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.
Unfortunately, while there is still a ton of WordPress website projects – it’s now more of a commodity service. The best WordPress developers now on UpWork are based in India or the UK. WordPress development becoming a commodity is fine if you want to build a $500 website for your friend’s local business, but it’s a lot tougher to scale. I no longer work on WordPress projects unless I am helping a friend for free, because I don’t enjoy building sites as much as I like doing SEO consulting.
Because watch repair is very specific, general repairmen may not be fit for the watch repair business. Those who’re experienced with repairing small mechanical items, however, may find watch repair to be incredibly fun. Those who enjoy collecting watches and clocks, too, may enjoy the art of watch repair. As a business owner, a watch repair shop owner will need to have a good handle on management, accounting, and marketing.
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.
Don’t freak out about not being able to code just yet – you can build and sell websites on Flippa without any coding experience. Flippa is a marketplace for buying and selling web businesses, apps and domain names. It’s a godsend for savvy entrepreneurs that are always brimming with ideas for new hustles. In essence, this is how it works: you brainstorm a startup idea, secure a catchy domain name, use a WordPress theme to build it out and make it look appealing, and then sell it in an auction on Flippa. Alec Larson has been doing this for some time, and claims to be making $1,000 to $1,500 on Flippa every month. There’s no clever secret behind this – you come up with compelling ideas, flesh them out and sell them to eager entrepreneurs. The essential upfront investment is minimal: starting a website will cost you $2.45 a month, including a free domain name registration, plus your time and effort to put the pieces together. Certainly worth a try.
A photo booth business gives passersby the ability to take photos during gatherings and local events. Typically, photo booths are situated at parties, weddings, movie theaters and similar locations. Modern photo booth businesses give customers a variety of photo-taking options. While some photo booths have background props, others have digital amenities and social media sharing options. Generally, the photos are digital. They can also be printed once they’ve been taken. Photo booths are normally situated outside large event spaces. They’re used at concerts, movie theaters, at parties, during weddings, on the beach and in a variety of other places.
Though certainly not for everyone, recycling the containers from products left strewn around on the ground can become a surprisingly decent side business idea if you put in the time. Attending events like street fairs and outdoor concerts can be a great starting place. Put on a clean shirt, jeans, apply your sunscreen, grab a cheap pick-up tool like this one, sturdy plastic bags, and you can sell them for upwards of $4.00/pound on eBay.
Driving for one of the two globally expanding app-centric taxi alternative services, Uber or Lyft can still be a fairly lucrative way to earn money as a side business idea on nights and weekends—working only when you want. But before you dive head first into this side business idea, do your homework and calculate the costs of extra gas, mileage, tires, wear & tear and usage on your vehicle—it's not a guaranteed business idea that'll turn a huge profit every weekend.
Taking the Internet by storm, dropshipping is an eCommerce model that allows online entrepreneurs to open online shops without any upfront investment. The basic idea behind this concept is that you find a profitable product idea, set up an online store and partner with a supplier who handles the inventory, packing, shipping, and returns for you. You don’t need to buy the products in advance – once you receive an order online, you pass the request to your supplier and take a cut on the margin. It’s a passive income technique that has a lot of potential and has already made many online entrepreneurs richer than they ever expected to be.
The most popular side hustles for millennials are "home repair/landscaping" (12 percent), according to Bankrate. A total of 9 percent of millennial respondents make additional money babysitting and 8 percent selling or reselling goods online, including via sites like Ebay, according to the survey. Other millennial side gigs include substitute teaching or tutoring; doing hair or makeup; earning money by finishing online surveys or completing tasks for people online; or doing freelance photography and videography (4 percent each).

As I’ve already covered with TeeSpring, the T-shirt retailing business is worth millions of dollars. But what if you want to do the manufacturing side of things? T-shirt printing turns out to be quite a rewarding business idea for many each year, but can quickly consume much of your side business idea time—so know what you're getting into before diving in. This multi-billion dollar industry counts big corporate factories as well as home-based part-time entrepreneurs.

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.


A proofreader reviews the written word in its various forms for clients and corrects for spelling, punctuation, and typos. To start a proofreading business, you must have a strong command of language usage, spelling, and punctuation. Depending on your clientele, you might be reviewing and correcting the language used in books, magazine articles, web content, ads, packaging, student assignments, or virtually any other vehicle of written communication.


With more of us working fewer hours and with a resulting earnings gap to close, there's arguably never been a better time to set up a business you can run in your spare time from home. Whether it's to help make ends meet, or to follow your passion, or maybe even both, we've asked the experts to come up with 50 practical and cheap ways to make some extra cash.


After you’re certified, you can more or less set your own hours. Driving schools are always in-demand so you can be sure you’ll always have a steady stream of customers. That said, this business really starts to pick up in the warmer months, so you can also take advantage of the seasonality and take it into consideration when considering it as a side business.

Choosing the path of entrepreneurship, and working on your side business idea, is without a doubt riskier than being content with holding a 9-5 job. It requires way more sacrifice. However, once you’re reaping the lifestyle benefits of being your own boss and hustling your way into making significantly more money with your business idea than you ever could at your day job, the hard work will have all been worth it. So, let’s talk business ideas.

Grant, you’ve got a lot of info in here that I LOVE! I swear to god, if I read another blog post telling me about a side hustle and I read the word “fiverr” I’m going to implode. You bring up an AWESOME point about not trying to compete in market places where your only advantage is price; eventually you’re profit will be ground down to 0. I’ve heard of domain reselling before; there might be a course there for you… (I’d buy). Great post!

Before we go here, just wanted to share with you a great mindset to get into to help motivate your side hustlin’ even more. I call it the “Gigs For Goals” mindset and the idea behind it is that you attach all gigs of yours to a specific bill or a future want/need. If you can match them up to break even, you’re golden! If you fall short, you need to re-arrange your wants and/or start bringing in higher income streams to match ’em. It looks like this:


There’s a reason plenty of entrepreneurs don’t quit their day jobs—innumerable startups have come into existence as a result of the daily nine to five grind. Joseph Howard maintains his full time job, in addition to freelance work and channeling his energy into his two startup ventures. The combination of freelance work and his full time employment gives Joseph the financial freedom to work on multiple projects at once.

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.

Look specifically for how your competition built their side hustles. Use Google, Pinterest, and Amazon for this. Try to find out exactly what they did, or take a look at their websites and analyze their business models. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel. Of course, you’ll make it your own – you’re not stealing anything from them. But everyone learns business from everyone else (something this took me a long time to learn). So, take a nod from the best in your niche and start there to research how you can start your side hustle.
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.
Those who have experience in HR and a thorough understanding of Applicant Tracking Systems  (ATS) will do well. You will need a certain amount of people skills to attract clients, but the results will matter far more than how friendly and personable you are. If 90% of your clients find a job in their field after paying you a visit, these numbers will speak for themselves.
Think blogging is no longer a viable source of income? Think again. Tens of thousands of bloggers (including yours truly) are creating profitable content on topics as diverse as scrapbooking, home cooking, travel, film, lifestyle, business, personal finance and more. And we're growing our blogs into six-figure businesses thanks to a combination of email subscribers, affiliate marketing, blog sponsorships, and other revenue streams. Your first step with starting a blog is quickly getting the technical side of things handled (my free master course on blogging will show you how), and then both understanding what your audience craves and learning how to attract those readers online.
Consider whether you'll need to lease office or retail space, or whether you can operate your business from your home. If you're thinking of running your side business out of your home (whether long-term or just at first), you need to check the zoning regulations in your city or county and make sure home-based businesses are permitted. This may be a problem particularly if you plan to invite customers or clients into your home on a regular basis.
With the rise of online craft marketplaces like Etsy, people with decent artisanal skills like sewing and woodworking have an always-open market to sell their products as a side business idea. If you’ve always wanted to design and make clothes by hand, then you can start turning those fashion ideas into real, hand-sewn garments and earn a little bit with this side business idea while you sleep and customers from around the world browse your Etsy & Amazon stores.
I am very skeptical of most MLMs (#55) but I really like the model of Melaleuca. This is an MLM that does not require any purchasing of items to sell upfront like most MLMs. Money is earned by enrolling others in their online shopping club and receiving a monthly commission on their purchases. Plus there are plenty of monetary and product incentives for enroller and customer. The products are great, ‘green’, non toxic items that replace what you are already buying at stores (cleaners, bath and body, vitamins, shampoo, weight loss, etc.). Check it out for yourself and as your side hustle business!
Yes, spending time on YouTube can be a legitimate business idea if you take it seriously. If you can create value-driven, entertaining video content and grow your subscriber base to a few thousand subscribers, your videos can start generating pretty substantial income from all the ads being displayed on your videos. Many YouTube users make well into the millions each year, so there's clear potential to take this from side business idea to eventual millionaire with the right combination of content, audience, skills, relationships and timing. If you’re considering starting a YouTube channel it’s important use best practices when making videos. Read the YouTube playbook for tips which will result in faster growth of your channel. Additionally think about investing in a quality camera and microphone since the production quality of videos can often affect your viewership.
Another flexible non-phone option in the educational field is test scoring. There are a few reputable companies that do hire home-based workers to score everything from standardized tests to essays. Before you apply, you should know that ETS and Pearson (listed below) do require that you have certain qualifications and/or past teaching experience before they'll let you become a scorer. WriteScore on the other hand requires just a two-year college degree.

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.


An effective social media strategy that’s focused on attracting new prospects and nurturing leads can take a lot of time to develop and implement. Let alone all the automation, optimization and engagement tools and tactics that a good social media manager needs to master. So while the majority of business owners will strive to have a presence on social media channels, only a few will know how to get the best ROI and tie their social media efforts to the bottom line. Tapping into this need and helping businesses manage their social media accounts could turn out to be a very profitable side business idea.
Although you can still build a niche website around your personal passion, it is typically a more calculated affair. You gear all your efforts towards establishing multiple income sources and earning money rather than getting the satisfaction of following your hobbies and interests. You might be a huge fan of Queen’s music, but if there’s no money to be made off this, you won’t pursue the idea as a side gig.
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.
As you can see, you don't have to spend thousands of dollars to start a side business. The 11 ideas above only scratch the surface of the types of side business you can start to make extra money. Plus, who knows? You might even be able to turn your side hustle into a full-time career today. Start small with an equally small investment, and see where it takes you!
Network marketing (sometimes referred to as multi-level-marketing) can sometimes have a bad connotation if you have ever been scammed in the past. However, there are very reputable companies out there that you can start working for today with very little buy-in or overhead. A member of our family started off her network marketing business as a side hustle and has turned it into a part-time gig with full-time income. Warning: if you are told it doesn’t require any actual work – run away!
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?"

Consulting is another area in which you can make use of your existing skills. Diana Melencio spent eight years working on Wall Street, and later used her financial background to her advantage, working as an independent financial consultant. This side business enabled her to follow her passion and to start OkMyOutfit, an online styling and shopping platform.
I struggled with creating spreadsheets to track my progress because it’s the least sexiest thing about blogging (for me, anyways!). But since I started doing it the right way, and checking in to update my progress every Sunday night, I can evaluate what’s working and what’s not. The results have been amazing. I wouldn’t be able to get this type of insight without tracking my numbers.

If you aren’t familiar with the term, bootstrapping, also known as “self-funding,” refers to the various methods entrepreneurs can use to fund their startups beyond funding sources like small business loans. The phrase, based around the popular idea of individuals “pulling themselves up by their bootstraps,” refers to doing something without outside help—in this instance, funding your business.
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.
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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