The Rise of Side Hustles: Turning Passion Projects into Profitable Ventures in NYC

The Rise of Side Hustles Turning Passion Projects into Profitable Ventures in NYC

One of the best things about New York City is that it has so many things to offer — anyone can find something close to heart in this buzzing hub. This also means that New York is one of the top places in the world to turn your side hustles and passion projects into a steady source of income. Is it not a dream come true — making money from doing something you love?

Below, we will take a quick look at which hobby projects have the highest monetization chances in New York and give you a few practical tips for turning almost any side hustle into a successful venture. 

Top Side Hustle Ideas to Monetize in NYC

Technically, any hobbyist passion can become a source of income if handled right — after all, if you like something, it probably means you are not alone. The top projects that have good monetization potential are:

  • Craft-made goods: anything from custom-made jewelry to pottery can sell quite well on Etsy. The success of such NYC projects as The Ink Pad, Scrap Yard NYC, and many others indeed prove that craft goods are something New Yorkers love.
  • Fitness guides and classes: another in-demand activity that does not necessarily have to be limited to one location alone, especially if you can host these classes online. Yoga, pilates, or even diet advice — these things don’t go out of style, especially in New York. 
  • Local food reviews: New York has plenty of venues, with new ones opening daily. A food critic career takes time to build, but one thing is sure — people are always looking for lovely places with superb cuisine. And that goes for locals just as it does for thousands of NYC tourists!
  • Recipe blogs: another great idea that does not necessarily have to be limited to one area alone. But a food and recipe blog with a focus on New York trends can give you that competitive advantage in the crowded cooking blog niche.
  • Style & Fashion: Europe has Paris as a fashion capital, but it is most certainly New York in the States. Once again, this niche is a bit crowded, but if you find your target audience (more on that later), you can create a narrow niche blog with fashion and style advice that might eventually bring profit. 
  • Events and exhibitions: monitoring all the events and exhibitions in New York is practically a full-time job and a great example of a side hustle that others will appreciate. Collecting information about upcoming events in NYC in one place is something a lot of art fans or tech geeks (if that’s your focus) will love because it will save them quite a few hours of googling.

Of course, this list of suggestions barely scratches the surface — there are plenty of other services you can offer, from educational classes and financial consulting to tech and gadget reviews — almost anything can eventually find a responsive customer audience. But how do you make sure you can earn from your hobby?

Tips on Turning Your Passion into a Money-Making Venture 

Chances are, you’ve already identified your passion, so what’s next? A lot will depend on the type of hobby, of course, but the must-have steps for monetizing any side hustle are:

Objectively researching the market

According to Investopedia, inadequate market research is the primary reason for a business failure. Right now, you might be thinking — I am not opening a business, I am just trying to make a few extra bucks from my favorite hobby, so this does not apply to me. Right? No! You will not earn those extra bucks if no one is interested in what you are offering. If you take a good look at some successful local ventures, you will see that they all have a specific focus of their own. For example, a food review site can focus on vegan, Mediterranean, Asian, or other cuisine. A craft woodworking business may work with specific timber types and will usually have a shorter item selection than IKEA — not just because of a smaller scale but because of a narrower focus.

So, this tip goes hand-in-hand with figuring out your target audience — who may be inclined to pay for your craft jewelry, custom-made bags, or oak coffee tables? There is no universal guide to objective market analysis, but these sites can prove very helpful with the research:

  • U.S. Census Bureau: this platform provides a wealth of demographic data, including stats about the population’s income and common expense areas.
  • Google Trends: with Google Trends, you can see exactly what people are looking for in your area, thus determining where the supply is lower than demand.
  • SignalHire: this tool is a business directory that can search for all the companies in your area. Setting up the filters to NYC will give you an overview of all available businesses, but you can also specify the exact industry to see how many local companies in your niche of interest are already registered. This will give you a very good idea of business offers with a lot of competition (and those where competition is low yet).
  • New York Chambers of Commerce: there are several of them in the NYC area, with separate chambers for Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and a few others. Ideally, you should evaluate all of them to see the latest business stats and data. This will help you determine which projects are in the highest demand and which ones flop (and why). 

Building an Online Presence 

Once you have figured out what you are about to sell and who can potentially pay for it, it’s high time to make yourself visible online. Social media is an obvious start because it does not require any major financial investments, like building your website, for example. On a side note: today, building your first website does not have to be too expensive —plenty of website builders offer reasonable subscription plans and a chance to create your website with zero programming experience. But you can always start with social media because it is cheaper and less overwhelming. There is no rush — you can move on to website creation after a few successful sales on social media.

An even more important reason to start with social media is that it allows you to network and research the latest market trends while advertising your products or services. If, for example, you offer business consulting services, building a presence on LinkedIn is an absolute must. As you post engaging, valuable content to your LinkedIn subscribers, you also get a chance to create lists of potential customers you can later contact directly and state your offers. For this, you do not necessarily have to message them on LinkedIn, which has a relatively low response rate. Instead, you can extract user data to send a few emails describing your offer — and this best LinkedIn email finder will help you with that.

Last but not least — start thinking about your monetization strategies as you build an online presence. There are more ways for monetizing a business than direct sales — for example, you can display ads, join affiliate marketing programs, or accept sponsored posts from other, larger businesses. It’s all right not to have a clear monetization plan when you are just getting started, but you should be prepared to analyze how your marketing efforts progress to determine which monetization type works best for you. 


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