You know it’s time to get off your butt and earn more money; but how? Here are more than 20 plus side business ideas and actionable advice on how to find a profitable freelancing idea and land your first client.
Your full time job may be rewarding but once you find the right side business ideas and eventually become self-employed, it is more meaningful than great pay and solid benefits.
If you are in this group you have two options:
- Slog it out for the foreseeable future living paycheck-to-paycheck Or,
- Increase your income by getting a side hustle.
Most people hear this advice and say “that’s a great idea, but…” You can insert your own excuse here. Three of the most common are:
- “I don’t have time.”
- “I’m afraid of rejection.”
- “I don’t have an idea.”
So let’s get into the 20 plus side business ideas you can get into even while working full time at your current job.
1. eBay Sales
You can start selling things on eBay for less than $100.
Start by selling things around the house that you no longer need. With the money you raise, you can look for a niche. For example, some vendors hit rummage sales and thrift stores for cheap goods they can resell.
Others buy in bulk from places like Liquidation.com and then sell those items individually on eBay.
2. Drop shipping
What makes dropshipping so attractive is exactly what lands it on this list; there are no big startup costs or expensive investments in inventory. You can sell products online, collect payment, pay suppliers, and let them send out the products — even using your company logo if you like.
There are many drop-ship product suppliers online. Some provide a variety of products, or, if you’re going to specialize in one product or product line, you can locate a manufacturer that drop-ships. Just do your research and be sure you’ve found a reputable company.
A website is one way to make sales, although not the only way. You can also sell on auction sites like eBay.com.
Okay, so you know enough about a subject to advise others, but you don’t have the money to properly launch a consulting business. Start anyhow!
Spend $10 for business cards from a low-cost provider. Put up a website for $60 for the first year with a domain and website hosting package.
Once you have a few customers who value your knowledge more than a fancy presentation, you can spend some of your profits to build a more professional organization.
4. Start a blog
Blogging is still a viable source of income. Recent blogging statistics show that tens of thousands of bloggers are creating profitable content on topics as diverse as scrapbooking, home cooking, travel, film, lifestyle, business, personal finance and more.
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.
5. Graphic Design
If you don’t have a background in graphic design and it is a field you would like to go into, It’s easy to learn the foundations of graphic design on your own. An increasingly easy-to-use Adobe Illustrator and websites like Canva and Visme are making it so that just about anyone with two opposable thumbs, a bit of creativity, and motivation can get paid to create or alter images.
If you’re free in the mornings, nights, or weekends, you can earn extra cash driving people around.
Sign up with Lyft (currently offering a $1000 first-month guarantee) or Uber to get started.
One cool “hack”: Both companies offer “Destination Mode”, which basically allows you to earn money on your regular morning and evening commute by telling the app which direction you’re headed and only accepting riders along your route.
7. Rent out a room in your home
If you have some extra space in your home you can turn that extra bedroom into a “bed and breakfast” room. If you live near any sort of tourist destination, you can try your hand at renting out a room through Airbnb or CouchSurfing.com. You may also find paid hosting opportunities in your community: Sign up to host exchange students, visiting professors to a nearby college, or hospital patients receiving long-term treatment.
8. Affiliate Marketing
Refer website visitors to buy products online and earn a small commission on each sale.
Note: Please do me a favor and don’t buy into anyone’s sleazy affiliate marketing “program” or “system.” There are unfortunately a lot of slimy salespeople out there making their living taking advantage of newbies.
9. Online Surveys
These won’t make you rich, but can be an easy way to supplement your income and you can do them in your downtime (waiting in line, watching TV, etc.).
If you love this stuff, check out:
- Springboard America – Higher payouts than many other survey sites, but requires a $50 minimum to cash out.
- Survey Junkie – Popular online survey site with more than 3 million members.
- Swagbucks (free $5 bonus; earn up to $35 a survey)
- Prize Rebel – Earn $10-12 an hour doing surveys or completing other tasks. Just avoid the low-paying ones.
- InboxDollars (free $5 bonus)
- Opinion Outpost – Cash out at just $5 via PayPal or Amazon gift cards. Each survey enters you into a $10,000 quarterly drawing.
- CashCrate – Get a $1 bonus just for signing up!
10. Freelance writing
If you’re good with words, you might be able to find some work as an online freelancer. A variety of publications need online content in the form of stories, product or service descriptions, and reports, and if you have the talent and skill, you could easily be the one to create them. Fortunately, all you need is a computer and Internet connection to get started.
11. Selling on Amazon
One of the most popular side hustles lately has been Amazon’s FBA program, in which you find bargain deals locally, and ship them off to sell on Amazon.
12. Selling on Etsy
Etsy is the world’s largest marketplace for unique hand-crafted goods. What can you make? Etsy also now allows for print-on-demand and dropshipped products.
With millions of websites all competing for attention, writing is a service that’s constantly in demand. Someone’s got to create all that content, right?
You can start out on your own, or find gigs through the popular aggregating service Contena.
14. Building Niche Websites
Building niche sites is a popular side hustle because after some initial research and time investment they can be a relatively hands-off income source. These types of sites generally cover a very specific topic and earn money through advertising, affiliate relationships, or digital products.
15. MLM Sales
MLM (multi-level marketing) programs are frequently derided as pyramid schemes — and many of them are — but some people manage to do quite well with them, often starting out part-time. Amway is probably the most well-known.
A word of caution: The failure rate in network marketing is 99%–much higher than in other business models. Before you dive in and drink the Kool-Aid, make sure this is something you can really stand behind and can see yourself doing long-term.
16. App Development
The mobile app market is hot, but one developer likened it to the gold rush — where the ones who made the most money were the ones selling the gear and the shovels. Similarly, a freelance app developer gets paid whether or not the app goes on to become a hit.
17. Pet sitting
When people go on trips, they’re often concerned as to what will happen with their pets. That’s where you step in — offer yourself as a safe place to leave their pets, or be willing to go to their home to take care of their pets. In many cases, people are more than willing to pay a qualified pet sitter in order to avoid sending their pet to a professional kennel.
Packaging your skills and knowledge into a downloadable eBook that delivers value to those seeking to learn a skill, advance in their careers, or start their own businesses, makes for a strong value proposition if you target the right audience.
19. Online Courses
Using your skills for profit is a common trend with all of the best side business ideas. If you’re an expert at something, there’s likely an audience of people online who would be willing to pay to become an expert in your field—just like you. If you want to take your skills and turn them into an online course that teaches others how to get the same results you’ve achieved in your life, career, or business, start with How to Create an Awesome Online Course on Udemy, where instructor Miguel Hernandez covers how he makes over $90,000/yr teaching online. You’ll learn from more than 8 hours of video instruction.
20. Instagram Marketing
Build up a following on your Instagram account and you could quickly be approached by major brands, gear companies, and other relevant businesses that sell products or services related to the type of content you share on Instagram. If you have hundreds of thousands of followers, you can easily charge anywhere between $500 to $5,000 per post or more.
21. Start a YouTube Channel
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.
Ghostwriting pays pretty well, and if you’re talented at researching and creating great content within a certain subject domain, you can quickly build a roster of high-paying clientele. Writers like Jeff Haden have created very lucrative careers for themselves by writing for business executives and CEO’s.
23. Fiverr Gigs
Fiverr is a great place for first-time freelancers who want to build up a portfolio of their work. You’ll be able to complete simple tasks ranging from logo design, to creating animations. It can still be a platform for funding your next big business idea although it won’t make you a millionaire.
Any other side business ideas you can think of?
Share in the comments if I’m missing any great side business ideas that you can start while working full-time! Bonus points if you’ve already gotten started on it, and share the link to your website.
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