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.
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But before you can graduate from side business idea and start earning a full-time living as a graphic designer, you'll need to build your skills—I recommend starting with reading the foundational book Graphic Design School and Steal Like an Artist, the incredible book by Austin Kleon about how to become more creative. To accelerate your education in becoming a graphic designer even quicker, check out the online courses Graphic Design Fundamentals and The Graphic Design Bootcamp. Then once you're an expert at your craft, you can further your education and move up to offering more hands-on experiences like design sprints for higher-value clients around the world.
My husband and I tutored as side hustles while we were dating and still in college. We both used to help kids with math on the weekends and evenings. Sometimes, we’d get paid as much as $40 per hour especially if we traveled to another town to help kids. This was a nice amount of income for college students, and it allowed us money to go on dates and even save up for a few trips. If you like teaching and helping others, this is a great, low-cost business to start.
The most important lesson here is not to leave too early. Take it from someone who got all excited about her income potential and left a great job she probably should've kept working for a few more months. You not only want a healthy amount in savings for the transition, but you want to have a business that makes close to your same level of full-time income.
Some firms outsource their customer service operations and many of these companies accept home-based contractors. You can start by signing up on freelancing sites such as Upwork to test the waters with this business idea first. If you’re already a CSR specialist with management skills, then you can form and lead a virtual team online and engage clients as a bona fide customer service company or, provide customer service training to such teams as well as individuals.
Yoga is getting ever more popular, which means yoga instructors are more in demand than ever—making this another physically rewarding side business idea. Link up with a local yoga studio to teach nightly classes or offer personalized yoga in-home at a higher rate to pursue this kind of emotional and physical balance with others, during your free time while helping your bank balance, too.
Build up a following on your Instagram account and you could quickly be approached by major brands, gear companies, and other relevant businesses that sell products or services related to the type of content you share on Instagram—creating multiple potential side business ideas that'll come to you. If you have the right marketing skills and hundreds of thousands of followers, you can easily charge anywhere between $500 to $5,000 per post (or more)—which makes for a very profitable side business idea. Check out this fashion Instagrammer on ThePennyHoarder, making a significant income from brand sponsorships. Once you get some traction, to cut down on the amount of time you spend uploading images, you can make your entire workflow more efficient by posting photos from your Mac or PC.
My events are seasonal (May-December here in Massachusetts) and some vendor fees need to be paid months ahead of time to secure a space in a well attended show. This is a great opportunity for peer to peer lending! My best fairs cost between $125 to $250 to get in, but I can make $1200 or more at those shows. My 2 sisters invest in my biz early in the year so I can pay those vendor fees during my slow season (Jan-May) when I don’t have much income from my biz. I pay 10% interest on their investment, which is usually about $1500, and pay them back by the end of December. 10% is much more than they would get leaving that money in their bank account. If I had the funding, I would go to farmers markets and fairs and talk to the crafters/vendors about my peer to peer lending services because most of the vendors I know struggle with paying those fees which are due during their slow season.
Countless small businesses start out their web presence using a WordPress hosted website (myself included) before needing to upgrade to other solutions for various reasons. Many of them will pay several hundreds of dollars for someone to get their business idea set up online. If you have the patience to learn how to do it yourself, it's an extremely valuable skill and can be turned into a very lucrative side business idea—especially if you sign up for affiliate programs with companies like Kinsta, who offer high quality managed WordPress hosting plans that allow you to collect fees from the clients you refer their way. Plus, with the skills you pick up from this side business idea, you'll be able to spin up other profitable website ideas like my friend Andy's been able to do with his site, AwesomeStuffToBuy.
The photo booth business is perfect for any person who likes photography. Whether you’re a photographer, a framer, a painter or simply love taking pictures of others, you can establish a photo booth business to give customers the chance to take their own pictures. Operating a photo booth does take some familiarity with camera settings like ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. The ideal photo booth business owner will also have a solid software foundation. It takes time to hook everything up, but it’s certainly worth the effort when customers are satisfied.
Mechanical Turk operates much like TaskRabbit and GigWalk: it’s a corner online where Amazon gathers tasks to be done, people willing to do them, and people willing to pay for them. On Mechanical Turk, you get to do the oddest jobs you can imagine as an online business idea, made possible by a parallel online universe that runs on hits, visits, surveys, reviews, pins, likes, CPCs, reads, and other metrics. But don’t get too ambitious. The small sums being paid out to human Mechanical Turk users rarely add up to anything seriously substantial, even if you invest most of your spare time into it. It's a better opportunity for internationally-based people with internet access and lower costs of living than in the US. Here’s one person’s account of his former life as a Mechanical Turk talking through how he got started with this business idea and what the experience was really like.
Having an adequate amount of cash flow in a business can make the difference between success and failure. That’s why it’s important to have serious cash reserves when you launch full-time. But many people don’t have the months of operating expenses needed to do this. So they start small with a side business and use profits to beef up cash reserves for a future full-scale launch.
Be sure to consider your concept thoroughly, to test it out among friends and family members, and to secure their business as well. Be organized, commit to your plan, and hold yourself accountable. Remember, you’re your own boss in this endeavor, and need to discipline and commend yourself accordingly. And last of all, if you don’t succeed the first time around, try, try again!
“The essential guide for anyone who wants to create more freedom, opportunity, and security by launching a profitable side hustle” On his popular podcast, Chris often says, “Inspiration is good, but inspiration combined with action is so much better,” and Side Hustle provides both. It’s packed with practical tips and strategies—illustrated by compelling stories of real-life hustles—that will inspire readers to start their side hustles now. “- Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of The Four Tendencies and The Happiness Project
In the strictest situation, you may have signed a non-compete agreement that forbids you from opening a side business that would compete with your employer. Understand that "competition" can be construed fairly broadly by your employer, and may include businesses you think bear no direct relation to your job or your employer's business. This could turn into a legal issue.
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.