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6 hobbies that can make you money

Looking for extra cash to keep your household afloat in this storm-tossed economy? Maybe it's time to turn your hobby into a business.

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Whether you wade in part-time or dive in full-time, there are several advantages to launching your hobby as a business. For starters, you already enjoy it. You also have the knowledge base and skill set upon which to build, and may have a network of fellow enthusiasts to help get you started.

It's likely that you also have a sense for pricing and market dynamics surrounding your hobby.

Finding the time and space to create a new business can be challenging, especially if you're working another job as well. But with a few simple marketing moves and the help of a willing mentor or two, you can turn your pastime into cash time in no time.

"Your hobby has to translate into a product or service for which there is an identifiable market," says Barbara Brabec, author of "Handmade for Profit" and a 25-year veteran of the arts and crafts world. "You may love the product you make, but the bottom line is, will anyone actually buy it?"

Brabec says the biggest fear for most hobbyists is ... well, fear itself.

"Everybody is scared because they're stepping outside their comfort zone. The only way you can get past this is with some experience and doing it more than once," she says. "You have to be able to take some rejection. It's not rejection against you personally; it's the product or service you're offering. It's not you that's being judged."

Ready to take the plunge? Here are six lucrative hobbies you can start from home today.

6 hobby businesses

Custom baking
A few years ago, 27-year-old Katie Schwarz, a special education teacher in Austin, Texas, took a cake-decorating class and fell in love with it. Soon, she was decorating cakes and treats for children's birthday parties.

In 2007, inspired by the trendy treat of choice in New York City, she started Let Them Eat Cupcakes, a Web and phone-order home business.

Let Them Eat Cupcakes specializes in custom-decorated cupcakes in more than a dozen flavors, including margarita and s'mores. The cupcakes are delivered directly to the customers' doors.

 
 
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