15 Inspiring Examples Of How To Turn A Hobby Into A Business

You have probably heard advices like “Follow your heart”, “Do what you like”, and so on. And you've probably thought that what you like to do is merely your hobby and therefore no one will ever pay you for doing it, unless you are really into finance or accounting, which are quite profitable.

However there is hope that everyone regardless of their hobbies can turn his or her favorite occupation into a source of income. Social media today provide you with an opportunity to make this wish come true.

We have found 15 amazing entrepreneurs, each of them had built their business and career based on social media. Most of them were able to gain more than $100’000. Below we’re going to introduce you to these great people and let’s hope that their examples inspire you to new brave deeds.

How To Earn Money Using Social Media?

At a first glance such question doesn’t sound realistic, does it? It doesn't seem possible to make money on your hobby by posting photos and tweets several times per day.

First, let's take a look at the tools that work effectively for our 15 successful businessmen.


This is a pretty efficient way to earn significant money using social media. Especially for those who just started their business. This is what Brittany Furlan, Caitlin Turner, and Shaun McBride used to start building their careers.

Sponsorship occurs when a company or a brand decides to work with you. For example, various travel organizations and tourism counsels from around the world are sponsoring Lauren Bath for her telling people about their countries and their various sites.

Podcasts can also be used to attract sponsorship money. Your investors will definitely want to be mentioned in a podcast, and therefore will pay you for it.


Ads also allow come cash flow to your business. Youtubers like Liz Meghan use advertising in order to make a living using their social media accounts.

Unlike sponsorship though, placement of ads does not presume long-term cooperation with an entrepreneur.

Sale Of Products

If you have a business based on the e-commerce model, it’s wonderful. Social media can be a great platform to sell your products and services, or at least one can use them as a link that directs visitors to your site, where they can buy something.

Affiliated Marketing

This tool presumes that you cooperate with some brand helping them to sell their products or services. Every time someone makes a purchase thanks to your efforts, you’ll receive a percentage of such sale.

For example, many social media channels allow hyperlinks in posts. If your visitor clicks a link on your internet source and orders something on your affiliate’s website, you’ll earn money.

Promotion Of Services

If your business is to provide a specific service, you simply can’t ignore using social media as a marketing channel. These sources provide endless opportunities to promote your business.

Stylists, for example, often post their works on Instagram. Personal trainers often use F to connect with their potential clients. There is no doubt that you can find a way to use these channels to promote your business.

Introducing Yourself To Public

If you are an artist, an actor, a writer or simply a creative person, social media can be a great way to let the public know about yourself thus stepping out from the shade of obscurity.

For example, “Us the Duo” artists, Grace Ciao and writer Jeff Goins successfully used media channels to increase their publicity. This in turn allowed them to receive invitations to participate in various events and sell the results of their creative works.

Why Social Media?

Efficiency of those sources depends on many factors, such as regular publication of new content, matching information with audience’s interests, ensuring its timeliness, etc.

At that you can be sure that the time spent on promoting your business via social media will definitely pay off. There are at least the following two factors to prove it.

  • Social media allow you to increase your audience thousand-fold.

How many people visit your website daily? 200? 1000? Of course, these numbers are sufficient to concentrate on your own source. However think about this: Instagram has 100 million active users, Twitter – 135 million, over one trillion people watch YouTube every month (!). If you can interest at least 0.1% of all these people with your business, your audience will increase more than thousand-fold, plus you’ll tell about yourself, and your business “hobby” to many people.

  • You are recognized as an expert.

Social media are based on content. Even if you simply post a 6-second video on YouTube or Vine – that’s also content. And when you regularly make posts on a specific topic, other people visiting your source begin recognizing you as an expert in this field.

For instance, let’s look at two mathematicians who love numbers. Who seems like a better expert: someone who simply likes his or her job while avoiding social media altogether, or the one that teaches math to YouTube users and already has over 200’000 grateful subscribers? Naturally, they’re both professionals, however the second mathematician has made himself acknowledged as an expert in public opinion. Actually, he formed his audience and represents value to it as he shares his knowledge using a social media source available to anyone.

15 Entrepreneurs Who Have Built Their Careers Using Social Media

Brandon Stanton

Creator of the “Humans of New York” (HONY).

humans of New York

After loosing his job in 2010 he started taking unabashed photos of people on streets of New York and posting them on Facebook. Being a self-trained photographer he was doing what he enjoyed – took sharp photos that reflected his mindset and shared them with users of social media. Soon enough people noticed him.

Today the “Humans of New York” project has almost 13 million likes. It initiated Brandon’s career as a public speaker, a photographer, a philanthropist and a media person. Money earned from selling photos from Humans of New York go to charity. Brandon himself makes a living by receiving author fees from sales of books and exploring new freelance opportunities.

When asked by a journalist from the “Reddit AMA” news site if his project makes money that would allow to satisfy everyday needs, Stanton answered “I have already made an official announcement that I don’t want to turn HONY into a commercial project for personal gain. And I can say it again, as it is important for me that people support me in my mission. Over the past 6 month the project had raised $500’000 from sales of HONY print materials and all these money went to charity. My future plans include promoting a non-commercial website. Honestly speaking, I plan to give HONY to New York as a gift if it is possible. As for me being afloat, I make money on freelance and author’s fees from selling books. Sometimes I receive money for cooperation, for interviews and public speeches. Also I have two contracts for books that earn me profits. Overall though I live a pretty modest life”.

Jeff Goins

Blogger and Writer.

The art of work

Couple years ago Jeff left his job to make his old dream come true – to write all day long. As a result he was able to gather an audience of over 100’000 fans. Recently he had issued his fourth book, “The Art of Work”.

All of this became possible thanks to social media.

At first Jeff started writing on his blog (goinswriter.com) and also continued his regular job. However, soon enough his hobby started making him higher profit that working in the office. “My blog requires no more than 10 hours per week, however it became far more profitable that my regular job that took at least 40 hours per week”, says Goins.

His first product, an e-book worth $2.99 a copy, earned him $1’500 in the first week of sales. This convinced the writer that his hobby could be a profitable business.

Grace Ciao

Artist and Fashion Designer.

Grace Ciao

Grace is a typical example of an entrepreneur who was able to build her career via social media thanks to a lucky break.

Grace was interested in fashion design ever since she was a little girl. Once when she noticed that a flower given to her is starting to droop, she decided to make a fashion illustration from its petals. The girl had posted the photo of her work on Instagram and it soon received lots of likes from the network users and quickly became popular.

Nowadays Ciao works as a full-time illustrator and uses her site as a tool to get invitations to various interesting events.

Michael And Carissa Alvarado

Husband and wife, singers of “Us The Duo”.

us the duo

Before the couple started posting 6-second videos on Vine they were simply making music. However, this social media channel allowed their career to achieve significant heights.

And as they began posting fragments of their covers from Vine to YouTube, that was a great step towards achieving success on this source as well. Today the couple has millions of YouTube views and almost 5 million fans on Vin, where it all begun. In 2014 they have signed a record contract with the Republic Records studio.

Rosanna Pansino

Baker at «Nerdy Nummies».

Rosana Pansino

If you think that making a reality of your passion for baking is only possible by opening a bakery or by simply treating your family and friends, you’re wrong.

Rosanna has built a great career on social media thanks to her hobby and friends that convinced her to create her own culinary channel on YouTube. Her “Nerdy Nummies” today has almost 4 million subscribers.

Justin Halpern

Comedian of the ”Sh!t My Dad Says” project.

Baker at «Nerdy Nummies».

Justin Halpern

Let us guess – each time you open Twitter you see lots of links to mediocre posts by mediocre bloggers, photos of nicely garnished latte cups and the latest news regarding what all famous strangers of this popular website had for lunch. You could not even imagine that Twitter can become a platform to initiate a spectacular career, couldn’t you?

But that is precisely what Justin Halpern had done. He decided to revitalize his writing and comedian career by creating a “Sh!t My Dad Says” account, where he started posting funny extracts from his dialogues with his father. Project ended up being extremely popular (almost 3 million subscribers) and was later continued by a book and a TV series.

Lain Ehmann

Scrapbooker and blogger of the “Layout a Day” project.

Lain Ehmann

Lain is a role model and a great source for inspiration to everyone who still doesn’t believe that a hobby can be turned into a source of income.

She had made a six-digit amount of money by what was always seen solely as a hobby that had nothing to do with serious business. Lain in her blog started to teach others the art of scrapbooking by posting notes, hosting master-classes and online meetings with her subscribers.

Internet gives us an opportunity to communicate with people whose interests are similar to ours. And if you can be somehow helpful to these people, like in the case with Ehmann, your hobby can quickly become a favorite job that earns income.

Shaun McBride

Artist and Snapchatter.

Shaun McBride

Shaun learned to draw by watching professional artists. And now he tries himself in this craft.

Initially he was doing his collages in Snapchat, where they were very successful. However, after his works were posted on several popular websites, he found even wider fame and popularity.

According to Forbes, today he can earn dozens of thousands of dollars via his account on Snapchat social network by making advertising sketches for a client, and he’ll receive a few extra thousand dollars from the project itself solely for his image.

Shawn Stevenson

Fan of the healthy lifestyle, Star of “The Model Health Show”.

Shaw Stevenson

If you don’t want to build your career in social media by posting some photos or texts, perhaps, you might be interested in creating audio recordings?

Shaun anchors the first iTunes podcast dedicated to the topic of healthcare – the Model Health Show project. It allows him to pay maximum attention to his favorite topics: fitness and healthy lifestyle.

Instead of going along the standard route by preferring a classical coaching career, he interviews guests of his show, creates interesting content and helps listeners to find convenient tools to maintain their body’s physical health in top condition.

Lauren Bath

Traveller and professional instagrammer.

Lauren Bath

Lauren probably has the best job in the world. And it’s not just because she’s getting paid for posting on Instagram, but also because all her travels are sponsored.

She became the first so-called “Professional Instagrammer” in Australia and quit her job as a chef to dedicate her entire time to her passion for photography and travel.

She earns money by cooperating with travel companies and famous brands, contacting them using her Instagram account.

She doesn’t yet reveal details about the price of her services, however she admits that success of her blog became possible thanks to such large brands as Nikon and travel companies that provide sponsorship support. “I can’t speak for everyone, but I charge a very basic rate for travelling abroad. It requires from me to publish any photos that I like from such a trip and unlimited access to all photos taken for the client”, says Lauren.

Joey Korneman

Animator and trainer at the School of Motion.

Joey Korneman

Joey is a founder of the School of Motion, where she teaches her students the art of animation using the principles of animation design via online courses.

Joey’s website receives most of its traffic from Vimeo. There he has about 5’000 subscribers, which is a significant number for this media channel. Entrepreneur makes money on paid courses that he organizes via his own website for his Vimeo fans.

Mignon Fogarty

Grammar teacher and Grammarian at the “Grammar Girl”.

Mignon Fogarty

Hobbies can take any form or scale. And this amazing girl has the most unusual hobby. Mignon is in love with grammar and works all day “in the field” teaching the skill to users of her “Grammar Girl” podcast.

Social media is what gave her an opportunity to establish a stellar career in her chosen path and to promote her own blog.

Caitlin Turner

Yoga master and Instagrammer for GypsetGoddess.

Cailtin Turner

Caitlin’s passion for yoga allowed her to make a helicopter career using Instagram. Her account in the network is relatively young, less than 3 years online, however it has accumulated an army of over 200’000 followers.

In an interview to one popular media she confessed that Instagram gave her a chance to have a good career. “It connected me professionally with various companies and people, whom I didn’t know before as I didn’t need that. And now I have not only a hobby, but an actual profession and a career as well.

Brittany Furlan

Actress and Comedian from Vine.

Brittany Furlan

Social media allow people like Brittany to make a career of an actress and a comedian using tools that were previously unavailable. Today the girl has 9 million fans in Vine.

The actress told journalists that website made her life totally comfortable. Her videos that include repertoire of weird characters (like “Ghetto Dora de Explora”) and quick actor’s sketches and jokes on unexpecting public earn her anywhere from $7’000 to $20’000.

She plans that her own sketch show will become the next step of her career.

Liz Meghan

Youtuber and makeup artist.

Liz Meghan

This young lady had always been attracted to the art of makeup. And she had thrown all her passion for this hobby on YouTube.

Having over 680’000 subscribers to her channel, she has a wonderful opportunity to make money on something she likes – creating makeup lessons and sharing her experience accrued over many years of practice. To be more precise, she says that most profits are coming from paid advertisements included into the content of her channel.

Start doing what you like!

According to these striking examples of entrepreneurs that built their careers by using the sources of social media, you actually can:

  • Earn money by doing what you really like.
  • Become an expert in that field.
  • Gather together other fans of your activity.
  • There is nothing at all that stops you from picking a social media channel right now and starting posting…