Maybe you’ve always had a knack for repainting old thrift store furniture. Or maybe you’re a gifted musician who could coach other young aspiring talent. Maybe you have a specific education, training, experience or skill that you could develop into a freelance business such as financial planning or graphic design. Whatever your “thing” may be, there are plenty of good reasons to get going.
However, it is when I tried to get some hard info out of it that I ran into trouble. For example, the one website that was recommended for doing little IT jobs on the side turned out to be a depressing place where people desperately bid for jobs for extremely little money ("$12 if you configure my email software"). Also, the tax chapter didn't seem to really belong: I had to read it multiple times and still couldn't figure out whether I'd have to pay self- employment tax as a day trader or be subject to schedule C, etc...
The good news is, remote work can actually be high paying, and allow you to live the lifestyle you crave. Maybe you want to travel the world and be able to take your work with you, or maybe you find you work better from your home. Whether you’re an independent contractor or an employee at a company that allows for remote work, you have the option to shift your lifestyle to fit your needs and desires.
Network marketing (sometimes referred to as multi-level-marketing) can sometimes have a bad connotation if you have ever been scammed in the past. However, there are very reputable companies out there that you can start working for today with very little buy-in or overhead. A member of our family started off her network marketing business as a side hustle and has turned it into a part-time gig with full-time income. Warning: if you are told it doesn’t require any actual work – run away!
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.
Obviously, everyone has different things going on in life, so if you’re in a season where you can’t focus on your side hustle, it may not be a good time to start one. You could wait to start one until a better time for you (although I recommend putting a date on the calendar for this if there’s ever going to be a chance you follow through). If you’re just “busy” in life but it’s a normal season, they just go for it and give yourself a set schedule of when you’ll work on it every day.
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.
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.
Successfully starting a blogging business requires a lot of passion for a particular subject and a desire to share that passion with others. The passion is often more important than what the subject itself is, as there are blogs on all kinds of topics -- and readers interested in all kinds of subjects. Creating content for a blogging business requires a significant amount of time, but the tasks can easily be arranged around a full-time job or other obligations.
Many families with kids, including single-parents, have very limited time resources, creating a demand for part-time child care providers (and a business idea opportunity for you). If you love kids and have some spare time, you can earn plenty of side income by looking after children while their parents are away. Just be sure to identify the particular age group you're comfortable caring for and you’re all set after any necessary certifications. Establishing a home-based daycare center capable of servicing six or more kids is also a lucrative way to really expand upon this business idea if you have the right environment for it.
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.
We all know you can buy and sell stuff on Craigslist, but have you ever thought about offering a service you can provide. If providing a service isn’t your thing, you can scan Craigslist for great deals and then later resell items for a profit. This takes persistence and patience, but I have a friend who went from a $4k truck to a $24k in truck in 18 months by flipping cars from Craigslist.
Freelancing can be an excellent way to take your existing skills and channel them in a direction that can generate income. Are you a writer? Consider using freelance writing to fund your startup. Flexible hours, ability to work from anywhere, and virtually no materials needed beyond your computer and internet access—freelancing is a dream side business.
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.
This list offers some great ideas and inspiration for folks looking to increase their income. There’s really no reason that anyone with some ambition, a good work ethic, and “people skills” can’t earn some extra money (or a full-time income) pursuing some of these self-employment ideas. I’ve done a little research, myself, to compile a list of small business ideas, and stumbled upon a few possibilities which you didn’t cover: