Are you one of those people who start their day with a to-do list? Then you’ll enjoy helping others get their life back. Virtual assistants provide administrative support to entrepreneurs and business owners who have more on their hands than they can handle. The ultimate perk of this side business is that you can work from your home office or anywhere you want, as long as you have a wifi connection and access to a phone. Freelance marketplaces are the best places to pick up some freelance gigs until you have a solid stream of clients coming through your own website.
Anyone can start a blog, but monetizing it is a different story. However, if you are experienced and passionate about a certain subject, or have an existing blog that you can turn into a money-making endeavor, consider focusing your energy there. Blogging can be a great way to turn your passion into a side business, and blogging is—you guessed it—incredibly flexible. With no time constraints, the ability to work for as long or as little as you wish, and the freedom to work from virtually anywhere, blogging is an excellent side business option.

Pet photography, like many other types of photography, can be done on one’s own schedule. You will have to be flexible in order to work with clients and find times that work for both parties, but you can pretty much set your own availability in a pet photography business. Best of all, there aren’t many ongoing expenses, so you could run a pet photography business from your home without very much upfront investment.
Great post, MM! Incredibly inspiring, I really only grasped the side hustle concept since starting my blog about 6 months ago, after reading sites like yours. Already, apart from my blog, I’ve put my personal recording studio into use and started a music production side hustle, and a friend and I have launched a boutique logo design start up, called BroGoLogo, as an quality alternative to commodity products/services that you mention in this post.
Wedding photographers command premium rates. After all, you are capturing one of a couple's most important life moments, making it a very lucrative side business idea. Many professional wedding photographers charge between $2,500 - $10,000 (or more) to shoot a wedding, so it's realistic that this side business idea could quickly blossom into becoming a full-time endeavor with the right happy clientele base that's willing to refer you to their friends and family. Check out the Complete Wedding Photography Experience over on CreativeLive to get up to speed on everything you need to launch a successful wedding photography business.
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.

Gig Economy Tip: Platforms like Fiverr are dependent on reviews. If you’re just starting out, pay a friend to buy your gig and review it after you complete the project. This will allow you to have a high star rating which will allow you to get your next few customers. Without a rating, it can be hard for a client to trust you enough to give you your first opportunity.
Companies these days are expanding their office boundaries to incorporate the idea of working from home. These companies offer employees flexible working hours, better pay and freedom from office walls. Even though the internet is flooded with many online jobs, there are some that offer better pay. Here is a list of companies that pay $16 per hour or more to work from home.
Obviously, everyone has different things going on in life, so if you’re in a season where you can’t focus on your side hustle, it may not be a good time to start one. You could wait to start one until a better time for you (although I recommend putting a date on the calendar for this if there’s ever going to be a chance you follow through). If you’re just “busy” in life but it’s a normal season, they just go for it and give yourself a set schedule of when you’ll work on it every day.
You need to wait until after you've chosen your business structure to finalize your name, since you may have to put an abbreviation after your name to symbolize that structure. For example, if you decide to create an LLC for your photography business, you may decide to name it "Pholly Photos," but if you've organized your business as an LLC the official name would have to be "Pholly Photos, LLC."

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.
The easiest activities to eliminate will be the ones in which you have the least amount of involvement or responsibility. You may want to keep activities for which you have a significant amount of involvement, or which are relatively prestigious positions for you to have. For example, you might want to eliminate a community organization if you only participate sporadically, but keep the group in which you've just been elected treasurer.
If you’re a fitness buff and have the right combination of charisma and business sense, working as a part-time personal trainer as a side business idea can be both physically and financially rewarding. Once you build up a reputation and client base for yourself, it could easily turn into a full-time endeavor for you. Check out these tips to a successful personal training business by the American Fitness Professionals and this interview with several fitness blog owners who are making a living online, from MonetizePros. Finally, I'd recommend checking out this resource if you want to take this business idea seriously and get started with a business plan for your personal fitness trainer business today.
Another option for earning a side income is to deliver for PostMates. Similar to working for Uber and Lyft, you can work whenever you want. While the pay might not be enormous, you do have the ability to earn tips. If you're in a highly-trafficked area such as Los Angeles or New York City, this is a great way to earn some cash and you don't even need a car.

If you want to broaden your services and earn more, you can opt to make the entire house look neat and clean with this side business idea. House cleaning services cover carpets, floors, lawns, garages, windows, walls, and roofs, requiring a whole range of cleaning tools. You can hire maids and janitors to do the actual cleaning while you handle sales, administrative and customer service tasks. Or, you can start small by actually getting your hands dirty as a contractor, learning on the job before launching your own cleaning operations with the help of cleaning business management tools like Swept. Beyond that, I'd recommend checking out Cleaning Zoom's ultimate guide to starting a cleaning business if you plan on taking this business idea seriously.
Thank you so much for this list. I have been deliberating on starting a consulting/coaching business for so long now (2 years). I am not working at the moment as I took a career break after my MBA to start a family and now look after my child. Consulting for SME’s has always been my passion, it was actually my MBA long term goal but since I am yet to attain my short term goal (getting a job and more experience) I am hesitant to start my coaching business. My fear of not starting has been around how a new employer will perceive me when I am ready to go back to work. Are there people who openly run a side hustle and their employers know? I am in the UK and currently starting to look for a job but it is taking longer than expected, I also would like to know how this applies in the USA as I will be moving over in two years. Can you advice, anyone with experience in both markets please advice.

Have a knack for staying organized? If you're a jack of all trades, you should consider working as a virtual assistant as a side business idea. You can find great gigs on Elance, Indeed, or Upwork. It can be an awesome way to rub shoulders with some very important people, build up your professional network, develop in-demand new skills (like creating GIFs and VR videos), grow your side business idea and you'll have the added perk of being able to start this as a home based business idea. Becoming a virtual assistant can be a particularly great side business idea if you're hoping to travel the world while making money online as a digital nomad.


As a freelance writer, you are largely in control of the amount of work you do and the time you put into writing. Whether you use an online writer platform or another system for getting clients, you have a say in the number of pieces that you do, and, as long as you meet any deadlines set for you, you can work on these pieces whenever you have time. Therefore, it is easy to successfully manage a freelance writing business on the side of whatever else you spend time doing.

If you don’t want to offer a full line of meals, why not focus on one thing? For instance, there are plenty of shops on Etsy that sell homemade gourmet cookies (e.g. Earl Gray Sandwich cookies, Cupcakes in a Jar, or gourmet caramels). I’ve been thinking about selling homemade gourmet jam (i.e. home canning recipes) during the summer months. I’ve read of other people who have started a gourmet cocktail catering business, where they come to parties and make gourmet cocktails. Fun!

It is amazing how this book has covered everything....everything you might need to know about generating income, searching for what may fit you, managing the funds, protecting your income, avoiding legalities, incorporating legalities, marketing, finances, and types of side businesses. You simply cannot go wrong, as there is just too much information.


Are you an extrovert that loves meeting new people? Selling insurance products—particularly life insurance—may be a great way to bring in some extra cash and build residual income in your spare time. Selling life insurance on the side could quickly generate a consistent $1,000 - $2,000 per month depending on how much time you invest in this side business idea. To get started you’ll likely want to take an online course to brush up on the subject matter, and then pass a state licensing exam. The biggest challenge you'll face as a new agent is generating sales beyond just helping out friends and family. From there, it’s all about networking and lead generation to grow this one. Learn more about this side business idea with this getting started in life insurance guide from the team over at NoExam.
Then you can move into more actionable online courses like Modern Web Design on CreativeLive and Learn Web Design and Profitable Freelancing on Udemy will teach you everything from foundational web design knowledge to earning your first freelance income as a web designer. On top of that, you can take even more immersive courses and learning experiences with access to direct instructor feedback and personal mentorship with platforms like Treehouse, LinkedIn Learning and General Assembly to get up-to-speed even quicker with this career path and listen to my podcast interview with Ian Paget about how to become a freelance designer as a side business idea.
You can sign up for free at Rentafriend to be someone else friend both part-time and full-time with pay between $20/hr – $50/hr. Yes, this sounds very strange from the outside looking in, but a lot of times you are helping someone get acquainted in a new town, meet a new group of friends, or simply have a cup of coffee with. Most importantly – friendship is always platonic (no touching).

Having a YouTube business is a great way to make some extra money without having to dedicate too much time. There’s a number of celebrities who owe their fame to YouTube and an even larger number of people who have made money with less recognition. A large number of subscribers and interesting content can help you monetize your content. This business only really requires as much time as it takes you to create and upload your videos.

This business is great for veterans of yard sales and thrift shops—basically, anyone with a good eye for finding surprising items at low prices. It's also good for those with an eye for style and design, so you are able to see not just what the worn down furniture is but what it could be after some modifications. Finally, it's good for those with sales experience, as the job may involve a lot of individual interaction with a variety of customers.
Once you have a regular audience (ideally in the thousands), you'll start to develop a lot of value to potential advertisers. Let's say your podcast frequently talks about life as an outdoor photographer. A natural fit would be to reach out to relevant magazines, gear companies, and camera brands to see if they'd be interested in advertising on your podcast of targeted listeners. The more niche your podcast topic, the better for future sponsorship opportunities.
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This business consists of an individual, or a team, who are hired to take quality pictures of properties for sale. The purpose is to attract potential buyers who view the property online. Due to the competitive nature of the real estate industry, the demand for quality property photos is elevated and perpetual. Proper lighting and point of view helps a property stand out above the competition, driving potential buyers to view the property.
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.
If you’re particularly adept at a subject and you find teaching to be a rewarding experience, a home tutoring business is a great way to supplement your income without taking up too much time. Tutors often charge between $30 and $40 an hour and with 3 students a day for 5 days a week, you can supplement your gross income in the amount of $450-$600.
To start an affiliate marketing business you’ll need a strong online presence. The most successful affiliate marketers run blogs, websites or newsletters that enjoy high levels of readership. This passive income technique is based on the idea that the products and services you recommend are strongly targeted and relevant to your audience and don’t feel like outright selling. It’s also essential to always be transparent about your relationship with the affiliate partner to avoid losing your reader’s’ trust.
Finding a legitimate work at home typing job is a full time career! You search high and low and all you find is people asking you for money that you're trying to make, not give away! Well I'd like to share my story of how I secured my very first and only legitimate work from home typing job. I'm sure after you read it, it will help you secure one too!

This is a great business for those who enjoy interacting with people while treasure-hunting for bargains at flea markets or estate sales. Those who have a talent for finding bargains and negotiating prices can transform that talent into a successful resale business. It’s also a good choice for recycling enthusiasts who want to save usable items from landfills and help conserve natural resources. Community-oriented people who want to help provide necessities for low-income residents at reduced prices are also good candidates for this business.
You can sign up for free at Rentafriend to be someone else friend both part-time and full-time with pay between $20/hr – $50/hr. Yes, this sounds very strange from the outside looking in, but a lot of times you are helping someone get acquainted in a new town, meet a new group of friends, or simply have a cup of coffee with. Most importantly – friendship is always platonic (no touching).
Hello and thank you for the great article. I have been reading where you can use side hustles to contribute to self-managed retirement plans (aka Self 401k). Many of these gigs seem cash based – anyone out there contributing to their own Self 401k/Sep/Easy accounts? If so, what documentation is required to support the connections between the side hustle and the contributions to the self managed retirement plan?
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