If you've developed valuable skill sets or certifications within your industry over the years, consider putting your skills to use in your free time by offering your consulting services to local business owners as a potentially lucrative side business idea. Whether you're an expert marketer, business strategist, or manufacturing aficionado, there's likely a local business owner who's willing to pay you to help them solve an issue with their company—if you can craft an effective cold email that convinces them to hire you. Start with this 18-step checklist to becoming a local business consultant as a side business idea, from Karyn Greenstreet. When you're ready to get serious about becoming a consultant, check out all of my picks for the best online business courses to keep building your skills and learning how to land your first consulting clients. Personally, I think this is one of the best business ideas you can get started with today.

SME (on behalf of Syco Music/Epic); LatinAutor, BMG Rights Management, ARESA, Warner Chappell, EMI Music Publishing, UBEM, PEDL, CMRRA, SOLAR Music Rights Management, AMRA, LatinAutor - Warner Chappell, Kobalt Music Publishing, UMPG Publishing, Abramus Digital, LatinAutor - PeerMusic, Reservoir Media (Publishing), UMPI, LatinAutor - UMPG, and 18 Music Rights Societies

There are many different ways of getting into the jewelry business and many different types of materials with which you can work. Working in metal will probably require the most in the way of specific tools. You need to be able to heat the metal to manipulate it, and you need metalworking tools to cut and engrave it. But there are many other materials that you can work with to make jewelry--glass, plastic, beads, feathers, even wood, to name just a few.


Turn your photographs into cash via sites like Fine Art America, which lets you upload your images to sell as prints, t-shirts, phone cases and more. Other marketplaces for photographers include SmugMug, 500px and PhotoShelter. Some sites require a subscription but may provide features ranging from cloud storage to password-protected galleries and a customized website.

Did you ever see the movie Stripes? It's an 80's classic and one of those timeless comedies with Bill Murray. Click here to see Harold Ramis teaching his English class the Do Do Run Run by Shaun Cassidy. To get started teaching English as a second language to adults, go through your local schools and colleges to find classes where teachers of English are needed.

When creating a membership site, always offer different plans and pricing tiers to appeal to your different categories of audience. Access to specific types of content is then dependent on the plan selected by a member. Membership fees can be a one-off payment or a repeat subscription. And you can even sell products on your membership site to boost your income.


If you can write copy that gets people excited about purchasing what your client has to sell, you can make good money in this business. Unless you are highly experienced from working in the copywriting field, take a course. There are online courses or classes at community colleges and universities that can give you a leg up in getting savvy at writing copy for brochures, catalogs, advertising and, of course, marketing copy for the web.

To be a consultant, you need to have expertise in something so you can market yourself as an advisor to others looking to work in that area. Perhaps you managed several large warehouses in your career with a drugstore company, you did all the marketing for many years for a large shoe manufacturer or you set up a chain of beauty supply shops or take-out restaurants. You can use this experience to help others do similar things without making the same mistakes that you made along the way.
If you live near a university, there are likely all sorts of research studies looking for participants. While I was an undergrad at Virginia Tech, I got paid $500 to participate in a 6-week dietary study. The study provided all my meals and paid me, but I had to eat a 5,000 calorie diet of 50% fat for 6 weeks, plus I had multiple muscle biopsies, urine/blood testing, etc.
Fiverr is a great place for first-time freelancers who might not have tons of experience and want to build up a portfolio of their work. You'll be able to complete simple tasks ranging from logo design, to creating animations, or even drawing a company logo on your forehead. While this side business idea likely won't be growing into a million dollar startup for you, it can still be a platform for funding your next big business idea. Want to learn more about Fiverr's history and how to get the most out of selling on the platform? Listen to my interview with Fiverr CEO Micha Kaufman.
EatWith is a great way to test the waters as a chef for your side business idea, and if you have enough rave reviews you might be able to turn your knife skills into a full-time endeavor where you're leveraging your network to book catering events. This side business idea is built heavily upon getting happy referrals, so be sure to over-deliver for your first customers, and ask if they know anyone else who could be in need of your catering services.
As a solar consultant, you can basically conduct a home inspection and give clients a report on their solar options for their particular home and site. This can range from full-fledged general solar installations that generate electricity to simple solar walkway lighting. You might want to start by working in a solar products company to become knowledgeable in the solar energy field. However, to be a consultant, it is often best not to be affiliated with any one company or product and be able to recommend products and options across the field of solar energy.
Expertise is another matter, but remember that writing can take many forms—from resumes to news articles to marketing materials and even thank-you notes. (You can even write for businesstown.com, although that gig doesn’t pay … yet.) There’s probably some form of writing you’re qualified to do. Plus, if you’re good enough with grammar and punctuation, companies will pay you to be a freelance editor. One friend made good money editing posts on a popular travel site.

Corrisa, thank you for adding your thoughts on Annie’s list. I wholeheartedly agree with your points to consider and would encourage anyone looking to join a network marketing-based business to do their due diligence before signing up. As I have found in my past ventures into home based businesses, the KEY to success is to treat your business as exactly that and not a hobby or trending fad.


I do believe we’re living in exciting times because anyone can build a million-dollar content-based business while on the go. They can create content with their smartphone while driving, resting in a park, barbecuing food for the family, or outlet stores such as Polo Ralph Lauren, shopping at the Tommy Hilfiger store, Nautica, Girbaud, Guess, Aeropostale, and other fine outlet stores and take images and record video on location and put it into a Blog for the purpose of driving traffic and making money from affiliate links on blogs and websites. I wish I knew how to do this 20 years ago because as I tell most people, I probably would have been 20 million dollars richer today or at least a millionaire. It’s all good though because everyday is a learning experience and side hustle entrepreneurs. Agree?
Websites like Survey Junkie will pay you a decent chunk of change for the low-maintenance, borderline mindless task of completing surveys. Companies want to understand consumers better, and one way they do that is by compensating survey-takers. Most surveys pay between $0.50 and $1.25, and many of them take less than 5 minutes to do. You can read our full Survey Junkie review for more info.

White labeling products involve purchasing pre-made products from a supplier and then adding your own labeling and branding. Products could range from candles to gym equipment or even tea, but all will come without labels, allowing you to create your own new range of merchandise. Most suppliers will advertise the fact they offer white labeled goods on their websites, so pick your niche and then find the right supplier and product for you. Once labeled, products can be sold via sites like eBay and Amazon, or from your own eCommerce store (discussed in a moment).
At the risk of repeating what others have said, what an amazing/wonderful/fantastic list. Thank you so much – this will keep me busy investigating options for a while ! I have had some small success with Audio Jungle (part of the Envato group of sites) – uploading short music files that I have created once, yet they keep on selling. I like your Fiverr example too http://www.sidehustlenation.com/self-publishing-platform-outsold-amazon/ – I’ll have to try that one !

Work your own hours and be your own boss. Start an online business that puts you in control of your destiny. You're only limited by your imagination but your dream online business could include an online travel agency, membership site or even a drop ship business where you could sell gift baskets, baby products and more. As with any business, you need to make sure your online business follows the law with proper business licensing and sales tax collection.
People are always searching for one-of-a-kind venues for meetings, parties and weddings. Why not earn some extra money off the space you already have by renting it out for events as a side business idea? If you own a unique venue, like a studio, warehouse or boat, UK-based company Tagvenue will connect you with clients looking for somewhere special to host their event. Not a bad low-effort side business idea.
Just a few years ago, I never thought I would be staff writing, and I never even thought about it. But once I began, I really started to enjoy it. I really love to write (yes, I do realize that I’m not the best and I probably should proofread more, but I do like to talk), and writing for different blogs was fun for me. How are people supposed to know that you are looking for a freelance writing position?
A lifestyle blogger writes about their everyday life, hobbies, and interests. From fashion, beauty tips, and male grooming, to food, restaurants, and travel, anything that you experience can be blogged about. And famous lifestyle bloggers can make big bucks. Once you have built up a following, there are many ways to make a profit. Add affiliate links to your website, promote sponsored services, create your own product range, and much more.
CashCrate sends out literally thousands of payments a month to users just like you who spend time completing surveys and offers on CashCrate.com. How do they do it? Well, they do surveys and offers regularly. It really adds up! Your initial goal should be to meet minimum payout, which is $20.00. Making $20.00 in free cash is actually quite easy considering there are hundreds of surveys and offers available, but here are a few tips to get you to your goal faster:

The real estate market is on the rebound (for today) and people are buying and selling properties in many locations across the U.S. That means a lot of opportunities for professionals who know how to navigate the legal, financial, and commercial aspect of real estate to build up a stable of clients as a side business idea, especially if you begin to scale your sales hiring and build a team of reps working to help you close more deals. If you consider yourself an expert in the subject, it won't be a walk in the park (hehe), but you can earn significant additional side income as a home-based real estate consultant—especially if you employ one of the best CRMs for small business and know how to work magic over the phone.
In most states in the U.S., a notary public is a state officer who is authorized to witness and attest to the legalities of certain documents by signature and stamping a seal. Most states require that you pass an exam and a background check. It costs very little to become a notary and your income from notary work is negligible. A justice of the peace typically performs wedding ceremonies. States have varying rules and procedures for becoming a JP and performing services. Becoming a JP and/or notary public does not cost much money. And it is not a big moneymaking venture! Many states set the fees you can charge for JP services. JPs can add additional fees, and often do, including travel and hourly rates for additional meetings such as rehearsals, other prep time and any special requests.
It’s an excellent opportunity to offer technical training courses that teach people how to learn a much-needed skill, or accomplish an important task. It could also prove to be an important testing ground for your educational courses. If you are able to market your course on the site, against direct competition, you may be able to direct marketing to the general public, using a website, videos, or even an affiliate marketing program.

Sell baked goods. Working parents might not have the time to whip up a birthday cake or cupcakes for school parties. That’s where you come in if you can create tasty baked goods. A friend of mine who is a single mom started making cupcakes as a way to keep herself occupied while staying with her dad when he was undergoing chemotherapy. She posted a picture of her cupcakes on Facebook and instantly received several orders from friends. Now she makes about $200 a month making cupcakes for others who hear about her through word of mouth or see pictures of her cupcakes on her Facebook page.
Cafe Press: This website allows you to create digital designs that can then be sold on the platform. You'll earn a commission for everything that sells and you'll never have to deal with logistics like printing, warehousing and customer service. If you have some graphic design skills, then this is a great potential source for your web-based income. 
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