In fact, many business owners start their businesses as side ventures. They don't quit their day jobs, but instead use the skills they've learned to start that side business. They aren't expecting these businesses to pay the bills, but they don't limit themselves on growth either. Starting small keeps the startup costs low. If it does fail, they have lost very little. How do you start a side business? Here are a few tips.
In the strictest situation, you may have signed a non-compete agreement that forbids you from opening a side business that would compete with your employer. Understand that "competition" can be construed fairly broadly by your employer, and may include businesses you think bear no direct relation to your job or your employer's business. This could turn into a legal issue.

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.
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.
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.
We're all guilty of spending too much time on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest sometimes, so why not get paid to put your expertise to work as a side business idea? Lots of companies, especially startups or those in retail and travel—even influencers have heavy social media presences and are constantly in need of people to help build their brands online. You can find these types of opportunities on sites like Flexjobs and CareerBuilder and most employers on these websites are conditioned to working with people who operate these services as their side business idea. Over time as you grow in your ability to leverage various social channels, you can add more service offerings like running high-return Facebook Ad campaigns or hosting lucrative sweepstakes competitions for the brands you want to work with.
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.
The ideal candlemaker should love the craft of candle making and have skills involved with sales and marketing. Candlemakers can begin modestly—in the kitchen and storage space of your home or apartment, and with a limited budget and inventory. Since candles are often thought to be commodity products, you must constantly seek ways of branding your line to differentiate yourself from competitors. Showcase your product line attractively through excellent image photography, a strong online presence and savvy sales skills.
For instance, if you need a website, why not contract with the tech guy from your day job? Need an accountant? Someone in the accounting department may need income on the side. However, make sure they understand to keep the work separate from their day job, just like you do, and that they’re working for you on a contractual basis. Your agreement should be professional and incorporate a timeline. You should also receive a work order or receipt just as you would from any other contractor.
When setting up your online store with Selz, you can customize your products by choosing the perfect font from hundreds of options. At Selz, we know that choosing the right font is a key method of branding your product. We also know that the first option you try likely won’t be your final choice; so make sure to preview multiple fonts, and keep in mind the ways that this design choice enhances the product you are selling. Soon you will be making some side-income from your passion.
If you’re one of those people who can’t help but flip through bridal magazines and think about various wedding arrangements in your daydreams, wedding planning might be the perfect thing for you. A great way to get started is to develop a website or blog on the topic, get to know people online, and promote your services at local wedding venues and throughout the community.

Briefly, successful niche websites rely on tapping into underserved topics and niches and using various monetization techniques, such as display advertising, sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, selling digital products or even plugging in eCommerce elements to lay a foundation for a passive income strategy. For some inspiration, read the FoodTruckr story (a website for buying and selling food trucks) and how it found its success online purely by chance.
If you already have a sizable Instagram following, or a knack for getting followers, you could be approached by major brands, gear companies, and other relevant businesses with products and services your audience may be interested in. Take 25-year-old Liz Eswein for example, who charges a fee to brands for taking the photos she posts on her account @NewYorkCity, and an additional $1 per like on top of that. Not bad, considering most of her photos get well over 20,000 likes.

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.
As a soapmaker, you'll formulate soaps and perhaps other personal cleansing and beauty products according to your own recipes. You will market your offerings along sales channels that might include ecommerce, farmers markets, arts festivals, wholesale placement in spas and boutiques, and even door-to-door sales. You'll explore a range of options to see where you can find a loyal customer base.
Virtual reality is a huge field of growth in the tech world, with potential applications in education, medicine, and, of course, entertainment. Everyone wants to explore new worlds, and VR headsets and goggles allow consumers to do exactly that. There are a various types of these products available, so it helps to be knowledgeable about the different brands and how they work.
Many small businesses need a social media manager and simply don't have the time nor the expertise to be constantly posting on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat or Twitter. Take it upon yourself to contact local businesses and offer up your services for a contracted monthly fee. This is an easy way to make money no matter where you live.
You can choose to do custom gift baskets, or have a few themed options for customers to pick from. Make sure your baskets are aesthetically pleasing, and build your store to include high-quality photos and clear descriptions of each product. Consider offering promotions for holidays, and giving discounts to repeat customers. Most importantly, get creative and have fun.

On top of just the skill and experience components to being a successful online coach, this side business idea is all about building a community around the help you're offering and fostering trust with members. Plus, your community members will learn from each other along the way. Creating the space for that community can be as simple as setting up a private Facebook group or choosing a community-building platform like Ning.com that has even more capabilities like using your own custom URL, having internal forums, customized designs, and more.
Don’t leave the house without your camera? People love the style and feel of your images? It’s time to put a price tag on this hobby! One of the easiest ways to earn passive income online is to start selling your photos on sites like Shutterstock and iStock Photo. With visual content on the rise, the demand for unique photography is growing rapidly, so don’t miss out on this side business idea. If you own more gear than just a professional camera, you could also consider hunting for headshot or wedding photography gigs. If you start out by offering your services for free to your friends, you’ll be able to test your abilities, build a portfolio and get some free word-of-mouth advertising in no time.
Although you can still build a niche website around your personal passion, it is typically a more calculated affair. You gear all your efforts towards establishing multiple income sources and earning money rather than getting the satisfaction of following your hobbies and interests. You might be a huge fan of Queen’s music, but if there’s no money to be made off this, you won’t pursue the idea as a side gig.
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.
Business consultants provide a necessary service to startup businesses and entrepreneurs. They help the business get off to a good start by providing the know-how and resources necessary for success. A business consultant usually retains a book of clients and may limit his or her business to just several hundred (or fewer) businesses or entrepreneurs.

Software drives businesses today. This is a fact not lost on individuals and companies attempting to earn a profit, make a name for themselves, or simply get things done. As a result, the job outlook for software developers will be much sunnier than prospects for many other occupations—creating massive opportunities for this business idea well into  the future. In fact, it won’t take you long to find a good-paying software development project as a side business idea on sites like Upwork, Guru.com, and Freelancer. LinkedIn also recently launched their brand new freelancing platform, ProFinder which has a dedicated section just for hiring talented software developers.

Affiliate marketing is the ideal way for any side hustle or to prosper. All they have to do is start a blog or website, preferably a self hosted WordPress blog, and start discussing a niche topic they’re passionate about. One thing I tell people about starting up a business online is a side hustle is that you have to be passionate about what you’re doing and not look at it as a second job. If a person loves doing what they’re doing as a hobby, it’ll transform into a full-time business and not only be more successful than hoped for, but will most likely end up becoming a millionaire and inspiring others to follow their lead. Becoming a millionaire is one thing. Appreciating the process and being thankful for the learning experiences is another.


Launching a side business when you already have a full-time job isn’t easy, but the payoff – increased financial security and a deep sense of satisfaction – makes the effort worthwhile. These 10 side business ideas for busy people can be squeezed into weekends, evenings and even lunch breaks, which means they can easily coexist alongside day jobs. (Just make sure you’re not violating any company policies.)

A person has a better opportunity at building a stable career off of affiliate marketing, blogging, and side hustling alone with the goal of becoming a future “side hustle millionaire.” Side hustles online are by far the best form of job security because you’re using your kinetic energy to build yourself up to ultimate wealth and not an unthankful employer.
If you already have a sizable Instagram following, or a knack for getting followers, you could be approached by major brands, gear companies, and other relevant businesses with products and services your audience may be interested in. Take 25-year-old Liz Eswein for example, who charges a fee to brands for taking the photos she posts on her account @NewYorkCity, and an additional $1 per like on top of that. Not bad, considering most of her photos get well over 20,000 likes.
Obviously, this business is ideal for veteran, practicing artists. It is also educational in nature, so it is good for those who have formal or informal experience with being a teacher or teacher's assistant. Finally, it's a job that is best for a “people person,” as your entire business model revolves around prolonged contact with strangers, so being able to engage and connect with them immediately is crucial.
The real estate market is on the rebound (for today) and people are buying and selling properties in many locations across the U.S. That means a lot of opportunities for professionals who know how to navigate the legal, financial, and commercial aspect of real estate to build up a stable of clients as a side business idea, especially if you begin to scale your sales hiring and build a team of reps working to help you close more deals. If you consider yourself an expert in the subject, it won't be a walk in the park (hehe), but you can earn significant additional side income as a home-based consultant.

Great post, MM! Incredibly inspiring, I really only grasped the side hustle concept since starting my blog about 6 months ago, after reading sites like yours. Already, apart from my blog, I’ve put my personal recording studio into use and started a music production side hustle, and a friend and I have launched a boutique logo design start up, called BroGoLogo, as an quality alternative to commodity products/services that you mention in this post.


If you already have a website that's driving in targeted traffic, a great way to make passive income from the content you're already creating as an easy side business idea, is through affiliate marketing. ShareASale, Rakuten, Clickbank, and Skimlinks are a few of the best affiliate networks and tools that can help you make money from the content you already produce, thus amplifying your side business idea income. Check out this extensive list by Justine Grey, covering the 59 Best Affiliate Programs for Business Bloggers to get some inspiration on how other bloggers are growing affiliate blogs from side business idea to full-time company.
Nothing beats playing your favorite game. But getting paid for coaching a sports team and staying close to the action is the next best thing. Not only will you learn new skills, you’ll earn money getting your team into shape with this side business idea. The median pay for sports coaches clocks in at $30,400 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Expect to have only a slice of that if you’re signing up for part-time coaching as a side business idea only.

Cycling is a popular sport in the United States, with people regularly using bikes for fun, exercise, and transportation. In 2015 alone, 17.4 million bikes were sold in the country. As bikes are used, they occasionally break down -- and most people aren’t well-versed in repairing bicycles. A bike repair business fixes and refurbishes bikes for customers when their rides break down.
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.
Once you have a regular audience (ideally in the thousands), you'll start to develop a lot of value to potential advertisers. Let's say your podcast frequently talks about life as an outdoor photographer. A natural fit would be to reach out to relevant magazines, gear companies, and camera brands to see if they'd be interested in advertising on your podcast of targeted listeners. The more niche your podcast topic, the better for future sponsorship opportunities.
Car flipping can be a fun way to turn your love for cars into a quick side business idea if you have the capital and a stomach for the inherent risk. Buying and selling cars is similar to other “buy low, sell high” business models, but the profit potential per hour invested can be very high. According to Jeremy Fisher at 3HourFlip.com, the trick is to learn how to make car deals come to you, so you can minimize your time invested and maximize your profit on each flip with this side business idea.
Most Instagram users find themselves using the app in their free time. When you get off work, the last thing on your mind is working more, but using Instagram feels more like fun than hard work. As you spend some time creating the perfect post, you could be earning some major coin from the business whose product/service you’re advertising, and it’ll take very little of your time to do.
I also recommend FlexJobs for finding more home data entry jobs. With that site, you can regularly search legitimate work at home jobs for data entry and other industries. Every job lead is guaranteed scam-free, and it's the only membership-based jobs site I currently use and trust. Their listings are updated 5-6 times per week, and they are plentiful. You can currently get 30% off a subscription using promo code AFFILPROMO.
Now that you’ve thought through the myriad of reasons to start a business on the side, the next step is to know what to expect. Some people think a side business will be easy and won’t take much effort. After all, it’s a side business right? Unfortunately, that’s simply not the case. A side business has many of the same challenges and issues a full-time business has. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind.
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.
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

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.
You can sell everything that goes along with scrapbooking; including designs for different themes, stickers for added detail, scissors with a range of blade shapes, books to work in, and more. Make sure to clearly label and display pictures of the different supplies that you are selling. For an additional income source, consider offering guides and themed books.

If you have a way with words and know how to make the keyword-friendly, beautifully designed, SEO-optimized landing pages, why not charge other companies for your services and turn it into a money-making side business idea? Even a short landing page is worth a couple hundred bucks in most cases, and so much more if you know how to pitch your prospects well. If you want to get started with your business idea of becoming a landing page specialist or freelance copywriter, check out Len Smith and Sean Kaye's awesome course on Udemy, Copywriting Secrets: How to Write Copy That Sells.


Gardening is a popular pastime for many people, and a growing segment of the population is working to grow fruits and vegetables of their own. If you have a green thumb, this might be the perfect side business idea for you. First, decide what kinds of gardening supplies you will be selling. Do you want to stick with seeds, plants, plant food, and fertilizer; or are you interested in selling equipment such as shovels, rakes, and hoses?
Comon’ man… this article is about getting YOUR side hustle ON. Re-read the gianormous list Nick gave, then read ALL the comments – many of which offer additional ideas – and then rethink how little you have to offer or can do. I mean, it’s just not possible for you to feel that lost if you really consider the list provided and the vast world of opportunity we currently live in. Unfortunately ALL the ideas require you to actually DO something – no room for the wallowing “woe is me” attitude – sorry, just dropping some TRUTH on you but sounds like you need it. Only YOU can make it happen for you. Remember the sobering and sage words of Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!” So which is it going to be for you?
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