While retirement has often been thought of as a time of trading in the nine-to-five slog for a life of leisure, these days many retirees want to earn a little income to help ease their cash flow. One of the best ways to feel retired and also bring in some money is to generate cash from one of your hobbies.

It takes extra effort to transform something from a hobby to a side business, but with a measure of entrepreneurial spirit you can turn pleasure into profit. How much you can earn depends a lot on the level of time you are willing to invest in your hobby and on marketing your services or products. Here are some examples of potentially profitable hobbies.

Key Takeaways

  • Almost any hobby, from writing poetry or party planning to gardening or organizing, can be turned into a side hustle with a bit of research and commitment.
  • Collectors (e.g., of antiques, stamps, or books) and crafters can look into selling their collections/wares on websites like eBay, Amazon, and Etsy.
  • If you have a skill—you play a musical instrument, paint/draw, or speak a foreign language—teaching or tutoring may be your ticket to extra income.

Retirement Hobby: Sales

Many people's hobbies involve collecting objects, from antiques to books to flea market items. Another big area involves making things, whether it's clothes or cards or other crafts. If you haven't considered selling your treasures or wares in the past, now may be the time. Here are some things you can sell:

Items on eBay

If you have a collection of antique toys, record albums, or clothing that you no longer want, you can sell them on eBay to the highest bidder to turn a profit. Some entrepreneurial types turn eBay skills into a business by buying low and selling high. If you have special expertise in a particular area or simply want to gamble a bit on something like sports tickets, you can spend hours making bids and then reselling items on other websites.

Books and CDs on Amazon

Another option for people with the storage space for books and CDs is to sell more than your own collection through Amazon.com. You can haunt flea markets and thrift stores for bargain-priced books and CDs, then resell them. Just make sure you take into account shipping costs and the hassle factor of storing and sending the items.

Crafts on Etsy

If you love to quilt, sew, or make jewelry or other crafts, Etsy.com can be your marketplace. The website makes it simple to market your wares. You can also sell vintage clothing. So, if you have a trunk full of old clothes in the attic, this could be a goldmine—and help you clean out those stored treasures.

Items at Flea Markets and Yard Sales

Plenty of people love to spend their time looking for treasures and unique items at flea markets and yard sales. If this is your hobby, you can turn it into a business by snapping up bargain items and reselling them. You can also sell your handmade items—including jewelry, quilts, clothes, and tools—at flea markets. If you're a yard-sale expert, you can even go into business running yard sales for others.

Retirement Hobby: Teaching

After playing an instrument or painting landscapes in your off hours or practicing your Spanish on trips to Mexico, you may be ready to turn those skills into a part-time teaching job.

One of the fastest ways to earn money on your own schedule is to become a tutor or a teacher. Whether you excel at math or English, you can offer tutoring services through your own website or by advertising at local schools. If you speak a foreign language or want to help others learn English, you can also earn extra cash tutoring. Other skills that can attract students include teaching voice lessons, art, or a musical instrument. Be sure to think about whether you are set up to have students come to you (and are comfortable with the idea) or if you want to meet at a library or in their homes.

If you have a flair for decorating, you might consider becoming a home stager and offering your services to homeowners to help make their houses look their best for a sale.

Other Retirement Hobby Ideas

There are myriad other hobbies that you can turn into earning opportunities with some creative thinking and effort. You may even find that the activity you've always loved becomes the basis of a second career.


If you've always wanted to write, look into freelance writing for your local newspaper or for websites that specialize in something that interests you. Fiction writing is less lucrative, but if you are prolific and dedicated to submitting your work, you can even make a little money with your poetry and prose.

Party Planning

If you are the one everyone turns to when they're looking for a suggestion for a party theme or an interesting way to entertain guests, set up a party-planning website and start charging for your advice. Be sure you have looked into liability issues before you get underway.


If you love to organize your home, you may want to offer your services to others. Just make sure you can physically handle hauling papers around or clearing out someone's closet. You can start your own business or offer to assist someone who already has a thriving business as an organizer.

Gardening and Baking

Farmers' markets have become more popular than ever and offer a great venue for selling your baked goods, plants, and vegetables. Find out how much it costs to set up a stand at your local market.

Searching for Gold

If you live near a beach or a lake and enjoy being outdoors, you may want to invest in a metal detector. With gold prices skyrocketing, you can search for lost treasures and sell them to add cash to your pocket.

The Bottom Line

The key to making money while still enjoying your retirement is to do something you already love so the hours you spend seem less like work and more like play. Only, it's the type of play that can pay, too. Who knows? Your hobby may be so engaging, it leads to a second career in the second half of life.