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You know those top-down cooking or craft videos you just can’t seem to get away from these days? There are people out there making a living from them. 78% of B2C companies depend on user-generated content, like those videos, for their marketing campaigns. You can sign up as a creator on a site like Darby Smart and potentially work with brands like Nordstrom, Mattel, and BarkBox. Or, use them to build your YouTube following and monetize through ads and views.
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.
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.
Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.
If you have a background in marketing and a passion for a particular niche, then organizing a virtual event may be just up your street. A virtual event could span across a day or longer. Individual live sessions would be run by experts in the field. And conference features would include live question and answer sessions, forums, and plenty of free giveaways. Visitors to the virtual event would pay to attend, so the more effective your promotion of the event the more money you would make.
Tutoring can be done in-home or online. The in-home tutoring will take networking and teaching experience to build your business. Online tutoring, however, can be done through companies that connect tutors with students while providing the needed infrastructure (i.e. web conferencing services) for a cut of the fees. Most require a college degree and teaching experience but for some those requirements may be negotiable.
You want to know the truth about the side hustle? You will be extremely successful with affiliate marketing and blogging. Blogging is a beautiful content marketing labor of love. The Pro to it is you’ll make all the money you want. The con to it is it’s a pretty lonely life. So you give up something in exchange for something else. Would you rather go to a cushy day job with a salary cap of working for a narcissist employer and be denied a raise after asking and keep working for them? Or work for yourself and become a millionaire and live a lonely life? Something to truly think about.
These endeavors aren’t without traps and challenges, though, so before we take a look at some legitimate ways to make money from your home, let’s review a few things that you should avoid. Unfortunately, if you want to earn an honest living from home, you’re also a common target of scammers, especially in these economically tough times. But if you keep these simple rules in mind, you won’t become a victim of one of the many work from home scams.
Perhaps you love children. Perhaps you have children of your own and the idea of taking care of a few more for part of the day appeals to you. Childcare needs continue to soar in the United States. Many people prefer the option of their child being cared for in a home environment while they are at work, as opposed to a more institutional-like setting. These things mean that a home-based childcare business can get off and running immediately.
However, there are ways for stay-at-home moms and dads to earn a bit of extra cash to supplement the family budget without leaving the house or sacrificing time with the kids. In fact, here are 10 money-making opportunities that can be pursued when your children are at school or asleep, or possibly even when they are awake and demanding your attention. The earnings potential is modest, and not every opportunity will be right for you, but over the course of a year you could pocket hundreds – and possibly even thousands – of dollars.
Be a coach in your area of expertise. If you've been helping your friends accomplish a variety of skills for free, start charging for your services. If you've been helping your friends organize their closets, buy the perfect wardrobe, or cook amazing meals, it's time to get some money for your skills. If you're uncomfortable about asking your friends for money, ask them if they know anyone who could use your skills and would be able to pay.
We all wear clothes (at least some of the time). Which, of course, makes the business idea of cleaning soiled laundry an obvious hit. In fact, the self-service laundromat industry in the US is worth more than $3 billion, with many related businesses such as a mobile app laundry service, a real rolling mobile laundry service, and home laundry pickup & delivery services springing up each year. Here’s one way you can cash in on the trend as a side business idea.
Invest. There are no guarantees when it comes to investing, but you should always start sooner rather than later. If you are looking for a good investing platform, I recommend Motif. Motif Investing allows individuals to invest affordably. This approachable investing platform makes it easy to buy a portfolio of up to 30 stocks, bonds or ETFs for just $9.95 total commission.
Expert sales funnels often start with a free offer, also called the lead magnet. By delivering value in the lead magnet, you're creating trust with the consumer. In the next step, you'd usually find what's called a self-liquidating offer or a trip wire. These are insatiable deals that are hard to pass up, often for $7 to $47. The front-end offer is usually found beyond that along with one-time offers to help boost the lifetime value of the customer and the average cart value.
Mobile disc jockeys play all types of music geared to their audiences’ preferences, and to accompany special celebrations like weddings, birthdays, award ceremonies, and other social events. You should know the current hits and trends in music. Strive to work and communicate with your clients in providing the best music for their occasions. Work part-time to build your business and to acquire the money to invest in quality equipment.
Once you have that problem or need nailed, the next step is to validate that idea and make sure you’ve actually got customers who will pay for it. This means building a minimum viable product, getting objective feedback from real customers, incorporating updates, testing the market for demand, and getting pricing feedback to ensure there’s enough of a margin between your costs and what consumers are willing to pay.
Persistence and Commitment. You’ll need to have a good amount of persistence while pursuing freelance writing gigs. This business is subjective, and while one person may love your writing, another may not. Do your best to always produce good, solid copy and hold on to your commitment to do the best you can for your clients. Just by committing to do those two things, you’ll be miles ahead of your competition.
Lots of people who are moving want to hire someone to do the heavy lifting for them. You can leave the large-scale, long-distance moving to the big moving companies. Your work can be the local, moving-across-town or to the town-next-door jobs. These are the ones that people start off thinking perhaps they could do themselves, and it will be your job to convince them otherwise. Your signs around town will tempt them to let you take care of that part of the move, while they are busy taking care of those other 500 items on their list.
A blog highlights your technical ability and showcases your ability to write blog posts. Your blog can be about different topics than those you write about for your clients. In fact, it should be on a topic that interests you. Visitors will see that you can not only write, but you can also build an online community. A good blog has the potential to earn you many referrals for more clients.
However, the copious amount of emails that editors and companies receive on a daily basis means it’s easier than ever to tell someone no -- or not reply at all. To be a writer means you have to get used to rejection but also that you have to go the extra mile. Don’t settle for having two out of these three qualities, as Gaiman suggested. If you want to make yourself irresistible to businesses, do your best to be pleasant, competent and on-deadline.
Like recycling, this side business idea requires the willingness to get your hands a little dirty. If you enjoy working outdoors, then you can make a pretty good side income cleaning up litter outside retail, office and industrial properties—especially for businesses that have large parking lots that need regular cleaning. Property management companies need their properties maintained litter free and you can do so with an on-foot service using inexpensive equipment like this cheap pick-up tool and a broom. Charge for your time at $35 - $50 per hour and bill your clients the same contract price each month. For even more on how to get started with a litter removal side business idea, check out Cleanlots.
Babysitting isn’t just for teens. Everyone from college students to recent retirees can make money watching other people’s children. Word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family are still a great way to get started, but you can also create a profile on Care.com or Sittercity to expand your reach. Note any specialized skills, such as CPR certifications or experience with special needs children, to make yourself more marketable.
I like these ideas! Besides being good ideas in themselves, they stimulate MORE ideas! Some of them reminded me of something I was reading about called Craigslist arbitrage – buying low and selling high on craigslist, kind of like the first part of the old Oregon Trail game, but with washers and dryers and bicycles instead of cases of crackers and horses. Sounds like fun! Anyway, that one about the pooper-scooper business, that works, I know because I was quite successful in the pooper-scooper service I started back in 1988! I’ve been in the industry for 25 years now, though I don’t go out and scoop any more.
Diligence. In this industry, the line between scams and honest businesses is blurry, so you need to do your homework before accepting a position. Call the Better Business Bureau in your area to find out if there have been any complaints filed against the company, and do an online search on their name. Alpine Access is a well-respected company in the field, and Call Center Careers is a great place to look for legitimate call centers looking to hire.
Great list! I have another to consider that I personally have 35+ years experience providing. Clean up litter outside commercial properties on foot using inexpensive hand tools. It’s almost as easy to do as going for a walk! I started doing this as a side gig in 1981 and soon grew it into a profitable full-time business. I share my experience in my book, Cleanlots.
Obviously some of these small business ideas have more earning potential than others, but what they all share in common are relatively low barriers to entry and the flexibility to work at them for a limited amount of time per week. I also tried to focus on side business ideas that have some sort of online component to them, since that's what I love most.
2. InboxDollars – InboxDollars is similar to Swagbucks, since you’re going to be taking surveys, shopping, etc., so if you want to maximize your return, sign up with both websites. They also offer a search engine that pays you (like Swagbucks) and you get $5 just for signing up. I won’t continue to list survey sites one after another down the list, but if you want to get paid to take surveys, also check out GlobalTestMarket, E-Poll Surveys and Survey Club.
Parlay your math, science, foreign-language or test-prep expertise into a lucrative side gig by becoming a private tutor. You can tutor people online or in-person. What you charge can depend on your experience, expertise and what’s in demand. To get started, see what types of tutors are needed on Craigslist, or create a profile on sites like Tutor.com or Care.com. You can also advertise your services at local schools and community centers.
Blogging can be a great side hustle. Though the income may not be steady and it can take awhile to get rolling, there are a few steps you can take to ensure success. I would recommend that before you start thinking about money, you start thinking about the topics you are truly passionate about. What can you talk about and learn about for days? That’s exactly what you’ll be doing for years to come, after all. Get some more tips on starting a blog here: How to Start a Blog and Make Money in 7 Steps
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. Check out Leslie Samuel's great guide to selling eBooks online and start building your strategy around this side business idea. This class with Tara Gentile on CreativeLive will also show you how to use your existing body of work to write an eBook within the next week. Put in some serious work with your eBook, build an audience and you'll have a platform to pitch traditional publishers on landing a book deal—then you can write one of the best business books and really build your personal brand.
As an Instacart personal grocery shopper, you will actually be doing the grocery shopping yourself (so don’t crush anyone’s avocados!). Your compensation depends on several factors, like the average size of your orders and average number of miles driven per trip. You can also get tips in addition to the pay that comes directly from Instacart (most people report an average earnings rate of $15 per hour).
If you want to help shape products in their early stages, joining an online focus group or answering survey questions is a great way to make extra money online. They don’t pay as much as some of the other options we’ve highlighted, but you can join groups on sites like Survey Junkie, Swagbucks, and IPSOS that pay out through Amazon gift cards, check, or PayPal. You’ll be asked to provide a bit of information about your demographics (age, location, etc…), but after that you can get going making money through surveys.
Have a knack for staying organized? If you're a jack of all trades, you should consider working as a virtual assistant as a side business idea. You can find great gigs on Elance, Indeed, or Upwork. It can be an awesome way to rub shoulders with some very important people, build up your professional network, develop in-demand new skills (like creating GIFs and VR videos), grow your side business idea and you'll have the added perk of being able to start this as a home based business idea. Becoming a virtual assistant can be a particularly great side business idea if you're hoping to travel the world while making money online as a digital nomad.
Now, if you don’t know people who might want your coaching services, there are a number of online tools and communities that make it incredibly easy to find clients and teach, on just about any topic area you can think of. Community driven platforms like Savvy.is, Clarity.fm, and Coach.me provide you with a network of potential clients to interact with, as well an integrated payment solution.
Plus, this is an especially useful freelancing job if you know multiple languages—because then you multiply your opportunities! Want to write for foreign blogs to dust off your linguistic skills? Or translate the articles you or other people have written to make some extra cash? Make sure to include this important skill in your cover letter when applying for a freelancing gig.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Most of the software and apps you use on a regular basis are made by massive companies or established development studios. Well, yes. But many successful apps, particularly those in the Apple and Google stores, are created and marketed by individuals and small businesses. In fact, independent developers made $20 billion in the App Store in 2016 alone.
Incidentally, helping others grow their wealth is also a good way to grow your own financial worth as a side business idea. If you have stock market and finance credentials, then you can earn freelance commissions or consulting fees, advising clients on how to get the best returns for their investments as a lucrative side business idea if you can get results for those clients—otherwise this business idea can be the fast-track to alienating friends and family, so be careful.
Success Tips: Best customers are busy people, small business owners, and organization directors who cannot afford full-time technological employees. Market your services through local business owners’ organizations and referrals from satisfied customers. Emphasize how your services can grow your clients’ profits and improve their operations’ efficiencies.
It’s not the sort of side business idea that’s covered in glory, but someone needs to make sure all the numbers add up at the end of the year. Every business and most individuals need someone with the domain expertise to help prepare tax returns, especially time or resource-strapped small business owners. Majo Jacinto in his Udemy course provides an in-depth foundational understanding of how to prepare tax returns (and stay current with ever-changing laws) that'll certify you with tax prep skills in as little as a few hours of training and practice. Then once tax season rolls around you'll be able to charge an average of $229 per return as a freelance tax preparer with this side business idea, according to CNBC.
Find work. When you first start out, you may have to accept work writing about a topic you don’t find all that interesting. You must keep an open mind and be willing to accept work that may not be in your desired field. However, as you continue to write, you not only learn about more topics, but you also build your reputation. With time, you can be choosier about assignments you want to accept.
If you’ve got a way with words and expertise in a niche, there are plenty of sites that will pay for articles and content you write. Think of the sites you read regularly. What can you contribute to them that would be interesting? Research your niche and then look for ways to pitch articles. Many sites will simply have a submission or contact link in the footer. To get started, check out my full guide to becoming a freelance writer on the side and then submit your articles to places like Instash, Listverse, TopTenz, A List Apart, International Living, FundsforWriters, and Textbroker.
You can choose either to do the organizing work or consult on the things that the homeowner could do to better organize themselves. Have a portfolio of different organizational scenarios in different rooms in the home and talk with the homeowner about the style he or she likes. Create checklists and questionnaires to understand how the family uses the home. Are the kids wildly busy with after-school activities? Or are they usually home after school and want access to their toys? Do they share rooms? All of these things will help you tailor an organizing plan and become a family's hero.
There are many directions you can take this business. If you want to work during hours when no one else does, you can focus on office clients. You can focus on retail businesses and keep your customers clumped into one or two blocks. Restaurants are in great need of daily thorough cleaning and can be a great source of steady clients. Perhaps you would be more interested in house cleaning. Many times with cleaning services you don't have to spend lots of money on advertising or marketing because your customers will come by word of mouth.
Depending on your skill set, you could easily make a few hundred dollars or even a few extra thousand per month. And if you have some money to invest, you could easily launch into a variety of day trading activities. Those present some risks of your original capital. But if you know what you're doing and you work to hedge your bets by placing stops and limits, you could create sizable upside with lower-than-usual risks.
Make Money Proofreading By Becoming A Freelance Proofreader: In 2014, Caitlin made slightly over $43,000 by being a freelance proofreader, while also going on several fun vacations. Caitlin also has a great FREE 7 day course just for people who want to stop wasting time and start making more money with their proofreading skills. I definitely recommend that you check it out.
Be a care-taker. Taking just a few hours of your week to care for your neighbor's kids, pets, or homes can make a big difference in your income. People who are going out of town and need people to take care of the things they've left behind may be willing to pay a generous amount of money for your help as well. Here's how you can make money by being a caretaker:
Create a killer course experience: With your course validated and in the works, you need to figure out how people will take it. Most course creators choose to host their courses from their own websites. This way, they get all the value of bringing customers back to their site on a regular basis. I host my own courses from a subdomain on my own site so I can easily add more. The course experience is incredibly important as well. And after trying most of the solutions, I highly recommend Teachable—an online platform designed specifically for courses.
Once you’ve established yourself in any number of freelance verticals online, spending your time focusing just on doing inside sales (booking freelance contracts with high-value clients) and then subcontracting your work out to other freelancers can help significantly grow your client list, and revenue generating possibilities with this business idea.
Another idea someone could do from home is to start a service or write a software program that scours local ad listings (like craigslist) for a particular used item a person wants to buy. They have services like this for new items, but not used. I know others like me who are keeping their eye out for something used (like a canopy king bed!) but don’t have the time or inclination to search for it every day.
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’re looking for inspiration, my friend Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of the website Making Sense of Sense has become the expert on all things affiliate marketing. Michelle earns more than $100,000 per month from her blog and the bulk of her income comes from affiliate sales. Michelle has had so much success with affiliate marketing that she even has her own course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.