Find a Money-Making Hobby

For a many years, I’ve made a hobby out of buying, selling, and trading collectable trading cards, specifically Magic the Gathering.

I learned of this game while playing with friends in the dorms during college. We played in secret, always referring to it as “playing cards”, since we all knew that “Magic” isn’t the most mainstream of endeavors.

A few years after college, I noticed a collection of Magic cards on Craigslist that seemed to be worth much more than the seller was asking. After further investigating, it turned out the seller needed some quick cash and so they were willing to take less than the face value of the cards because selling the cards one-by-one requires a lot of time, effort, and expertise. I bought this collection and proceeded to sell or trade cards to other magic players for a significant gain.

Over the years I’ve bought and sold a number of collections, while also building up my personal collection at essentially no cost. I enjoy the process of sorting collections and finding rare and valuable cards. It’s kind of like gambling, since you never know if a $166,000 Black Lotus is right around the corner.

Recently the financial aspects of Magic (#MTGFinance) have gone somewhat mainstream with coverage by NPR’s Planet Money and Forbes.

The product discussed by Forbes caught my eye as soon as it was announced by Wizards of the Coast, the company that owns Magic. I knew the demand for this card would be significant and only 12,000 copies were available. Orders were limited to two copies per person, so I built up a small army of friends and family members to help buy more product on launch day.

In the end only a few succeeded in acquiring boxes. I paid each person who tried to help but failed a $25 commission, and gave a $50 commission to those who succeeded in ordering boxes. I ended up paying about $500 in commission. I’ve already resold 4 of the boxes for four times their original value already turning a significant profit, with 4 boxes still remaining.

Was it worth all the effort? From a strictly financial perspective, probably not. It was a lot of effort and I called in many favors for a moderate financial gain, especially considering my high-income at my W2 job. BUT – I enjoyed doing it! It’s a hobby of mine – I get to have fun AND make money at the same time.

Some people would argue that finding your ideal career would mean finding what you love. I think these opportunities are rare and most likely unrealistic for people who want a high-income job or business. If you find this, congratulations, I’m happy for you. But finding a hobby you enjoy that can make you money, now that IS attainable. Here are some examples of potential profitable hobbies:

  • Woodworking
  • Jewelry
  • Buying/Selling Books
  • Flee Market Flips
  • Website Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Blogging
  • Writing/Editing
  • Hosting Fitness Classes
  • Pet Sitting

If you can build your passion into a career, more power to you, but for everyone else, try to find a hobby that helps improve your finances, or at least is relatively affordable. Your wallet and future self will be thankful you did!

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