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.
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.
Though certainly not for everyone, recycling the containers from products left strewn around on the ground can become a surprisingly decent side business idea if you put in the time. Attending events like street fairs and outdoor concerts can be a great starting place. Put on a clean shirt, jeans, apply your sunscreen, grab a cheap pick-up tool like this one, sturdy plastic bags, and you can sell them for upwards of $4.00/pound on eBay.
A side hustle is more than just another stream of income, it’s also the new job security. When you receive paychecks from different sources, it allows you to take more chances in your “regular” career. More income means more options. More options equals freedom. You don’t need entrepreneurial experience to launch a profitable side hustle. You don’t have to have an MBA, or know how to code, or be an expert marketer. You don’t need employees or investors. With Chris as a guide, anyone can make more money, pursue a passion, and enjoy greater security – without quitting their day job.
If you love to travel and find yourself frequently searching for airfare sales or browsing sites like Lonely Planet, why not monetize your knowledge as a private travel consultant? Start with friends and family who know they can already count on you for cheap flights and amazing activity recommendations. Ask for referrals and sign up on a site that connects you with travelers, such as Plansify. As a Plansify Travel Advisor, you can start connecting with a larger audience of people seeking your advice. Most registered advisors charge $12 to $30 to answer up to three traveler questions, and $50 to $75 for a one-hour Skype session.
Dreaming up, building and marketing an online store can be tough if you’re in a full-time job (be prepared to sacrifice your evenings and weekends). But once launched, an eCommerce store is one of the best ways to make money from the internet. It all begins with finding a profitable product niche. Something as simple as selling durian fruits online can turn out to be a winner, so don’t scrap any of your ideas without further research. Whether you’re making, manufacturing or sourcing your products from a supplier, it’s a good idea to think about private labeling and branding from the start. If you manage to establish a solid online presence and your side project takes off, you’re looking at an opportunity to earn a six-figure amount from running a branded online business.
If you've developed valuable skill sets or certifications within your industry over the years, consider putting your skills to use in your free time by offering your consulting services to local business owners as a potentially lucrative side business idea. Whether you're an expert marketer, business strategist, or manufacturing aficionado, there's likely a local business owner who's willing to pay you to help them solve an issue with their company—if you can craft an effective cold email that convinces them to hire you. Start with this 18-step checklist to becoming a local business consultant as a side business idea, from Karyn Greenstreet. When you're ready to get serious about becoming a consultant, check out all of my picks for the best online business courses to keep building your skills and learning how to land your first consulting clients. Personally, I think this is one of the best business ideas you can get started with today.
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.
If you love to create art of any kind, you could be making a little side-income with your talent. Custom, one-of-a-kind paintings are popular decorations, and many people are willing to pay for unique works. This side business idea is great, because it takes something you love (and would probably be doing anyway) and turns it into a source of income.
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.
After you have exhausted your skill set, consider what you may have to offer others. Think about what others want to have done in their life that you are willing to do. Consider all the things people pay for professionally, but would love to save money by paying you a bit less. These 5 examples are awesome in that they come from someone thinking outside the box.
Now that I've been blogging for almost seven (!!!!) years, built the blog into my full-time job, worked for myself for two years, then went back to work, I can look back on the whole process and pinpoint what I did right and where I went wrong. This makes me the perfect person to tell you the biggest things you need to know when considering this kind of transition.
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.
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
When your readers click on a link, they will be directed to the company’s site, and you will earn a commission either from the traffic you direct, or from a purchase they make on the site. Besides links, you can also put visual ads for the company in the sidebar of your page. Your job is just to continue producing original, relevant content, and you will be able to gradually establish a profitable side business.
A large proportion of homeowners and small businesses have lawns to tend to. Many turn to independent providers of yard work services to take care of their lawn care woes. To start and sustain a yard work services side business idea, you need training, equipment, and a growing network of customers. In the U.S., a full-time landscaping and groundskeeping worker reportedly earns a median wage of around $25,000, while those working on this as a side business idea largely during evenings and weekends can expect to make substantially less.
"Chris Guillebeau is back with another book that will teach you not just how to earn more, but ultimately how to live better. He says we can all benefit from a 'side hustle,' work you we do in addition to our day job. And he shows us how to make it happen. In fact, if you follow Chris's guidance, you can establish your own side hustle in just 5 week. What’s stopping you?” — Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of Drive and To Sell is Human
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.
If you’re adept at woodworking and have some basic equipment, it’s easy to get into business making deck furniture. It only requires a few items – a saw, a drill, a sander – and some creativity and passion for working with wood. If you have the tools or just want to turn your hobby into a business, this may be a great small business idea for you. In addition to creating new items, you could also focus on repairing existing wooden furniture or woodwork.
Many small businesses in your community could use a very basic web presence to tell others about their business. Quite often, these businesses don’t have a large budget for such things. That’s where you come in – get a bunch of clients from the local community by beating the pavement, create sites for them, and maintain them for a small fee. Get enough businesses and you have a nice side business of your own that doesn’t require a ton of maintenance time.
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.
Photography is essentially an art form which captures the moments in life we cherish. If you are thinking about sharing the beauty of your work with others while generating some cash flow, a photography business might be right for you. There’s a need for professional photographers in every market, but the majority of photographers make money either by serving individual clients or by working as a freelancer for magazines, websites, and other venues. Here is an overview of each type of photographer:
Have some extra space in your home? Turn that extra bedroom into a “bed and breakfast” room. If you live near any sort of tourist destination, you can try your hand at renting out a room through Airbnb or CouchSurfing.com. You may also find paid hosting opportunities in your community: Sign up to host exchange students, visiting professors to a nearby college, or hospital patients receiving long-term treatment.
Incidentally, helping others grow their wealth is also a good way to grow your own financial worth as a side business idea. If you have stock market and finance credentials, then you can earn freelance commissions or consulting fees, advising clients on how to get the best returns for their investments as a lucrative side business idea if you can get results for those clients—otherwise this business idea can be the fast-track to alienating friends and family, so be careful.
This business is great for those who like to work at their own schedule and pace. While certain transcription services, such as court reporter, may require stricter scheduling requirements, most of the work involves transcribing audio or video that has been provided to you. As such, the job is also ideal for those who type fast and are comfortable using computers and other related software and technology.
For individuals who enjoy sewing or seamstress work, have some artistic talent, or have an eye for patterning and organizing ideas into a tangible object, quilting can be the perfect career. A background in sewing is preferable, although some quilters started because of a love or passion for creating and quickly found their niche in the quilting community.
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.
When people go on trips, they’re often concerned as to what will happen with their pets. That’s where you step in — offer yourself as a safe place to leave their pets, or be willing to go to their home to take care of their pets. In many cases, people are more than willing to pay a qualified pet sitter in order to avoid sending their pet to a professional kennel.
I also recently wrote a blog post on Free SEO Tips for Bloggers that has been viewed over 100,000 times and is bringing in an additional stream of SEO clients. If you happen to want to take your traffic to the next level, hit me up if you are are in need of SEO consulting. This is a really in demand side hustle and can be done from anywhere in the world. In total the SEO work I’ve done has resulted in hundreds of millions of additional traffic, which I’m super proud of.
Enamel pins are back and they are popular! Selling enamel pins online is one of the side business ideas we are most excited about. The first step will be figuring out your audience- who are you going to sell these pins to? Next, you will need to come up with a unique design. Think long term here. You want a design that will still be popular six months down the road, or your hard work will have been for nothing.
Believe it or not, this freelance bike messenger makes more money than some people glued to their office desks. You won't rake in a whopping $50,000 as this guy does by just doing this in your free time as a side business idea only, but you’ll surely get a piece of the action. Even Uber is trying out a blueprint for a delivery service, and companies like WunWun and Amazon are stepping up their efforts to expand same-day delivery, increasing the demand for more to jump in on this business idea. If you have a decent bicycle, those pair of pedals might just earn you a healthy side hustle income.
I've long been drawn to the passive income supplied by creating an ebook and publishing an accompanied print-on-demand paperback. By using platforms like KDP and CreateSpace, both by Amazon, you can create an easily create and sell an ebook that costs nothing to produce, and a paperback that earns you money only when it sells, removing much of the prior friction it took to get published.
Working a side hustle is a great way to generate extra income, regardless of why you need it. If you're behind on savings (whether of the emergency or retirement variety), and your living expenses currently eat up your entire paycheck, then taking on a second gig could be the least painful means of catching up to where you need to be. (Your other choice, for the record, is to seriously cut back on your existing expenses, which could result in some serious lifestyle upheaval.)
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.
Furniture flipping is actually a really fun business. I’ve dabbled in this myself a time or two, and it’s a great way to make a few extra bucks if you don’t mind putting in the time. What you do is scour garage sales, Craigslist, or even the side of the road on trash day looking for furniture that’s in need of a little TLC. Then, take the time to fix, refinish, or paint the furniture, and resell it for a profit.
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.
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.
With pet specialty stores and dog-friendly restaurants becoming the new norm, more and more families are embracing the idea of openly expressing their love for their pets. Pet photographers, whether working in teams or as individuals, are there to catch a family’s four-legged loved one in action. Whether at an adoption event, dog show, horse race, or private photo shoot, these moments are captured on film, delivering pet lovers a keepsake they’ll cherish forever.
Teaching and tutoring English as a second language is a great way to make a solid side business idea work, not to mention opening doors for you to travel the world if you'd like. While full ESL (English as a Second Language) accreditation is recommended, as long as you’re a native speaker, there are people in countries such as Hong Kong or the UAE who are willing to pay upwards of $25/hr for you to teach them English via Skype. Indeed, Learn4Good and Remote.co often have remote english tutoring jobs posted, check back frequently. Then once you land that remote job, you'll need somewhere more professional than your dining room table to meet with students—check out this post about how to find places to work remotely and you'll officially graduate this side business idea into a full-time endeavor for 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.
Consider whether you'll need to lease office or retail space, or whether you can operate your business from your home. If you're thinking of running your side business out of your home (whether long-term or just at first), you need to check the zoning regulations in your city or county and make sure home-based businesses are permitted. This may be a problem particularly if you plan to invite customers or clients into your home on a regular basis.
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.