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Make Money With Your Hobby: Earn Thousands While Spending Time Outdoors

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Whether it’s selling gourmet foods, teaching people how to plant a garden, or picking up dog waste, these women have found ways to earn money while spending time outdoors. Learn their secrets so you can start cashing in too!

“I make up to $7,000 a month teaching people about gardening!”

“I grew up in Philadelphia and never had any gardening experience, but when I lived in San Francisco, I wanted to learn how to grow my own food. I was accepted for a gardening internship on a farm in Missouri, and I fell in love with it. I continued to garden, then started working with a nonprofit organization that had a youth gardening program. I later worked on their youth farming program and started a business within their organization teaching people how to design and install vegetable gardens. Nine years ago, I decided to go out on my own and launch Creative Vegetable Gardener (CreativeVegetableGardener.com).

“It was easy to launch my business. I purchased a few tools and a wheelbarrow and created a website. I offer live and virtual garden consulting services. I take a look at clients’ backyards and come up with a plan to plant a new garden, find the sunniest spot and identify what they want to grow and the best crops and varieties. I help them when they’re having problems or not getting the results they want with their current gardens. I also write a blog, have written two books and offer online classes that I shoot outside in my garden, including All About Gardening with Herbs and Success in Every Season. My own vegetable garden is 1,600 square feet, and I’m always in it, doing experiments, taking photos and thinking up new ideas for what people want to learn.

“I enjoy learning and sharing knowledge with people, and I love being in the garden and thinking about new ideas. The flexibility is great too! Each month varies, but I can make up to $7,000 a month. The money I make pays the bills, goes back into the business and pays for plants, seeds and garden improvements.” — Megan Cain, 46 Madison, WI

“I make up to $1,500 a day selling gourmet foods at outdoor markets!”

“When my husband lost his job about 14 years ago, I was working part-time as a professional organizer and caring for my child, so we needed to find a way to make money. Ihad a recipe for a seasoning I was using for more than 30 years, and Iused to give it away to family and friends. They loved it so much that my husband suggested we try to sell it. We pulled together a list of emails of our business contacts and friends, made af lyer and told people about our new company, Sleeper’s Fresh California Gourmet (SleepersGourmet.com).

“We learned quickly that selling at small outdoor venues was most effective, because people like connecting with me, hearing our story and seeing photos in our booth.

“Today, we sell eight types of seasonings, as well as jams, teas, salts and gift sets, and always include recipes. I source ingredients throughout the state, and over the years, I have developed relationships with the farmers and hand-select the ingredients.

“We attend about 20 events a year, from the spring until Christmas, including pop-up and vintage outdoor market events. To market the business, we also use social media, email and do a live cooking show every Saturday on Facebook and Instagram. It’s a family business, so our daughter helps us as well. I love hearing stories from our customers, and we have a lot of loyal followers. I can make up to $1,500 at an outdoor event — money that goes back into the business.” — Christina Sleeper, 55 Los Angeles, CA

“I bring in about $65,000 a year picking up dog poop!”

“I was in the military for 32 years and when I retired, I married and moved to Florida. I had always wanted to do something entrepreneurial that really appealed to me. When I was in Utah visiting family, I noticed a woman outside picking up dog poop in their yard. My niece explained that they hired someone to help them out since they were so busy with their four dogs and new baby. I thought it was a great idea, and something I could do too. I did research and found four different pet waste removal franchisees and chose Pet Butler (PetButler.com) because I love that their mission is to help the community with shelter dogs and pets.

“Getting started was simple. I went through the company’s training and established my LLC. They created my website and within a day, I had my first customer! When I start my day, I check on how many customers I have — usually between 25 to 30 — and check the type of services they need. Most need their yards cleaned up but some also ask for a yard odor eliminator and deodorizer.

“I love that my work is outdoors. I get exercise, listen to Audible and meet new people and lend an ear to anyone who needs someone to talk to. My first day on the job, I picked up so much poop — but when my client, an older woman who was using a walker, thanked me because I was helping her keep her yard clean so her grandchildren could play, I knew I was in the right business.

“I use social media to market the business, but I also get referrals. This year, I’m on track to make over $65,000 — money that goes back into the business and is donated to a nonprofit organization for dogs.” — Mary Lester, 54 Tallahassee, FL

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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