After decades of hard work, you are nearing retirement age and looking forward to long days spent outdoors, online and on the road. But maybe you have not decided how to use up all that free time — or you enjoy the structure that work brings.

Instead of picking up random jobs to fill your days, consider turning your hobby into a business or finding work in your field of interest. You will make a little money to pad your savings while practicing your passion.

Teach what you love: Whether you are a skilled photographer, chef or engineer, chances are you can find work teaching what you love. You can set up shop in your home — like your neighborhood piano teacher — or teach at a local adult education program or school.

Alternatively, you can become an instructor for online instructional platforms like Udemy. If you prefer face-to-face interaction, Craigslist is a good place to find tutoring work.

Sell your own products: In the past, crafty individuals had the opportunity to sell handmade goods only at fairs and farmers markets. But because of the proliferation of online marketplaces, you can now sell your creations worldwide.

Etsy is the best-known marketplace for artisans, but there are plenty of smaller sites you can consider, like ArtFire and Zibbet. You can also use eBay to sell your creations. Even if you don’t make a lot of money, you can file a tax deduction for your hobby to help offset costs.

Write about your experiences or crafts: Start a blog and post photos of your creations, favorite trails or foods you cook. If you enjoy writing, create a DIY blog that provides step-by-step instructions with photos. You can even post your work to Instagram or BuzzFeed, which might help boost sales or viewership.

If you don’t want to bank on ad revenue and sponsorships for income, pick up freelance writing assignments on sites like Mediabistro and FlexJobs.

Find part-time work: Think about the places you like to spend your free time — ballparks, bookstores, gardening centers — and see if they are hiring.

You can even find seasonal work for resorts, national parks and tourist attractions. CoolWorks has job openings for tour guides, community managers and guest services at resorts, letting you enjoy the outdoors, meet new people or just have a picturesque workplace to enjoy your golden years.

Rent out your space: Do you like meeting new people and have extra space in your home? You can rent out rooms to travelers.

Think about that extra room in your house, basement or even garage and how it can be used to accommodate vacationers. Once you consider how you can use the space, you can then pick the platform to advertise and promote your residence. There are many options, including Airbnb, Craigslist and Zillow.

International housesitting: Imagine spending some time away at a French vineyard or in the countryside of Italy. If traveling is a hobby of yours, why not have your stay paid for by housesitting internationally?

With websites like MindMyHouse, there are many options to connect international homeowners to house sitters. The website is free to homeowners but house sitters pay $20 to join. So although it’s not directly paying you in cash, you will be saving on your lodging while helping housesit abroad. If you want to make some cash, you can rent out your place while you take a housesitting assignment. For more information, check out House Sitting Magazine, a free online publication.

Run errands for others: Searching for hobbies for retirees that pay? Retired people often want to remain helpful, as they enjoy the feeling that they are needed. If you are handy, efficient and like completing tasks, but still want to make extra cash, consider giving a hand to others.

Technology has made it simple to get paid for helping others by moving furniture, completing handyman tasks or serving as an assistant. For example, TaskRabbit connects people who want to outsource jobs with people who have the ability to get them done.

Drive for a ride-hailing service: For some, fun hobbies include driving. If you are a retiree who loves to be in the car rather than sitting at home, you can make some decent cash being a professional driver for those who need rides through services like Uber and Lyft. The best part is you don’t have to accept a ride request, which keeps you in control of your schedule.

Become a consultant: What sets a retiree apart from everyone else? A lifetime of experience. One of the most lucrative hobbies for a retiree is becoming a professional consultant. You can work as a consultant in your professional area or become a consultant in a hobby that you like and are good at.

For example, maybe you are a great gardener and received “yard of the month” more than once in the neighborhood. Advise others how they can get a garden like yours.


Nancy Collamer writes for