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.

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.


A great way to increase sales is to host an online spa party. This allows potential customers to join in from the comfort of their own homes with no obligation to buy. During this online party you can set up giveaways and offer free shipping on any purchases made within a specific time frame. This business has the potential to grow rapidly, and also to be a lot of fun!

Entrepreneurs who have the most success are often in love with their business idea. Remember, you’ll be selling it, marketing it, and likely talking about it to everyone you meet. You’ll spend most of your free time developing the business, which means you may spend more time with it than you do with your own family. If you don’t truly love it, you won’t have the fuel and endurance you’ll need to succeed.


Do you live in a destination where others frequently visit? If you know your city well and enjoy meeting new people, get the best of both worlds by starting your own local tour business. Make it unique like Erik Hormann’s Vantigo, a company that takes you around San Francisco in a stylish VW van, and you’ll be able to command anywhere from $55 to $600 depending on the tour.

The book did not disappoint (of course). I love the step-by-step layout of the book with a very specific 27-day roadmap for how to discover your side hustle mission all the way through to launch date and beyond. The advice is practical and down to earth with direction like "launch before you think you're ready and adjust as you go." You can't let perfectionism hold you back if you want a side hustle to be a success. And don't worry if things don't work out the first time, Chris gives you lots of tips on how to evaluate your launch and make changes for the next iteration.
Freelance writing is one of the most flexible of the non-phone options, and it's an easy field to break into without any experience at all! This is also an industry that can pay well, especially if you forgo content sites (such as the ones below) and work on finding private clients that will agree to the rates you set. The content sites don't pay that well, but they can still help you get valuable writing experience and earn a weekly paycheck.
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.
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Tutoring pays quite well, and many clients will refer you to others, especially if their son or daughter shows significant improvement or finishes a class with a good grade. People want to know what they are paying for, so advertise your skills by having previous clients give testimonials and providing information on your own educational background.
Ideally, individuals with photography experience and an eye for architectural detail will be the best fits. Contacts in the real estate industry are an added bonus. It is also beneficial for the person to enjoy working outside or away from an office setting. Being in the field requires reliable transportation and an ability to transport gear, sometimes on foot for extended amounts of time, as well.
A real estate appraisal business can be operated from home, on a part-time basis, making for a fun side business idea if you have the credentials to back it up. A perfect option if you want to keep your day job while earning a little extra on the side. You won’t need a college degree to start in on this business idea, but you’ll need bankable appraiser credentials (including relevant training and professional licenses), strong knowledge of the sector, and a growing network of industry players including mortgage brokers, real estate agents, banks, and fellow appraisers that'll want to utilize your services.

Although it is called Fiverr, you will only be netting just under $4 after Fiverr takes the first 20% and Paypal takes a few more pennies. However, there are many things you may be able to do quickly for $4. A quick design, a quick voice over if you have that deep sexy voice, or creating a quick intro video for a company in a matter of minutes for you techy type may get you some quick and painless cash. Also, if you sell enough, keep a good rating, and Fiverr likes you, there are levels you can advance inside Fiverr for higher cash payouts and more gig offers.

If you’re adept at woodworking and have some basic equipment, it’s easy to get into business making deck furniture. It only requires a few items – a saw, a drill, a sander – and some creativity and passion for working with wood. If you have the tools or just want to turn your hobby into a business, this may be a great small business idea for you. In addition to creating new items, you could also focus on repairing existing wooden furniture or woodwork.
Make sure your intended market is broad enough to sustain the business. Many new business owners mistakenly offer a product or service that only a select few want, without specifically targeting that market. Especially with a side business, it helps to have a broad audience. But even if your market is niche, make sure it’s large enough to sustain your business. Remember, your marketing efforts may be limited and you’ll need to reach more people with less effort.
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.
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.

Do you love being outside, planting flowers and pulling weeds? Many people find this a chore but others (myself included) love doingyardwork and planting. If this is you, then you could think about starting a landscaping and yardwork business on the side. You could offer to design beds, plant flowers and shrubs, cut grass, pull weeds, and rake leaves.


If you don’t want to offer a full line of meals, why not focus on one thing? For instance, there are plenty of shops on Etsy that sell homemade gourmet cookies (e.g. Earl Gray Sandwich cookies, Cupcakes in a Jar, or gourmet caramels). I’ve been thinking about selling homemade gourmet jam (i.e. home canning recipes) during the summer months. I’ve read of other people who have started a gourmet cocktail catering business, where they come to parties and make gourmet cocktails. Fun!
I am very skeptical of most MLMs (#55) but I really like the model of Melaleuca. This is an MLM that does not require any purchasing of items to sell upfront like most MLMs. Money is earned by enrolling others in their online shopping club and receiving a monthly commission on their purchases. Plus there are plenty of monetary and product incentives for enroller and customer. The products are great, ‘green’, non toxic items that replace what you are already buying at stores (cleaners, bath and body, vitamins, shampoo, weight loss, etc.). Check it out for yourself and as your side hustle business!

If you like shopping, you can also give mystery shopping a try. With Jobs2Shop, you find local mystery shop gigs in your town. Once you’re on a mission, you might take pictures of product displays or even scan product barcodes for price checks. Of course, you can also have the opportunity to evaluate customer service and the cleanliness of the store or restaurant too.
It’s not exactly a way to make consistent great money, but housesitting—exactly what it sounds like—is a fantastically easy business idea that can fund your ability to live in exciting locales around the world (or your city) without paying a dime in rent. Did I mention it’s a way to travel and live rent free? Here’s a list of four great websites from the legendary Nomadic Matt, to start your housesitting side business idea search.

If you enjoy writing, find a topic you’re passionate about and start a website dedicated to covering that topic and anything else interesting you want to talk about. All you need is a computer, some time, and some energy to consistently write. It can start as a hobby and turn into a business over time. And blog hosting can cost less than $12 per month.


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.
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.
Every website owner (including myself) hires copywriters to write content for things like about pages, FAQ's, or blog posts. Hourly wages for novice copywriters are not very high, but with some experience and a growing portfolio, you can become a freelance writer today and soon be charging more than you make at your full-time job if you find the right clients and brand yourself as an expert with this side business idea. Check out one of my most talented friends, Jory Mackay, for an example of someone who's doing a great job of positioning himself as a premium service-provider with his freelance writing side business idea. Then when you're ready to start cold emailing potential clients, pick up my free downloadable freelance proposal template and get started today.
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.
AirBnB offers a great resource for people that are willing to rent out a spare room or even their entire home. If you're in a bind for some fast cash, AirBnB offers you an avenue for creating an income. You'll get paid 24 hours after a guest checks in, which is to avoid any problems or potential scams that might arrive. Some people earn their primary income just by renting out rooms or homes on AirBnB.
If you've developed valuable skill sets or certifications within your industry over the years, consider putting your skills to use in your free time by offering your consulting services to local business owners as a potentially lucrative side business idea. Whether you're an expert marketer, business strategist, or manufacturing aficionado, there's likely a local business owner who's willing to pay you to help them solve an issue with their company—if you can craft an effective cold email that convinces them to hire you. Start with this 18-step checklist to becoming a local business consultant as a side business idea, from Karyn Greenstreet. When you're ready to get serious about becoming a consultant, check out all of my picks for the best online business courses to keep building your skills and learning how to land your first consulting clients. Personally, I think this is one of the best business ideas you can get started with today.

Most of us struggle with selling our own experience and skills. Looking for a new job can be an extremely stressful and frustrating experience, so it’s not unusual for job hunters to turn to experts for a bit of help and guidance. Whether you have some recruitment experience or a knack for clear communication, CV and cover letter writing could be just the right side gig idea for you. Experts at Stand Out Shop are cleverly combining CV writing service with selling downloadable resume designs, so think big and think about offering the ultimate job hunter’s package. Don’t know where to start? Use your LinkedIn network to generate leads and promote your services.


Make extra money providing a simple service that’s like going for a walk! For over 30 years I’ve been cleaning up litter outside retail, office and industrial properties. I simply walk the property and clean up litter with inexpensive hand tools. Great side hustle as the work needs to be done before the businesses open for the day. I’ve written a book, Cleanlots, that details how to get started.
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.

Like birthdays, marriages happen all the time. Which means you can treat weddings as a recurring fountain of business opportunities: wedding dresses and coats, jewelers, food caterers, venue providers, photographers and videographers, performers, flower shops, travel agencies, souvenir crafts, and a host of other ventures. Now imagine if you can form a network of these service providers so you can offer engaged couples a range of hassle-free wedding packages as a turnkey business idea. The process is certainly fun (and time-consuming), but as a side business idea, the pay can be pretty great.
If you’re not familiar, podcasts are essentially self-published talk shows. The audiences tend to be extremely engaged and it’s one of the best outlets for networking that I’ve ever seen. The engagement also makes it one of the best marketing channels out there right now. Many podcasters are reaping the benefits, with some like John Lee Dumas bringing in $2,000,000+.
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).
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.
Because watch repair is very specific, general repairmen may not be fit for the watch repair business. Those who’re experienced with repairing small mechanical items, however, may find watch repair to be incredibly fun. Those who enjoy collecting watches and clocks, too, may enjoy the art of watch repair. As a business owner, a watch repair shop owner will need to have a good handle on management, accounting, and marketing.
Domain trading has been around for decades, and while the best ones have long been sold off (Insure.com went for $16 million in 2009), there’s plenty of others you can get your hands on for relatively cheap. Earlier this year, I registered thelaunchformula.com for $11.95 because it was a catchy title for an upcoming course I’m filming. Since then, I’ve already received two offers to purchase it for just under $1,000.
The remote workforce is increasing, and if it’s something you’re interested in, you have more than enough options for whatever suits you and your career path. These are just the top-paying remote jobs — Check out job search sites to find the remote job that works for you. After all, who wouldn’t want to be more productive and cost effective, less stressed, and more engaged overall? The average American will spend one-third of their lives at work. It’s time to make your job work for you!
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If you are always trying out new hairstyles and enjoy working with hair, then this could be the perfect side business idea for you. Start with a specific tutorial, such as a how-to on making stylish braids. You can upload videos to your website or store demonstrating each type of braid, and produce a guide that gives step-by-step instructions for each.
If you’re still not having any luck with the jobs I've shared above – check out FlexJobs. The company has a A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau,  along with a money-back policy if you are unhappy with the website. FlexJobs guarantees that every single job is hand-screened for legitimacy. This is a great way to search for legitimate work at home jobs without the hassle of dealing with scams.
Enamel pins are back and they are popular! Selling enamel pins online is one of the side business ideas we are most excited about. The first step will be figuring out your audience- who are you going to sell these pins to? Next, you will need to come up with a unique design. Think long term here. You want a design that will still be popular six months down the road, or your hard work will have been for nothing.
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.
Craft fairs are also a great side hustle. I do very well at high end, handmade only craft fairs and festivals. Its a marketplace that attracts people who prefer handmade and have the income to easily afford high end crafts. I am a baker/food crafter (not the same as a food vendor. Food crafts are jams, sauces, cookies, breads, toffee, honey, maple syrup, etc. – foods made at a kitchen and brought to the event, not prepared at the event like sandwiches and burgers, etc, made by food vendors). I make hand made baking mixes, an oatmeal bar cookie in 4 flavors and a gluten free truffle cookie in 3 flavors. As with farmers markets, craft fairs mean immediate cash. I accept credit cards, too. No waiting for a paycheck to come, as my hubbie is paid by-weekly.
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