Yes, spending time on YouTube can be a legitimate business idea if you take it seriously. If you can create value-driven, entertaining video content and grow your subscriber base to a few thousand subscribers, your videos can start generating pretty substantial income from all the ads being displayed on your videos. Many YouTube users make well into the millions each year, so there's clear potential to take this from side business idea to eventual millionaire with the right combination of content, audience, skills, relationships and timing. If you’re considering starting a YouTube channel it’s important use best practices when making videos. Read the YouTube playbook for tips which will result in faster growth of your channel. Additionally think about investing in a quality camera and microphone since the production quality of videos can often affect your viewership.
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.
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!
Next, you need to set up and build your YouTube channel. Your YouTube channel is your homebase for all your content. If you already have a Google account for Gmail or Google Drive, then you can use that to log-in to YouTube and start setting up your channel. Pick a username that works for you and is memorable (if you’re using an existing Google account you’ll have to edit your username in Google+).
If you speak like James Earl Jones or Scarlett Johansson, quite a number of digital publishers (including game developers, animated film-makers, and training video producers) pay good money for voice talent and the time investment isn't too intensive—making this a great side business idea. You can find these publishers looking for voice-over artists on sites like PeoplePerHour, Freelancer and Upwork, as well as their calls for talent directly on their websites or through voiceover agents. If you do pursue this as a side business idea, be prepared to invest for the long-haul as it can be a very competitive industry.

The pay is .25 per minute of talk time. Agents typically make anywhere from $7-$14 per hour. As for the hours, they are totally flexible. You can choose which shifts you want to work each week and the shifts are broken down into half hour increments giving you optimal flexibility. You can even log in and work if you are not scheduled for some impromptu cash.”


If you have a way with words and know how to make the keyword-friendly, beautifully designed, SEO-optimized landing pages, why not charge other companies for your services and turn it into a money-making side business idea? Even a short landing page is worth a couple hundred bucks in most cases, and so much more if you know how to pitch your prospects well. If you want to get started with your business idea of becoming a landing page specialist or freelance copywriter, check out Len Smith and Sean Kaye's awesome course on Udemy, Copywriting Secrets: How to Write Copy That Sells.

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There's also (of course) now an app for this side business idea. It's called Bellhops, and you can quickly sign up to start working as a mover almost right away (after going through their application process). The best part about using Bellhops is that they already have customers booked and ready to schedule their moves, meaning you can pretty much get a steady stream of moving jobs depending upon your location, just by signing up and setting the hours that you're available.
Techies can hedge their bets by doing some trouble-shooting work, too. On the service side, "the margins can be high because you're not competing with global operators," says Avron Barr, principal at Aldo Ventures, a software technology consulting firm in Aptos, Calif. Taken together, the "software publishing" bucket--which the IRS takes to mean both coders and help-desk types--boasts an average 14% pretax margin.
Still, knowing something about how the flower business works is a good idea, and your online presence and photos of your work will be critical to your success. Remember, the business is all about visuals, so make yours as compelling as you can. Get started networking by contacting local wedding planners and funeral homes and letting them know you’re in business. From there, let your business bloom. A friend in Maine turned a flower-arranging business into a successful flower shop she later sold at a profit.
If you have a nice camera and a good eye, snapping a few photos might be just the thing you need to figure out how to make extra money. You can go as all-in with this as you want. Maybe you only shoot family sessions and birthday cake smashes on the weekends. Or maybe you decide to start a business as a wedding photographer! The choice really is up to you. 
Robo-advisors are diversified investment accounts that are automatically managed by a computer algorithm (as opposed to a human money manager). If you want to invest, but don’t have the money, or don’t want to invest with a money manager, robo-advisors are for you! Robo-advisors make investing easier—and cheaper—so they’re perfect for new investors.
Look into survey sites like MyPoints, Survey Junkie or Vindale Research where you’ll get paid just for taking surveys and giving your opinion. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, right? Just remember, these sites are looking for specific criteria. So you might have to wait for the right survey to come along that you qualify for. Plus, you’ll have to reach a certain threshold before you can cash out your points. It’s not a get-rich-quick opportunity by any means, but that extra cash can still add up over time. If you’re the patient and persistent type, give it a shot!

You love dogs? You’re good at taking care of them? You want to open a dog-boarding business? Just make sure you’re prepared. Sure, it’s a great opportunity, and it’s totally doable—with some planning. Make sure you know your local zoning laws and, perhaps more importantly, make sure your neighbors would be OK with some extra noise and activity around your place.


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).
Landscape. Look for brush-clearing, mowing, or woodcutting jobs, some of which may land you regular customers. This can save you money at the same time: if you are hired to pick up pine needles, use them to mulch your roses, which will appreciate their acidity and smothering effect on weeds; if you are hired to cut and clear a fallen tree, use it to heat your house that winter.
After you’ve been freelancing for a few months, you should have some good samples, testimonials, and experience that will give you the leverage to start going after bigger and better-paying freelance opportunities. Remember to set up your digital footprint from the beginning, the majority of social media sites are free to join, as well as a basic blog from WordPress or Blogger. For more information on setting up your freelance business,

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.
If you’re just looking for a quick way to make cash on nights or weekends for a short stretch of time, then maybe this one isn’t for you. But if you’re ready to turn your dream of starting your own business into a reality, there’s never been a better time to do it! Online platforms like Etsy, Amazon FBA and Big Cartel have made it easier than ever.
Have you ever wanted to quit your job? It’s time. Time for a BIG pay raise. I’m not talking about a 5% a year raise… Or a “promotion.” (One that comes with more hours and more responsibility than pay.) That’s not what I am talking about. I’m talking about increasing your income by 10x or more. I’m talking $20,000, $50,000 or even $90,000 a month. I know, I know. Those numbers sound crazy. Almost “impossible to believe.” Yet with the right tools and resources, you can do it too. To succeed online, you DON’T need… Genius level smarts. An insane work ethic. “Luck.” What you do need is a solid foundation for success: Mentors. The right information. Sales & marketing strategies. Websites, payment processing services. Sales copy. etc… Lucky for you all of that has already been put in place just for you. Get my Simple 4 Step Formula now >>
Sell CDs and/or DVDs. Back up your collection on a computer or external hard drive, then sell the original discs. You’ll make quick cash and save space at the same time. If you have prized collections (boxed sets, limited-release editions, etc.), sell these individually for what they’re worth; otherwise, sell your discs very reasonably (remember, your potential buyers can also get the exact songs they want instantly by downloading them for buck or less apiece). Even for a mere $4 each, a sizeable collection of CDs can haul in a tidy – sum.
You love dogs? You’re good at taking care of them? You want to open a dog-boarding business? Just make sure you’re prepared. Sure, it’s a great opportunity, and it’s totally doable—with some planning. Make sure you know your local zoning laws and, perhaps more importantly, make sure your neighbors would be OK with some extra noise and activity around your place.

If you don’t mind doing other people’s chores, then TaskRabbit is a great option for making money online. Earn extra income by walking your neighbor’s dog or mowing Mr. Smith’s lawn. It might seem like not the most lucrative option, but the top taskers reportedly earn as much as $7000 a month, making this a full-time way to make money online for some.
Take advantage of tax laws if you're self-employed. Money saved on taxes is still money saved. You may be able to deduct many of your business expenses (use of your home, use of your car, office supplies, etc.) if you keep good records. You may also qualify for tax breaks, such as deducting your health insurance premiums on your tax return. These laws are in place to encourage commerce and business growth, so don't neglect their benefits especially if you want to make money.
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.
As a teen, babysitting was my bread and butter. I would babysit my father’s co-worker’s children, the neighborhood kids, my siblings, as well as children from the church we attended. It was an easy way to make some money, and obviously, I didn’t spend any money on advertising my services. While most of my clients were from word of mouth referrals, I was also able to offer my child care services on the local bulletin board at our church, and I told everyone I wanted to work.
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.
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.
If your mastery of another language is good enough to have the grammar and spelling down, translating is a great side business idea to set up for yourself and can even be done remotely. Flexjobs has literally hundreds of freelance, remote translator jobs available right now and if you're looking to land more remote work on the side of your other pursuits, check out my guide—how to get a remote job (this weekend).
While I’m not an advocate of selling yourself short or devaluing your worth, there is a time and a place for freelance job sites. These sites are job boards for freelancers and businesses; it is a place to connect, shop around, and most importantly get some money into your pocket. While many of these sites may offer smaller payouts, they are a great place to gain experience and build up your portfolio.

Great ideas! I’ve been thinking about starting a home-based business for years but I just never stopped long enough to actually start and I didn’t know what kind of business to pursue. Now I’m ready to get started and you gave me some really good ideas. I really appreciate the links to more information on how to get started in several of these business opportunities. I will definitely look into them.

Here’s a good example of how lead sales can work in real life: My second website, Life Insurance by Jeff, brings in a ton of traffic from people who are searching the web to find answers to life insurance questions. While I used to have the website set up so I could sell these people life insurance myself, it was a lot of work to process all the different requests and clients. As a result, I started selling the leads I gathered instead.
Case in point: securities and commodities brokers, who stand atop the list with an average pretax margin of 14%. While confidence in the markets is shaken and competition from E*Trade and Charles Schwab is stiff, trusted brokers able to develop a book of business by giving financial advice (not simply executing trades) can still do well. All it takes is a computer, a speedy Internet hookup and some trading software from the likes of Automatic Data Processing . Typical commissions: 2% to 3% of the value of each trade.
This is a man who on our first envelope job bought us our furnace gas heater by paying us upfront half the money he would have topay when the job was done. He was so concerned we had no heat he paid us before we even started writing out the envelopes…I felt so bad to see when I called him 2 months ago someone answered it but was not him or his family. I fear he lost his home:( If he hasn’t we would still be in the back of his mind for envelope work knowing we are his people to get the job done.

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.
And while it will take time to build up a big-enough audience to attract advertisers and other ways to make extra income from your podcast, the opportunity is there. John Lee Dumas interviews entrepreneurs seven days a week for his podcast Entrepreneur on Fire and now makes more than $200,000 a month from it. In fact, John publishes all his income online and showed that he’s made almost $13 million since launching in 2012.

Become a mystery shopper. This means doing business with various establishments and rating their products and services without their knowledge. It may sound like cake, but remember that it requires discreteness, a good memory for detail (ex. the name of every individual who helped or served you), and enough cash for you to be able to pay for your shopping experience up-front and then wait to be reimbursed pending the approval of your review.


If you own a camera, starting a freelance portrait photography business could be a very natural way to turn your skills and passions into a profitable business idea. Start with doing free shoots for friends and family to build up a strong online portfolio, get familiar with your gear and the editing process, then you'll be able to get paid for photographing professional head shots and celebratory family moments as your side business idea. Get started by checking out this men's portrait photography class that regularly broadcasts for free on CreativeLive. Plus, once you have all the photography gear, you can earn a little extra side income by renting it out when you're not using it through online marketplaces like Fat Lama.
If you want to speed up the process of launching your blog, I recommend setting up quick, affordable and easy website hosting with a company like Bluehost, choosing a simple WordPress theme and working on your first post, in order to set the precedent of prioritizing your time on creating content, connecting with (and building) your audience. Then once you've been able to build a community around your blog, you'll want to invest in really understanding your readers—so that you can give them more of what they want.
The overall success of a personal trainer often relies on their degree of expertise and their ability to produce real, tangible results. Profits and growth of any fitness training enterprise are due in large part to word-of-mouth business, or referrals, and producing exceptional and appreciable results operates in tandem with a rise in referrals-based business.
Animal lovers can start dog walking or dog-sitting with apps such as Rover, Wag or DogVacay, or by sharing services on community boards or by word of mouth. Compensation will vary by location, app, frequency and the rates you charge. Users of these apps typically set their rates and work through the app to schedule boarding and walking requests from dog owners.
These ways of making extra money cover a wide range in terms of compensation and prestige. Check out the options to see what could work for you, keeping tabs on a projected per-hour rate so you can see what would be worth your time. The list is loosely arranged by 1. jobs requiring more skill or expertise, 2. gigs needing less and 3. things you can sell. And if you think of any good options I missed, please let me know in the comments.

If you own a camera, starting a freelance portrait photography business could be a very natural way to turn your skills and passions into a profitable business idea. Start with doing free shoots for friends and family to build up a strong online portfolio, get familiar with your gear and the editing process, then you'll be able to get paid for photographing professional head shots and celebratory family moments as your side business idea. Get started by checking out this men's portrait photography class that regularly broadcasts for free on CreativeLive. Plus, once you have all the photography gear, you can earn a little extra side income by renting it out when you're not using it through online marketplaces like Fat Lama. 
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