Dreaming up, building and marketing an online store can be tough if you’re in a full-time job (be prepared to sacrifice your evenings and weekends). But once launched, an eCommerce store is one of the best ways to make money from the internet. It all begins with finding a profitable product niche. Something as simple as selling durian fruits online can turn out to be a winner, so don’t scrap any of your ideas without further research. Whether you’re making, manufacturing or sourcing your products from a supplier, it’s a good idea to think about private labeling and branding from the start. If you manage to establish a solid online presence and your side project takes off, you’re looking at an opportunity to earn a six-figure amount from running a branded online business.
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.
Create a formal business structure. Even if you're just starting a side business that you don't think will ever grow large enough for you to quit your main job, you still need to treat it as a serious business and follow the necessary formalities to keep it separate from your personal income and assets. In the United States and many other countries, you have the option of organizing your side business as a corporation, a limited liability company (LLC), or a sole proprietorship.
Investing in domains is one of the easiest side hustles. There is no other place where you can get a 1,000%+ return on your money in a pretty short amount of time (less than 90 days in some cases). I buy and sell them at $400+ profit regularly and have been doing so for over 10 years. Domains are the real estate of the internet and they are only getting more and more valuable. I have seen the average price for a mid-tier domain jump from $400 to $3,3000 in the past 3 years alone.
Another option for earning a side income is to deliver for PostMates. Similar to working for Uber and Lyft, you can work whenever you want. While the pay might not be enormous, you do have the ability to earn tips. If you're in a highly-trafficked area such as Los Angeles or New York City, this is a great way to earn some cash and you don't even need a car.
Do you live in a well-traveled area, preferably with room to spare? Consider offering up your accommodations through Airbnb, the web and app based service that connects travelers with hosts, who then open their house as an impromptu hotel. Airbnb makes a great side business for the social butterfly who enjoys making connections and meeting new people.
This business is good for people who are both creative and practical. There are an infinite amount of design options for phone cases, but some will be more popular (and profitable) than others. A good business owner can both narrow down the choices, and predict trends to gain a market edge. Owners will also need some customer service and advertising experience as well.
As you can see, you don't have to spend thousands of dollars to start a side business. The 11 ideas above only scratch the surface of the types of side business you can start to make extra money. Plus, who knows? You might even be able to turn your side hustle into a full-time career today. Start small with an equally small investment, and see where it takes you!
“There's a great temptation to assume that side hustles are just for "special people," like artists, dreamers, and 17-year-old computer geniuses. But Guillebeau deftly proves everyone can (and should) have a side hustle. More than that, he shows you how. He is living proof that this book works, and so are the many people who have followed his roadmap.”- Jon Acuff, New York Times Bestselling Author of Finish
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.
If you have a knack for connecting with people and the willingness to take on some risk, a commission-based freelance sales role could be a great side business idea for you. Many startups seek part-time and commission-only salespeople, especially when they're just getting started, which means you'll often be able to make this a home based business idea. Develop your sales strategies, become an inside sales rep and perfect your cold calling skills on the side in your free time for nothing but commission, negotiate a little equity and you could profit big time if you're pitching a solid product and the startup succeeds. Start your sales education with the acclaimed books, Secrets of a Master Closer and To Sell is Human by famed bestselling author Daniel Pink and you'll be well on your way to getting this side business idea off the ground.
Now for the completely strange and unexpected: Jon Colgan, founder and CEO of fintech startup CellBreaker, used his background in sustainability to help finance his business. “I also studied sustainability in school and became enamored of using worms to compost. As a third revenue source, I sell worms,” he says. “I discovered that happy worm populations double every 90 days. My worms are always happy. So, I started selling worms and vermicompost on Craigslist and by word-of-mouth.”
My husband and I tutored as side hustles while we were dating and still in college. We both used to help kids with math on the weekends and evenings. Sometimes, we’d get paid as much as $40 per hour especially if we traveled to another town to help kids. This was a nice amount of income for college students, and it allowed us money to go on dates and even save up for a few trips. If you like teaching and helping others, this is a great, low-cost business to start.
How much money can you make as a virtual assistant? Most virtual assistants trade their time for money so you might get capped based on the number of hours of work you can do each week. You can choose to set a total monthly earning or get paid by the hour. Some make minimum wage while others might make $35 an hour depending on their skills and experience.
Etiquette training gives lessons to people of all ages on the proper way to conduct oneself in a variety of settings, especially in the professional world. Etiquette can cover how to act in both international and domestic settings, from a formal dinner in Japan to a debutante ball in Georgia. As globalization becomes more common, these types of lessons can be invaluable for many companies and professionals. Etiquette trainers may give online lessons or in-person lessons, depending of their budget and location. The instructions may be anything from cell phone etiquette for teenagers to the best way to send a thank you letter after a job interview.
If you've been searching for work from home more than a minute you know how much crap is out there. You know that everything that glitters isn't gold! You already know that most work at home opportunities want to take your money and not help you make it! We've all been taught to be skeptical of work at home opportunities and to trust the BBB for insight. But have we been lied to? The answer may shock you.
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.
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.
As a result of urban growth, and more people moving to the city where their yards are small (frequently only a balcony), the bonsai tree business has boomed. There is a great appeal in owning tiny bonsai trees, which might be only 18" high instead of 60' high. Business owners can be very successful since both local sales and Internet sales are becoming extremely popular.
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.
Have you ever dreamed about writing a best selling book? Well, Amazon’s self-publication platform Kindle Direct lets you do just that. With the right market research you can write your category killing book and sell it to the masses without dealing with the cost and bureaucratic hassles of traditional publishing. The best part is, once you’ve published the book, it will continue to bring in revenue month after month with little effort on your part! People are earning anywhere from a few hundred dollars to well over $100,000 publishing on Amazon.
Are you an accomplished instrumentalist or vocalist? Have you played in a band or a symphony? Even if you just play as a hobby, selling music lessons online can be a great way to help people explore their passions and make yourself some money on the side. Parents often seek out professionals to help their children learn how to play a specific instrument, and virtual music coaches are becoming more and more popular.
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.
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.
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.
Live in a destination where travelers frequently visit? If you love meeting new people from around the world and also love the city you live in, starting your own local tour company is arguably the best business idea that will give you both of those perks. Take a unique spin on your local tour business like Erik from Vantigo. He was starting his VW van tour business in San Francisco as just a side business idea while he was still working a full-time job, and grew it to being a sustainable source of full-time income before quitting—now he's running a multiple van tour company on the back of what originally began as a crazy side business idea.
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.
If you own a car but barely use it, you can make some easy cash as an effortless side business idea by renting it out on Turo. Before you freak out, know that there’s a $1 Million insurance policy on all cars, plus drivers are prescreened, so you can have peace of mind. Closely related to renting out your car is another new service I recently came across (available only in the UK at the moment) called YourParkingSpace where you can sign up to list your available parking space through the app, and earn when people decide to use your spot.
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Photography is essentially an art form which captures the moments in life we cherish. If you are thinking about sharing the beauty of your work with others while generating some cash flow, a photography business might be right for you. There’s a need for professional photographers in every market, but the majority of photographers make money either by serving individual clients or by working as a freelancer for magazines, websites, and other venues. Here is an overview of each type of photographer:
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!