If you have the gift of gab, public speaking is a worthwhile side business idea for you to pursue. Many authors, medical practitioners, scientists, artisans, politicians, and other subject matter experts earn extra income by delivering speeches, seminars, and presentations. Professional motivational speakers earn an average annual salary of around $90,000 with just that portion of their income, making this a very realistic side business idea while you continue practicing your craft.
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).
People get into this business thinking it is a totally passive way to make money and then they find out—they actually have to do some work! Heavily used washing machines and dryers can break down, and the laundromat will need to be cleaned constantly. That being said people need clean clothes so this is a classic steady income business!
There’s a huge growing market for mobile phone accessories, and plenty of handmade sellers are raking in 6 and sometimes 7 figures from their phone case businesses. You can get your own phone case business up and running as a side business idea in a matter of days with turnkey solutions from Case Escape, my previous company, and you can now get ready-to-go kits that’ll give you everything you need to start a phone case business. Once you’re up and running, you can sell cases on Etsy, Amazon Handmade, and Fancy. During our first year of selling phone cases as a side business idea on our Etsy store, we made around $60,000 in revenue from that selling channel alone—not to mention additional sales from fairs, trade shows, promotional products vendors, parties, events and other online marketplaces. From there, the sales only continued growing and we graduated from side business idea to full-time company that I ran with my best friend for multiple years.
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Capital Expenditures. Also known as capital expenses, these are the one-time costs of buying assets such as inventory, property, vehicles or equipment as well as making upfront payments for security deposits. These start-up assets don’t usually qualify for deduction, but some can be written off through depreciation at tax time.
Sole Proprietorship: Consider this the path of least resistance, but know that it comes at a price. If you’re operating without any partners and haven’t registered a formal business structure, you’ll automatically be classified as a sole proprietor and have no liability protection whatsoever. No need to file articles of incorporation/organization, but you might benefit from filing a DBA.
Like drinking beer? Why not try making it yourself as your side business idea? With enough patience and skill you might end up brewing something that others are willing to pay to drink. Pick up an easy-to-use starter kit from Mr. Beer online, invest the time it’ll take to perfect your craft, make a unique brew and start shopping it around to friends & family to see what they think of this side business idea.
Consider a home equity loan. If you have a home, looking to get a home equity loan can be a wise idea, since these loans are typically easily approved (since your home acts as collateral), and interest rates are typically lower.
You can put a big sign on top of your truck or pull it around on a trailer. This is particularly powerful for local businesses because you can offer pinpoint marketing—driving around the same business block for example. You could also offer a service to hire people to agree to have a commercial sign mounted on their cars as they drive around town doing their usual thing. For example, a Boston radio station arranged to have hundreds of small VWs to be painted with their logos, paying each car owner a monthly stipend. How big can this business go? Well CNN/Turner Broadcasting founder Ted Turner made his initial money in the billboard business!
If you’re still not having any luck with the jobs I’ve shared above – check out FlexJobs. The company has a A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, along with a money-back policy if you are unhappy with the website. FlexJobs guarantees that every single job is hand-screened for legitimacy. This is a great way to search for legitimate work at home jobs without the hassle of dealing with scams.
Companies these days are expanding their office boundaries to incorporate the idea of working from home. These companies offer employees flexible working hours, better pay and freedom from office walls. Even though the internet is flooded with many online jobs, there are some that offer better pay. Here is a list of companies that pay $16 per hour or more to work from home. If this pay isn’t enough, I suggest this list of companies that $20 per hour or more.
A business plan helps you figure out where your company is going, how it will overcome any potential difficulties and what you need to sustain it. A full guide to writing your plan can be found here, and when you’re ready to put pen to paper, these free templates can help.
Though your local community will be thrilled to have fresh flowers in their town, you will still have the struggle of competing against online delivery services. Remember, if you are the first florist the town has ever seen (or at least for a while), they are probably used to ordering online. Habits can be hard to break. The best way to compete with the online sea of flora is with reasonable prices, attention to detail and customers service, and a sprig of creativity.
You can make a room in your house into a photography studio, but you’ve got to get out to promote your services or do some clever marketing. Doing photography for groups (typically at their location) is one way to get going. Another is to develop a specialty (such as children’s portraits).
Wedding planning could be good fit for someone who has experience in party planning, event coordination or hospitality. Strong organizational and communication skills, the ability to work weekends and patience are necessary.
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.
Not only is a fashion blog fun to create, but it is the kind of blog that you have one of the best chances of monetizing. If you can develop a significant following you may be able to earn money as a paid “influencer” for brands. Creating a successful blog can take a long time so make sure it’s something that you enjoy doing.
Now that you’ve officially formed your business, it’s time to take all the necessary precautions to make sure you’re fully compliant with the federal, state and local government. Here are the best places to find out about each:
Keep it professional. It’s well-worth a small monetary investment to make sure your logo looks legit. People are much more trusting of businesses that have a professional aesthetic. It doesn’t have to cost hundreds of dollars, though — there are plenty of talented designers on Fiverr who’ll create your logo for as little as $5.
This is like a simplified version of a flower delivery service, but without an inventory that is constantly becoming obsolete! Plus, balloons suggest fun and light-hearted cheerfulness, perfect for many occasions!
Many business and non-profit associations are too small to hire a full-time administrator but still have a lot of administrative work to be done. Some of the business groups I belong to, such as local chapter of The Young President’s Organization and The Harvard Business School Association of Boston, have hired an association management service which is typically a single individual or in one case a mother/daughter team. For these businesses, the management service processes membership dues and event payments, fields questions about events, arranges logistics for events, and attends events and welcomes members. Payment is usually on a monthly retainer basis.
If your social media postings develop a large enough, or a specialized enough, following you may be able to earn money as a social media influencer. There are social media influencer platforms you can get listed on, and there are advertising companies hired specifically to promote company brands via social media influencers.
Resource Recommendation: There is so much more to be said about small-business marketing than what we’ve mentioned here. To learn more about the points we discussed and many other topics, head over to our definitive guide!
Nothing beats teaching more novice learners about your passion, hobby, or craft as a business idea (that’s a common theme here). Explore dozens of DIY portals (such as DIY.org, DIY Network, Instructables and Mahalo) to get business ideas on how to earn a healthy side income just by showing others how to do the things you love. You can also sift through the countless ad-supported YouTube channels that teach just about anything from guitar strumming to 3D printing.
What a great excuse to travel and get paid for it! Yes, there are some really cool craft items you can find around the world for really low prices. It could take a little bit of patience to get going, and specialization helps. But this is a very doable business. One of my friends built up a successful import/export business while still in college.
Tutor.com is a company that offers tutoring services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To become an at-home tutor, you must fill out an application and pass an extensive screening process. Tutors can work anywhere from 5 to 30 hours per week. Offers competitive pay rates.
If you can create a regular audience for your podcast on a specific topic, this is a great way to get sponsors and fund this side business idea. My podcast, The Side Hustle Project is actually my current side business idea, and because I had an existing audience here on my blog at the time I launched the show, I was able to broker a $5,000 sponsorship from Freshbooks to place ads on the first ten episodes before I even got started.
You will need some expertise to get going in antique refurbishment, but some skills can be learned fairly easily, such as stripping off old paint or varnish, and refinishing. I would suggest you get started refurbishing antiques for others. Eventually, you may want to buy antiques on spec and refurbish them to resell for a profit, but get to know the market before you start laying out cash for antiques.
If your business provides a service, you may also want to consider professional liability insurance. It covers you if you do something wrong or neglect to do something you should have done while operating your business. Learn more about the types of insurance policies your business might need here.