From crafting to home repair to website design and more, if you've ever wanted to turn your hobby into a business and watch your passion generate cash, Running a Side Business is the book for you. Packed with tips, legal resources, start-up success stories and USA TODAY snapshots and infographics, you'll learn the life cycle of a business and get answers to important questions along the way. Find out how to:
Health insurance for the self-employed is not cheap. This is especially true for the would-be entrepreneur who has a family to consider. Many people who can’t afford the high cost of insuring themselves keep their day job solely for this purpose. Then, once their business becomes profitable enough to afford insurance, they leave their job and become a full-time business owner.
As a freelance illustrator, you can take your skills in a number of directions. You might work for advertising agencies, stock image houses, magazine or book publishers, record labels, greeting card companies, digital properties, merchandisers, or other businesses. Some illustrators serve such narrow specialty niches as courtroom sketch artists, or niches in fashion, medicine, or technology. Or you might primarily work in fine art to be sold to customers directly or through galleries or agents.

This is a job with much potential, in part because the title description covers many things. “You can fit your offerings to what you know how to do,” says Stephanie Foster, a former medical transcriptionist who runs the website HomeWithTheKids.com. One can own a virtual assistant business or work from home for a company that makes you available to other employers or clients. HomeWithTheKids.com, for example, currently features several such companies.
Being a wedding specialist works well for top-notch players, but being a generalist also has its benefits. Event and party planners leverage their network of service providers to cover not only weddings, but also seminars, corporate events, birthdays, baptisms, concerts, conferences, holiday parties, and other events, making it a relatively diverse business idea. Here are some tips if you want to run a part-time event planning business at home as a side business idea. And here’s a very honest look into the upside and downside of the trade.

Many people’s interest in music goes beyond just listening to it. A lot of people who enjoy listening to it are also interested in learning how to play an instrument. A music lessons business gives novice musicians a way to learn to play an instrument, and it provides more seasoned musicians with advanced training to help them improve their musical abilities. A business may offer private or group lessons in home or classroom settings.


The type of business that requires active owner participation at all hours of the day may not be the best if you’re working a full-time job. For example, if you open a service business and customers want to see you during daytime hours, you’ll be limited to only your lunch break. In addition, it’s typically a bad idea to take phone calls during your full-time job or communicate via email. The best type of side business is one where you can dictate your own hours. After all, you don’t want your side business to endanger your full-time job or vice versa.
A social media marketer provides ideas and content for their clients. Some owners may specialize in a particular type of platform (e.g., Facebook only), but most work with all platforms to create a cohesive strategy for a business. Owners may work with one particular type of business (e.g., social media for real estate only) or with a variety of businesses or causes.
Many people enjoy cooking outside on the grill, and love to have up-to-date, modern tools to use while doing it. You can be a one-stop shop for any accessory your customer might need- spatulas, knives, meat thermometers, grill brushes, tongs, etc. You can purchase these items from a wholesaler and sell them on your store. You will need to market your new business, so make sure to connect your Selz store to your social media, and anywhere else you have an online presence.

Teaching and tutoring English as a second language is a great way to make a solid side business idea work, not to mention opening doors for you to travel the world if you'd like. While full ESL (English as a Second Language) accreditation is recommended, as long as you’re a native speaker, there are people in countries such as Hong Kong or the UAE who are willing to pay upwards of $25/hr for you to teach them English via Skype. Indeed, Learn4Good and Remote.co often have remote english tutoring jobs posted, check back frequently. Then once you land that remote job, you'll need somewhere more professional than your dining room table to meet with students—check out this post about how to find places to work remotely and you'll officially graduate this side business idea into a full-time endeavor for yourself.


Maybe you’ve always had a knack for repainting old thrift store furniture. Or maybe you’re a gifted musician who could coach other young aspiring talent. Maybe you have a specific education, training, experience or skill that you could develop into a freelance business such as financial planning or graphic design. Whatever your “thing” may be, there are plenty of good reasons to get going.
Many people choose to start a side business while still maintaining a full-time job. Maybe you want to generate a little extra income, or you believe you have a good idea for a product or service that's going to take awhile to get up and running. Whatever your reason, starting a side business can be difficult, but you can do it if you test your idea and keep everything well separated from your day job. Spend time researching your idea so you know the need is there to make it worth your time and effort. Once you know your business idea is solid, get your licenses and permits in order and check over your employer's policies to make sure you can start your side business and still keep your day job.[1]

Now that I've been blogging for almost seven (!!!!) years, built the blog into my full-time job, worked for myself for two years, then went back to work, I can look back on the whole process and pinpoint what I did right and where I went wrong. This makes me the perfect person to tell you the biggest things you need to know when considering this kind of transition.
This is where you decide on your target audience. Do you want to come up with plans for people who are concerned about their cholesterol; people who follow a certain type of diet (vegan, etc.), or do you want to go in the direction of weight loss? Eventually you can cover a range, but when you are first building your business you want to focus on one particular niche. Once this is established you can build your business to include other niches as well.
Oh man, I haven’t experimented with those myself, but I’m all about trying out new things! I feel like you really have to just give these things a shot to really find out if it’s something worthwhile or not, as too many people have skewed opinions and situations. Worse case you can always just stop and/or sell your car, right? So I say give it a shot for a month and then report back your findings ;)
While the barriers to entry for a retail shop can be very high, one way to keep costs down and limit your time investment while you keep your full-time job, is to set up a weekend popup shop as a side business idea. More of whatever it is you’re selling—donuts, clothing, antique baseball cards, or anything else—will stay in your pockets instead of going to pay for operating expenses such as rent or utilities by choosing to pursue retail as a side business idea with a short-term rental. This guide from Shopify will give you a step-by-step process for getting your popup shop off the ground.

You can sell everything that goes along with scrapbooking; including designs for different themes, stickers for added detail, scissors with a range of blade shapes, books to work in, and more. Make sure to clearly label and display pictures of the different supplies that you are selling. For an additional income source, consider offering guides and themed books.


This business is right for an individual who has an affinity for the written word and language in general. If you are a voracious reader, enjoy expressing yourself, and have a way with words, you should give consideration to working as a freelance writer. This line of work is also ideal for those who enjoy autonomy. The typical freelance writer does not have to deal with an overbearing boss. However, freelance writers must meet tight deadlines, satisfy clients' nuanced demands, and create captivating content.
If writing is something you put down as one of your passions, it can definitely work. The first step in this long journey is to discover your niche – a specific theme or topic that most of your content will focus on. The three really broad but most profitable niches are money, relationships, and health and fitness. You can, of course, choose to write about anything that excites you – whether it’s walking as a hobby or upcycling. Just keep in mind that the niche you select needs to be narrow enough to keep your writing efforts focused on building authority and, at the same time, broad enough to capture the interest of a large audience.
Regardless of your status, you can become a virtual yoga coach. Consider offering private lessons online via Google Hangouts or Skype; or even making and selling pre-recorded videos that your clients can follow at their own convenience. With so many people traveling for business or pleasure these days, this is a great way for them to stay connected with their practice, regardless of their physical location.
People love their pets, and many pet owners want to memorialize their non-human friends through artwork. Pet portraits businesses create custom portraits of pets for customers. Many businesses are run by a single artist, but businesses can also have several artists on staff. The mediums these artists create offer a different feel than photographs -- which pet owners can take themselves -- provide.
One bonus is that I got to learn about so many different industries, including for example hydroponics, which I would have probably never learned about had I not had to build WordPress site for the second largest (at the time) online hydroponics store. Another cool thing about building WordPress websites is that my clients then wanted to buy on-going website maintenance services from me. These services included things like keeping the website secure and uploading content. This is where the real gold was, especially from larger law firms. I was able to get some maintenance contracts at $1,000/month – which is a tiny expense for a big firm. Building WordPress websites really added up.

Christy Wright is a Certified Business Coach and Ramsey Personality with a passion for equipping women with the knowledge and steps they need to successfully run and grow a side business. Since joining Ramsey Solutions in 2009, she has spoken to thousands across the country at women’s conferences, national business conferences and Fortune 500 companies. You can follow Christy on Twitter at @ChristyBWright, online at businessboutique.com, or facebook.com/OfficialChristyWright.


Instead of having to open up your brick and mortar store, sell your creations on Etsy. Whether you make clothing, crafts, baby toys, or jewelry, you can open up your own store at Etsy. I have a friend selling her awesome clothing line on Etsy and it brings in a very nice income for the family. This is another great side hustle, but don’t expect instant results. You may need to be patient for this one.
While this suggestion could not be further from the standard small business loan, it cannot be denied that the strategy paid off. The company has now earned around $1.65 million in seed funding from Andreessen Horowitz, CrunchFund, Spark Capital and Chicago Ventures, and has been named one of the Top 5 Silicon Beach Startups to Watch by Entrepreneur.
You can upload different designs for customer to choose from to your Selz store, arranging the information so it is easy to process for the customer. Make sure to include a chart that shows the measurements for different sizes, and clearly mark the prices for each item. Make sure your t-shirts are something you would want to purchase and wear, then sit back and watch your income grow.
Have a good understanding of how search optimization works? Put those skills to use. SEO consulting is booming and many online businesses are prepared to pay handsomely for expert advice and actionable tips that can help increase traffic and revenue. Many businesses take to Google when looking for a SEO consultant, so your first challenge is to establish a solid online presence and get your own website ranked high in the search results. Have a look at Gareth Bull’s website to get a better idea of what services you could offer and become a certified Google partner to get free access to a host of free training resources and promotional offers.
Are you a master of digital photo editing? Do you have a passion for history and family stories? A photo restoration service combines all your passions while helping your customers rediscover and preserve their past through transferring beloved snapshots, photo albums, and old wedding images into a digital format and repairing damage caused by time and light.
Freelancing can be an excellent way to take your existing skills and channel them in a direction that can generate income. Are you a writer? Consider using freelance writing to fund your startup. Flexible hours, ability to work from anywhere, and virtually no materials needed beyond your computer and internet access—freelancing is a dream side business.
Anyone can sell goods on Amazon, provided you have products to sell (or buy low, then resell). If you’re the type to hit all the local garage sales each weekend, there’s all sorts of valuable things that can be resold online as a side business idea. If you want to step your Amazon selling game up, check out this detailed guide to Amazon and eBay retail arbitrage on Entrepreneur featuring an interview with Julie Becker and several drop-shippers who've grown this home based business idea from side business idea into a lucrative money-maker.
The pros of starting a music lessons business as a side business are very similar to a foreign language business. Assuming you know how to play an instrument and enjoy teaching others, you have everything necessary to start giving lessons. Music lessons businesses are easy to run out of your own home, according to your own schedule, so doing it on the side will not hinder the success you may find.
Craft fairs are also a great side hustle. I do very well at high end, handmade only craft fairs and festivals. Its a marketplace that attracts people who prefer handmade and have the income to easily afford high end crafts. I am a baker/food crafter (not the same as a food vendor. Food crafts are jams, sauces, cookies, breads, toffee, honey, maple syrup, etc. – foods made at a kitchen and brought to the event, not prepared at the event like sandwiches and burgers, etc, made by food vendors). I make hand made baking mixes, an oatmeal bar cookie in 4 flavors and a gluten free truffle cookie in 3 flavors. As with farmers markets, craft fairs mean immediate cash. I accept credit cards, too. No waiting for a paycheck to come, as my hubbie is paid by-weekly.
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