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Using a personal loan to earn money: financing profitable hobbies

BY Caitlyn Ng

Updated 18 Jun 2021

Personal loans have, for a long time, been associated with debt consolidation, among other things. Many people seem to think that people take out loans to finance their unhealthy spending habits, which got them mired in debt in the first place! It doesn’t have to be that way, as you can put the extra liquid cash you receive to good profitable use: hobbies.

Did you know that not all hobbies are a mere waste of time, and some of them can be brought to a whole new level where you actually make a good living? First, make sure you’re ready for the commitment of paying back a personal loan. Assuming you borrow RM150,000 to start off (with a 8% interest rate per annum), your monthly repayment would be RM3,500 over a period of five years according to Loanstreet’s personal loan settlement calculator.

What's covered in this article?

1) Baking / cooking

In our busy nine-to-five weekdays, some people either bake or cook to unwind, since the simple joy of whipping something delicious up is satisfaction enough. If you’re confident in your skills and you’ve gotten nothing but praise for your concoctions, why not open a small business in baking/cooking? You can start by setting up an online presence (social media channels) and then slowly build your empire up, which is exactly what Harizan Hazwani Nadia – owner of Kek Sriya by Dhia’s Homemade – found out.

With zero knowledge in baking but with a passion for cakes, she relied on the internet and social media to improve her skills as well as market her five different varieties of cakes. The result? Her RM1 per cake slice business now generates approximately RM1,500 in daily profit.

2) Make-up

Make-up has gone from mere beautifying tools to money-making machine in recent years, especially more so when you find out that the beauty industry in the US alone is worth USD445bil (roughly RM1.84tril). If you’ve always fancied yourself an artist but with eyeshadow palettes and human skin as your canvas, you could go from bedroom nobody to beauty guru just by using your personal loan to pay for make-up supplies and a cosmetology course to become certified.

Take for example, self-taught make-up artist Nabilah Zulyadaini who ventured into the world of make-up after becoming bored as a housewife. So advanced are her skills now, that she has her own business: conducting workshops as far as Brunei and Singapore, where she charges RM450 per student.

3) Photography

If you have a good eye for spotting beauty in the most unlikely of places and faces, chances are that you’d make an excellent photographer, or are already dabbling in it. A creative mind isn’t all that’s needed to excel, your determination and willingness to learn the camera settings, lighting, posing and anything related to photography is vital too.

The camera and lenses can be very costly but you could opt for cheap/secondhand stuff first then build up your arsenal slowly. However, how much you can earn from this hobby would depend on the gigs you land. For example, the most basic fee a photographer is paid to shoot a dinner event can range between RM350 to RM3,500 according to professional photographer Vignes Balasingam.

4) Musical instruments

Music is something that’s enjoyed by people around the world, and it can be divided into those who listen to music and those who create music. As it is, you love the way your fingers seem to be able to pluck melodies from thin air as you play the instrument of your choice. There is a myriad of revenue streams for you, such as working as a session musician, selling music or jingle writing.

If the thought of sharing your skills with other young impressionable minds has ever crossed your mind, here’s your chance. As a part-time piano tutor giving private lessons, you can earn more than RM100 per month, depending on the level of your skill, location, duration and the total number of classes per package. These lessons can be as flexible as you wish to match your working and leisure time.

5) Handmade items

The idea of making your things has always come naturally to you, whether it is your own clothes, handbags or soaps. If this sounds like you, you’d be glad to know that you not only can earn extra money with this hobby, but turn it into a highly profitable full-time career if you so wish!

Take the case of Alicia Shaffer, who makes knitted wares and sells them on Etsy (a hugely popular online craft marketplace), among other places. The rise in the popularity of online shopping means that purchasing products is now a mere click away; faster and easier internet access has helped connect buyers and sellers from all over the world. Shaffer’s crafty hobby earns her business her approximately USD80,000 (roughly RM331,000) a month!

To conclude

In Malaysia, the monthly salaries usually aren’t enough to cope with the rapidly increasing standard of living. Choosing to take out a personal loan to finance something as unconventional as this would get you extra cash, all while you continue to do the things you love. Make sure you are also aware of how to pay back your personal loan without overstretching your budget.

“Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life,” goes one quote, so be careful when choosing which hobby to finance!

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About the Author

Caitlyn Ng


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