. In fandoms, there are huge amounts of different people with different skill-sets who come together to celebrate something that they love. Maybe you love to draw, maybe you love to write, maybe you love to code websites and make games. And happily, you can turn these skills around and push them into your day job. If you’re great at updating your fanfic every week, this means you’re good at hitting deadlines and writing fast, accurate copy. If you’ve been drawing your favourite characters and honing your skills for years, you could make a career out of illustration. If you like to make websites and games, coding could be calling your name as an every day job – and you can make great money from that.
Utilise Your Creativity
There are plenty of ways that you can use your creative spirit to make money in fandom, whether it’s creating art, writing, or blogging. There are also many people who use newsletter to collate lists of links and news stories from within a chosen area – why not do this within your area and add extra newsletters for paid subscribers or add your Paypal link so that people can support you for doing what you’re doing? A lot of people will be extremely happy to support others doing great work for what they’re interested in. It’s important here to think of yourself as a brand – when money comes into the equation, you need to ensure that you’re super reliable and transparent about what actually happens with that money, whether it’s your website hosting fees, the materials you use to make your cosplay costumes, or subscription fees for other sites where you get some of your news. If you run a blog or a vlogging channel, remember that it isn’t cheating to add affiliate links and ads during videos – it’s business and if it helps you do your job better because you aren’t worried about cashflow, it’s for the best.
Sell Your Old Merchandise If You Move On
One of the sad facts of many geeky hobbies is that eventually you move on from one passion to another. If your favourite show ends, it’s hard to focus all your time on it when there are brand new shiny things out there for you to fall in love with. But a lot of the time, fans accumulate a lot of merchandise over the years, whether it’s Pop Vinyls, comics, or trading cards – it can be incredible how much they’re worth. If they don’t spark happiness into your heart when you look at them any more, it could be time to cut the cord and move on. You can sell your merch on sites like eBay or even on social media sites like Twitter or Facebook, and although it might be a wrench to let go, your bank account will be extremely happy about it.
Remember: Money Isn’t Just For You
Finally, it’s a great idea to remember that if you want to make money from your geeky hobbies or your fandom, that money doesn’t have to be just for you. There are plenty of charities out there that can hugely benefit from a community of passionate and loving people who want to make good things happen in the world. If you love Marvel, why not check out what charities Chris Evans supports so you can help create a charity drive for his birthday and donate to some great causes? Not only will you be putting great things out there in the world and making life a little easier for some people who might really need to catch a break, but there’s a good chance that your favourite celebrities might actually see what you’ve created and the donations you’ve made and be happy about it – and what’s better than brightening up the day of someone whose work has brightened up your life? And on a more personal level, organising a charity drive is something that will look great on your resume in the future if you’re thinking about working in a fundraising or organisational role.
It’s clear that no matter what you do in pursuit of your geeky hobby, there are ways to make money from it, whether it’s entering Magic: The Gathering competitions or selling the fake swords that you make for cosplayers that only you know how to create. Sometimes turning your passion into an actual job can be more hassle than it’s worth, but a sideline hustle in what you love just means that you get to be immersed in your favourite world even more often – and what could be better than that?