Have a knack for staying organized? If you're a jack of all trades, you should consider working as a virtual assistant as a side business idea. You can find great gigs on Elance, Indeed, or Upwork. It can be an awesome way to rub shoulders with some very important people, build up your professional network, develop in-demand new skills (like creating GIFs and VR videos), grow your side business idea and you'll have the added perk of being able to start this as a home based business idea. Becoming a virtual assistant can be a particularly great side business idea if you're hoping to travel the world while making money online as a digital nomad.
While the barriers to entry for a retail shop can be very high, one way to keep costs down and limit your time investment while you keep your full-time job, is to set up a weekend popup shop as a side business idea. More of whatever it is you’re selling—donuts, clothing, antique baseball cards, or anything else—will stay in your pockets instead of going to pay for operating expenses such as rent or utilities by choosing to pursue retail as a side business idea with a short-term rental. This guide from Shopify will give you a step-by-step process for getting your popup shop off the ground.
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.
Think about websites like Udemy, which gives teachers a platform to teach online courses. A business like this allows people to share their expertise with students while making a living—all without the need for a physical location, or even a set schedule. Or maybe you prefer to approach things a little more creatively. If you’re crafty, you might consider a custom phone case business, which helps you lets customers add personal flair to their phones.
I can’t say enough about dog walking and pet sitting. I’ve been doing this for over two years, and my business has grown to the point where I was only home 4 days last May. The place I’m at now has a pool, and the next place has a pool table. I love dogs but can’t have one of my own, so I also get all the puppy snuggles I could want. And the startup cost is very low.