Software drives businesses today. This is a fact not lost on individuals and companies attempting to earn a profit, make a name for themselves, or simply get things done. As a result, the job outlook for software developers will be much sunnier than prospects for many other occupations—creating massive opportunities for this business idea well into  the future. In fact, it won’t take you long to find a good-paying software development project as a side business idea on sites like Upwork, Guru.com, and Freelancer. LinkedIn also recently launched their brand new freelancing platform, ProFinder which has a dedicated section just for hiring talented software developers.
Keep your costs down. In order to turn a profit on what you're selling, choose to sell an item that's inexpensive to make. Lemonade is a classic because all of its ingredients (water, sugar, lemons or lemon juice concentrate, and ice) are fairly cheap and easy to obtain. Popsicles are another favorite because they can be bought in large quantities from the store!
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.
As long as there is still the written word, there will always be editors. Freelance editing and proofreading not only pays a decent hourly wage, it also gives you the chance to read about potentially interesting topics too. What's more, pursuing freelance writing & editing as a business idea can afford you a lifestyle that lets you travel the world as a digital nomad. You can find lots of job postings from companies and individuals in need of writing, proofreading, and editing services on Contena, which makes this a high-demand opportunity to make money online.
I’ve found that fear often stops aspiring consultants from starting a consulting business–or any business–and on my blog, I talk about how to overcome those fears. I also talk about practical, concrete things you can do to start and run a successful consulting business, along with tools, tips, tricks, and techniques for automating your business and keeping costs to a minimum. The info I give is applicable to most other types of businesses as well.
Do you play a musical instrument well enough to teach it to others? How about taking your skills at producing music or sound design and teaching others as a service-based business idea based on your experience? Private music instructors in all disciplines charge upwards of $20-100/hr (or more depending upon skill and experience), and you don’t necessarily have to do them in person, either. This makes for a great side business idea that can channel your passion for music into profits.
If you have experience with marketing, SEO or a knack for getting people excited about the products and services you use on a regular basis, think about refining your skills and putting them to work as a small business marketing consultant in your region—especially if you can become a local SEO expert and can help local clients rank higher in their search results as your side business idea. Businesses of all sizes are in constant need of bringing in more customers, which is where you come in with your business idea. Start by pitching some of these small business marketing ideas by Brian Downard and you'll be sure to impress the first set of clients you begin working with in your area.
If you love kids, sign up for Care.com or SitterCity to spend a few hours a week babysitting. These websites verify both babysitters and those seeking sitters with background checks, so you can ensure you're conversing with a reliable source. Babysitting rates vary based on years of experience, number of children, and hours per week. According to ZipRecruiter, the average hourly rate for a babysitter is $28. Use Care.com's calculator to plug in your experience and find out how much your should be making an hour as a babysitter.
Maintenance work from the comfort of your garage or basement is challenging on two fronts: overall set-up (equipment, ventilation) and finding clients. Take shoe repair. Ben Roush, a cobbler in Omaha, Neb., says that used finishing machines (with the proper buffering and sanding devices) go for $10,000; stitchers, $1200; and hydraulic presses for adding glue, $300. Some repair work requires more electrical power, too: 220 volts versus the typical 110 volt capacity in most houses.
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