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.
Outsourcing lead generation is becoming the new norm. Good sales people are hard to find and many businesses try to avoid the risks of employing someone full-time before they have a robust lead generation strategy in place. If you’re well versed in all things sales, then it’s time to seize the day. Lead generation encompasses a vast array of tactics, including content marketing, email marketing, cold calling, SEO, website optimization, webinars, and so on. Pick one or two techniques that you can really nail, set up your website, and get to work generating leads for your own little business.
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.
Make extra money providing a simple service that’s like going for a walk! For over 30 years I’ve been cleaning up litter outside retail, office and industrial properties. I simply walk the property and clean up litter with inexpensive hand tools. Great side hustle as the work needs to be done before the businesses open for the day. I’ve written a book, Cleanlots, that details how to get started.
Thanks Steven. I’m all about fresh air! I run all of my side hustles through an LLC, so I can also take some deductions come tax time. It’s a win-win. I also do my best to pay quarterly taxes on the income, but sometimes really misjudge based on cash flow. I’ve gotten stuck with a few pretty big tax bills, but now I’ve gotten a better handle on it. LLCs are pretty amazing.
But regular side hustles are especially popular among American millennials — 38 percent of people ages 18 and 37 told Bankrate that they make money from their side hustles at least once a month. That's compared to 30 percent of Gen Xers (ages 38 to 53) and 24 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 54 to 72). Bankrate also found that 15 percent of millennials earn money from their side hustle a weekly basis, 10 percent "a few times" each month and 13 percent once a month.
Using your skills for profit is a common trend with all of the best side business ideas. If you're an expert at something, there's likely an audience of people online who would be willing to pay to become an expert in your field—just like you. If you want to take your skills and turn them into an online course that teaches others how to get the same results you've achieved in your life, career, or business, start with How to Create an Awesome Online Course on Udemy, where instructor Miguel Hernandez covers how he makes over $90,000/yr teaching online. You'll learn from more than 8 hours of video instruction.
Develop a travel concierge service to help people when they miss their flights. Become a home, office, or life organizer for busy or disorganized people. Buy and sell used textbooks to university students. Start an online course in some quirky subject you know a lot about. Visit jumble sales and buy items to resell. Start an Airbnb, but for dogs, so their owners can travel and leave the dogs somewhere better than a kennel.
Websites aren't too dissimilar to stocks. Many are junk, but some can generate value for you, making it a strong potential business idea if you have an eye for spotting the diamond in the rough That’s why, like stocks, they are bought and sold all the time. You can buy and sell websites as a side business idea in the hope of generating future earnings based on their user traffic, current revenue intake, domain name, or some other factors that might be a hidden cash cow everyone else has overlooked. Interested? Check out marketplaces like Flippa and Flipping Enterprises to learn more.
People love their pets, and many pet owners want to memorialize their non-human friends through artwork. Pet portraits businesses create custom portraits of pets for customers. Many businesses are run by a single artist, but businesses can also have several artists on staff. The mediums these artists create offer a different feel than photographs -- which pet owners can take themselves -- provide.
Aside from an attractive glossy cover, and being extremely critical for today's economy, Running a Side Business is excellent tool for anybody yearning for a second income. Again, NOLO series has teamed up with USA Today for another information-filled book for the public. NOLO is a legal companion for more than 35 years, while USA is the nation's largest circulation newspaper.
Blogging is a great side hustle because you can do it at your own pace anywhere you want. It's not a quick and easy way to make money, but there are a lot of ways to make money side hustling while blogging. You can sell advertising, become an affiliate for other people's products, sell your own online product, and more. It does take time to build up an audience to be able to make a decent amount of money, but once you have a large following, you could earn over $15,000 per month or more (we do).
I remember staying up until 2am to start my blog on a work night (and I am in bed at 9pm normally!). I was so excited, I couldn’t help myself but go all in and start. This is the type of enthusiasm that works really well with starting a side hustle. The more excited, committed, and focused you are, the more likely you’ll be disciplined and therefore, successful.
I recently met a woman who earned quite a bit of money as a very part-time chef. Once a week, she would go to someone’s house and prepare a homemade meal for their family, then do all the dishes and cleanup work. This gives the family plenty of together time, while putting some cash in the woman’s pocket. If you love to cook, this can be a great opportunity, but you may have to put a lot of effort into searching for clients.
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.
The pros of starting a music lessons business as a side business are very similar to a foreign language business. Assuming you know how to play an instrument and enjoy teaching others, you have everything necessary to start giving lessons. Music lessons businesses are easy to run out of your own home, according to your own schedule, so doing it on the side will not hinder the success you may find.
Use a platform like ACX to create and sell audiobooks on platforms like Audible and iTunes. If you have a great idea for a non-fiction audiobook where you can teach a difficult skill like stock trading, foreign currency investing, accounting, online marketing or others, you can easily create a five-figure monthly income with the right volume of audiobooks.
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A photo editing business specializes in editing or retouching existing photos for clients. These services may range from simply cleaning up blemishes or lighting issues all the way to complex Photoshop work. Such a business is a major part of any community because of the constant need to have good-looking photos for publications, seasonal cards, social media profiles, and more.
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.
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).
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.
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.
If you love baking and are able to keep your hand out of the proverbial cookie jar, making gourmet cookies is a great side hustle with plenty of long-term potential. Start by learning how to execute unique and tasty gourmet cookie recipes, then seal the deal by creating or purchasing professional-looking packaging. Sell your cookies online or to people in your local community.
Do you live in a destination where others frequently visit? If you know your city well and enjoy meeting new people, get the best of both worlds by starting your own local tour business. Make it unique like Erik Hormann’s Vantigo, a company that takes you around San Francisco in a stylish VW van, and you’ll be able to command anywhere from $55 to $600 depending on the tour.
Got a thing for numbers? Plenty of companies need to hire talented contractors who are good at data analysis, making this a potentially lucrative side business idea if you have the right credentials and experience. Platforms like Upwork and Digiserved are but a two of many websites that are great for freelancers with an analytical prowess, looking for extra work as a side business idea around their full-time jobs.
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.
In the last few years, I’ve created online courses, launched a self-published book (under a fake name—not proud of this one), done marketing consulting, launched an email course, Airbnb-ed my apartment, traded stocks, bought cryptocurrency (my best investment to date), bought a condo and put it on Airbnb, wrote a book (a better one), bought a business, put affiliate links on my site, given paid talks, written book summaries, and built an affiliate site for a basketball dribbling course I never took (also not proud of this one).
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.
I also recommend FlexJobs for finding more home data entry jobs. With that site, you can regularly search legitimate work at home jobs for data entry and other industries. Every job lead is guaranteed scam-free, and it's the only membership-based jobs site I currently use and trust. Their listings are updated 5-6 times per week, and they are plentiful. You can currently get 30% off a subscription using promo code AFFILPROMO.
If your mastery of another language is good enough to have the grammar and spelling down, translating is a great side business idea to set up for yourself and can even be done remotely. Flexjobs has literally hundreds of freelance, remote translator jobs available right now and if you're looking to land more remote work on the side of your other pursuits, check out my guide—how to get a remote job (this weekend).
Many people choose to start a side business while still maintaining a full-time job. Maybe you want to generate a little extra income, or you believe you have a good idea for a product or service that's going to take awhile to get up and running. Whatever your reason, starting a side business can be difficult, but you can do it if you test your idea and keep everything well separated from your day job. Spend time researching your idea so you know the need is there to make it worth your time and effort. Once you know your business idea is solid, get your licenses and permits in order and check over your employer's policies to make sure you can start your side business and still keep your day job.
You can buy your stock from a wholesaler and list them on your online Selz store for customers to purchase. You will need to describe the features of each product in detail, and, since headphones are something of a fashion statement, include photos. Because this product is in high demand, with the right prices and marketing, it should sell fairly easily.
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.
For instance, if you need a website, why not contract with the tech guy from your day job? Need an accountant? Someone in the accounting department may need income on the side. However, make sure they understand to keep the work separate from their day job, just like you do, and that they’re working for you on a contractual basis. Your agreement should be professional and incorporate a timeline. You should also receive a work order or receipt just as you would from any other contractor.
Use your various social media accounts to bring potential customers to your Selz store; and, once you have enough people interested in your services, let them know for every referral there will be a discount or a give-away. This will ensure you build a customer base, and each referral with boost your income. Reach out to past clients for reviews and post them for potential customers to view.
Side hustles are my jam. Seriously, I wouldn’t be a millennial millionaire and have achieved financial independence at the age of 30 without side hustling. I’ve always been hustling. It’s in my blood. I can’t help it. Everything I look at in life I see a business opportunity. Sometimes it’s a blessing and sometimes it’s a…. well I guess it’s always a blessing. #gratitude
Something else I recommend is taking the free 7-lesson mini-course on general transcription offered by Janet Shaughnessy of Transcribe Anywhere. This will help you to understand if you're a good fit for a transcription career, what you can potentially earn, and also where to get started. Janet also has free legal transcription mini-course if you're more interested in going that route.
I live in Phoenix where it will hover at 116°F during the summer. I also see a guy selling snow cones and water for a premium. I asked him how business was recently – he smiled and said “Business is gooooooood”. Buy a case of water at Costco for $0.12 a bottle and resell them for $2 wherever it is HOT. Who wouldn’t pay $2 for ice-cold water during the dog days of summer?
Painting house numbers on the curb – sales pitch is that it’s a safety benefit (fire, ambulance can find you faster), a convenience (particularly reflective numbers that help at night), even a legal requirement (in some towns). Capitalization super low. Add to your number-stencil inventory ones for locally popular sports teams, offering colors that declare team loyalty. Branch into mailboxes, mailbox posts, on-house numbers. If someone has missing or illegible numbers chances are it has been an irritant but not a priority – easier to sell something that scratches an itch. Outright artistic renditions or legible!-but-fancy fonts more practical on mailboxes. Fairly affordable capitalization to branch into outright replacement mailboxes, posts. Great earning opportunity for youngsters right in their own neighborhood.