Obviously some of these small business ideas have more earning potential than others, but what they all share in common are relatively low barriers to entry and the flexibility to work at them for a limited amount of time per week. I also tried to focus on side business ideas that have some sort of online component to them, since that's what I love most.
Someone out there is remodeling their kitchen and needs to know which shade of granite will match best with mahogany flooring. That someone will often be happy to pay you for your advice, especially if you’re the kind of person that subscribes to websites like Contemporist and you have the motivation to turn this business idea into a money-making enterprise.
An online driving school (also called a “traffic school”) can be started by anyone who has an affinity for creating web-based services, who is also willing to go to the trouble to be legally certified by a state authority. Schools that offer in-class instruction needs certified teachers who are skilled in public speaking. If getting up in front of a crowd of strangers to explain things does not intimidate you, you would be very good at this. Most driving schools also offer on-the-road training, which requires instructors to be both patient and firm with students, so as to help them learn how to drive while avoid making dangerous mistakes.

Yoga is getting ever more popular, which means yoga instructors are more in demand than ever—making this another physically rewarding side business idea. Link up with a local yoga studio to teach nightly classes or offer personalized yoga in-home at a higher rate to pursue this kind of emotional and physical balance with others, during your free time while helping your bank balance, too.
If trends hold steady, there will be an estimated 6 billion smartphones in the world by 2020. This is an incredible opportunity for those who want to break into this market, as there will be increased demand for products to protect these expensive investments from dents, scratches, and breaks. The majority of phone cases are sold online to decrease overhead costs. However, retail storefronts can be a good investment for entrepreneurs depending on the target customers.
Then you can move into more actionable online courses like Modern Web Design on CreativeLive and Learn Web Design and Profitable Freelancing on Udemy will teach you everything from foundational web design knowledge to earning your first freelance income as a web designer. On top of that, you can take even more immersive courses and learning experiences with access to direct instructor feedback and personal mentorship with platforms like Treehouse, LinkedIn Learning and General Assembly to get up-to-speed even quicker with this career path and listen to my podcast interview with Ian Paget about how to become a freelance designer as a side business idea.
If you own a camera, starting a freelance portrait photography business could be a very natural way to turn your skills and passions into a profitable business idea. Start with doing free shoots for friends and family to build up a strong online portfolio, get familiar with your gear and the editing process, then you'll be able to get paid for photographing professional head shots and celebratory family moments as your side business idea. Get started by checking out this men's portrait photography class that regularly broadcasts for free on CreativeLive. Plus, once you have all the photography gear, you can earn a little extra side income by renting it out when you're not using it through online marketplaces like Fat Lama.
It’s funny how much baking can relate to making money. Start bringing in some side income by kneading flour, mastering the oven, and appeasing everyone’s sweet tooth. While some experts have already turned baking into their sole “bread and butter,” you need not leave your day job to pursue this business idea just yet. Depending on your experience, you can start by doing something simple on the side like perfecting Grandma’s nostalgic cookies before heading on to offer exquisite artisanal fare.
It’s not very engaging, or mentally stimulating, but taking online surveys through companies like Survey Junkie do pay  out (a little), believe it or not. Even if the payouts come in the form of Amazon gift cards, sites like Swagbucks can pay well. Just don't expect to make bank with this side business idea—I recommend combining it with another source of side income from this list of my best business ideas, and turning to surveys in your downtime when you need a little extra income.
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.
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.
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.

My events are seasonal (May-December here in Massachusetts) and some vendor fees need to be paid months ahead of time to secure a space in a well attended show. This is a great opportunity for peer to peer lending! My best fairs cost between $125 to $250 to get in, but I can make $1200 or more at those shows. My 2 sisters invest in my biz early in the year so I can pay those vendor fees during my slow season (Jan-May) when I don’t have much income from my biz. I pay 10% interest on their investment, which is usually about $1500, and pay them back by the end of December. 10% is much more than they would get leaving that money in their bank account. If I had the funding, I would go to farmers markets and fairs and talk to the crafters/vendors about my peer to peer lending services because most of the vendors I know struggle with paying those fees which are due during their slow season.


Just by owning a DSLR camera or having access to renting one that's affordable, you can charge friends and local professionals for new headshots, which can be a very effective side business. Many successful photographers started out by shooting on the side and building up their portfolio of work, thereby establishing a local reputation enabling a launch of their own photography business.

11 Computer repairer/troubleshooter Despite the proliferation of technology in our lives, many people still find computers complicated to maintain and terrifying if they go wrong. If you have a reassuring manner and are not fazed by the inner workings of a PC, offer your services locally and let word of mouth do the rest. "I had some success doing this in the past," says Hamm.


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.

Many of my readers have started proofreading from their iPads, scanning legal documents for court reporters as a result of the Proofread Anywhere eCourse I recommend. You can read some of their testimonials in the comments on this post. They offer a 7-day intro course free so you can decide if that line of work is right for you before you pursue the training.

It’s not very engaging, or mentally stimulating, but taking online surveys through companies like Survey Junkie do pay  out (a little), believe it or not. Even if the payouts come in the form of Amazon gift cards, sites like Swagbucks can pay well. Just don't expect to make bank with this side business idea—I recommend combining it with another source of side income from this list of my best business ideas, and turning to surveys in your downtime when you need a little extra income.


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.
Martial Arts, huh? I teach too, and have found that when I want to offer a new class I give a free workshop. If you went around to the non-profits, churches and other type of groups and offer a free 1 hour talk on self defense with a question and answer period you’d get your name out there as the go to person to learn self defense. Set up a page on facebook, instagram on tips for self defense and invite people to follow you. 80% good info and 20% Hey hire me to train you. Bet you’d get a large following within 6 months. Let us know how it goes. Good luck
×