The answers range from original instrumental beats to stock photos that can be licensed to other creators, to information products and templates that help people level up their skills in a particular field.
The idea of this business is that you can personalize just about anything your customers may want. T-shirts, hats, mugs, pens…you name it. Initially you may want to outsource all of the work, but if your business takes off you may want to bring some of the personalization processes in–house to further boost your profit margins.
Many people would love to have a beautiful slideshow to commemorate the passing of a loved one, an anniversary, or a special birthday. With a computer and some select software, you could quickly turn anyone’s pictures into a beautiful, custom slideshow, and profit handsomely for your time and effort.
Driving for one of the two globally expanding app-centric taxi alternative services, Uber or Lyft can still be a fairly lucrative way to earn money as a side business idea on nights and weekends—working only when you want. But before you dive head first into this side business idea, do your homework and calculate the costs of extra gas, mileage, tires, wear & tear and usage on your vehicle—it’s not a guaranteed business idea that’ll turn a huge profit every weekend.
A limited liability company (LLC) is a popular way of setting of a business because it allows the owners to limit their personal liability for actions taken by the company. While an accountant or an attorney can set up an LLC for you, it is usually pretty easy to complete the formation process yourself. Keep in mind that each state will have different rules for forming an LLC, so it is important to look at your specific state laws before proceeding.
Earning money on GigWalk is similar to working on Task Rabbit—not a bad side business idea if you’ve got the free time. You get to choose from an amusingly diverse range of jobs from taking snapshots of restaurant menus to counting the items arrayed on supermarket racks. It won’t make you rich though, with payouts tending to congregate in the lower half of their $3-to-$100 range. But, if you’re looking for a steady little side business idea, it can’t hurt doing a strange but fun errand and getting a tip at the end. When you’re bored or a little short on cash, you can access GigWalk anytime, anywhere via their mobile app. Meanwhile, all the jobs specifically vetted for you will be within reach (ideally, just a brisk walk away).
Note that many of these ideas could have been listed in more than the single category I placed them in. But I thought it would easier and more interesting for you, if I only listed each business once.
Investment: Depending on where you live and the services offered, you may need to obtain a business license or be registered with your state. The startup costs could run high if you need to purchase tools and a work truck.
1. Study the market. When a product idea dawns on you, first you must situate it. I recommend searching through Google Images and Google Shopping. Do similar products exist? Study them carefully. What benefits do they offer? Consider your point of difference. Does it offer a benefit consumers truly need or want? Read Amazon product reviews for further insight. Search for prior art as well. (Your goal is to understand the history of innovation as it relates to your concept, not to prove it’s never been thought of before.) If you find your idea in a patent but not on the market, do further research. What happened?
Depending on the type of business you’re in, your business structure, whether you’re hiring local Illinoisans, and where you set up shop, syncing with the tax code can happen as easily as hockey melded with Chicago.
Resource Recommendation: Since this step can have such serious repercussions if it’s not done correctly, we highly recommend investing a few minutes to read through our business structure comparison guide before deciding on one. Then, when it comes time to officially form your business, you can either do so on your own or use an online incorporation service. Take a look at our top 7 incorporation services for an in-depth discussion of our favorite providers!
It can be helpful to have people who are bright and creative join you for a casual brainstorming session. Start with a simple question like: “What shall we do?” The idea is not to create a business plan, just to generate potential ideas. Many of the ideas will be duds, and there will be quite a few ordinary ones, but a few may emerge that have real potential.
Another option is to open a franchise of an established company. The concept, brand following and business model are already in place; all you need is a good location and the means to fund your operation.
2. Invent for the market. There are many ways of coming up with new ideas. Many inventors focus on solving a problem or meeting a need. I like to look for sleeping dinosaurs. By that I mean, products that have remained relatively unchanged for decades. For example, I created a profitable business by adding personality to guitar picks. The easiest ideas to license are those that make simple improvements to existing products. So, where can you locate opportunities for innovation?
Before you can register your company, you need to decide what kind of entity it is. Your business structure legally affects everything from how you file your taxes to your personal liability if something goes wrong.
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.
Wouldn’t you enjoy making kids smile and laugh? What a great way to earn some good money, especially at kids’ birthdays and Bar and Bat mitzvahs! Business will be heavily focused on weekends, so you can hold onto your day job as you build your clientele. I met a professional clown who told me that he charged $200 an hour…for that price I’ll put the clown suit on right now!
There are all kinds of directions this business can go! You could sell hats to retailers, you could sell them online, you could sell them to event planners to liven up their parties. You could eventually even open a hats-only store!
Proofread Anywhere offers a free introductory workshop. One mom tried this out because she desperately needed a flexible schedule, and now she makes up to $1,200 a month picking and choosing when she works — from home.
These low-investment, no-inventory online businesses make a great entry point for beginners or anyone with a busy schedule, giving you a hands-on education in entrepreneurship at a fraction of the cost.
If you’re one of those people who can’t help but flip through bridal magazines and think about various wedding arrangements in your daydreams, wedding planning might be the perfect thing for you. A great way to get started is to develop a website or blog on the topic, get to know people online, and promote your services at local wedding venues and throughout the community.
You could try to do this business online…but of course the issue is getting people the right size. You could even send several sizes if they are not sure of their size. Or you could have a storefront. You don’t need a fancy location or expensive buildout. There is a formal wear rental facility near me that has been very successful for decades, and the storefront looks like it was last remodeled about 50 years ago.
There are aspects of your business that you can always salvage if you try a different product or approach. The brand you invest time into creating and the followers you amass on social media or in your email list can be assets you repurpose for your next business idea.
Xerox – Read Review – It’s not uncommon to find data entry work from home jobs posted on Xerox. Type in “work from home data entry” on their careers page to see these listings. As with so many other data entry jobs, it may be location-based work.
Prudential hires work-at-home financial services associates, customer solutions reps, and customer relationship specialists. Prudential offers a comprehensive benefits package for full-time employees.
You might excel at search engine evaluation if you’re great at internet research, up on pop culture, media, current trends, and you know your way around the computer. You do not necessarily need any past experience to do these jobs, but all of these companies will require you to complete a rather lengthy test prior to accepting you.
To succeed at this business, I would carefully perfect a few interesting smoothies drinks. Then I would search hard for a location with very high foot traffic location. I would much rather have a tiny location with lots of traffic and high rent per square foot, than a much larger location with the same total rent but less traffic.
If you play your cards right, certain types of businesses will pay you to promote their products and encourage sales. If you’re interested in learning more, check out affiliate marketing programs such as Amazon Associates, Commission Junction, LinkShare, and ShareASale.
The traditional model of entrepreneurship that continues to be taught today is to write a business plan, raise capital, source manufacturing, develop marketing materials, and fulfill and distribute orders — to do it all yourself. Clearly though, not everyone has the time, financial resources, experience, or even the desire to start and run a business. And what about those who have many ideas for new products? Not every idea needs to become a business.
Build your product or develop your service. Once you have the business all planned, financed, and have your basic level of staffing, get going. Whether that’s sitting down with the engineers and getting the software coded and tested, or getting materials sourced and shipped to your fabrication room (aka “garage”), or purchasing in bulk and marking up the price, the building process is the time during which you prepare for market. During this time, you may discover things such as:
Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.
This section includes legitimate word of mouth marketing and paid online survey sites, explains what mystery shopping is all about, lists great websites to swap items or services and tells you how to channel your inner Judge Judy.
Find resources. Depending on the structure and size of your LLC, writing an operating agreement can be difficult. As mentioned above, you should hire an attorney to look over your document for best results. However, your state may have other resources for LLC members, such as form operating agreements or copies of the default rules.
My cousin worked for a jet ski rental firm in Sarasota Florida. Was that a fun job! Problem was that now and then when people panic on a jet ski, they will run it right into another boat! So, try to avoid renting jet skis in a busy boat anchorage and make sure your customers are confident operators before you set them loose!