If you have a talent for helping people look their best, and know how to mesmerize with eyeliners and turn heads with lipsticks, consider using your beauty skills to pursue this easily profitable side business idea. For under $2000, you can start your own make-up artist business which can make for the foundation of a potentially lucrative side business idea that turns a profit largely by referrals and word-of-mouth from your happy customers.
Perhaps the easiest form of business to delve into and operate is freelancing. Whatever your skill – writing, web design, marketing, tax advisor, or photography – freelancing affords an enormous amount of flexibility and freedom, and can be started with little cost or paperwork. Many freelancers get their start by approaching a former employer or customer who could benefit from their services, then branch out as their body of work and reputation grows.
Design web images. By pairing good aesthetic sense and the use of design or photo-editing software, you can make and sell background graphics for social media pages, web logos, or computer icon packages. If you know or are willing to learn computer programming, seriously consider making web pages; programmers may be easy to come by, but programmers with an eye for beauty are another thing altogether.
Not quite ready to start your own blog, but still like the idea of getting paid to write? You may want to consider trying your hand at freelance writing. Many bloggers and website owners are willing to shell out some serious cash for high quality writers. In fact, Holly Johnson from ClubThrifty.com makes over $200,000 per year from freelance work! And she has a course that teaches others how to do the same.
With nearly 100,000 different custom extensions both free and paid available in Google Chrome's marketplace, there's a huge opportunity for creating a useful extension for people to use while browsing the web as a low effort business idea. One of my favorite Chrome extensions, Yet Another Mail Merge, which enables you to send bulk customized emails from within Gmail, gives you 50 free credits to send emails and gives you the chance to upgrade to a paid account to unlock more sending—a great upsell for the people who are getting value from the extension. Even free Chrome extensions like SVRF Tabs by SVRF, which replaces your new tab with stunning VR and 360º images, have the potential to bring in new users and eventually drive revenue for the startup's core business. Another fun example from a friend of mine, Kathleen Garvin, is Hide images with NOPE, a Chrome extension that hides images on the web pages you're browsing—to help eliminate distractions and keep you from seeing images (like those of certain politicians) that you may want to hide. This side business idea is particularly great because it also allows you to showcase your development skills—which can be put to work as an adjacent side business idea on a freelance basis alongside the Chrome extensions you launch.
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.
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!
If your career path is going nowhere, resign gracefully and switch careers. Research occupations to find out how much they pay and what their future outlook is (in the U.S., you can find this information in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook). Find an occupation that pays well, and invest in the education and/or training to get you that job. Look for employers that offer competitive salaries and ample opportunity for advancement.
Mechanical Turk operates much like TaskRabbit and GigWalk: it’s a corner online where Amazon gathers tasks to be done, people willing to do them, and people willing to pay for them. On Mechanical Turk, you get to do the oddest jobs you can imagine as an online business idea, made possible by a parallel online universe that runs on hits, visits, surveys, reviews, pins, likes, CPCs, reads, and other metrics. But don’t get too ambitious. The small sums being paid out to human Mechanical Turk users rarely add up to anything seriously substantial, even if you invest most of your spare time into it. It's a better opportunity for internationally-based people with internet access and lower costs of living than in the US. Here’s one person’s account of his former life as a Mechanical Turk talking through how he got started with this business idea and what the experience was really like.
Whether for high school students or adults, you can monetize your expertise by teaching people with less experience or knowledge than you in that subject area. You can work with an established group like Kaplan for, say, SAT tutoring, or you could try hanging out your own shingle and making your services known either to students, parents and schools in your community. If you are targeting adults, you can create your own website or list your services with adult tutoring companies.
If you’ve always wanted to publish your own book as a side business idea, there never been a better time than now. That’s because access to self-publishing tools and marketplaces has never been easier and more affordable. This eBook writer currently earns up to a couple of thousand bucks each month from six ebooks she published; while you can reportedly demand around $1000 per eBook project serving as a ghostwriter. My good friend, Caroline Beaton used freelance writing as her side business idea to eventually go from secretary to self-employed, while focusing on her own personal development and looking inward to discover what she's truly passionate about.
You could easily do home organizing for people, an industry that has gained a lot of popularity since the debut of Netflix's hit series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. If you're a tidy and organized person yourself, and you're good at organizing spaces, why not offer your services to people around you? You'd be surprised at how many people, even on your own social media feed, might take you up on doing something like this.
My 10-year-old son brought home a book from our park’s free library box. It was a biology textbook – teachers edition. He said it looked interesting and hey, it was free (having no idea you could sell it). I scanned it in my Amazon seller app and realized it was worth around $150. He was so excited. We listed it for sale for $130 and it sold! Going to tell him, he just made $130!
Become a freelance writer or editor. If you have a passion for storytelling or a background in writing or editing, it’s possible to find freelance writing or editing work online. To search available job openings, check out sites like UpWork.com and Problogger.net. You can also check traditional job sites such as Indeed.com and enter “telecommute” or “anywhere” in the location field.
Food production from a home is heavily regulated but it’s not impossible. Take Martha Stewart, for example—she famously entered the food service business with a basement-based catering company in 1976. Before you start a home-based food business you will need to understand the rules and regulations that govern the production of food for public consumption in an at-home environment. For example do you need a separate kitchen? What about product labeling? And so on.
Etsy is the most popular online marketplace for handmade goods and crafts. From bracelets to phone cases, rings, furniture, and more, Etsy is perfect for anyone who is creative and wants to sell their handmade creations. As long as you have the space, this can make for one of the best ways to make money online that can be started with a very limited investment. Consider these 5 steps to starting an Etsy store, from Handmadeology.
On top of just the skill and experience components to being a successful online coach, this side business idea is all about building a community around the help you're offering and fostering trust with members. Plus, your community members will learn from each other along the way. Creating the space for that community can be as simple as setting up a private Facebook group or choosing a community-building platform like Ning.com that has even more capabilities like using your own custom URL, having internal forums, customized designs, and more.