Let’s face it, times are tough. The unemployment rate is high and the cost of gas and food prices are on the rise. Out of necessity, many people have started to look for ways to supplement their income. Some have succeeded with side business ideas while they continue to work a full-time job. But that’s a big step, and many don’t realize how much time, effort, and money it takes.
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
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.
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.
Counted amongst the most valuable tech giants, Amazon is also a massive global market where virtually anyone can cash in on the rising tide of eCommerce if you have the right business idea. But, like everything else that involves money, you have to do quite a bit of work to earn it. In this case, you need to do tons of research (looking for generic products such as clocks, key chains and mugs to attach your brand to) as well as developing a sensible inside sales strategy that'll help you generate profits from your private label side business idea. For an incredible deep dive on how to launch this kind of business idea, check out how digital marketer Neil Patel recently did this as a public experiment right here on his blog.
A fun little way to personalize things around the home and office, magnets are also practical tools for attaching notes to the fridge and highlighting your to-do list at work. You can create your own magnets from scratch or you can purchase magnets from a wholesale vendor online. It just depends on how much time and money you want to put into this side business idea.
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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!
You can sign up for free at Rentafriend to be someone else friend both part-time and full-time with pay between $20/hr – $50/hr. Yes, this sounds very strange from the outside looking in, but a lot of times you are helping someone get acquainted in a new town, meet a new group of friends, or simply have a cup of coffee with. Most importantly – friendship is always platonic (no touching).
Work at home transferring data from one source to another. Most of these companies do not require past experience, although with few exceptions the pay may not be enough to consider it a stable income. Before you begin applying to any of the companies below (many of which sadly are almost never hiring), you might want to read the post I wrote about data entry jobs from home. It explains what your expectations should be prior to pursuing a career in this industry.
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.
That’s my plan. No kids, no spouse, parents deceased. I’ll never be able to retire. On PSLF, but forgiveness not approved until 120th payment. Many are not being forgiven now. I take courses to stay in deferment. FedLoan bases payment on gross; not net. How does that make any sense?! After bills I can’t afford the payment. I have 3 grad degrees. Was supposed to be a psychologist. APA & NCE won’t accept my 15yo degrees for the national exam. So I teach at a CC. Over 180,000 in debt now and it grows monthly.
Yes, even the PowerPoint presentation requires outside consulting every now and then—especially if it's not your forte. I know I would happily outsource the visual layout of my presentation decks for work meetings, investor pitches and lectures. Tobias Schelle of 24Slides is living proof that you can turn your skills at slideshow presentation design into a legit side business idea—and potentially earn up to $20 a slide for your time and talents.
In the last few years, I’ve created online courses, launched a self-published book (under a fake name—not proud of this one), done marketing consulting, launched an email course, Airbnb-ed my apartment, traded stocks, bought cryptocurrency (my best investment to date), bought a condo and put it on Airbnb, wrote a book (a better one), bought a business, put affiliate links on my site, given paid talks, written book summaries, and built an affiliate site for a basketball dribbling course I never took (also not proud of this one).
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.
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!
To market yourself as a consultant, you will, of course, have to be an expert in something. But, as Brett rightly says, “most people starting a business are.” What are you good at? What skills from your career can translate over into a viable consulting business? Think about your previous duties and areas in which you have excelled, and go from there.
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.
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.
If you’d rather trade time for money you might choose to get a part-time job. Side jobs to make money include: dog walking, babysitter, restaurant server, receptionist, administrative assistant, or barista. You can also find part-time jobs within your industry. Maybe you’re a full-time marketer who takes on a part-time social media gig. The only downside to a part time job is that you need to invest your time for money. And time is your most valuable luxury. Part time jobs don’t scale as well as an online business would. Meaning, your total earnings get capped.
No matter where you're from or what you do for a living, thanks to the conveniences afforded to us by the internet, making money is no longer a constant and never-ending struggle. With the proverbial world at our fingertips, as long as you know how to tap into the vast amount of opportunities found in the digital ether of cyberspace, you can earn some extra income, even if you're in a tight bind.
Yes, spending time on YouTube can be a legitimate business idea if you take it seriously. If you can create value-driven, entertaining video content and grow your subscriber base to a few thousand subscribers, your videos can start generating pretty substantial income from all the ads being displayed on your videos. Many YouTube users make well into the millions each year, so there's clear potential to take this from side business idea to eventual millionaire with the right combination of content, audience, skills, relationships and timing. If you’re considering starting a YouTube channel it’s important use best practices when making videos. Read the YouTube playbook for tips which will result in faster growth of your channel. Additionally think about investing in a quality camera and microphone since the production quality of videos can often affect your viewership.
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.
Treat your business finances like your personal finances. You should be creating and sticking to a budget for both, allowing you to make your money work best for you. It's also important during this time to sock away as much extra money in savings as you can, to prepare for the transition from your full-time corporate job, to working for yourself. This is probably the biggest mistake I made, as I quit work in a huffy with only $3k in savings.
If you want to speed up the process of launching your blog, I recommend setting up quick, affordable and easy website hosting with a company like Bluehost, choosing a simple WordPress theme and working on your first post, in order to set the precedent of prioritizing your time on creating content, connecting with (and building) your audience. Then once you've been able to build a community around your blog, you'll want to invest in really understanding your readers—so that you can give them more of what they want.
Earning money on GigWalk is similar to working on Task Rabbit—not a bad side business idea if you've got the free time. You get to choose from an amusingly diverse range of jobs from taking snapshots of restaurant menus to counting the items arrayed on supermarket racks. It won’t make you rich though, with payouts tending to congregate in the lower half of their $3-to-$100 range. But, if you're looking for a steady little side business idea, it can't hurt doing a strange but fun errand and getting a tip at the end. When you’re bored or a little short on cash, you can access GigWalk anytime, anywhere via their mobile app. Meanwhile, all the jobs specifically vetted for you will be within reach (ideally, just a brisk walk away).
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.
We all wear clothes (at least some of the time). Which, of course, makes the business idea of cleaning soiled laundry an obvious hit. In fact, the self-service laundromat industry in the US is worth more than $3 billion, with many related businesses such as a mobile app laundry service, a real rolling mobile laundry service, and home laundry pickup & delivery services springing up each year. Here’s one way you can cash in on the trend as a side business idea.
From crafting to home repair to website design and more, if you've ever wanted to turn your hobby into a business and watch your passion generate cash, Running a Side Business is the book for you. Packed with tips, legal resources, start-up success stories and USA TODAY snapshots and infographics, you'll learn the life cycle of a business and get answers to important questions along the way. Find out how to:
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.
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.
This job is ideal for someone who is good with both technology and people. It is necessary to be good with technology because you must know your way around the hardware and software necessary to print onto a variety of different surfaces. You must be good with people because your clientele is potentially very diverse—the professional who needs new business cards may be very different from the college student who wants to order an ironic t-shirt.
A screen printing business specializes in printing images on t-shirts or other items of clothing. There is flexibility to operate such a business completely online or via a traditional store. The store may also offer pre-set options for images and phrases as well as allowing customers to submit their own designs. The ability of such a store to create t-shirts for schools and businesses also provides a great way to build community spirit.
Are there people at your full time job who come in with an expensive coffee each day? If you have a machine at home that could recreate that same beverage each day, offer your services at a reduced rate. I knew a woman who provided coffee for four of her coworkers every day. She bought travel mugs inexpensively and made coffees to her coworkers specifications. They were available every morning, hot and perfect for just $1 a day. This saved her coworkers $3-4 each day and made her money on the side. Plus, she was already making her own coffee, it didn’t ake much extra time in the morning to make a few more.
According to a report published by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food in Canada, the jam and preserve industry in the United States brings in over $1 billion annually. Most impressively, it’s grown steadily -- even through the Great Recession. The market for jams, jellies, and preserves is strong, growing, and has many opportunities for new start-ups.
This business is great for artists, giving them a venue to create their own designs and sell them via t-shirts. It is also great for those with strong community ties, as it lets them build long-lasting relationships providing t-shirts for various high school clubs, small businesses, local churches, and other organizations. Finally, it's a good business for savvy social media users as they can leverage these skills to reach diverse audiences of customers online.
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.