16 Malaysians Share How They Monetised Their Hobbies

While I’m a big believer in having hobbies for nothing more than the sheer joy and fulfilment it can bring to your life, attempting to monetise your hobby is not a bad way to start dipping your toes in entrepreneurship culture. The transition from ‘hey this is fun’ to ‘omg people want to pay me for this??’ is nothing short of amazing. I sincerely hope everyone will get to feel that.

(Note: Not everyone can or should be an entrepreneur, but everyone should have entrepreneurial mindset, ie problem-solving skills and all that, wouldn’t you agree?)

RoR started as a hobby, too

Personally,  I started writing personal finance blog articles as a hobby. I offered it as a service while I was looking for a new job, but it eventually expanded into this whole Ringgit Oh Ringgit shebang and its current 8 sources of income, so I never looked back. But of course, I also failed figured out a few ways that didn’t work along the process.

Obviously, I wasn’t the only Malaysian who have attempted to monetise my hobbies. And when I asked RoR readers about it, I was blown away by the variety of answers – your hobbies are hella cool, some of them I never even heard of!

With their permission, I compiled some of the answers – thanks so much to everyone who agreed to be featured in this article 🙂 Definitely opened my eyes on the many possibilities of side incomes, and I hope it’ll do the same for other readers too.

Note: Answers are listed in no particular order and has been edited for clarity

Malaysians Share How They Monetise Their Hobbies

1. Jasmine KarJa KwokSurprisingly, I’ve been video editing and doing photoshopping (image editing) for 12 over years now and it got me some odd jobs. 

And I’m not sure if this is considered a ‘hobby’ but I used to collect anime merchandises, ended up doing ‘split boxes’ so I got quite a decent side income from that. It started out with just buying a box of 12 characters and I only wanted one out of 12, so I sold the other 11 characters. Suraya’s note: I’ll just call this reselling 😀

Something I’m not ready (to monetise yet) but will consider (in the future): I may also write or program for visual novel games (depending on which skill is stronger, the coding or the writing, or even both). I’ve seen indie developers offering their creative writing skill to VN projects and programming skills to these projects. (Currently) I’m a writer of 2 games and a solo creator of 3 WIP projects but never thought of monetising until I can improve on my skills.

2. Azam RazaliI play guitar for fun and during MCO, have started to teach guitar online (to earn extra income). At first, I offered my services at a lower price, and now I am able to charge higher (rates) because I am more confident. 

(I get my students by) Promoting my classes online on social media – most of my students are from twitter, few are from Instagram. I have two classes: basic and intermediate. For basic, students can join with zero knowledge, they just only need a guitar. For intermediate, sure you need to have some basics (guitar skills) 🙂

Right now my price is still RM40 for 4 classes. In July I probably will charge RM60. If you are interested or want to know more details, feel free to message me through whatsapp https://api.whatsapp.com/send?phone=+601135328978

3. Jun King Sze I once sold Transformers set made of Lego. My partner, Alan Yap and I sourced the parts one by one – buying tiny parts of Lego were expensive!

It was exciting at first, until packing time, as we needed to individually the parts. I set up a small conveyor system to pack ala congkak-style but it was still very time consuming and back-breaking. And if I thought I missed one, I had to check them again, ONE BY ONE.

After we started selling, we realised the market demand was very tiny because it was an unofficial release and only a very small niche of customers were keen. From here, I learn by first entrepreneurial lesson: check to see if people are willing to pay you for something. So, don’t fall into the passion trap.

We couldn’t sell the set for years, until someone from China bought everything at one go. (That person ended up) doubling the price.

gambar hiasan

4. Firdaus Jamaludin – Ever since I was young, I love to explore new technology especially in IT. What I did in my leisure time was studying laptop specifications and features before purchasing a secondhand laptop. (Through that method), I will be able to experience firsthand the differences between each laptop.

(As a way to earn money,) I normally will troubleshoot the laptop for better performance before reselling it to the market. I was able to gain profit of around 5 to 10 percent of the purchase value. I am happy that I was able to learn and make money at the same time. 

5. Loke Vincent – (I am doing) games live-streaming on Youtube. Because I play games, I thought it would be nice to have a crowd to watch and since there are easy ways to do it, I gave it a try. (In order to) monetise (livestreaming) via YouTube, I would need to get 1k subs and 4k watching hours over 12 months. Other streaming platforms like Twitch and Mixer allows watchers to give you currency which is equivalent to a certain amount in real money via donations, which you can cash out upon (hitting) a threshold.

However, (I think the income generation process is) looks bleak. Over-saturation (of live-streamers) is a problem throughout all platforms. So I probably have to find a niche or do something unique to get through. 

6. Hasyimi BahrudinI love Italian food and can make pasta from scratch. During MCO, my wife and I made lasagna (including homemade bolognese and bechamel sauce), and she jokingly said she will be taking orders. Surprisingly a lot of people were interested. Until now we have been making and selling lasagna almost daily.

If anyone interested, here’s her IG page: https://www.instagram.com/deqahbakery

7. Jesper Lee – (The hobby I have tried to monetise is) Cooking. I tried to become a private chef to accommodate 6-8 pax per session, but then found that people want good food but don’t want to pay for good ingredients. Because I am also against using subpar ingredients for my clients/customers, it fizzled out. (In my experience,) the limit people were willing to pay for dinner experiences was RM65-70 per pax.

8. Nadia AhmadI learned how to bake at 16 or 17 years old, after helping out my aunt at home as she made cakes to order. After I graduated and gotten a job, it still became a hobby of mine to try out new recipes. 

I managed to make money out of it for a year plus, by supplying my cakes to a local cafe and taking personal orders. But after the cafe closed, (my cake-supplying business) fizzled. It was a good experience, (even if I realised) I was not good at money management back then (as I didn’t save the money I earned). 

9. Shafiq Ibrahim – (My hobbies are) reading and autocad drafting. Autocad is the software that people in the construction industry use to make blueprints. Everyone uses it – architects, engineers, interior designers, contractors.

I have done proofreading for 2 masters theses, minor translation works here and there, and drafting electrical schematics. But I’m too much of a softie to demand payment. In most cases, I just ask them to belanja me food!

10. Khor Hui MinI turned my writing hobby into full-time job as a freelance writer 3 years ago. Other hobbies I make money from, from time to time, as a side income – 3D jelly cake, baking, crystal jewellery making, etc.

11. Eric LimI liked diving. Got myself a diving instructor license, but ended stopped teaching as I found I that I like diving and not teaching!

12. Santik Sengthong – While I was a college student, I became an audiophile and have done lots of self-study to research my newly found hobby. I went down the rabbit hole, looking for “good-sound”, then “great-sound” until “perfect-sound”.

Being a poor college student, I have made my own audio upgrade cables for my headphones, interconnects and even made audio amplifiers. My intention is to beat the audiophile stereotype of an expensive hobby.

Those days, I have gone to many audiophile gatherings, where we interact and try out each other audio setups. Somehow it became a venue I would showcase my DIY work. It was pure satisfaction when people liked my audio setups.

Naturally, fellow hobbyist asked me to improve their audio setups, make upgrade cables for them and paid me for my work. Slowly my audio work is made known in the community and more requests came in. From there it became a “side-income” hobby. Although (the amount was) not much nor consistent, it was something I enjoyed working on.

After graduation and being in the workforce, I no longer got the time to service those requests and slowly declined them. Those were the fun, carefree days where I used my free time to enjoy my hobby and sometimes monetise on it. It gave me satisfaction.

13. Tamim KhaliliMy wife likes to go to IKEA, now she became an IKEA personal shopper.

14. Neutrals FongI love Manipulative arts and Esports, monetised both. (Manipulative arts are) those like yoyo, magic, diabolo, juggling, etc. Mine was dice-stacking, cups stacking, and speed solving Rubik’s cube.

I earned money through stage performances, roadshows/events, sales of these products, and intro videos for ads.

15. Muhammad Amar HasshimI like to read comic and sometimes draw. I found that learning about stock investing is quite challenging, and after going through multiple books and videos, I decided to start Stockforsnack.com, a blog I created to share what I learn about stock investing in the form of comic, to make learning easier.

 Any positive feedback is much appreciated!

16. Patricia Angela Pinto – I have tried to monetise a few hobbies. The only successful one is my voice acting hobby – I got into it because I liked reading things in a sarcastic/straight toned voice for friends, then I carved a niche out for myself on Fiverr reading Malay-language ads.

About 90% of those who hire me are for ads.  A large number of those focuses on mobile ads (ie sub 1 min jobs). Note that I work in the Malay voiceover space, where it’s much more niche and less competition (to an extent).

So how? Cool right? I’ve never thought some of the above hobbies are even a ‘thing’. Thanks for letting me peek into various communities through this lens of personal finance 🙂

Personal realisation and conclusion about the process of monetising your hobby

I *was* going to end this article by encouraging you to start monetising your hobbies, too, but that would be boring and the lazy way out. Instead, I give you some things I realised about the hobby-to-income transition:

#1 – It’s practical

Have to put it out there. What’s good about monetising a hobby is that you don’t need to learn a new skill to offer as a service. You already have the skill.

It’s not a bad idea to at least attempt to monetise your hobby, even if your job is secure. It’ll make a nice back-up plan – you and I know all about the economy shrinking and the downsizing and the higher unemployment rates nowadays.

#2 – You may need to realise how good you are first

It’s not uncommon for a hobbyist to not realise how good they are at their craft, until it is pointed out to them. Some of the answers above went kind of like that.

I can understand why. I mean, all this time you were practicing and having fun, you’re always learning from people who tend to be more advanced than you, skills-wise. So you can only see how far behind instead of how far ahead you are from non-hobbyists, who (you forgot) have absolutely no skill whatsoever.

#3 – You may need to overcome some feelings of guilt for charging

Kind of a spin-off from #2. The hobby is so enjoyable, and there are so many areas of improvement to discover, that when people ask you to do it as a service, you *may* undercharge or even refuse payment.

There is some danger in this. Don’t get used to undervaluing your labour. There are plenty of weirdos in this world who always look for people they can exploit like this.

#4 – You may NOT want to sell it as a service after all

You may realise that monetising your hobbies is not the right call after all, as it takes away your enjoyment of the hobby, and thus your life. Maybe you’re not suited to teach, maybe people are not willing to pay your rates, whatever.

In this case, meh. At least you learned this part about yourself. You continue to work hard in your day job, so you can continue to use your salary to fund your hobby(ies). That’s fine too.

#5 – Or you may find the business side of your hobby FUN AS HECK

This happened to me. I found out that I really, really enjoy exploring the business side of content creation. I also really enjoy learning about the processes involved in running a micro business, whether in my own or for other industries.

If this is the same as you, good. Now you have two hobbies 🙂

Have YOU tried to monetise your hobby?

If yes, how did it go? If no, why not?  Share with us in the comments section below! If your business is ongoing, don’t forget to put links below so people can check out!

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5 comments

  1. I am in the midst of learning the ropes of monetising my hobby. It’s definitely a touch and go thing, learning from mistakes and hoping to do better. Not easy as I still have a day job to toggle with my hobby. The difference is when it was a hobby, I can just do it as and when I am free without impacting my day job. However now I have to also concentrate to fulfil order/stock plus marketing etc which does interrupt with my day job at times. I crochet and sew so it is time-consuming. Still trying to work on my time-management skill to balance it all. *fingers crossed*

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