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
Everyone (even kids and retirees) need to have some level of technical know-how to stay competitive and appreciate the marvels of the digital age. Just observe how learning sites like Codecademy, Treehouse, and Udacity continue to grow and you’ll understand the urgency of getting computer training for our generation (thus making it a great business idea to train others if you already have the skills). If you’re a techie, you can cash in on this need by offering lessons and tutorials within your neighborhood or across cyberspace through portals like YouTube or Udemy as a side business idea. You can even set up your own tutorial site with an interface for online payments.
One of the most widely-available ways for making money is to drive for Uber or Lyft. The sharing economy has quite literally exploding, and both Uber and Lyft are at the forefront. The best part? You can turn on and off your availability through these networks with the simple click of a button, effectively allowing you to make money no matter what time of day or night it is.
If you're operating your business as a sole proprietorship in the United States, you don't technically need an EIN for the business – you can file taxes for your business along with your personal taxes. However, you may want one if you want to open a bank account for your business, or if you don't want your Social Security number to appear on business documents.
Have a knack for staying organized? If you're a jack of all trades, you should consider working as a virtual assistant as a side business idea. You can find great gigs on Elance, Indeed, or Upwork. It can be an awesome way to rub shoulders with some very important people, build up your professional network, develop in-demand new skills (like creating GIFs and VR videos), grow your side business idea and you'll have the added perk of being able to start this as a home based business idea. Becoming a virtual assistant can be a particularly great side business idea if you're hoping to travel the world while making money online as a digital nomad.
Stop driving for Uber and wasting your time. I’ve talked with too many people who tell me that they want to be career Uber drivers, despite that fact that Uber is clearly trying to replace all drivers with robots. Also, I see too many people trying to side hustle on Fiverr and websites where the only way they can compete is on price – essentially offering a commodity product. It is very hard to get ahead in life if you offer a commodity product at a low price.
Turning your favorite craft or hobby into a revenue-generating business idea easily counts among the most fulfilling experiences anyone can have. Just take a look at what Jacob Huss of Soteria Designs is doing wit his hobby of hand-building furniture and wood jewelry. With more and more people demanding a higher degree of personalization in just about anything they own or use, count yourself lucky if your craft happens to be the creation of custom furniture. Not only is the real estate sector regaining its footing, the number of style-conscious customers is also on the rise, creating plenty of room for growth into this business idea.
If you have a fondness for taking pictures of smiling families or laughing children blowing bubbles, consider becoming a stock photographer and selling your images to a stock photo company like Unsplash, ShutterStock and iStockPhoto as a side business idea. You’ll get royalties every time someone licenses an image you’ve submitted. To really be successful, build your own photography website to be able to showcase your portfolio and start getting higher-paid private corporate work.
When you’re on the path of frugality, you’ve basically got two options when it comes to padding your bank account: you can either trim expenses to save more money, or you can try to earn more money. Doing both will, of course, greatly increase the chance you’ll achieve your long-term financial goals, whether that’s to pay back your student loans or save up for your dream vacation.
Once you’ve established yourself in any number of freelance verticals online, spending your time focusing just on doing inside sales (booking freelance contracts with high-value clients) and then subcontracting your work out to other freelancers can help significantly grow your client list, and revenue generating possibilities with this business idea.
Guerin, an editor/author specializing in employment law, is author or co-author of several Nolo books, including The Manager's Legal Handbook, Dealing with Problem Employees, Nolo's Essential Guide to Federal Employment Laws, Workplace Investigations, Create Your Own Employee Handbook, and Nolo's Guide to California Law. Guerin has practiced employment law in government, public interest, and private practice where she represented clients at all levels of state and federal courts and in agency proceedings. She is a graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley.
College counsellors come in all shapes and sizes. Their primary duty is to help guide students through an important period in their lives. Some counselors focus on admissions, career advice, financial aid, athletics, extracurricular activities, and other concerns. There are institutions looking out for part-time college counselors, making this a fantastic side business idea, or you can even start your own practice and charge anywhere from $25-$100+ per hour for your consultative services if you're well-versed on the subject.
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.
Many people choose to start a side business while still maintaining a full-time job. Maybe you want to generate a little extra income, or you believe you have a good idea for a product or service that's going to take awhile to get up and running. Whatever your reason, starting a side business can be difficult, but you can do it if you test your idea and keep everything well separated from your day job. Spend time researching your idea so you know the need is there to make it worth your time and effort. Once you know your business idea is solid, get your licenses and permits in order and check over your employer's policies to make sure you can start your side business and still keep your day job.
People are always searching for one-of-a-kind venues for meetings, parties and weddings. Why not earn some extra money off the space you already have by renting it out for events as a side business idea? If you own a unique venue, like a studio, warehouse or boat, UK-based company Tagvenue will connect you with clients looking for somewhere special to host their event. Not a bad low-effort side business idea.
First, decide the composition of your target audience. Are you going to focus on aging skin-care products, or cosmetics for teens and tweens? Do you want to hit the burgeoning natural product market? Once you have a sense of who you are selling to, you will need to decide if you want to make your own products, or work and receive commission from a larger company.
Self-publishing is thriving, eBooks and online guides are slowly but steadily making a lot of online authors richer every day and, to the surprise of a number of cynics, people are still reading! So here’s another golden nugget for you – write a book or a long-form guide and sell it online. Whether you have a great personal story to tell, a valuable, educational piece cooking up in your head or have accumulated a wealth of resources or knowledge on a particular topic that could prove invaluable to others, you can start making money off it as soon as it gets online. If you publish your eBook through Amazon Kindle Publishing and continuously promote it on your blog or website, the sales will keep on trickling in.
I’ve always been interested in the idea of self-publishing, but I am not entirely sure how to do that. I’ve researched it and created an account on Amazon, but how do I know that I can trust the cite with my bank account. I’m also not sure how to know what price I should sale my book at. The tax information is confusing for me too. I am not a numbers person. Just getting through reading all the terms and conditions of publishing on Amazon took me a while. Any advice?
If you’re a fitness buff and have the right combination of charisma and business sense, working as a part-time personal trainer as a side business idea can be both physically and financially rewarding. Once you build up a reputation and client base for yourself, it could easily turn into a full-time endeavor for you. Check out these tips to a successful personal training business by the American Fitness Professionals and this interview with several fitness blog owners who are making a living online, from MonetizePros. Finally, I'd recommend checking out this resource if you want to take this business idea seriously and get started with a business plan for your personal fitness trainer business today.
Don’t freak out about not being able to code just yet – you can build and sell websites on Flippa without any coding experience. Flippa is a marketplace for buying and selling web businesses, apps and domain names. It’s a godsend for savvy entrepreneurs that are always brimming with ideas for new hustles. In essence, this is how it works: you brainstorm a startup idea, secure a catchy domain name, use a WordPress theme to build it out and make it look appealing, and then sell it in an auction on Flippa. Alec Larson has been doing this for some time, and claims to be making $1,000 to $1,500 on Flippa every month. There’s no clever secret behind this – you come up with compelling ideas, flesh them out and sell them to eager entrepreneurs. The essential upfront investment is minimal: starting a website will cost you $2.45 a month, including a free domain name registration, plus your time and effort to put the pieces together. Certainly worth a try.
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.
As an online marketer and a software engineer, I am obsessed with sales funnels. However, many people struggle with creating the proper funnel that converts. It takes a high degree of technical and marketing knowledge. However, ClickFunnels, a SaaS business with over 40,000 customers, which was started by Russell Brunson, takes all the guesswork out of that. Build a sales funnel and automate your selling with a platform like this.
Pet photography, like many other types of photography, can be done on one’s own schedule. You will have to be flexible in order to work with clients and find times that work for both parties, but you can pretty much set your own availability in a pet photography business. Best of all, there aren’t many ongoing expenses, so you could run a pet photography business from your home without very much upfront investment.
An Airbnb is a great way to add some extra income, especially if you have unused rooms or lots of space in your house. You will have guests staying in your home, so you should be comfortable talking and interacting with guests. Some homeowners, who travel often, will also rent out their homes when they are out of town. This allows them to receive income and have someone watching their home when they’re not around.
Carpentry businesses build, maintain, repair, or renovate residential and commercial buildings. Structural carpentry, such as framework, contributes to community safety by ensuring the structural integrity of homes and businesses. Finish carpentry, such as restoration of historical buildings, contributes to the environmental beauty and increased real estate values of the community.
Does your 9 to 5 job pay fluctuate? If you don’t have a predictable income, you might need more money some months and a little less others. If this sounds like you, you might choose to take up side gigs. These could be gigs that you create on Fiverr or the occasional freelance project on Upwork. You might design some wedding invitations for a client one week and help someone build their social media following the next. The type of projects you work on could vary drastically. But if you love variety and switching things up, this side hustle could be perfect for you.
20 Making greetings cards If you're the kind of person who loves making things, why not try your hand at cards? Ask a local shopkeeper what kind sells best and follow their advice, working to a distinctive style of your own. Then try selling to family, friends and local businesses. Be mindful of material costs and time taken though, as wastage can be expensive in such a low-value product.
Yes, you can turn your car into a money-maker by driving for Uber and Lyft, but there are other ways to convert mileage into money as a clever side business idea. One way is to do vehicle advertising, a potential side income source of anywhere between $100 to $600 per month. Whether you own a compact sedan or a full-sized bus, your vehicle’s exterior space is prime real estate for ads. Check Wrapify, carvertise, and similar sites for more details about getting started with this business idea and for being paired up with local advertisers.
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.
The firm wants to look smart on a topic and then use the white paper as part of their sales strategy. The funny thing about these reports is that very few companies actually write them – they hire freelancers to do it. If you were good at writing college papers then you will be awesome at writing white papers. I’ve written papers on all kinds of things and even hired my own researcher in India to do most of the fact finding for me. Always be hustling! A great place to look for these gigs is on Craigslist or through networking at local corporate events. If you go in expressing interest in white paper writing you can find likely find some gigs.
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.
Additionally, business owners who start this type of business are in good company. Not only do many people have successful children’s book businesses today, but one of the most successful children’s authors in modern history began by self-publishing her work. Beatrix Potter funded the first runs of both Peter Rabbit and The Tailor of Gloucester. The two stories are popular even to this day.
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).
If you don’t mind doing other people’s chores, then TaskRabbit may be the right side business idea for you. Earn a little side money doing odd jobs like walking your neighbor’s dog or mowing Mr. Smith’s lawn. Running errands not your style? Tell that to the top taskers on the portal who reportedly earn as much as $7000 a month, making this a full-time business idea for some.
Live streaming business owners make money by broadcasting live video gaming footage on popular platforms while making use of ad revenue. Popular websites like Twitch.TV and Smashcast (formerly Azubu) create great platforms for gamers to share their content. By acquiring a large following, (500+ average for Twitch.TV) the player becomes qualified to become a partner for the live streaming site. The streaming site will pay based on the internet traffic for the individual’s channel. Live streaming channels also solicit donations from their fans.
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.
While this is not technically “at home,” you can still earn great money without ever getting on the phone using your personal car, bike, or scooter to deliver food, give people rides, and even picking up groceries. The great thing about these companies is that it's also very flexible work. No one is telling you when to start and stop. You just do as much work as you can, when you can.
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.
There’s a big difference between drinking beer and learning how to brew it. But, with patience and a bit of persistence, brewing it yourself could result in something special over time as you perfect your craft. Pick up a starter kit, like one from Mr. Beer and get creative about finding a winning flavor combination. Start small by setting up a booth at a local street fair and networking with local restaurant owners. Be sure to brush up on local regulations and proper licensing before you start selling.
Think blogging is no longer a viable source of income? Think again. Tens of thousands of bloggers (including yours truly) are creating profitable content on topics as diverse as scrapbooking, home cooking, travel, film, lifestyle, business, personal finance and more. And we're growing our blogs into six-figure businesses thanks to a combination of email subscribers, affiliate marketing, blog sponsorships, and other revenue streams. Your first step with starting a blog is quickly getting the technical side of things handled (my free master course on blogging will show you how), and then both understanding what your audience craves and learning how to attract those readers online.
I also buy and sell moped – little 49 cc Italian and Austrian mopeds made in the mid 1970’s to the 1980’s. These are super cool and command premium prices in cities since they are easy to ride and get 100+ mpgs! I have Craiglist alerts set up in Chicago for mopeds and pounce quickly on the deals. I actually have a storage facility just for my mopeds and still love buying and selling them. These two hobbies of mine are actually great side hustles that I don’t ever imagine stopping.
If you’re particularly adept at a subject and you find teaching to be a rewarding experience, a home tutoring business is a great way to supplement your income without taking up too much time. Tutors often charge between $30 and $40 an hour and with 3 students a day for 5 days a week, you can supplement your gross income in the amount of $450-$600.
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.
If you’ve always wanted to publish your own book as a side business idea, there never been a better time than now. That’s because access to self-publishing tools and marketplaces has never been easier and more affordable. This eBook writer currently earns up to a couple of thousand bucks each month from six ebooks she published; while you can reportedly demand around $1000 per eBook project serving as a ghostwriter. My good friend, Caroline Beaton used freelance writing as her side business idea to eventually go from secretary to self-employed, while focusing on her own personal development and looking inward to discover what she's truly passionate about.
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.
When it comes to our mother tongue, most of us don’t give language a second thought. However, without language, almost all aspects of life as we know it would break down. Teaching foreign languages gives others access to a completely fresh perspective on human life, as seen through the lens of a new language. With today’s growing rate of globalization, starting a foreign language instruction business can offer you an exciting and profitable career.
This blog currently makes over $10,000 per month on advertising and affiliate revenue. If you want to dive deeper here’s more information on how much money you can make blogging. This is money that I have to do nothing to get – readers just reader, they sometimes click, and then sometimes they sign-up or try a service at no cost to them. Here’s a guide I wrote on how to start a blog and make money.
A test prep business often helps prepare customers for tests such as the SAT, ACT, GRE, MCAT, and LSAT. The business may also help customers prepare for other tests. You may instruct clients by themselves or as part of a group. Your business may be located in a separate office, or you may visit clients; alternately, you may conduct lessons entirely online via services such as Skype.
The opportunity to cash in on this adventure is still valid but only if you play smart. Buying and selling domain names is a great side business idea for entrepreneurs with strong research skills. Understanding the audience you want to sell to and being able to recognise valuable domain names are the key drivers behind the success of this business and the knowledge comes only with careful research and testing. Check out Sedo, one of the most popular domain marketplaces, to get a better insight into pricing and trends.
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.
I surprisingly get a lot of people asking to detail their car. I never intend to make a business of it, but I love doing it to my cars and people ask me to do it to theirs. All it takes is a cheap orbital buffer (mines a used craftsman) and a shop vac. I normally get easily $100 for a basic wash/wax/vac, or $200 to remove scratches and polish then wax the car.