Turning your favorite craft or hobby into a revenue-generating business idea easily counts among the most fulfilling experiences anyone can have. With more and more people demanding a higher degree of personalization in just about anything they own or use, count yourself lucky if your craft happens to be the creation of custom furniture. Not only is the real estate sector regaining its footing, the number of style-conscious customers is also on the rise, creating plenty of room for growth into this business idea.
While the barriers to entry for a retail shop can be very high, one way to keep costs down and limit your time investment while you keep your full-time job, is to set up a weekend popup shop as a side business idea. More of whatever it is you’re selling—donuts, clothing, antique baseball cards, or anything else—will stay in your pockets instead of going to pay for operating expenses such as rent or utilities by choosing to pursue retail as a side business idea with a short-term rental. This guide from Shopify will give you a step-by-step process for getting your popup shop off the ground.
Find an audience for your passion or hobby and you’re all set to monetize something you love via a niche website as a side business idea. That of course, is easier said than done, something not intended for the faint of heart. Prepare to invest a lot of your time, but if you can hurdle the steep challenges and positively answer a few key questions on whether the website business idea you’re thinking about is profitable, then you can begin building it.
"Look internally: How can you monetize the skills you have currently?" asks Alison Sullivan, a Glassdoor career trends expert based in San Francisco. For example, copy-editing skills, web design know-how or coding knowledge may be valuable to a business or individual. Or you could shop out your managerial skills as a virtual assistant. Consider searching for freelance jobs through sites such as Upwork, Glassdoor or Remote.co. Fiverr is another popular option for freelancers, although experts caution that international workers can create stiff pricing competition.
If you’re a top-notch editor with a deep understanding of how college admissions works—including standardized test preparation, personal statement requirements, supplemental essay requirements, applicant statistics, and even financial aid—then you might be able to snag a rather well-paying job as a college consultant. Some families are willing and able to pay through the nose to make sure their kids submit the best possible applications to their dream schools….
Buy and sell domain names. If you’re good at finding popular yet undiscovered domain names, you can make some cash on the side by buying and reselling websites. Think of it as digital real estate speculation. Domains are available on GoDaddy.com for as little as $2.99 per year, but are sometimes resold at far higher prices: According to Business Insider, the site MM.com sold for $1.2 million dollars in 2014. Once you find the perfect domain name to resell, you can market it on Flippa.com for a flat fee.
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.
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.
Using the money you already have to make more money is usually a pretty smart move. A service like Lending Club is a great way to act as a lender and earn interest on your money. Essentially, you act as the bank, which is pretty neat. Lending Club is the world’s largest online credit marketplace connecting borrowers and investors. Definitely something worth looking into!
If you live near a university, there are likely all sorts of research studies looking for participants. While I was an undergrad at Virginia Tech, I got paid $500 to participate in a 6-week dietary study. The study provided all my meals and paid me, but I had to eat a 5,000 calorie diet of 50% fat for 6 weeks, plus I had multiple muscle biopsies, urine/blood testing, etc.
Amazon makes it fairly easy to list and sell old books, games and devices on its marketplace. You can make more than just a few bucks If you have pricey textbooks from college. Be sure the books are in good condition. You'll get negative reviews if you attempt to sell books that are falling apart or games that are scratched up. Remember, be upfront about any defects, no matter how small they might be and no matter how few people might readily notice it.
Consulting is good work, if you can get it. Consultants give guidance to companies looking for help with everything from marketing to environmental remediation--and for that they clock an average 10% operating margin. Many consultants can easily work from home when they're not with clients on site, and most charge on a per-project basis rather than by the hour. Two big challenges: marketing and pricing the service. For more on the first, check out "Twelve Innovative Marketing Techniques"; for more on pricing, try "How To Figure Out Your Daily Rate."
Have a talent for crafting or creating other handmade goods? From bracelets to phone cases, rings, furniture, and more, Etsy is one of the world's largest independent marketplaces that’s perfect for anyone who is creative and willing to sell their handmade creations. As long as you have the space, this can make for one of the best home business ideas that can be started as a side hustle with a very limited investment. Consider these 5 steps to starting an Etsy store, from Handmadeology. Then, after you're able to build your brand and grow your own audience, you can start an eCommerce site of your own and retain a larger portion of the revenue from your product sales—making this a very lucrative potential business idea if you're able to find an audience that loves your products.
Teaching and tutoring English as a second language is a great way to make a solid side business idea work, not to mention opening 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, there are people in countries such as Hong Kong or the UAE who are willing to pay upwards of $25/hr for you to teach them English via Skype. Indeed, Learn4Good and Remote.co often have remote english tutoring jobs posted, check back frequently. Then once you land that remote job, you'll need somewhere more professional than your dining room table to meet with students—check out this post about how to find places to work remotely and you'll officially graduate this side business idea into a full-time endeavor for yourself.
I kind of “fell into” my at home business. I was a customer of their website division a few years ago. When my husband got downsized – I closed my business and started working with my current company. It’s been such a blessing to be able to stay at home (2 girls in elementary school) and help contribute to our family. When our company started another division helping non-profits with alternative funding – it was something I was passionate about. I feel very blessed to have found the real deal with my at home businesses and in the two years I’ve been with them – it all keeps getting better.
Sell hair, plasma, or other body parts/fluids. Long, healthy, untreated hair can be sold for a variety of purposes (including high-end wig- and extension-making) and earn you anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars depending on color, health, and length. Plasma can be “donated” (for compensation) provided that you are old, healthy, and heavy enough to qualify. Sperm can be donated, but you usually have to know (and be able to document) a fair amount of information about your parents as well as your medical history to be eligible. But be wary; for example, donating eggs is often touted as a fast, high-profit medical procedure, but the process is actually requires that the participant undergo hormonal and medical treatment, receive regular checkups and ultrasounds, and abstain from sex and intoxicants, all of which take weeks or even months before the eggs are even eligible for removal. The removal process itself is invasive and lasts about 30 minutes. Consider your options very carefully before taking on anything like this.
Make money on YouTube. People who love the spotlight and have other online hustles should consider creating their own YouTube channel. If you’re interested — and interesting — you can use the platform to market affiliate products, sell products you create yourself, or receive ad revenue for your informal tutorials or entertaining videos. Once you get the ball rolling, YouTube offers a partner program that can help you monetize your business further.
Hold a yard sale. If you have a yard or garage and plenty of items to sell, you can have a yard sale as early as tomorrow. By advertising your sale on local Facebook pages and Craigslist, you can also skip the paid newspaper ad and keep all of the profits for yourself. If you don’t have time to price everything, try asking patrons to “make an offer” or grouping similar items on tables with an advertised price (e.g. everything on this table is $5).
It’s truly liberating when you can work from home on a computer from anywhere in the world, and get paid consistently from a company like SFI that has stood the test of time. They have been providing home business entrepreneurs like us a great opportunity to earn extra income from home since 2000 and from my point of view the company is getting better every day.
Become a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants perform a wide range of services for their clients, all of which can be completed online. Depending on the day, they may open and reply to emails, schedule online work or blog posts, write mock-up letters and proposals, or perform data entry. You can look for virtual assistant jobs on sites like UpWork.com and Problogger.net.
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 side business idea.
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.
We're all guilty of spending too much time on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest sometimes, so why not get paid to put your expertise to work as a side business idea? Lots of companies, especially startups or those in retail and travel—even influencers have heavy social media presences and are constantly in need of people to help build their brands online. You can find these types of opportunities on sites like Flexjobs and CareerBuilder and most employers on these websites are conditioned to working with people who operate these services as their side business idea. Over time as you grow in your ability to leverage various social channels, you can add more service offerings like running high-return Facebook Ad campaigns or hosting lucrative sweepstakes competitions for the brands you want to work with.
Even if it’s a mundane task like walking dogs, you could start the next (or only) full-service dog walking and grooming service in your town, where dog owners rave over your business and always refer you to others. You can hire other dog walkers as you grow, and turn your side hustle into a sustainable enterprise. You just have to do the work, and do it well.
Carpets make your home warm and cozy. But they also tend to gather dust, grime, stains, allergens and bugs over time. You can tap into this opportunity by launching a carpet cleaning side business idea or serving as an independent contract cleaner in your free time. Either way, you’ll need to invest in proper equipment such as vacuum cleaners, carpet brushes, and cleaning chemicals in order to launch this business idea. Look into the possibility of renting equipment for a full weekend and lining up 5-10 clients to service, to offset your rental costs. If you turn a healthy profit, you'll eventually be able to invest in owning your own equipment and increase your margins, thus going from side hustle to serious business.
Becoming a known person of interest on YouTube is tough work, and earning views and subscribers is competitive, as more people are getting dollar-sign eyeballs when they see what the big YouTube power users make. Still, if you have something unique to bring to the table or have a great onscreen personality, YouTube could be the spot for you to make your millions (from the comfort of your own home, no less)!
Domain name trading has been around for the last couple decades, and while most slam-dunk names have long been sold off, there’s still plenty of others that you can get your hands on for relatively cheap and broker as a way to make money online. Before you dive in, however, beware that some experts doubt the long-term viability of this idea for making money online. However, there’s always the change you might just land on a lucrative domain name for a future billion-dollar company. To get you started, here are some tips from GoDaddy, arguably the world’s largest and most famous repository of domain names.
Schmechel charges $50 an hour to spruce up brochures, business cards, catalogs, case studies and occasionally Web sites. Her tools of the trade include a computer and basic printer. (For high-end printing, she heads to Kinko's.) Additional overhead: a mere $10 per month for a Web site hosting service. Initial marketing amounted to posting an ad on Craigslist. Darling Design's first-year profits: about $50,000, she says.
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.