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Turning Hobbies into Business: Top Options for DSM Retirees

Retirement Planning

February 12, 2024

Developing a hobby is one of the best ways to enjoy yourself during retirement. It can also turn into a valuable source of income that has the potential to evolve from an occasional activity to a full-blown business. We’ll explore what makes hobbies an essential part of retirement, and how you can use your interests and skills to turn a tidy, post-career profit.

The Importance of Hobbies During Retirement

Even if you’ve slowly reduced your working hours before coming to a complete halt at retirement, not having a job can leave a hole that is difficult to fill. Having a consistent hobby is a great way to supplement your empty schedule while continuing to stimulate your mind.

Many people also become susceptible to physical stagnancy during retirement. It can be easy to spend most of your time doing sedentary activities like watching television. Des Moines is a fantastic place for retirees who are looking for a reason to get on their feet. There are many scenic walkable neighborhoods and places to take a leisurely stroll. You can explore the Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens for a dose of true beauty, or you can visit the Downtown Farmers’ Market presented by UnityPoint Health – Des Moines, which runs between May and October, buying fresh produce from local farmers to create healthy, seasonal dishes.

The Best Hobbies for Retirees

Many people tend to feel extremely lonely during retirement, as the workplace can often be a central location for social engagement. To continue getting the social support you need, you can participate in activities that help you stay engaged during retirement — and even develop a stronger relationship with your community while earning extra income.

Business-based hobby ventures can easily become a group activity between retired friends. These activities can restore a sense of joy and purpose to your life, strengthening your connection to loved ones and new friends during this next chapter.

Before you take any next steps, it’s important to first evaluate your capacity and limitations. Are you dealing with ongoing disabilities? Do you have the space in your home and schedule for your intended hobby? Is it the right time for you to start a business? Keeping these things in mind will prevent you from investing in a hobby that ends up becoming a burden. Consider some of these profitable hobbies that retirees can take part in.

Buying and Selling Collector Items

This low-impact activity is great for those who are dealing with mobility issues but still want to take part in networking and develop meaningful connections. Coins are great items to collect because they retain both intrinsic and sentimental value. Rare books can be another interesting source of income, especially if you understand how to restore their original charm and integrity. Many people of all ages have begun collecting and trading sneakers, as brands like Yeezy have a large resale value for highly coveted drops.

Tailoring, Knitting, Stitching + Designing Clothes

With online marketplaces like Etsy, selling homemade linens and clothing items is fast, easy to navigate and simple to fulfill. You can easily set up a small work zone to create and fulfill orders, all while communicating with buyers and marketing your items all through one site.

Starting an Etsy store is also a low-cost endeavor that provides retirees with the flexibility they need to enjoy their retirement while still making extra cash. Since Etsy is widely popular, you’ll have access to many more customers than you would by selling your goods through social media or in your community. Once you’ve decided on a great shop name and which items you’d like to create and sell, you can easily set up an Etsy profile and make some magic happen!


Handmade vases and other ceramic items have an undeniable charm that people just can’t resist. Making custom pieces or having a collection of niche items available in an online store will certainly keep you busy and inspired during retirement. Even better? Set up a studio at Mainframe Studios to connect with shoppers — be a part of First Fridays, a free monthly gathering open to the public — or set up a workshop along with other Mainframe artists / creators.


Gardening yields so much more than tomatoes and basil for your homemade pasta. Subscription boxes are an amazing business opportunity — people are always looking to purchase curated boxes filled with local items. You can create jams, flower arrangements, holistic teas and other items to include in monthly boxes for your subscribers, allowing you to experiment with recipes and creations throughout the year … even purchasing local gardening items to include from around the region or sharing your goods by hosting your own booth at the previously mentioned Downtown Farmers’ Market.

Tips for Building a Business During Retirement

There are a few other steps you can take to make the process of starting your hobby-based business a bit easier. Not only will doing so set you up for successful growth, but it may also make the process of starting a business during retirement more enjoyable for you.

Figure Out Your Budget

It’s absolutely crucial to make sure you are at a place where you can invest a portion of your savings into your hobby-turned-business. If funds are limited, it is better to stick to a hobby that doesn’t require high-cost purchases. You should also refrain from taking out a loan or borrowing directly from your retirement fund in large quantities to keep your business afloat.

Make Your Health a Priority

You cannot efficiently run a small business if you don’t take care of yourself. Be sure to stay on top of your routine doctors’ appointments, keep track of any developing symptoms and report them to your physician immediately. You should also try to maintain a diet full of vitamins, proteins and healthy fats to encourage strong bones, muscle integrity and maximum bodily function.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask for Help

Your community is your business’ best asset. Connect with local business owners to figure out the next steps for elevating your hobby into a profitable side hustle. Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System also offers workshops for retirement benefits education and developing helpful plans for the entirety of your retirement. Those who are pursuing more artistic hobbies can reach out to Artist INC Des Moines, which provides eight-week training programs for developing small business owners.

Taking advantage of public resources and connecting with your neighbors and loved ones to promote your business and receive advice will help you stay relaxed and successful for years to come. Need more help with retirement planning? Learn about how to position yourself as an expert in your retirement years and find joy in your second act.

Ranked as a Best Affordable Place to Live in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Greater Des Moines (DSM) boasts a growing and vibrant community for all ages. Are you interested in moving to Greater Des Moines (DSM)? Relocation Packets offer information on everything from neighborhoods to shopping, parks and local attractions.

Sam Bowman

Sam Bowman writes about people, tech, wellness and how they merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time he likes running, reading and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.