Find a profitable niche: We’ve talked about this a lot. But, where are you most comfortable. What niche do your skills, values, and interests intersect? Do you have 10 years of experience as a technical writer? Do you have long-standing PR relationships that’ll be invaluable in helping startups launch a successful crowdfunding campaign? Determine what makes your value unique, and lean heavily on showcasing that strength to your potential clients.
This next category is one of my favorites. And, it applies to almost everyone looking for a good side hustle. Why? Because it is something everyone should be doing regardless of whether they are looking for a little something to earn a few pennies during commercial breaks that requires minimal effort or they are looking to create a full-time income from home.
Amazon Mechanical Turk is a service that lets you make money online through doing paid microtasks. Each task is something simple that requires human interaction like rating search results, checking for the right spelling on search terms, categorizing the tone of an article, or even basic translating. You can do these tasks from anywhere you want and make money online from the world’s largest e-retailer.
There are few ways to make money while you shop. You can pick up short tasks that involve shopping, like doing price checks or photographing in stores or you can go mystery shopping. Mystery shopping is definitely a real way to make money but you have to be careful because the jobs can be the bait for scams, so you have to know the signs of mystery shopping scams. But there are legitimate companies that hire mystery shoppers.
Ten years ago, freelancers had to do a lot of legwork to find freelance gigs. Today's freelancers have so many job possibilities at their fingertips, thanks to the Internet. With a simple click, you can start freelancing. It's easier than ever to get job descriptions in front of your eyes from companies and individuals looking for extra help for everything from administrative duties to graphic design.
Everyone (even kids and retirees) need to have some level of technical know-how to stay competitive and appreciate the marvels of the digital age. Just observe how learning sites like Codecademy, Treehouse, and Udacity continue to grow and you’ll understand the urgency of getting computer training for our generation (thus making it a great business idea to train others if you already have the skills). If you’re a techie, you can cash in on this need by offering lessons and tutorials within your neighborhood or across cyberspace through portals like YouTube or Udemy as a side business idea. You can even set up your own tutorial site with an interface for online payments.
Competition to get into top universities is as tough as it has ever been, so nervous parents are willing to pay handsomely for tutoring for their kids. You need an area of expertise—math, and specifically SAT math preparation, is always a favorite—but almost any subject will work. If you know how to market yourself locally, you can take advantage of parental paranoia and make money by tutoring right in your own home, or at a local library or coffee shop. Just make sure to do your homework on your local market in order to set prices and know which areas of expertise are most desired by parents in your area.
A large subset of our society is earning a full-time income by selling items on Craigslist and Ebay. You can do this by selling your own items, or you can help sell items for other people and take a small commission. Selling on Ebay offers more friction than Craigslist and you'll need to establish solid reviews before you can begin to move high-ticket items.
How many email newsletters are you bombarded with every single day? There’s a reason for that. Marketing to an actively interested group of email subscribers is one of the best ways to make money online. There have even been million-dollar businesses built from simple email newsletters like TheSkimm, or Mister Spoils. Each newsletter targets a specific type of user with interesting, daily content, while also partnering with relevant companies and affiliates to bring in extra money. If this seems daunting, it’s not. Tools like MailChimp, ConvertKit and AWeber make it easier than ever to get started with email marketing. And another great option to consider (with the largest free plan available) is SendPulse, with their ability to send up to 15,000 emails per month to 2,500 subscribers, and then affordable plans starting at under $10/month as you grow from there.
If you are working for a global company, like Google, the business probably has already established an infrastructure for interoffice communication, which makes it easy for remote workers. Plus, staying at home means the office -- which might go to extreme lengths to lure talented tech workers -- can save on free lunches, snacks and perks. It’s a win-win for both employers and workers.
Writing is one of the greatest time-honored home-based jobs, and editing isn’t far behind. Many employers look to hire content hire writers (a.k.a. content providers) who are experienced and can provide examples of their published work, online or on other platforms. If you’re just starting out as a writer, it’s possible to find entry-level jobs that let you build a published portfolio. As for editing positions that let you make money from home, hiring managers frequently look for demonstrated editing skills, or an area of specialty. Both writers and editors may be required to take skills-based tests.
This side hustle can easily become a full-time job! If you’ve got expertise in an area and think you can help small businesses near you, give this a shot. For instance, Ben and I know a lot about running Facebook advertising campaigns, so we approached the owner of our gym if he would let us design a few campaigns for him. And of course, he was thrilled to get the help! Here’s a useful 18 Step Checklist for Becoming a Small Business Consultant.
As long as there is still the written word, there will always be editors. Freelance editing and proofreading not only pays a decent hourly wage, it also gives you the chance to read about potentially interesting topics too. What's more, pursuing freelance writing & editing as a business idea can afford you a lifestyle that lets you travel the world as a digital nomad. You can find lots of job postings from companies and individuals in need of writing, proofreading, and editing services on Upwork, which makes this a high-demand opportunity to make money online.
Shipping. You will only have a few days to ship a book after it sells, and even less time if you agree to include two-day or overnight shipping as part of your options. And since you’ll want to save as much as you can on the shipping, you’ll have to devise a plan. Many people set aside specific days for shipping – say 3 days a week – and then make one big trip to the post office. As long as there isn’t anything else in the package, you can send books via media mail, which is the least expensive option. Finally, your books will need to be packaged in a way that they won’t get damaged in transit.
People who are having trouble selling their homes these days and could use a second pair of eyes to stage their home for the quick sale. To help people sell their houses, your staging services need to get buyers to envision themselves in the property. This opportunity takes some passion and skill for the job. You'll have to be comfortable telling people they need to remove clutter, rent furniture, etc. to get it in top selling condition. You'll need some designing skills but also have additional resources at your fingertips, such as a furniture company, storage options, etc. This will take some work getting set up but once you've done so, you can start networking with realtors. Consider offering some discounted services to make a name for yourself.
If you have a way with words and know how to make the keyword-friendly, beautifully designed, SEO-optimized landing pages, why not charge other companies for your services and turn it into a money-making side business idea? Even a short landing page is worth a couple hundred bucks in most cases, and so much more if you know how to pitch your prospects well. If you want to get started with your business idea of becoming a landing page specialist or freelance copywriter, check out Len Smith and Sean Kaye's awesome course on Udemy, Copywriting Secrets: How to Write Copy That Sells.
What types of businesses work best? Find one in any of the following highly-profitable three industries: make money online, diet and fitness or relationship and dating. Any business targeted to one of these industries can reap the benefits of massive consumer spending occurring every single day. While you can certainly sell products for other companies as an affiliate, creating your own, also presents significant upside.
Mechanical Turk: Amazon's Mechanical Turk is a resource for doing human-intelligence tasks, or as the site commonly refers to them, HITs. You get paid a very small fee for any given HIT and you'll need a good deal of volume to make a substantial amount of money. But it is a resource you can use in your spare time to generate a small income online.