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
While having a formal background in graphic design is absolutely going to be helpful, it’s also relatively easy to learn the foundations of graphic design on your own. An increasingly easy-to-use Adobe Illustrator and even more easily accessible tools like Stencil and Visme are making it so that just about anyone with two opposable thumbs, a bit of creativity, and motivation can earn a side income doing things like designing (and selling) images like these motivational quotes that can be printed onto posters and sold on platforms like Etsy. Or you can find a local startup, small business owner, or photographer who could benefit from some extra help designing or altering images.

Do you love to write? Are you an expert in a certain field? Is there a topic that you are particularly passionate about? People love the ability to carry knowledge around with them on their phones, tablets, laptops, and Kindles! Making eBooks is an excellent way to get your work out into the world and make a buck on the side. In fact, self-published eBooks account for 22% of all eBooks purchases in the United States (source). In time, writing eBooks could even replace your 9-5, but you’ll need to find a place to market and sell your work where it will get maximum exposure.


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!
It’s very important to set boundaries with your clients in order to maintain your schedule. For instance, if you only want to work one day a weekend so that you can spend the other with your family, be prepared to lose some business when you don’t cater to the more demanding clients. With a set goal in mind, it will be easier to stick to your guns and not compromise your other priorities. Remember, if you know where you’re going before you start, you’ll have a much easier time getting there.

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.
This business is ideal for current and former teachers, which is why many teachers begin their home tutoring business as a part-time job. You must be a people person, as most of the business regards direct, one-on-one interaction with others. It helps to be good with children of all ages, as they comprise the vast majority of your customers. Finally, it helps to be organized and self-motivated: conducting home tutoring as a full-scale business means managing many contacts, reaching out to local schools, and making sure you have enough time during each session for your various clients.
Owning a home staging business is an ideal full or part-time business for creative people looking for a business they can run from home or a small office. Due to the nature of the industry, owners of a home staging business need to have a flexible schedule. Late nights and working during the weekends is typical. Some of the work may involve moving heavy furniture and other physical activities.

Build up a following on your Instagram account and you could quickly be approached by major brands, gear companies, and other relevant businesses that sell products or services related to the type of content you share on Instagram—creating multiple potential side business ideas that'll come to you. If you have the right marketing skills and hundreds of thousands of followers, you can easily charge anywhere between $500 to $5,000 per post (or more)—which makes for a very profitable side business idea. Check out this fashion Instagrammer on ThePennyHoarder, making a significant income from brand sponsorships. Once you get some traction, to cut down on the amount of time you spend uploading images, you can make your entire workflow more efficient by posting photos from your Mac or PC.

This doesn’t mean that if you’re busy you can’t find time to side hustle, it just means that you should calibrate the difficulty of your side hustle based on the amount of time you have. I know many families who work side hustle at night after their kids go to bed and some who even bring their kids along on the weekend. They are able to do it, because they schedule their time well and they just really want it.
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.
If you don't find what you're looking for there, here's a list of the 45 best places you can learn to code for free. Once you command a knowledge of HTML, Ruby, Python, Javascript, or CSS, you can start a freelance business as a side business idea to build your portfolio while you still hold onto your full-time job. Listen to my podcast interview with Laurence Bradford about her journey to become a freelance web developer, too. And over time, you'll build more relationships, have more experience and eventually take this side business idea over to becoming a full-time source of income.
Dogs are amazing. But, owners aren’t always at home to take them for a walk. If you’re a canine fan like I hope you are, this great side business idea can net you a regular profit by just taking some adorable pups for a stroll around the park. With pet-crazed, yet busy Americans having more pooches around, dog walking services have become a thriving industry in some U.S. cities. In fact, there’s already an app called Wag that links up dog walkers who want to exercise this business idea with the pet owners who need a helping hand.
Dropshipping is one of the best side job ideas. It allows you to sell a product directly to the customer without having to buy any inventory. Why’s that great? You don’t invest any money to buy products, keeping your risk low. The manufacturer not only carries the inventory but he also ships it directly to the customer for you. Your main focus: marketing and customer service – the lifeline of the business. If you’ve got a strong marketing background and want a side hustle that plays to your strength, this is it. It’s one of the rare side jobs that allows you to scratch a true entrepreneurial itch. You get to be the owner of your very own business.

If you want to broaden your services and earn more, you can opt to make the entire house look neat and clean with this side business idea. House cleaning services cover carpets, floors, lawns, garages, windows, walls, and roofs, requiring a whole range of cleaning tools. You can hire maids and janitors to do the actual cleaning while you handle sales, administrative and customer service tasks. Or, you can start small by actually getting your hands dirty as a contractor, learning on the job before launching your own cleaning operations with the help of cleaning business management tools like Swept. Beyond that, I'd recommend checking out Cleaning Zoom's ultimate guide to starting a cleaning business if you plan on taking this business idea seriously.


Drop shipping is an eCommerce model where you buy products from a supplier who then ships the items directly to your customer. This is ideal because it mitigates the age old problem of sinking $5,000 in your first batch of inventory that may end up collecting dust in your garage (while you eat the cost). Instead, you list your supplier’s inventory on your site and when an order rolls in they handle all of the shipping and logistics while you collect the profits.
Keep in mind that competition is fierce right now; many people turned to freelancing when the recession hit to earn some extra money on the side. So you’re going to have to fight your way into this market. The good news, however, is that quality writing never goes out of style, and there’s far more bad writers out there than great ones. So if you’re good and you’re persistent, you’re going to find work.
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.
I don’t know about that working for free thingy. Even if an affiliate bought from me, I would still make them an offer on something highly discounted, such as a downloadable .pdf file, an informative YouTube video with AdSense in it included in a pdf file or ask them to share the video with everyone so clicks could be accrued, and the list goes on. Working for free online is not an option. lol
Next you will want to create and display your pins. The Selz store builder makes it easy to show off your work, while the stylish web design options will help your store to stand out from the competition. You can choose to sell hard enamel pins or soft enamel pins, or both if you desire. In the beginning, though, it’s generally best to choose one or the other to avoid being overwhelmed.
I didn’t launch Millennial Money to make money. I launched it because I really like thinking and writing about money. I also feel like it’s my personal mission to share sound financial advice and spread financial literacy. It just so happens that pretty much everything I get interested in turns into a business opportunity. The money from the blog is simply a by-product of my passion for writing. If you don’t enjoy writing then don’t start a blog – you really have to love writing.
I started this blog in February of ’08 simply as a hobby, and two years later it became my full-time “job.” when I realized there was money to be made (a total fluke that I jumped all over!) Now, 4 years after that, here we still are and having the time of my life. So you really never know what opportunities are around the corner when you start hustling. But you do need to grab them when they cross your path.

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.
Nothing beats teaching more novice learners about your passion, hobby, or craft as a business idea (that's a common theme here). Explore dozens of DIY portals (such as DIY.org, DIY Network, Instructables and Mahalo) to get business ideas on how to earn a healthy side income just by showing others how to do the things you love. You can also sift through the countless ad-supported YouTube channels that teach just about anything from guitar strumming to 3D printing.
Thank you so much for this list. I have been deliberating on starting a consulting/coaching business for so long now (2 years). I am not working at the moment as I took a career break after my MBA to start a family and now look after my child. Consulting for SME’s has always been my passion, it was actually my MBA long term goal but since I am yet to attain my short term goal (getting a job and more experience) I am hesitant to start my coaching business. My fear of not starting has been around how a new employer will perceive me when I am ready to go back to work. Are there people who openly run a side hustle and their employers know? I am in the UK and currently starting to look for a job but it is taking longer than expected, I also would like to know how this applies in the USA as I will be moving over in two years. Can you advice, anyone with experience in both markets please advice.
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.
Look specifically for how your competition built their side hustles. Use Google, Pinterest, and Amazon for this. Try to find out exactly what they did, or take a look at their websites and analyze their business models. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel. Of course, you’ll make it your own – you’re not stealing anything from them. But everyone learns business from everyone else (something this took me a long time to learn). So, take a nod from the best in your niche and start there to research how you can start your side hustle.
Carpets make your home warm and cozy. But they also tend to gather dust, grime, stains, allergens and bugs over time. You can tap into this opportunity by launching a carpet cleaning side business idea or serving as an independent contract cleaner in your free time. Either way, you’ll need to invest in proper equipment such as vacuum cleaners, carpet brushes, and cleaning chemicals in order to launch this business idea. Look into the possibility of renting equipment for a full weekend and lining up 5-10 clients to service, to offset your rental costs. If you turn a healthy profit, you'll eventually be able to invest in owning your own equipment and increase your margins, thus going from side hustle to serious business.
Employed techies planning to earn some extra side income can leverage their software and hardware skills by offering home-based computer repair services as a business idea that engages their passion. If this rings a bell, you can start with a modest one-man tech team before envisioning a scaled-up operation as massive as Geek Squad. Remember, you can provide home service locally as a starting point to this business idea, as well as offer remote support through online messaging and video calling services before making your way into a retail setting.
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).
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.
When I used to work at CreativeLive, I regularly paid $250-$500 (or even much more depending upon audience size) per episode for 90 seconds worth of advertisements on relevant podcasts like The Tim Ferriss Show, the #1 business podcast right now from the 4-Hour Workweek author, Tim Ferriss. The podcast has even helped Tim launch his latest New York Times bestseller, Tools of Titans to a wider readership.

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.
This is a job with much potential, in part because the title description covers many things. “You can fit your offerings to what you know how to do,” says Stephanie Foster, a former medical transcriptionist who runs the website HomeWithTheKids.com. One can own a virtual assistant business or work from home for a company that makes you available to other employers or clients. HomeWithTheKids.com, for example, currently features several such companies.
Whoa. Epic list! I love the Chick-fil-a cow mascot :) Makes me think of all the side hustles I’ve had… my favorite was when I used to introduce myself as a commissioned painter and ended up closing a few deals that way. When I got to the point where I was painting portraits of people’s dogs that had passed away, I realized that I no longer enjoyed what I did :P
Your customers will need a reason to buy your tea, and not your competition’s. You will need an inviting storefront to catch their eye and make them stop and check out what you have to offer. Selz can help you create a unique store design that will stand out from the crowd. Consider offering packages of similar teas, or seasonal options- i.e. the best teas for a cold winter.
It’s a big risk to leave a stable job and venture out into territory unknown, which is exactly why many people decide to test the demand for their new business while still enjoying the benefits of a full-time salary. This works particularly well if the idea is new or you aren’t sure whether or not the product will go over well in your area. By not committing full-time to the business, you can maintain a safety net in case it doesn’t go as well as you hope.
Job description: "As a member of our front-end engineering team, you'll have the opportunity to enhance our users' experience by proposing and implementing improvements and new features in a variety of apps. We are looking for highly communicative, auto managed, hard-working guys with great tech skills. You are expected to learn from and contribute to team knowledge. As part of a successful growing startup, you will be involved in the whole product development flow, and your voice will be heard!"
If trends hold steady, there will be an estimated 6 billion smartphones in the world by 2020. This is an incredible opportunity for those who want to break into this market, as there will be increased demand for products to protect these expensive investments from dents, scratches, and breaks. The majority of phone cases are sold online to decrease overhead costs. However, retail storefronts can be a good investment for entrepreneurs depending on the target customers.
This business is good for photographers, as they will already know a lot about improving an image via specific editing. It can also be good for those with extensive skills in editing software such as Photoshop. Finally, it's good for those who use social media extensively, as such a person will be able to offer creative editing services to help customers build their online brand through unique visuals.

This is a job with much potential, in part because the title description covers many things. “You can fit your offerings to what you know how to do,” says Stephanie Foster, a former medical transcriptionist who runs the website HomeWithTheKids.com. One can own a virtual assistant business or work from home for a company that makes you available to other employers or clients. HomeWithTheKids.com, for example, currently features several such companies.
Anyone can sell goods on Amazon, provided you have products to sell (or buy low, then resell). If you’re the type to hit all the local garage sales each weekend, there’s all sorts of valuable things that can be resold online as a side business idea. If you want to step your Amazon selling game up, check out this detailed guide to Amazon and eBay retail arbitrage on Entrepreneur featuring an interview with Julie Becker and several drop-shippers who've grown this home based business idea from side business idea into a lucrative money-maker.
While this suggestion could not be further from the standard small business loan, it cannot be denied that the strategy paid off. The company has now earned around $1.65 million in seed funding from Andreessen Horowitz, CrunchFund, Spark Capital and Chicago Ventures, and has been named one of the Top 5 Silicon Beach Startups to Watch by Entrepreneur.

To avoid any confusion, I want to make it clear first that virtual assistant work is not always non-phone, but it can be. Virtual assistants tend to do a little bit of everything, just depending on their skills/expertise. So if you are good at various non-phone tasks (social media marketing/moderation, writing, graphic design, research etc.), then you may be able to do work for some of the companies below putting those non-phone skills to work. I also want to make clear that even when you do phone work as a virtual assistant, lots of times it can be arranged so you're making the calls during times of day when it's convenient for you.
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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.
Most companies that hire for search engine evaluation have multiple projects available to work on, so the exact work you do might vary. However, search engine evaluation in the traditional sense involves analyzing queries that regular people like you and me might type into Google or Bing search and then determining the best possible results to match up to that query so that users have the best experience possible using a search engine.
Okay, so you won't make money that fast with a blog. But, if you start a blog and deliver enormous amounts of value, you could set yourself up with a platform for ending a tremendous amount of passive income. This is something you can easily build on the side with just a few hours of work per week, but you need to stay consistent and post great content regularly.
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