Even the portrait and general-interest options, though, aren’t really for beginners. Photography businesses can be complex operations, with lots of equipment required and years of portfolio and relationship building necessary to really get steady income flowing. Still, if you’re a hobbyist already, starting a photography business as a side operation is a great way to make some extra money and possibly begin a career change.
If you have a knack for connecting with people and the willingness to take on some risk, a commission-based freelance sales role could be a great side business idea for you. Many startups seek part-time and commission-only salespeople, especially when they're just getting started, which means you'll often be able to make this a home based business idea. Develop your sales strategies, become an inside sales rep and perfect your cold calling skills on the side in your free time for nothing but commission, negotiate a little equity and you could profit big time if you're pitching a solid product and the startup succeeds. Start your sales education with the acclaimed books, Secrets of a Master Closer and To Sell is Human by famed bestselling author Daniel Pink and you'll be well on your way to getting this side business idea off the ground.
It’s kind of like going the tutoring route, except you’re teaching English with a company like VIPKid (a big favorite of fans in our Ramsey Baby Steps Community on Facebook). Now if the word teach makes you a little nervous, don’t worry. They’ll handle all the lesson plans and grading for you. But you do need to have an interest in helping others learn and the ability to guide a class online. Getting paid while helping others? This one truly is a win-win!
Better yet, you can even upload your own book to one of the world’s largest book sellers: Amazon. With Amazon self-publishing, you set the price, retain the rights to your book, and get access to Amazon’s massive audience. For every sale, you keep 70% with Amazon taking the remainder as a fee. If you want to get started, check out Leslie Samuel's great guide to selling eBooks online or follow Tara Gentile on CreativeLive as she shows you how to use your existing body of work to write an eBook within the next week. Who knows, you might just write one of the best business books of this year!
Employed techies planning to earn some extra side income can leverage their software and hardware skills by offering home-based computer repair services as a business idea that engages their passion. If this rings a bell, you can start with a modest one-man tech team before envisioning a scaled-up operation as massive as Geek Squad. Remember, you can provide home service locally as a starting point to this business idea, as well as offer remote support through online messaging and video calling services before making your way into a retail setting.
If you’ve never heard of extreme couponing, check out this lifehack on the subject. Once you’re versed on the idea, what you have to do is a bit difficult at first, but it’s a great way to both save and make money: go to hip2save.com and get a feel for the types of deals that are out there (both online and in the physical world). Once you’re comfortable with the process, start searching for the best deals in grocery, retail, and online shopping. After a month or two of extreme couponing, you’ll have enough cleaning, hygiene, and food supplies stocked up to save a noticeable amount of money. Now maybe you don’t need to make as much…?
Choose your niche and check for demand: The golden course combination is when you can find an in-demand niche that aligns with your skills and unique experiences. A great way to do this is to use Google Trends and Google’s Keyword Planner to look for average monthly search volume for keywords related to your proposed course content. Are people actively looking for high-quality information about this subject? Of course, if you’re already creating content for a blog, coaching service, or a site like Medium, you can test demand this way for free just like Bryan did.
Research individual companies in your desired niche: If possible, it’s always better to become an affiliate directly with a company (if they have an internal affiliate program), as no one else will be dipping into your commission rate. This is the preferred route for most of the prominent affiliate marketers, including Pat Flynn. Unfortunately, it’s also the most work, as you’ll have to do the research yourself to see who offers programs (they’re usually listed in the website footer).
The potential income is unlimited. Why? The business is crazy scalable. Start with a guided meditations YouTube channel and individual appointments via Skype. Once you have a following, create a virtual ashram and hire on other teachers, taking a cut of their earnings. Maybe there’s even a mindfulness app in your future. The founder of the virtual meditation empire, Headspace, went from broke to bling in a few short years (2).
Using a food delivery service can’t necessarily earn you money, but it can help you save you money if you constantly find yourself throwing out half the food you buy. Food delivery services send a box of food every week with new, sometimes unique vegetables, meat, fruit, and so on. If you don’t have time to shop and want simple meal-prep that leads to a good meal, a food subscription service may be perfect for you.
×