Hobbies being turned into income

SAN FRANCISCO

We learned that using something as simple as your hangers can turn into a product you could sell -- and have fun doing it. And a designer light fixture that sells for $660 at a popular design store could be made with a ball of string and some glue. Think of the possibilities.

"I'd say any hobby you've had where people have said 'I can't believe you can make that' - you can turn that into a business," said Shoshana Berger, Ready Made editor-in-chief.

In this unstable economy - it might be time to reinvent yourself, but instead of feeling down about the times -- the folks at Ready Made Magazine in Berkeley say think of this as an opportunity to turn your hobby into cash. And if you don't have a hobby -- that's ok, their magazine and others like it shows that ideas come from unlikely places - all the time.

"People are constantly tinkering, constantly coming up with something new," said Berger.

There's even a website where crafty people can sell their creations. Etsy.com is like a crafts fair online. Everything on the site is handmade and attracts a worldwide audience. Christina Williams of Castro Valley is one of the vendors on Etsy.

"It was really overwhelming at first. I didn't really know where to start," said Williams.

The stay at home mom doesn't have a lot of free time -- but she decided to put a couple of her notecard designs on Etsy just to see what would happen.

"I think it was three days into it, I sold three things to one person," said Williams.

She now has customers as far away as Singapore and is making about $500 a month in profits.

"If I wanted to make more money, I could devote a lot more time to it. Being a stay at home mom and having other obligations during my day - I do my best to put what ever I can into it," said Williams.

The only rule in this world is not to limit yourself; even the hangers in your closet can be turned into a fancy looking chandelier.

"We have a fairly mass culture where we can all buy from the same stores, we can have the same Ikea coffee table our neighbor has, and that's a little homogenizing. We all want to feel like we can put our personal stamp on things in our environment," said Berger.

A study in the UK found that 64-percent of people have recently sold their possessions, taken on extra work or have turned their hobby into a money maker as a way to deal with the tough economic times we're facing.

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