Obviously some of these small business ideas have more earning potential than others, but what they all share in common are relatively low barriers to entry and the flexibility to work at them for a limited amount of time per week. I also tried to focus on side business ideas that have some sort of online component to them, since that's what I love most.
If you don’t mind parading yourself around in public places as a side business idea, and enjoy a little attention, then working as a human billboard can pay a surprising amount of dividends. Renting out your beard, for example can earn you as much as $5 a day while having a brand logo tattooed on your shaven head for five years could pay as much as $7,000—though this type of earning opportunity is admittedly rare. This business idea is definitely not for the faint of heart, and is a little extreme for me, but nonetheless it's been done as a side hustle for many people. You can start by holding a placard or wearing a sandwich board. If you think this is a good side business idea, you can go all the way and turn it into a full on small business idea with enough hard work—plus you won't have to deal with all the issues other more complex businesses have to constantly think about (like reducing churn).
Almost a quarter of working Americans spend some time working from home. But according to the American Time Use Survey, working from home is a perk mostly reserved for the college-educated. In 2017, just 12 percent of workers with a high school degree did some work from home, while 46 percent of those with an advanced degree occasionally telecommuted.
Cycling is a popular sport in the United States, with people regularly using bikes for fun, exercise, and transportation. In 2015 alone, 17.4 million bikes were sold in the country. As bikes are used, they occasionally break down -- and most people aren’t well-versed in repairing bicycles. A bike repair business fixes and refurbishes bikes for customers when their rides break down.
Next, let’s tackle one of the most popular online business ideas – affiliate marketing. So what is it, exactly? In a nutshell, you recommend products or services offered by a chosen company to your readers, followers or people you know. If they buy something as a result of your recommendation, you get a commission (either a percentage or a flat fee). Easy, right?
Can you draw, paint, or create another form of art that others would be willing to purchase? Create a Facebook or Etsy store to create works of art commissioned in your preferred medium. I know someone who draws Valentine’s cards, Christmas cards, and even birthday invitations for extra money for her family. With that money, she helped fund an international adoption. Another friend draws beautiful portraits of babies and children from pictures that are sent to her.
We're all guilty of spending too much time on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest sometimes, so why not get paid to put your expertise to work as a side business idea? Lots of companies, especially startups or those in retail and travel—even influencers have heavy social media presences and are constantly in need of people to help build their brands online. You can find these types of opportunities on sites like Flexjobs and CareerBuilder and most employers on these websites are conditioned to working with people who operate these services as their side business idea. Over time as you grow in your ability to leverage various social channels, you can add more service offerings like running high-return Facebook Ad campaigns or hosting lucrative sweepstakes competitions for the brands you want to work with.
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).
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.
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.
Someone out there is remodeling their kitchen and needs to know which shade of granite will match best with mahogany flooring. That someone will often be happy to pay you for your advice, especially if you’re the kind of person that subscribes to websites like Contemporist and you have the motivation to turn this business idea into a money-making enterprise.
I receive at least 2 emails a day asking me for my expert opinion on a given company or website. Is so and so a legitimate company? Should I pay $49.95 to work with DataEntryBlahBlah.com? Honestly I'm not that much of an expert. I just know how to do a little research. If you're currently thinking about joining a work at home company and a fee is one of the requirements, put your wallet or purse down. Before you make a decision that you might regret, watch the video we created. By the end of watching this video, you'll never question whether or a not a company is a scam. You'll know with certainty if it is!
If you’re looking for side jobs to make money, why not trying selling information products? This side hustle requires some research, invested time and marketing skills for you to flourish. Are there topics that are really popular right now that you know a lot about? Did you find a popular topic that there isn’t enough information about? Monetize these opportunities by creating content around it. You can publish books on Amazon or sell courses on Udemy.
Do you enjoy fast food or going into retail shops? Many companies hire mystery shoppers to test the customer service of their stores. A common one is Subway, which hires mystery shoppers to ensure that "Sandwich Artists" are following all the franchise guidelines. If you have time and can travel to different places, this could be a good side hustle.
If you're toying with the idea to pad your income with a side job, this book is a decent start. It gives you some suggestions about what to do, links to further resources (often other Nolo books), and some good tips on topics as diverse as marketing or how to deal with various types of business people, including lawyers. I went through the book easily and found it well- written and understandable.
From personal experience as a freelance content marketer, I can vouch for the profitability in this industry. I grew my side hustle into a $160,000/yr business before quitting my day job to pursue this business idea full-time; all you need is the right skills and experience to back it up. With startups, established brands, and even notable influencers needing to build credibility and grow their brands, professionals who can serve up compelling content enjoy a huge demand for their services. And, since brands will always need high quality content to bring in new customers, your skills will always remain an asset to invest in—especially since the nature of creating a content marketing strategy is an ever-evolving one. Start by tapping into your existing network with this business idea and begin tracking down local small business owners who could benefit from your marketing tactics, do a bang up job, ask for referrals and grow from there to the point where you're doing blogger outreach and spreading out to a wider market.
This job is primarily successful for those who already use eBay extensively. At the end of the day, eBay is like any other market, and success requires being competitive in a market filled with other sellers. As such, being familiar with how other sellers price and describe similar products to your own merchandise will help you hit the ground running when you begin selling. The business is also ideal for those who enjoy a flexible schedule and are motivated self-starters.
It’s always great to get new sheets, blankets, pillow cases, and comforters, but going to the store and picking through options can be tough, especially for consumers with limited time. This is where your online store can come in, providing customers with quality products and the convenience of purchasing online. This is a win-win situation for the customer, and for you.
To be clear, providing care for the elderly often requires a broader set of credentials (as it should) so this business idea isn't one most people can get started with this weekend. These credentials may include licenses, training certificates, business permits, and tax forms depending on which state you wish to operate, the level of care you intend to provide, and whether you plan on running a formal business or just hiring yourself out as an independent worker as a side business idea. If you’re already giving unpaid care to an elderly relative or friend, you may want to review Medicaid provisions for some compensation. In all cases, you need genuine affection for the elderly, a lot of common sense, and good knowledge of first aid, CPR, and elderly care basics to excel with this side business idea.
There's a huge growing market for mobile phone accessories, and plenty of handmade sellers are raking in 6 and sometimes 7 figures from their phone case businesses. You can get your own phone case business up and running as a side business idea in a matter of days with turnkey solutions from Case Escape, my previous company, and you can now get ready-to-go kits that'll give you everything you need to start a phone case business. Once you're up and running, you can sell cases on Etsy, Amazon Handmade, and Fancy. During our first year of selling phone cases as a side business idea on our Etsy store, we made around $60,000 in revenue from that selling channel alone—not to mention additional sales from fairs, trade shows, promotional products vendors, parties, events and other online marketplaces. From there, the sales only continued growing and we graduated from side business idea to full-time company that I ran with my best friend for multiple years.
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.
I was babysitting and freelance writing to make extra money while I built up my blog. I did all three at once while working full time. I had a lot going on, and I’m so glad I stopped babysitting and freelance writing, because I was barely making any money blogging at the time. It took stopping these other side gigs to be able to focus on my one side hustle, blogging.
I’ve never worked as a freelance writer for any websites because I was never able to find lucrative enough gigs. I didn’t want to write posts for $200-$300 each. I wanted to get paid to write $5,000 – $10,000 reports! So I haven’t written as a freelancer for any websites, but what I have done quite a bit of is write white papers for companies. Here’s basically how it works. Consulting companies, engineering firms, law firms, and tons of other professional service firms like to put out “thought leadership” reports which basically are blog/research reports on steroids. Sometimes they are pretty big.
Stylish new plates and silverware can really elevate a dinner party to the next level, but most people don’t want to spend a fortune on them. You store can carry quality dinner supplies at a great price, and can also include napkins and other decor that fit the theme. Photos and excellent descriptions are vital here. You want to make sure that your items are superb, and that guests compliment the host on their taste. When this happens, you will not only bring your initial customer back to your store, you will acquire more customers in the process.
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.
This is a wonderful business for gardeners, tree aficionados, stay-at-home workers, and lovers of miniature objects. Business owners can start off selling starter plants to earn a living while they grow two to five-year-old trained bonsai trees for a larger income. It's a great opportunity for someone who doesn't have a lot of space to work with. This is also a great opportunity for someone to combine their growing skills with their Internet sales skills.
Web designers are incredibly valuable for technology companies—which is why becoming a freelance web designer is a top side business idea today. Web design is all about mastering the art of creating a beautiful, value-driven experience for the people using a website or app. There are always new websites popping up in need of professional web design, and foundational books like HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites by acclaimed web designer Jon Duckett and Don't Make Me Think by user experience legend Steve Krug will get you started down the right path to quickly determining whether or not becoming a web designer is a viable side business idea for you.
If you’re good with words, you might be able to find some work as an online freelancer. A variety of publications need online content in the form of stories, product or service descriptions, and reports, and if you have the talent and skill, you could easily be the one to create them. Fortunately, all you need is a computer and Internet connection to get started.
There is a subscription box for just about anything you can imagine these days. As an entrepreneur getting started, this means you will have some stiff competition. Think about a unique niche that consumers want and need in their lives, and consider ways to make your product stand out from the competition. Are your prices lower? Is your shipping quicker? Do you include goodies and bonuses that other businesses don’t?
Starting a website can be a great way to build some side income in a fairly passive manner. Start a blog if you have interesting, unique, and informative stuff to tell your readers. You can then make money on advertising or having people pay for educational products or tools you produce. Or create a website that brings together buyers and sellers of a niche product from which you can charge a subscription or transaction fee. The key is to think outside the box and come up with an idea that can provide a unique solution for people. And even if you want to produce a website that is similar to ones already out there, do it bigger and better and find a way to differentiate yourself!
Etiquette training gives lessons to people of all ages on the proper way to conduct oneself in a variety of settings, especially in the professional world. Etiquette can cover how to act in both international and domestic settings, from a formal dinner in Japan to a debutante ball in Georgia. As globalization becomes more common, these types of lessons can be invaluable for many companies and professionals. Etiquette trainers may give online lessons or in-person lessons, depending of their budget and location. The instructions may be anything from cell phone etiquette for teenagers to the best way to send a thank you letter after a job interview.
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.
The real estate market is on the rebound (for today) and people are buying and selling properties in many locations across the U.S. That means a lot of opportunities for professionals who know how to navigate the legal, financial, and commercial aspect of real estate to build up a stable of clients as a side business idea, especially if you begin to scale your sales hiring and build a team of reps working to help you close more deals. If you consider yourself an expert in the subject, it won't be a walk in the park (hehe), but you can earn significant additional side income as a home-based consultant.
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.
Live in a destination where travelers frequently visit? If you love meeting new people from around the world and also love the city you live in, starting your own local tour company is arguably the best business idea that will give you both of those perks. Take a unique spin on your local tour business like Erik from Vantigo. He was starting his VW van tour business in San Francisco as just a side business idea while he was still working a full-time job, and grew it to being a sustainable source of full-time income before quitting—now he's running a multiple van tour company on the back of what originally began as a crazy side business idea.
This business is right for those who enjoy learning about technology and the challenge of restoring damaged items to like-new condition. Professionals in this business help conserve natural resources while helping customers preserve treasured photos and online communications as well as valuable software and digital content such as games, books, and music.
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.
It’s no secret I’m not a fan of balance in all areas of your life. This is a perfect example of why. If you’re going to have a side hustle, then by definition, you’re doing it on the side of something else (probably your day job). And if that’s the case, you’re not going to have much time for other things. Take a look at my YouTube video on my daily schedule working full time and blogging to get an idea of how I do both.
Have you ever dreamed about writing a best selling book? Well, Amazon’s self-publication platform Kindle Direct lets you do just that. With the right market research you can write your category killing book and sell it to the masses without dealing with the cost and bureaucratic hassles of traditional publishing. The best part is, once you’ve published the book, it will continue to bring in revenue month after month with little effort on your part! People are earning anywhere from a few hundred dollars to well over $100,000 publishing on Amazon.
It sounds too good to be true—getting paid to represent your favorite brands at events across the nation. But, if you have a friendly and outgoing personality (a growing social media following helps too), you can forge a potentially paid relationship as a brand ambassador with companies who want to reach other people within your community with this side business idea. As a Brand Ambassador, you do anything from demoing the latest technology, to passing out free swag at music festivals, to going on nationwide tours, to pumping people up as a mascot, and more. Depending upon the gig, you can expect to earn anywhere from $18-$100/hr. You can get started as early as this weekend by joining the Brand Ambassador Facebook group for your nearest major city (e.g. join the "Brand Ambassadors of Seattle" group if you live in/near Seattle). Once you've been approved to the group, you'll get access to daily job postings from big brands and agencies with opportunities in your area. All you need to do is submit your resume and headshot to apply. For a step-by-step guide on how to get hired for the best gigs and the highest pay rates, I recommend checking out The Brand Ambassador Blueprint.
Fashion, style, and grooming continue to be a lucrative side business idea that can be done in your hours outside of work. If you know how to mend clothes, then you have a growing market of budget-conscious and/or personalization-obsessed customers. Entrepreneur says you need around two thousand dollars to start a decent side business idea in this niche but there’s no harm in starting smaller and growing from there, as long as you can make magic with needle and thread.
A survey company creates, distributes, and analyzes surveys for a variety of businesses or special interests. The purpose is to collect feedback before deciding to alter policies or processes to improve efficiency and overall satisfaction. Owners may either work on a per-case basis, or choose to specialize in a specific niche. For example, a survey company that only administers surveys to students about their professors.
Fifty-one percent of millennials have at least occasional side hustles that they rely on for a cash stream outside their primary source of income, finds Bankrate. The personal finance site surveyed a little over 1,000 people across various age groups and income brackets and found that roughly 37 percent of Americans overall engage in a regular side hustle, including 28 percent who perform their side hustle at least once a month, if not more often.
The good news about starting a side hustle online is there’s no age cut off, no employment reference check, no having to get dressed for a job interview, no having to ask for a raise, no having to work around people, no having to get dressed for work, and you can take as many breaks as you desire all while still getting paid. Only thing is, you have to put away your own money for retirement (if you do decide to later on), pay your own healthcare, and money for additional costs.