A Case Study: Monetizing a Hobby Offline

We all have things we like to do when we have free time. Some of us prefer to read, others like to collect things, and others feel energized by creating, whether through woodworking or writing. So wouldn’t it be great if you could take something that you love to do and make money at it?

Think of all the things you do now to make money; you probably don’t like a lot of them. By adding in some that you do like, you may slowly be able to eliminate the income sources that aren’t as enjoyable for you.

Here is a case study of someone who took his beloved hobby and turned it into significant income.

The Hobby

Carl took up woodworking after he got out of college. His initial love of making small wooden crafts grew into a fascination with building furniture.

However, two problems quickly developed. First, Carl didn’t have space in his house for any more furniture. And second, as his tastes became more particular, the cost of the materials he liked to use got prohibitively expensive.

Carl’s wife suggested that he sell some of his furniture. So he did. He put an ad on Craigslist.com and had the equivalent of a yard sale for his extra pieces. He made some money, but he didn’t get paid a lot for his work.

The Big Idea

Over dinner one night, Carl considered his small Craigslist.com success, and came up with a plan: he was going to make high-end furniture and get high-end prices for it.

Carl got some friends together and took out a small loan to build a workshop on his property. This would give him the showroom he needed to look like a professional instead of just some guy with too much furniture.


It was time to get busy. Every night after work, Carl made furniture. His wife took care of the marketing. She started a simple website and put ads in the newspaper and on Craigslist.com and other classified sites like Kijiji.com.

Together, they told everyone they could think of about their new business and asked those people to tell everyone they knew. They attended woodworking shows and passed out flyers.


Things took a while to get started, but eventually Carl was consistently getting buyers for his furniture. He had to modify his approach over time; certain things sold extremely well, and other pieces weren’t as popular. He ran with his winners and dropped his losers.


After a while, he noticed that a comment he frequently heard from customers was, “I sure wish I could do this.” That give Carl an idea; he would teach a class. So he developed a class, advertised it, and started teaching a workshop every Saturday morning. He covered information about the various tools and how to use them, the various types of wood, fasteners, and more.

By the end of the class, everyone built a stool and took it home. Carl knew that it would take years of effort for them to reach the level he had attained, so he didn’t worry about losing any customers. He did make a lot of money, however. Eleven people signed up for the 7-week course and they paid $495 each. That’s almost $3,500 for 14 hours of teaching.

Even better, Carl got a few more customers out of the process.

A Real Business

Carl has no business training and is not a natural salesman. He’s actually quite shy, which is part of why his wife helped with the marketing. Even considering this, he was eventually able to consistently make enough money to quit his day job.

Give yourself the chance to be successful in a brand new way: make money doing something you already do for fun. There’s no better way to earn money; after all, you can’t have too much money, or too much fun!

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