This article is excerpted from U.S. News money senior editor Kimberly Palmer’s book, “The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life,” which was released this month. Copyright © 2014 Kimberly Palmer. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission. All rights reserved
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.
Download the free App and then find “gigs” in your neighborhood that companies are willing to pay you for. Can you check out the price of milk in a certain store for $6 or snap a pic of a storefront for $5 on the way to work? Note: You will start off with the crappier jobs in the beginning, but prove yourself and you will start getting offered the higher-paying jobs soon enough.
A great way to increase sales is to host an online spa party. This allows potential customers to join in from the comfort of their own homes with no obligation to buy. During this online party you can set up giveaways and offer free shipping on any purchases made within a specific time frame. This business has the potential to grow rapidly, and also to be a lot of fun!
Hi J. Money! Any thoughts or experience with renting your own personal paid-off car with Zipcar or Turo ? I’ve started using public transportation exclusively and would like to have my car put to use since it is now just sitting in the driveway. There is a lot of negative feedback out there regarding these type of companies, was hoping to hear from some first hand experience!

Says Abbey Finch, who used freelance writing to help fund her startup Scribe Space, “I also surprisingly got a lot of luck using Craigslist and Odesk to find new work. I did everything from writing for a local, free newspaper covering town council meetings to writing how-to guides for eBay. I’ve written for lawyers, doctors, home improvement specialists, a wedding band, and so much more.”

Hi J. Money! Any thoughts or experience with renting your own personal paid-off car with Zipcar or Turo ? I’ve started using public transportation exclusively and would like to have my car put to use since it is now just sitting in the driveway. There is a lot of negative feedback out there regarding these type of companies, was hoping to hear from some first hand experience!
If you’re forced to disclose the fact, it might make your employer suspicious of your on-site activities and cause them to watch you more closely. On the other hand, it may make them see you in a new light and open opportunities for you with the company. Either way, you’ll have to carefully consider whether or not your employer has the right to know what you’re doing, and what, if anything, is at risk if you don’t tell.
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.

“There's a great temptation to assume that side hustles are just for "special people," like artists, dreamers, and 17-year-old computer geniuses. But Guillebeau deftly proves everyone can (and should) have a side hustle. More than that, he shows you how. He is living proof that this book works, and so are the many people who have followed his roadmap.”-  Jon Acuff, New York Times Bestselling Author of Finish 


A great way to increase sales is to host an online spa party. This allows potential customers to join in from the comfort of their own homes with no obligation to buy. During this online party you can set up giveaways and offer free shipping on any purchases made within a specific time frame. This business has the potential to grow rapidly, and also to be a lot of fun!
If you had a knack for standardized tests and had no trouble acing the SAT or ACT, you’ll find that many parents are eager to shell out upwards of $100 an hour for the right tutor to help their kids gain entrance to the college of their choice. Begin with this checklist for starting an SAT tutoring business and look into taking the route of tutoring student for their regular coursework, which will net you closer to $17 an hour. If you’re a credentialed teacher, or have special certifications, you’ll be able to charge much higher rates for the right students.
Being a wedding specialist works well for top-notch players, but being a generalist also has its benefits. Event and party planners leverage their network of service providers to cover not only weddings, but also seminars, corporate events, birthdays, baptisms, concerts, conferences, holiday parties, and other events, making it a relatively diverse business idea. Here are some tips if you want to run a part-time event planning business at home as a side business idea. And here’s a very honest look into the upside and downside of the trade.
Public notaries primarily serve as validators of, and impartial witnesses in public legal documents, especially those related to affidavits, oaths, deeds, estates, special-powers-of-attorney, and business agreements. Depending on the state, a full-time notary public earns an average annual salary of $36,000, which makes it a great business idea to do as a side hustle as you bring in money through other ways. If you want to get started with this business idea, here are the requirements and steps you need to consider in the US.
Many of my readers have started proofreading from their iPads, scanning legal documents for court reporters as a result of the Proofread Anywhere eCourse I recommend. You can read some of their testimonials in the comments on this post. They offer a 7-day intro course free so you can decide if that line of work is right for you before you pursue the training.
I’ve had other acquaintances buy the rights to unpopular songs or jingles and collect on royalties, others who buy Youtube channels or Instagram accounts, and still others who buy Amazon businesses. The list of existing assets you can buy are practically endless, and if you have one or two ideas for improving an asset, you could have a winner on your hands.
Are you an accomplished instrumentalist or vocalist? Have you played in a band or a symphony? Even if you just play as a hobby, selling music lessons online can be a great way to help people explore their passions and make yourself some money on the side. Parents often seek out professionals to help their children learn how to play a specific instrument, and virtual music coaches are becoming more and more popular.
If you don’t want to offer a full line of meals, why not focus on one thing? For instance, there are plenty of shops on Etsy that sell homemade gourmet cookies (e.g. Earl Gray Sandwich cookies, Cupcakes in a Jar, or gourmet caramels). I’ve been thinking about selling homemade gourmet jam (i.e. home canning recipes) during the summer months. I’ve read of other people who have started a gourmet cocktail catering business, where they come to parties and make gourmet cocktails. Fun!

Thank you for sharing your experiences and the lessons you’ve learned along your way to financial freedom. I’ve recently been introduced to your website, and it’s one of the realest personal finance blogs I’ve ever read for our generation. I do have a question about buying and reselling tickets if you’re willing to share. What website did you use to buy these tickets? I use the most popular one…ticketma$ter, but there’s no option to resell on another website (that 3 click).

Photography Tip: If you plan on selling your photography on a stock photo site, it’s a numbers game. The more pictures you take and upload, the better chance you are to be found. You’ll need to make sure you use the right tags so that people can easily find your photos. The more pictures you take, the faster you’ll develop your photography skills over time. So it’s an all around win.

Once you have a regular audience (ideally in the thousands), you'll start to develop a lot of value to potential advertisers. Let's say your podcast frequently talks about life as an outdoor photographer. A natural fit would be to reach out to relevant magazines, gear companies, and camera brands to see if they'd be interested in advertising on your podcast of targeted listeners. The more niche your podcast topic, the better for future sponsorship opportunities.


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.
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.

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.


Entrepreneurs who have the most success are often in love with their business idea. Remember, you’ll be selling it, marketing it, and likely talking about it to everyone you meet. You’ll spend most of your free time developing the business, which means you may spend more time with it than you do with your own family. If you don’t truly love it, you won’t have the fuel and endurance you’ll need to succeed.
Good side hustles, like freelance writing, allow you to make money by trading your time. Since you’re trading time for money, you’re capped at how much you can make. Still, if you’re looking to hit, say an extra $1000 a month, freelance writing is a side hustle that can allow you to predict how much you can make. You can have a contract set up with a client or two that’ll allow you to know exactly how much money you’ll be able to make. The secret to succeeding as a freelancer writer is to charge based on the value you’ll bring. Most freelance writers undercharge which results in fast burnout with little pay off.
Having testimonials on your website is key to your credibility. You will want to have an upbeat web page that reflects you and the passion you bring to everything you do. Include a small video introducing yourself, as people will need to be able to relate to you to purchase your services. Make sure to break down the different pricing options that you have available in detail, so potential customers know exactly what they will receive for their money.

Good side hustles, like freelance writing, allow you to make money by trading your time. Since you’re trading time for money, you’re capped at how much you can make. Still, if you’re looking to hit, say an extra $1000 a month, freelance writing is a side hustle that can allow you to predict how much you can make. You can have a contract set up with a client or two that’ll allow you to know exactly how much money you’ll be able to make. The secret to succeeding as a freelancer writer is to charge based on the value you’ll bring. Most freelance writers undercharge which results in fast burnout with little pay off.


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.
Home tutoring allows you to offer individualized lessons to students of all ages regarding any special skill sets that you have. A good home tutoring business is flexible because your students will have very different needs: some are struggling with classes in school, some are studying for college entrance exams, and others may be adult learners who need to master certain skills to benefit their employment.
28 Market research Get paid for your opinions by signing up with sarosresearch.com and taking part in focus groups, suggests Birtles. "You get between £50-£100 cash, plus food and drink for saying what you think about products or services for a few hours. Or be the one asking the questions. Ipsos Mori offers flexible hours to people willing to do phone interviews or knock on doors to ask people questions. You make between £8-£10 an hour on average."
If you like shopping, you can also give mystery shopping a try. With Jobs2Shop, you find local mystery shop gigs in your town. Once you’re on a mission, you might take pictures of product displays or even scan product barcodes for price checks. Of course, you can also have the opportunity to evaluate customer service and the cleanliness of the store or restaurant too.
On a more casual level, there are a variety of service businesses that make great side businesses. Sites like Craigslist can be a great way to put your skills to use and piece together revenue. Do you know what interviewers look for? Consider offering resume building help. Know multiple languages? Put your skills to good use and offer tutoring or language conversation lessons. Do you love animals? Advertise yourself as a dog walker for your neighborhood.
I already know what you’re thinking when you read that title, ‘Here comes another one of those get rich quick scams. I don’t blame you. Most titles that begin the way tend to lead to some ebook or sales page. But what I’m about to reveal to you is totally legitimate and involves nothing more than speaking your mind. No I haven’t lost mine! Just be patient.
Craft fairs are also a great side hustle. I do very well at high end, handmade only craft fairs and festivals. Its a marketplace that attracts people who prefer handmade and have the income to easily afford high end crafts. I am a baker/food crafter (not the same as a food vendor. Food crafts are jams, sauces, cookies, breads, toffee, honey, maple syrup, etc. – foods made at a kitchen and brought to the event, not prepared at the event like sandwiches and burgers, etc, made by food vendors). I make hand made baking mixes, an oatmeal bar cookie in 4 flavors and a gluten free truffle cookie in 3 flavors. As with farmers markets, craft fairs mean immediate cash. I accept credit cards, too. No waiting for a paycheck to come, as my hubbie is paid by-weekly.
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