If you've developed valuable skill sets or certifications within your industry over the years, consider putting your skills to use in your free time by offering your consulting services to local business owners as a potentially lucrative side business idea. Whether you're an expert marketer, business strategist, or manufacturing aficionado, there's likely a local business owner who's willing to pay you to help them solve an issue with their company—if you can craft an effective cold email that convinces them to hire you. Start with this 18-step checklist to becoming a local business consultant as a side business idea, from Karyn Greenstreet. When you're ready to get serious about becoming a consultant, check out all of my picks for the best online business courses to keep building your skills and learning how to land your first consulting clients. Personally, I think this is one of the best business ideas you can get started with today.


Many small businesses need a social media manager and simply don't have the time nor the expertise to be constantly posting on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat or Twitter. Take it upon yourself to contact local businesses and offer up your services for a contracted monthly fee. This is an easy way to make money no matter where you live.


To market yourself as a consultant, you will, of course, have to be an expert in something. But, as Brett rightly says, “most people starting a business are.” What are you good at? What skills from your career can translate over into a viable consulting business? Think about your previous duties and areas in which you have excelled, and go from there.

Freelance writing is one of the most flexible of the non-phone options, and it's an easy field to break into without any experience at all! This is also an industry that can pay well, especially if you forgo content sites (such as the ones below) and work on finding private clients that will agree to the rates you set. The content sites don't pay that well, but they can still help you get valuable writing experience and earn a weekly paycheck.
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: 

I created an “Every Day I’m Hustling” shirt and sold enough for the campaign to ship, but didn’t earn much on the experiment because of some not-very-effective Facebook advertising. Still, some opportunity here and a friend of mine is doing REALLY well with this. If you can create awesome designs and reach the right people with good Facebook targeting, Teespring can be very profitable.
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