While having a formal background in graphic design is absolutely going to be helpful, it’s also relatively easy to learn the foundations of graphic design on your own. An increasingly easy-to-use Adobe Illustrator and even more easily accessible tools like Stencil and Visme are making it so that just about anyone with two opposable thumbs, a bit of creativity, and motivation can earn a side income doing things like designing (and selling) images like these motivational quotes that can be printed onto posters and sold on platforms like Etsy. Or you can find a local startup, small business owner, or photographer who could benefit from some extra help designing or altering images.
It’s one of the first ideas people have when they think of starting a business: making and selling crafts. That means there’s lots of competition. The good news, though, is that people just love crafts. But be careful. Don’t just sell anything and everything. Define a product line and choose a distribution channel (online, craft fairs, etc.), and stick with your plan. And, of course, be creative.
You can generate a small side income taking online surveys — but don’t expect to be rolling in the dough. Survey sites don’t typically offer a big payoff, unless you invest a lot of time, and many sites are more useful for earning gift cards than cash. Some of the more popular survey sites include Swagbucks and Global Test Market. Read our analysis of a dozen survey sites to find out which one is best suited for you.
Consider your expertise. If you take the time to reflect on your experiences, you will realize that you have more knowledge about which to write than you might think. Begin by listing three assets that define you, such as your profession, a special hobby or a personality trait. Next, list three things that inspire you, such as religion, education or charity. Finally, list three of your dreams, such as getting married, traveling or spending more time with your children. These three lists should give you many ideas of topics about which you can write.
Do you see all of those articles, tutorials and guides all over the Internet? Somebody wrote every one of them! If you have decent writing ability (no, you don’t need a journalism degree!), and knowledge in a few specific topic areas, you can be one of those writers. It’s an opportunity to make money online and without ever leaving your home. It’s also the kind of venture that can start out as a small side business, but grow into a full-time career.
If you can do everything, then you can become a one-man film crew who allows a company to cut costs while still enjoying video advertisement revenue. That makes you powerful asset, because it allows the company to reduce risks and can help keep you employed full-time. So, if you’re already a pro at setting up a shot, make sure you also have mastered the software you need. If you’re a wiz on the computer, try doing some Facebook Lives, interviews and other sorts of videos to make sure you’re prepared for anything.
Tools & Resources: I’ve written a pretty comprehensive guide on the best web design software that covers both free and premium software packages. If you’re serious about becoming a web designer, then I recommend purchasing the full Adobe Creative Cloud Suite. At $49.99 per month, this is probably a bargain considering what you can achieve with this set of tools.
If you’re strapped for cash but want to work on your own schedule, you might want to consider becoming a driver for Uber or Lyft. You can drive as much (or as little) as you want and set your own schedule. Plus, you get the added bonus of having interesting conversations along the way (or at the very least some colorful stories to tell of your travels with strangers).
Next, you’ll need the right tools. You can be as complicated or simple as you want depending on your comfort with audio equipment, but at the minimum you’ll want a microphone and software for recording your voice. Companies like Behringer, Blue, Focusrite, and others sell studio-quality plug-and-play podcast setups that can get you recording today.
If you're a crafter, the internet is your showcase — and not only at auction sites like eBay. DeWitt Young of ObviousFront.etsy.com has had success turning her crafts into cash online. She has a booth at Etsy.com's Craft Mall, an amazing place where thousands of artisans and crafters offer their goods for sale. DeWitt turns salvaged parts from old TVs and VCRs into artsy necklaces, earrings, and figures. Colleen Jordan of wearableplanter uses 3D printing to create her necklaces called wearable planters.
You can make quick money from home by doing something you’re already doing every day – using websites. As a blogger I’ve designed and built websites for most of my adult life. An easy-to-use website critical to having successful business. So there are a lot of companies who will pay you for your time to evaluate and provide feedback on their apps and websites. Testing websites is the perfect job you can do in your free time. Plus, it’s a legitimate way to make money from home and pick up some quick extra cash.
If you have a knack for organization, you can make money online as a virtual assistant helping people to keep their days in order. A virtual assistant will do everyinthing from bookkeeping to research, database entry, booking travel, and managing email. It can also be an awesome way to rub shoulders with some very important people, build up your professional network, and of course grow another stream of income. You can find great gigs on UpWork, Fiverr, Indeed, and Remote.co.
But before you can graduate from side business idea and start earning a full-time living as a graphic designer, you'll need to build your skills—I recommend starting with reading the foundational book Graphic Design School and Steal Like an Artist, the incredible book by Austin Kleon about how to become more creative. To accelerate your education in becoming a graphic designer even quicker, check out the online courses Graphic Design Fundamentals and The Graphic Design Bootcamp. Then once you're an expert at your craft, you can further your education and move up to offering more hands-on experiences like design sprints for higher-value clients around the world.
Countless small businesses start out their web presence using a WordPress hosted website (myself included) before needing to upgrade to other solutions for various reasons. Many of them will pay several hundreds of dollars for someone to get their business idea set up online. If you have the patience to learn how to do it yourself, it's an extremely valuable skill and can be turned into a very lucrative side business idea—especially if you sign up for affiliate programs with companies like Kinsta, who offer high quality managed WordPress hosting plans that allow you to collect fees from the clients you refer their way. Plus, with the skills you pick up from this side business idea, you'll be able to spin up other profitable website ideas like my friend Andy's been able to do with his site, AwesomeStuffToBuy.
Minimize your time at bars and go to house parties instead. Going out to bars with your friends is a great way to unwind, but if you do it too often, you can rack up quite a bill. Just one fancy cocktail can cost more than an hour of hard work at your part-time job. If you do go out, try to pick cheaper bars with happy hours, or to drink a little bit before you head out (as long as you aren't driving) so you don't have to spend as much money on booze when you're there.
In many parts of the country, this business tends to be seasonal, but you can find ways around that. Rent a storage unit and offer to store people's bicycles over the winter after you do a tune-up and any needed repairs on them. If you want to cater to the Lance Armstrong wannabes, you can have business all year round. These road race riders are training through snow, sleet and dark of night. Some of them work on their own bicycles, but many of them don't, so you can get their business all year. And if you keep Saturday shop hours, you can be sure you will have a group of enthusiasts coming by to talk all things cycling.
Is there a product or service that you are particularly enthusiastic about? If you are, you may be able to develop a website that is built around selling it. You don’t have to be the actual provider of the product or service either. There are many businesses that offer these products and will allow you to sell them on an affiliate basis. For example, you may be able to sell a product on your website for a commission of 20% or 30% of the sale price.
While there are a large number of opportunities out there that are fun, legitimate and put you in control of your earning, you have to be able to look through those transparent offers of making thousands per week simply by logging onto your computer. Ignore inflated promises and look through the legitimate ways you can make money online on the following pages.
And while you're at it, why not help name the business itself? Believe it or not, you can make money by submitting business name ideas. There's a company called Squadhelp that bridges creative minds all over the world with business owners, to come up with the best name possible. PT Money hasn't tried the the product ourselves, but apparently there's a decent chunk of change to be made! Check out Squadhelp
Multi-vendor marketplaces, like ThemeForest, can be very successful. Chose a niche and create a vendor website for it. Your marketplace could be anything, from a platform for local artists to sell their work on, to an online digital product store. Once set up, invite people in that industry to sell their products on your site. You take a percentage of their profits when items sell.
For anyone who would rather focus on their product, marketing, and sales than on maintaining the website for their online store, this kind of ecommerce service is invaluable. You get the beauty and functionality of a website designed by a professional web developer without having to shell out the money for one. Not to mention the fact that you will not have to spend time or money troubleshooting bugs in your website when you use the well-designed turn-keys offered by BigCommerce.
No one knows your hometown like you do, and you can translate that into cash by leading tours of your city. The website vayable.com allows you to set up and guide tours around a particular cultural experience. If you’re the foremost expert on ghost stories, beer, architecture, or crime (or anything else!) in your town, then you can start leading tours for people who want to hear your stories.
What It Pays: Payment depends on how many people click on your video and how many subscribers. Views on popular YouTube tutorials range from 20,000 to 300,000 and higher. You can also earn money from sponsorships, ranging from $500 to hundred of thousands, according to Slate. In 2017, Daily Star reported that UK vlogger Zoella made £50,000 a month from her videos showing her shopping hauls, though, with over 16 million subscribers, her estimated net worth is £4m net worth.
Success Tips: You should have human resources job and staff training experience, and/or formal education in this field. Be knowledgeable about what skills workers will need to have to ensure your clients’ businesses will continue to be competitive and increase their profits. Market your services through referrals and by offering presentations to business owners’ organizations.
Naturally, it helps if you already have an online audience you can tap for listening to your regular podcast (like I did), but that hasn't stopped thousands of people from building successful side business ideas into lucrative podcasts—including Alex Blumberg, founder of Gimlet Media who teaches how to use storytelling and launch a podcast. You can also check out this class from podcaster and entrepreneur, Lewis Howes, about how to make money podcasting as a side business idea, which regularly broadcasts for free on CreativeLive.
Build your audience on a course community: If you’re just getting started building an audience for yourself and want to leverage communities already actively looking for content you can choose to host and sell your online course on a site like Skillshare or Udemy. These are easy, cost-effective ways to build an audience and test your niche to see if there’s demand for it.
5. Create your own travel business. If you know a city or tourist destination particularly well, you can easily make an extra $1,000 by running a small travel business. Here is an example. I have a friend who loves scuba diving. He knows a few locations very well. Someone asked if he would act as a guide, and my friend had the bright idea to start doing it all the time. He started putting together scuba vacation packages, and now that's his full-time job. He offers a full pre-paid package that includes lodging, meals, and scuba equipment, plus a markup for him.
How to Get It: GoFluent.com is an English training company working with 12 of the world's largest corporations. There are also jobs out there for English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers, which are more structured. Visit ISUS (iSpeakUSpeak.com), a placement and training company. While a degree in education or ESL is ideal, you are encouraged to apply if you are enthusiastic and articulate.
High-ticket consulting or coaching: You could sell your own high-ticket consulting or coaching products from your website. You'll still need a website, merchant account, sales funnel, lead magnet and many other items. But you can easily earn a substantial amount of money from each individual customer, making it well worth the arduous setup required.