Many of us dream of a career that involves us getting paid large amounts of money just to do the things we would do even if no-one was paying us at all. While it can be difficult to turn a hobby you enjoy into a career that pays, it is definitely not impossible. Here are five people who have managed to turn their hobby into million-, or even billion-, dollar careers.
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner – “Making Sense of Cents”
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner is a business school graduate who paid off nearly $40,000 in student loan debt in seven months and now earns over $100,000 a month from her blog. Her secret? To focus on earning. Her blog, “Making Sense of Cents” was originally a hobby, but by focusing as much of her time as possible into increasing earnings from her blog, Michelle has turned that hobby into a successful career.
Craig Newmark – Craigslist
Today, Craigslist is a household name. Everyone knows about Craigslist and most of us has at least browsed it a time or two. What most people may not know, however, is that Craigslist started as nothing more than a website run by Craig Newmark as a hobby. Today, that “hobby” has increased Craig’s net world to over a billion dollars!
Alicia Shaffer – Three Bird Nest
At one time, Alicia Shaffer was the biggest seller on the widely known craft marketplace Etsy. She started creating and selling things through the platform as nothing more than a hobby, but her products were so popular that she was soon making an average of $60,000 a month, far more than her goal of $100 or $200 to pay for her daughter’s dance lessons.
Michael J. Kittredge – Yankee Candle
Like many people, I have a candle or two in my home from the well-known Yankee Candle brand. Michael J. Kittredge, the founder of Yankee Candle, made his first candle at 16 years old, as a gift for his mother. He went from one friend asking to buy that first candle, to renting an old paper mill as a workshop to owning a company that makes almost 2 billion dollars a year.
Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook
Facebook. That’s right, Facebook started as nothing more than a hobby. What is now one of the best-known companies and probably the most widely-used social media service in the world was started by Mark Zuckerberg as a site he ran as nothing more than a hobby in college. Today, his net worth is north of $70 billion. This is the ultimate “hobby-to-riches” story.