If writing is something you put down as one of your passions, it can definitely work. The first step in this long journey is to discover your niche – a specific theme or topic that most of your content will focus on. The three really broad but most profitable niches are money, relationships, and health and fitness. You can, of course, choose to write about anything that excites you – whether it’s walking as a hobby or upcycling. Just keep in mind that the niche you select needs to be narrow enough to keep your writing efforts focused on building authority and, at the same time, broad enough to capture the interest of a large audience.
No matter where you're from or what you do for a living, thanks to the conveniences afforded to us by the internet, making money is no longer a constant and never-ending struggle. With the proverbial world at our fingertips, as long as you know how to tap into the vast amount of opportunities found in the digital ether of cyberspace, you can earn some extra income, even if you're in a tight bind.
As long as there is still the written word, there will always be editors. Freelance editing and proofreading not only pays a decent hourly wage, it also gives you the chance to read about potentially interesting topics too. What's more, pursuing freelance writing & editing as a business idea can afford you a lifestyle that lets you travel the world as a digital nomad. You can find lots of job postings from companies and individuals in need of writing, proofreading, and editing services on Upwork, which makes this a high-demand side business idea.
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.
I remember staying up until 2am to start my blog on a work night (and I am in bed at 9pm normally!). I was so excited, I couldn’t help myself but go all in and start. This is the type of enthusiasm that works really well with starting a side hustle. The more excited, committed, and focused you are, the more likely you’ll be disciplined and therefore, successful.
Fiverr is a great place for first-time freelancers who might not have tons of experience and want to build up a portfolio of their work. You'll be able to complete simple tasks ranging from logo design, to creating animations, or even drawing a company logo on your forehead. While this side business idea likely won't be growing into a million dollar startup for you, it can still be a platform for funding your next big business idea. Want to learn more about Fiverr's history and how to get the most out of selling on the platform? Listen to my interview with Fiverr CEO Micha Kaufman.
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.
11 Computer repairer/troubleshooter Despite the proliferation of technology in our lives, many people still find computers complicated to maintain and terrifying if they go wrong. If you have a reassuring manner and are not fazed by the inner workings of a PC, offer your services locally and let word of mouth do the rest. "I had some success doing this in the past," says Hamm.
There are a huge range of themes to personalize your store, giving it a unique edge that will stand out from the competition. The Selz builder is simple, fun, and easy to use. In-depth tutorials and helpful 24/7 customer service can get your fully-hosted store up-and-running in no time. Selling online opens you up to a huge range of customers that will have immediate access to your work.
A lot of car owners simply don’t have time to personally care for their vehicles, much less make them sparkle. With simple equipment such as car shampoo, polishing wax, tire black, sponges, a pail and a sturdy hose, you can start earning a decent side income by making cars look fresh in your free time after work and on weekends. Not bad for an easy business idea that'll keep you outdoors and moving your body on the weekends.
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.
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.
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.
Are there people at your full time job who come in with an expensive coffee each day? If you have a machine at home that could recreate that same beverage each day, offer your services at a reduced rate. I knew a woman who provided coffee for four of her coworkers every day. She bought travel mugs inexpensively and made coffees to her coworkers specifications. They were available every morning, hot and perfect for just $1 a day. This saved her coworkers $3-4 each day and made her money on the side. Plus, she was already making her own coffee, it didn’t ake much extra time in the morning to make a few more.
Something else I recommend is taking the free 7-lesson mini-course on general transcription offered by Janet Shaughnessy of Transcribe Anywhere. This will help you to understand if you're a good fit for a transcription career, what you can potentially earn, and also where to get started. Janet also has free legal transcription mini-course if you're more interested in going that route.
There are amazing benefits to working remotely, from decreased stress to higher engagement. It’s definitely easier to show up to work if you’re not dreading the commute, or if you’re in an environment that fosters your creativity and motivation. Remote work benefits employers, too — They report lower costs, higher productivity, and more productive employees.
If you are looking to make a positive impact on the environment and animals, a pet waste removal business is for you. This is your chance to eliminate unsightly and potentially dangerous animal waste. Your services will add to the visual appeal and safety of local properties. If you have a passion for animals and cleanliness, this is the ideal business.
Many gymnasiums will trade membership and often a bit more for a person willing and able to teach an exercise class. You can also find people who don’t want to go to a gym and train them at home as a personal trainer. If you’re in good shape, this is a great opportunity to earn some extra money, plus it can often lead to additional income with one-on-one instruction opportunities.
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.
A greeting card business sells greeting cards to customers. These greeting cards can be for a number of occasions, including birthdays, holidays, reunions and even funerals. Cards can either be sold directly to customers or to retail dealers. If they’re sold to a retail dealer, the dealer then sells the cards to customers. Some greeting card businesses operate online, selling cards to shoppers and shipping them.
I’m not saying that walking dogs for a few hundred extra bucks a month so you can invest isn’t worth doing. It definitely is and you don’t have to side hustle to scale – any additional money you make and invest will help you walk away sooner. I’m just saying that before you start side hustling or pick your next side hustle, just understand that you really can make a ton of money doing it with the right mindset and strategy.
That’s where Chris Guillebeau’s Side Hustle steps in. The term “side hustle” has become all the rage these days, but for Guillebeau, it’s the way he’s lived his life and earned his income for more than a decade. As a friend and colleague, I’ve watched from the sidelines as he’s repeated the process many times, getting better and faster with each iteration (and often looked on in awe). And, I was excited to receive a copy to dive into and learn from.
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.
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.
Imagine this scenario: You’re at work and a customer from your side business calls your personal cell phone. He has a problem with a product you delivered the night before and needs you to fix it immediately. If you don’t, he’ll refuse to pay for it and you’ll have to eat the expense. But you also have a project that’s due in a few hours at work that can’t be late. What do you do?
If you know a thing or two about paid internet marketing and are comfortable with Google, a great way to make some extra income as a side business idea is to sign a freelance contract to manage a company’s Google Ad Campaigns, and gradually start bringing on more clients as your consulting business grows. Just be sure to brush up on all the right business slang and industry jargon that's pervasive in the online marketing world before you launch unprepared into this side business idea.
Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission. Know that I only recommend tools and learning resources I've personally used and believe are genuinely helpful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to purchase them. Most of all, I would never advocate for buying something that you can't afford or that you're not yet ready to implement.
What are your skills, what is your knowledge base, and how can you channel your areas of expertise into revenue-generating side businesses? A great side business is one that allows you enough flexibility to pursue your dream startup, while still bringing in a sufficient revenue stream. Maybe, like Lori Cheek, you can sell unwanted items on eBay while also renting out a room via Airbnb, or follow Joseph Howard’s example and keep your corporate job while offering freelance services.
31 Online trading Sites such as eBay and Amazon make it easy for people to dabble in e-commerce. "Start with a clearout of your attic," suggests Dan Wilson, author of Make Serious Money on eBay. "If you start to sell other goods, focus on things you can get hold of easily, or are passionate about. And have an eye on the Christmas market: think about what will be selling well in a few months' time."
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.
I’ve actually fielded requests from others looking for people willing to do this, so the demand is out there. To put it simply, some people are willing to pay others to get a vegetable or flower garden started for them in their yard so they can have access to ultra-fresh produce without all the legwork. If you have a green thumb and some knowledge about the vegetables that grow well in your area, this would be an easy business to start.
The easiest activities to eliminate will be the ones in which you have the least amount of involvement or responsibility. You may want to keep activities for which you have a significant amount of involvement, or which are relatively prestigious positions for you to have. For example, you might want to eliminate a community organization if you only participate sporadically, but keep the group in which you've just been elected treasurer.
Know someone who rents out property to others? Perhaps they could use a hand managing their property. If so, you can make a decent amount of money on this side business idea with relatively little work on your part (most of the time). It'll take some hustling and the willingness to be flexible with your schedule, as you'll be responsible for collecting rent checks, managing repairs and improvements, and simply being on call for emergencies. But, a property manager is essential for most real estate investors that have a large enough portfolio, so there's definitely merit to this business idea.
If editing and advising college students on how to write compelling 500 word essays on topics such as "You were just invited to speak at the White House. Write your speech," seems like a compelling business idea to allocate your free time towards, trust me—tons of parents will pay you to edit admissions essays and offer constructive feedback for their children. Be careful not to blur the ethical line of actually writing their essays, but serving as an editor to help them convey their message can become a great side business idea that has the potential to spread by word-of-mouth referral in your community.
Like many of these side business ideas, selling sunglasses is a business you can start by hand-making your own product or outsourcing production to a company. You will need to decide on your niche- do you want to sell a certain kind of glasses, a certain brand, or just a style that speaks to you? Once you’ve settled on this, you will need to market hard.
If you want to speed up the process of launching your blog, I recommend setting up quick, affordable and easy website hosting with a company like Bluehost, choosing a simple WordPress theme and working on your first post, in order to set the precedent of prioritizing your time on creating content, connecting with (and building) your audience. Then once you've been able to build a community around your blog, you'll want to invest in really understanding your readers—so that you can give them more of what they want.
I can’t say enough about dog walking and pet sitting. I’ve been doing this for over two years, and my business has grown to the point where I was only home 4 days last May. The place I’m at now has a pool, and the next place has a pool table. I love dogs but can’t have one of my own, so I also get all the puppy snuggles I could want. And the startup cost is very low.