There’s no need to be an artist, just an expert in some form of art. Visit galleries. Get on their email lists, and go to their parties. Get to know their clients. Gallery owners will love you, even recommend your services, because you’ll be telling people to buy art from them. You don’t have to own any inventory. It’s pure consulting. There is almost no overhead cost for a business like this. It’s really about having a passion for art and a knack for earning people’s trust. And it’s fun!


Believe it or not, this freelance bike messenger makes more money than some people glued to their office desks. You won't rake in a whopping $50,000 as this guy does by just doing this in your free time as a side business idea only, but you’ll surely get a piece of the action. Even Uber is trying out a blueprint for a delivery service, and companies like WunWun and Amazon are stepping up their efforts to expand same-day delivery, increasing the demand for more to jump in on this business idea. If you have a decent bicycle, those pair of pedals might just earn you a healthy side hustle income.
Think blogging is no longer a viable source of income? Think again. Tens of thousands of bloggers (including yours truly) are creating profitable content on topics as diverse as scrapbooking, home cooking, travel, film, lifestyle, business, personal finance and more. And we're growing our blogs into six-figure businesses thanks to a combination of email subscribers, affiliate marketing, blog sponsorships, and other revenue streams. Your first step with starting a blog is quickly getting the technical side of things handled (my free master course on blogging will show you how), and then both understanding what your audience craves and learning how to attract those readers online.
And freelance coder is an especially great one, since it’s already such a commonplace gig. Whether you want the flexibility of being your own boss, enjoy taking on a wide diversity of projects rather than working with a single company, or prefer to travel instead of staying in one place, you’ve got many reasons to pursue freelance software development—even though technology companies and startups offer their own perks as well.
Skills honed, the entrepreneurial 26-year-old launched her own graphic design shop, Darling Design, out of her apartment last year. She figures that an office lease would have cost an extra $1,000 per month. Sure, the home office can get a bit crowded--Schmechel shares the cramped three-bedroom rental with two roommates--but she's happy she did it. "I couldn't have started the business without doing it in my house," she says.

The first follows the startup path we outlined above: You have a disruptive idea for an app or piece of software, you validate the idea with real customers, and then raise money to hire developers or a development studio to build, launch, and scale your software. If you’ve done everything right, your software will be accepted to the Apple and Google Stores and you’ll make money every time someone downloads it or pays for a premium feature.
Websites such as Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer offer opportunities to do a variety of freelance jobs, such as writing, programming, design, marketing, data entry and being a virtual assistant. Fluent in a second language? Check sites such as Gengo or One Hour Translation, or drum up business through a site of your own. No matter what kind of freelancing you do, keep track of the going rate for the kind of work you provide so you know if you’re charging too much or too little. Learn how to get started on Upwork.
Teaching and tutoring English as a second language is a great way to make money online, not to mention open some doors for you to travel the world if you'd like. While full ESL (English as a Second Language) accreditation is recommended, as long as you’re a native speaker and have the ability to teach, there are people in countries such as Hong Kong or the UAE who are willing to pay upwards of $25/hr for you to tutor them English via Skype. Check out Indeed, Learn4Good and Remote.co for remote english tutoring jobs or sign up on a specialized site like VerbalPlanet or Chegg Tutors.
If you want to clear some space out in your house and have a big stack of books you’ve been holding onto for too long, you can make money selling your books and textbooks online. Stores like Half Priced Books and others will give you cents on the dollar for each of your current books while you can check what your book is worth by simply entering the ISBN number on Book Scouter.
Try affiliate marketing. This means promoting someone else’s products or services for pay without actually carrying an inventory. There are many ways of incorporating affiliate marketing into your website/blog/page including banner ads (which are generally ineffective, as people tend to avoid these), linked articles (which are quite successful when the article content is thoughtful and doesn’t appear spammy), and product-placement videos (which can be very successful when done by people with charisma or a good sense of humor). You can even become an affiliate marketer without a website. Basic ways of making money through of affiliate marketing include:

Nearly all businesses understand the importance of maintaining a social media presence, but not everyone can afford to bring in a full-time social media manager. Contract yourself out as a social media manager and spend your days tweeting, posting to Facebook, and snapping Instagram pics. If social media is your second skin, this could be a great home-based business idea for you.
Become an Amazon Associate and then use Keyword planner to find an in-demand niche: With more than a million different products to choose from and up to 10% commission the sales you drive, Amazon’s affiliate program is a great place to get started. Browse their available products and see what connects with you. Or take it a step further and use Google’s Keyword Planner to quickly check how many people are searching for a specific term. With affiliate marketing, the more relevant traffic you can pull in, the more you’ll make off your site.
Sometimes it seems like there’s an app for everything. Yet somehow, new ones keep popping up and selling for lots of money, all the time. If you spot a niche that hasn’t been filled to its potential just yet, and you can learn the coding skills (or know someone who already has them), you could be on to something with this side business idea. Today, it's even possible to build an app without any coding skills whatsoever. Just make sure you validate your app idea before jumping too far in. Even if your app business idea doesn't pan out to be a best-seller, you'll still pick up valuable skills.
If you’re strapped for cash but want to work on your own schedule, you might want to consider becoming a driver for Uber or Lyft. You can drive as much (or as little) as you want and set your own schedule. Plus, you get the added bonus of having interesting conversations along the way (or at the very least some colorful stories to tell of your travels with strangers).
Set up a roadside stand. Depending on where you live, you could profit handsomely by setting up a roadside stand. If you live near a resort area, for example, you could buy cases of bottled water, put them on ice, and sell them to passers by for twice what you paid. Selling fruit and produce you grow yourself is also a smart idea in highly-traveled areas.
Not many people realize that Amazon actually has a pretty cool commission program. That’s right, Amazon will dish out commissions to websites that refer customers to its site. Join the Amazon Associates Program, create a website reviewing or promoting various products (with links to where users can buy the items on Amazon), and get a nice little cut if users complete an Amazon order.
Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission. Know that I only recommend products, tools and learning resources I've personally used and believe are genuinely helpful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to purchase them. Most of all, I would never advocate for buying something that you can't afford or that you're not yet ready to implement.
Similar to selling on Amazon, eBay is a place to make money selling just about anything you can think of as a side business idea, with the added excitement of using the auction selling model to sometimes get way more than you expected for that antique baseball card you picked up at a local street fair. To turn your eBay selling into a legitimate business idea, look for opportunities where you can buy in-demand products at a discount—and later sell them for a profit. Eventually, you can even take the lessons learned from your eBay store and build a full on blog or eCommerce business like what the team over at Gear Hungry has done.
Rent out a room on Airbnb. Living near a tourist area has its perks, including the prospect of renting out a room for a profit. With home sharing sites like Airbnb, you can rent out a room in your home – or even the entire place – for a day, a week, or longer. If you have extra space and might enjoy the company of travelers, renting out a room is great way to earn some extra money with little effort on your part. See our post, “How to Make Money as an AirBNB Host.”
Robert said he did an average of 4-6 of these gigs per year for a while depending on his schedule and the work involved. The best part is, he charged a flat rate that usually worked out to around $100 per hour. And remember, this was pay he was earning to advise people on the best ways to use social media tools like Facebook and Pinterest to grow their brands.

If you're not self-employed and work for a company, find out if they have a retirement plan. If you're lucky, employers will sometimes match contributions you make into a retirement fund. Retirement plans also often have the benefit of being tax-deferred. The longer you get to keep your money (and make interest on it) the better. It's never too early to start planning for retirement.
×