Valentine's day. Birthdays. Weddings. The list goes on and on—throughout the course of a year, there are dozens of occasions when people need to order flowers. What's more is that once you're up to speed with this business idea, your costs can stay relatively low if you know where to source your flowers, and typical margins are in the neighborhood of 300% (or more) on cut flowers which makes this a particularly profitable side business idea in the right geographic area. Check out this amazing interview with floral designer, Sara Tedford of Ladybird Poppy to hear about how her floral design company started out as a side business idea of doing weddings and events for her friends and family.
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.
Sometimes it seems like there’s an app for everything. Yet somehow, new ones keep popping up and selling for lots of money, all the time. If you spot a niche that hasn’t been filled to its potential just yet, and you can learn the coding skills (or know someone who already has them), you could be on to something with this side business idea. Today, it's even possible to build an app without any coding skills whatsoever. Just make sure you validate your app idea before jumping too far in. Even if your app business idea doesn't pan out to be a best-seller, you'll still pick up valuable skills.
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.
But that was 2007, and quite a bit has changed since then. Where a side business was once a novel idea, it has since become much more mainstream. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, freelancers now make up around 15% of the workforce, compared to only 7% in 1995. And the trend isn’t expected to stop here. The BLS reports that freelancers and self-employed individuals may comprise 20% of the workforce by 2020.
If you can create a regular audience for your podcast on a specific topic, this is a great way to get sponsors and fund this side business idea. My podcast, The Side Hustle Project is actually my current side business idea, and because I had an existing audience here on my blog at the time I launched the show, I was able to broker a $5,000 sponsorship from Freshbooks to place ads on the first ten episodes before I even got started.
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.
So you love to cook? You could start a restaurant that will take a full-time commitment and a lot of money – or you could start a weekend catering business or a mobile food truck. A business where you provide small services on your own schedule can grow as much or as little as your time allows. Look for those opportunities while you're starting out.
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.
Maybe you’ve always had a knack for repainting old thrift store furniture. Or maybe you’re a gifted musician who could coach other young aspiring talent. Maybe you have a specific education, training, experience or skill that you could develop into a freelance business such as financial planning or graphic design. Whatever your “thing” may be, there are plenty of good reasons to get going.
That's why I'm a huge advocate of always starting a side business while working full-time, so that you can test your way into your new product or service, get feedback, validate the business idea, and start generating income before you quit your job. If you can master the art of scaling a side business idea while keeping your day job, you'll have no trouble succeeding once you're fully self-employed.
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.
I have been considering trying number 5, baking cookies and desserts for people. I have a huge sweet tooth so its already something I like doing. I just wonder how much time this would consume and how much money someone could actually make. I could put an ad online or in the paper and offer to bake goods for parties and events. Maybe one day I’ll actually try it.
It’s not the sort of side business idea that’s covered in glory, but someone needs to make sure all the numbers add up at the end of the year. Every business and most individuals need someone with the domain expertise to help prepare tax returns, especially time or resource-strapped small business owners. Majo Jacinto in his Udemy course provides an in-depth foundational understanding of how to prepare tax returns (and stay current with ever-changing laws) that'll certify you with tax prep skills in as little as a few hours of training and practice. Then once tax season rolls around you'll be able to charge an average of $229 per return as a freelance tax preparer with this side business idea, according to CNBC.
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.
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:
This is where you decide on your target audience. Do you want to come up with plans for people who are concerned about their cholesterol; people who follow a certain type of diet (vegan, etc.), or do you want to go in the direction of weight loss? Eventually you can cover a range, but when you are first building your business you want to focus on one particular niche. Once this is established you can build your business to include other niches as well.
However, it is when I tried to get some hard info out of it that I ran into trouble. For example, the one website that was recommended for doing little IT jobs on the side turned out to be a depressing place where people desperately bid for jobs for extremely little money ("$12 if you configure my email software"). Also, the tax chapter didn't seem to really belong: I had to read it multiple times and still couldn't figure out whether I'd have to pay self- employment tax as a day trader or be subject to schedule C, etc...
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.
There you go! These are the first five things you need to do to get started. And notice not one of them was “go buy a bunch of equipment and materials” or “pay $10,000 for a professional website.” Those things aren’t a bad investment later down the line when your business revenues justify it. But when you’re starting out, the problem isn’t the design of your website; it’s your fear, doubt, and hesitation.
Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Yuletide, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, 4th of July, Mother’s Day. There are a ton of traditional holidays that count as solid reasons to explore the side business idea of crafting and selling seasonal decorations. After all, people and businesses pay good money for them. In fact, total sales of Christmas trees in the U.S. alone amounted to a whopping $1.04 billion in 2014. And you still have holiday lights, nativity scenes, crafted hangings, baskets, wreaths, and other decorations to cover, making this a potentially year-round seasonal side business idea.
Blogging is often the first idea that springs to mind when the conversation turns to online side businesses. And rightly so. Thousands of bloggers around the world are successfully making money off their talent to write, and the best thing about this hustle is that there’s no right way to do it. First, let’s establish the fact that blogging itself is rarely profitable. Bear with me. Blogging is like a train station – the more trains you have running, the better are your chances of turning a profit. Establishing several streams of income is key to turning your blog into a self-sustaining side business. So let’s back up a little.
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.
Are you one of those people who start their day with a to-do list? Then you’ll enjoy helping others get their life back. Virtual assistants provide administrative support to entrepreneurs and business owners who have more on their hands than they can handle. The ultimate perk of this side business is that you can work from your home office or anywhere you want, as long as you have a wifi connection and access to a phone. Freelance marketplaces are the best places to pick up some freelance gigs until you have a solid stream of clients coming through your own website.
We all know you can buy and sell stuff on Craigslist, but have you ever thought about offering a service you can provide. If providing a service isn’t your thing, you can scan Craigslist for great deals and then later resell items for a profit. This takes persistence and patience, but I have a friend who went from a $4k truck to a $24k in truck in 18 months by flipping cars from Craigslist.