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.
Do you search the Internet? Want to get paid for it? Swagbucks is a site that rewards you for doing various online tasks like taking surveys, watching videos, and using their search engine. When using their search engine, you get reward points after several searches, usually in the amount of 10-15 points. You can start cashing out rewards at the 500 points mark.
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.
Remember my earlier post about breakfast burritos? Making meals in advance is a great way to save money for yourself – but you can often prepare these for others as well and sell them for a markup. Prepare eight casseroles, for example, then sell six of them to cover your costs, and you’ve got two free dinners for your family (and maybe a bit more). You can grow this by taking orders from others and finding out what they like.
If you’re stuck here, research your competition again and talk to people already doing what you want to do to see how their first six months went. People love to talk about themselves and share their stories, so don’t be afraid to reach out to someone and ask to talk with her only to hear about her story (don’t ask for anything in return, though, just ask to hear her story).
If you enjoy writing, find a topic you’re passionate about and start a website dedicated to covering that topic and anything else interesting you want to talk about. All you need is a computer, some time, and some energy to consistently write. It can start as a hobby and turn into a business over time. And blog hosting can cost less than $12 per month.

I also found especially helpful the section on earning "money with ads and affiliates online," and how to run a home business online. Once you have chosen your way to go, the book tells you how to get there with chapters such as "Managing your Money", "Protecting Personl Assets" and even "Working from Home." Especially important also would be the chapter on "Taxes and Deductions."
Coming up with a good idea isn’t a static process; it involves a lot of trial and error. The best way I’ve found to generate ideas is to write and write often. Make lists every day of things that you might enjoy, and try to figure out how you could make money doing them. To help, here’s a list of 50 business ideas you can begin building as you continue plugging away at your 9-to-5.
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.

Coffee beans are actually the pit of coffee cherries. They’re green, hard and un-brewable in their raw state. A coffee roasting business roasts green coffee beans to light (city), medium (full city) and dark (full city+) roast levels so that they can be brewed. Roasters may sell their roasted coffee directly to individuals, or through coffee shops, grocers and other retailers.


As for the questions an Amazon recruiter might ask, Bezos himself offered guidance for hiring standards 20 years ago in his 1998 letter to shareholders. He encouraged decision makers to think about three guiding questions: "Will you admire this person? Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they're entering? Along what dimension might this person be a superstar?"

An acting classes business provides group or one-on-one classes in acting for adults or children. As the owner of an acting classes business, you’ll provide training, coaching and support to those who are considering getting into the acting business or those already in the business who would like to improve their chances of landing a role. Most business owners in this field will want to find a niche. For instance, you might work with children, or with a career-oriented adult audience interested in stage acting, film, commercials, voice-over work or other areas of specialization.
Cycling is a popular sport in the United States, with people regularly using bikes for fun, exercise, and transportation. In 2015 alone, 17.4 million bikes were sold in the country. As bikes are used, they occasionally break down -- and most people aren’t well-versed in repairing bicycles. A bike repair business fixes and refurbishes bikes for customers when their rides break down.
Make sure your intended market is broad enough to sustain the business. Many new business owners mistakenly offer a product or service that only a select few want, without specifically targeting that market. Especially with a side business, it helps to have a broad audience. But even if your market is niche, make sure it’s large enough to sustain your business. Remember, your marketing efforts may be limited and you’ll need to reach more people with less effort.
The good news about starting a side hustle online is there’s no age cut off, no employment reference check, no having to get dressed for a job interview, no having to ask for a raise, no having to work around people, no having to get dressed for work, and you can take as many breaks as you desire all while still getting paid. Only thing is, you have to put away your own money for retirement (if you do decide to later on), pay your own healthcare, and money for additional costs.
If you own a camera, starting a freelance portrait photography business could be a very natural way to turn your skills and passions into a profitable business idea. Start with doing free shoots for friends and family to build up a strong online portfolio, get familiar with your gear and the editing process, then you'll be able to get paid for photographing professional head shots and celebratory family moments as your side business idea. Get started by checking out this men's portrait photography class that regularly broadcasts for free on CreativeLive. Plus, once you have all the photography gear, you can earn a little extra side income by renting it out when you're not using it through online marketplaces like Fat Lama.

Did it work for me? Yep. I'm already earning some extra money on the side. As soon as I got the book I grabbed a blank notebook and carried it with me wherever the Side Hustle book went so I could craft my own side hustle plan (I even took it to the beach a couple times for some educational reading). I've written pages and pages of notes and generated lots of ideas for future projects. Since starting the 27-day plan (it's taken me more than 27 days because... life) I've started earning affiliate income from my existing personal blog that never used to earn anything. Now that the low hanging fruit is started, it's time to grow it and see where it takes me next.

Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission. Know that I only recommend tools and learning resources I've personally used and believe are genuinely helpful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to purchase them. Most of all, I would never advocate for buying something that you can't afford or that you're not yet ready to implement.
Most people, even those many won’t admit it, love moving their bodies. It's also a great workout. If at some point in your life, you had to hang your dancing shoes for a more sensible office job, there's nothing stopping you from earning money with this side business idea as a passion project around your day job. Part-time dance instructors get a fraction of the pie that their full-time peers enjoy, but it can add up to hundreds each week if you're consistent—making for a great side business idea to those with the skills and drive.
Almost everyone uses Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest these days, but did you know that many companies will pay people to help them manage their social media accounts — sometimes even part-time from home? To find social media jobs, you can start by contacting businesses with a social media presence and scanning sites like Upwork.com for opportunities.
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.

Domain name trading has been around for the last couple decades, and while most slam-dunk names have long been sold off (Insure.com went for $16 Million in 2009) there’s still plenty of others that you can get your hands on for relatively cheap and broker as your side business idea. But beware: some experts doubt the long-term viability of this business idea, so you shouldn’t quit your day job just to put all your effort into this one without some successes already in the bag. To get you started, here are some tips from GoDaddy, arguably the world’s largest and most famous repository of domain names. Imagine owning desirable domain names for the next decade's most innovative companies.
Software drives businesses today. This is a fact not lost on individuals and companies attempting to earn a profit, make a name for themselves, or simply get things done. As a result, the job outlook for software developers will be much sunnier than prospects for many other occupations—creating massive opportunities for this business idea well into  the future. In fact, it won’t take you long to find a good-paying software development project as a side business idea on sites like Upwork, Guru.com, and Freelancer. LinkedIn also recently launched their brand new freelancing platform, ProFinder which has a dedicated section just for hiring talented software developers.
While having a formal background in graphic design is absolutely going to be helpful, it’s also relatively easy to learn the foundations of graphic design on your own. An increasingly easy-to-use Adobe Illustrator and even more easily accessible tools like Stencil and Visme are making it so that just about anyone with two opposable thumbs, a bit of creativity, and motivation can earn a side income doing things like designing (and selling) images like these motivational quotes that can be printed onto posters and sold on platforms like Etsy. Or you can find a local startup, small business owner, or photographer who could benefit from some extra help designing or altering images.
Ownership of a live band usually includes the actual musicians. Owners generally have a passion and instinct for music, a great deal of energy and motivation, and a talent for crafting a group style and sound that appeals to audiences. In addition to their performance skills, live band owners must be able to sell their services to booking managers at venues and to the audiences who watch them perform.
This business is good for people who are both creative and practical. There are an infinite amount of design options for phone cases, but some will be more popular (and profitable) than others. A good business owner can both narrow down the choices, and predict trends to gain a market edge. Owners will also need some customer service and advertising experience as well.
As a result of urban growth, and more people moving to the city where their yards are small (frequently only a balcony), the bonsai tree business has boomed.  There is a great appeal in owning tiny bonsai trees, which might be only 18" high instead of 60' high. Business owners can be very successful since both local sales and Internet sales are becoming extremely popular.

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.
I have worked as an SEO and digital marketing consultant for over 10 years and booked side gigs ranging from $500 to over $100,000. This has been by far my most successful side hustle. And even though SEO has become more of a commodity service – it feels like everyone and their mother does SEO these days, I have built a referral network that continues to generate new clients.
If you’re not familiar, podcasts are essentially self-published talk shows. The audiences tend to be extremely engaged and it’s one of the best outlets for networking that I’ve ever seen. The engagement also makes it one of the best marketing channels out there right now. Many podcasters are reaping the benefits, with some like John Lee Dumas bringing in $2,000,000+.
There are at least three teenage entrepreneurs who’ve already earned astonishing amounts of money by launching hand-made jewelry business ideas: M3 Girl Designs’ Maddie Bradshaw, Bella Weems of Origami Owl, and the girl behind DesignedByLei. With the industry set to shine in the near term via a brisk annual growth rate of 5-6%, the market is ripe for new entrants to this business idea who can offer sparkling new takes on how to craft appealing handmade goods.

Next, let’s tackle one of the most popular online business ideas – affiliate marketing. So what is it, exactly? In a nutshell, you recommend products or services offered by a chosen company to your readers, followers or people you know. If they buy something as a result of your recommendation, you get a commission (either a percentage or a flat fee). Easy, right?

There are two basic ways how to find the best affiliate partners. You can make a list of products or services that add value to your content and check the company websites to see if they have an affiliate or referral program, or you can join an affiliate network to browse offers from hundreds of advertisers and find the right match there. For example, you can become an “Amazon associate=” and promote any of their products on your site to earn up to 10% in advertising fees or join Hostinger’s Affiliate program to earn cash and special rewards.


Counted amongst the most valuable tech giants, Amazon is also a massive global market where virtually anyone can cash in on the rising tide of eCommerce if you have the right business idea. But, like everything else that involves money, you have to do quite a bit of work to earn it. In this case, you need to do tons of research (looking for generic products such as clocks, key chains and mugs to attach your brand to) as well as developing a sensible inside sales strategy that'll help you generate profits from your private label side business idea. For an incredible deep dive on how  to launch this kind of business idea, check out how digital marketer Neil Patel recently did this as a public experiment right here on his blog.

What are your skills, what is your knowledge base, and how can you channel your areas of expertise into revenue-generating side businesses? A great side business is one that allows you enough flexibility to pursue your dream startup, while still bringing in a sufficient revenue stream. Maybe, like Lori Cheek, you can sell unwanted items on eBay while also renting out a room via Airbnb, or follow Joseph Howard’s example and keep your corporate job while offering freelance services.
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.
I made this mistake in the beginning of blogging. I didn’t have a six-month goal, let alone an end-goal, so I made a lot of choices that led me down the “popularity” path (more of an influencer) instead of the “profitability” path (specifically for making money blogging). I could’ve saved over a year of time if I focused on the end goal of profitability from the beginning. It’s really easy to get distracted when you start a blog (something I talk about in my blogging course) – something I learned the hard way!
A large proportion of homeowners and small businesses have lawns to tend to. Many turn to independent providers of yard work services to take care of their lawn care woes. To start and sustain a yard work services side business idea, you need training, equipment, and a growing network of customers. In the U.S., a full-time landscaping and groundskeeping worker reportedly earns a median wage of around $25,000, while those working on this as a side business idea largely during evenings and weekends can expect to make substantially less.
While having a formal background in graphic design is absolutely going to be helpful, it’s also relatively easy to learn the foundations of graphic design on your own. An increasingly easy-to-use Adobe Illustrator and even more easily accessible tools like Stencil and Visme are making it so that just about anyone with two opposable thumbs, a bit of creativity, and motivation can earn a side income doing things like designing (and selling) images like these motivational quotes that can be printed onto posters and sold on platforms like Etsy. Or you can find a local startup, small business owner, or photographer who could benefit from some extra help designing or altering images.
If that isn’t enough, you can expand your services to include pet grooming as an extra side business idea. To do that, you'll need to have relevant training, an operating license depending on your location, and pet grooming equipment. According to PayScale, pet groomers have an average salary range of $17,600 to $48,500. Not bad as a side business  idea if you can find a way to get in most of your clients on the weekends.
The concept is simple: make a list of what content (or marketing activities) you'll need and when it needs to be finished. As much as deadlines remind me of college, sometimes you just need to light a fire under your ass. The good thing about calendars is that they allow you to work forward instead of coming up with posts off the cuff or having to read through dozens of emails and orders to find what should be the priority. If you know what you need to accomplish you can get right to work.
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When it comes to online businesses, a good website design is one of the defining factors for success. A bit like web development, it is one of the most in-demand skills in the freelance world. With new startups launching every day, finding web design work won’t be very difficult. But you can also explore the possibility of designing and selling WordPress themes or creating custom designs for Squarespace and Wix users, like Designs for Squares are doing.
That’s where Chris Guillebeau’s Side Hustle steps in. The term “side hustle” has become all the rage these days, but for Guillebeau, it’s the way he’s lived his life and earned his income for more than a decade. As a friend and colleague, I’ve watched from the sidelines as he’s repeated the process many times, getting better and faster with each iteration (and often looked on in awe). And, I was excited to receive a copy to dive into and learn from.
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.
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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