No matter how rewarding your full-time job may be, finding the right side business idea and eventually becoming fully self-employed is even more meaningful than great pay and solid benefits.
Choosing the path of entrepreneurship working on your business idea is without a doubt riskier than being content with holding a 9-5 job, and requires way more sacrifice. However, once you’re reaping the lifestyle benefits of being your own boss and hustling your way into making significantly more money than you ever could at your day job, the hard work will have all been worth it.
Want to find a profitable niche business idea and get your first 10 potential customers in the next 72 hours? Join my free mini course The 72hr Validation Challenge today.
The question I’m asked the most (by far) when I meet and speak with fellow entrepreneurs is, “How do I know which business idea is best for me?” This one is always quickly followed by, “How do I start on this side business idea while I’m still working my full-time job
This makes perfect sense. With how many businesses already exist out in the world, it can be difficult to come up with the right business idea you should be spending your time on. Especially if you’re looking for a home business idea that’ll afford you immense lifestyle flexibility.
The majority of us don’t have the luxury of being able to quit our day jobs to pursue starting a business today, without having to worry about how we’re going to meet our financial obligations moving forward with no immediate income.
That’s why I’m a huge advocate of always starting a business while working full-time, so that you can test your way into your new product or service, get feedback, validate the business idea, and start generating income before you quit your job. If you can master the art of scaling a side business while keeping your day job, you’ll have no trouble succeeding once you’re fully self-employed.
When I set out to start a new business, I always make sure it aligns with both my core competencies and my interests. It starts with learning how to discover your strengths as an entrepreneur, and it’s how I make sure I’ll be engaged, even when the going gets rough. I learned this the hard way when I decided to start a freelance business a few years ago to offer my freelance content marketing services.
From there, you need to learn which tools, resources, and feedback communities you can use to accelerate the pace at which you’re able to launch. Check out these 79 essential tools and resources I use to launch profitable side businesses.
With that in mind, I put together this massive list of the 101 Best Side Business Ideas You Can Start While You’re Still Working a Full-Time Job, to help give you inspiration with proven business ideas that can be executed on while you still keep your day job—and primary source of income.
The big problem for many of us is that working a full-time job makes it too exhausting to even consider trying to find an alternative outlet. Many of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs struggled with this when they wanted to start a business for the first time while they still had a day job.
Luckily, there are tons of ways to start businesses and make money on the side while still leading a well-rounded, meaningful life. If you play your cards right, you’ll be able to quit your day job and grow your side business into an empowering self-employed career.
Obviously some of these small business ideas have more earning potential than others, but what they all share in common are relatively low barriers to entry and the flexibility to work at them for a limited amount of time per week. I also tried to focus on businesses that have some sort of online component to them, since that’s what I love most.
Want to find a profitable niche business idea and get your first 10 potential customers in the next 72 hours? Join my free mini course The 72hr Validation Challenge today.
If I missed any good ones, please share your best side business ideas in the comments below! If you’re ready to start a business while you’re still working full-time, join my course, 30 Days to Validate.
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 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.
Here are my picks for the best business ideas you can start right now, while you’re still working full-time.
101 Best Side Business Ideas You Can Start While Working a Full-Time Job
1. Graphic Design.
While having a formal background in graphic design is absolutely going to be helpful, it’s also relatively easy to learn the foundations of graphic design on your own. An increasingly easy-to-use Adobe Illustrator and websites like Canva and Visme are making it so that just about anyone with two opposable thumbs, a bit of creativity, and motivation can get paid to create or alter images.
2. Web Design.
Web designers are incredibly valuable for technology companies—which is why becoming a freelance web designer is a top side business idea today. Web design is all about mastering the art of creating a beautiful, value-driven experience for the people using a website or app. There are always new websites popping up in need of professional web design, and companies like Skillcrush, CareerFoundry, and General Assembly have proven online programs that’ll get up-to-speed quickly with this career path. CreativeLive also has a phenomenal class that regularly plays for free, teaching the foundations of modern web design.
3. Web Development.
4. Tax Preparation.
It’s not the sort of job that’s covered in glory, but someone needs to make sure all the numbers add up at the end of the year. Every business and most individuals need someone with the domain expertise to help prepare tax returns, especially time or resource-strapped small business owners. The Income Tax School provides an array of training programs that’ll certify you with tax prep in as little as 10 weeks, and once tax season rolls around you’ll be able to charge an average of $229 per return as a freelance tax preparer with this side business idea, reports CNBC.
5. Commission-Only Sales.
If you have a knack for connecting with people and the willingness to take on some risk, a commission-based freelance sales role could be a great fit for you. Many startups seek part-time and commission-only salespeople, especially when they’re just getting started, which means you’ll often be able to make this a home based business idea. Sell for nothing but commission, negotiate yourself a good chunk of equity, and you could profit big time if you’re pitching a solid product and the startup succeeds. Check out Angel List and see if an opportunity aligns with your interests.
6. Online Courses.
If you’re an expert at something, there’s likely an audience of people online who would be willing to pay to become an expert in your field—just like you. If you want to take your skills and turn them into an online course that teaches others how to get the same results you’ve achieved in your life, career, or business, start with How to Create an Awesome Online Course on Udemy, where instructor Miguel Hernandez covers how he makes over $90,000/yr teaching online with more than 8 hours of video instruction. Once you’re ready to teach your own online course, I recommend using Teachable, the easiest and most affordable to use platform for creating, hosting and selling your online courses.
Want to find a profitable online course idea and get your first 10 potential customers in the next 72 hours? Join my free mini course The 72hr Validation Challenge today.
Here’s what one of my students, Kevin has to say—just days after joining.
Packaging your skills and knowledge into a downloadable eBook that delivers value to those seeking to learn a skill, advance in their careers, or start their own businesses, makes for a strong value proposition if you target the right audience. Check out Leslie Samuel’s great guide to selling eBooks online and start building your strategy around this side business idea. This class with Tara Gentile on CreativeLive will also show you how to use your existing body of work to write an eBook within the next week. Put in some serious work with your eBook, build an audience and you’ll have a platform to pitch traditional publishers on landing a book deal—then you can write one of the best business books and really build your personal brand.
8. Instagram Marketing.
Build up a following on your Instagram account and you could quickly be approached by major brands, gear companies, and other relevant businesses that sell products or services related to the type of content you share on Instagram. If you have hundreds of thousands of followers, you can easily charge anywhere between $500 to $5,000 per post or more—which makes for a very profitable side business idea. Check out this fashion Instagrammer on ThePennyHoarder, making a significant income from brand sponsorships. Once you get some traction, to cut down on the amount of time you spend uploading images, you can make your entire workflow more efficient by posting photos from your Mac or PC.
9. Online Coaching.
If you have something you’re skilled at and very passionate about, you can turn that winning combination into offering your services with one-on-one online coaching. Just be sure to implement your own opportunity management system so you don’t get caught up working with clients that you can’t measurably help. Regina Anaejionu will give you a step-by-step plan for putting your skills and experience to work by developing an online coaching business. Check out her content for a jump start on this side business idea.
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. At CreativeLive, I regularly paid $50-$500 (or more depending on audience size) per episode for a 30 second advertisement on relevant podcasts like The Tim Ferriss Show, the #1 business podcast right now. The podcast has even helped Tim secure his own TV show. Naturally, it helps if you already have an online audience you can tap for listening to your regular podcast, but that hasn’t stopped thousands of people from building successful businesses on the back of podcasting—including Alex Blumberg, founder of Gimlet Media who teaches how to use storytelling and launch a podcast. You can also check out this class about how to make money podcasting, which broadcasts for free every month on CreativeLive.
11. Amazon Reselling.
Anyone can sell goods on Amazon, provided you have products to sell (or buy low, then resell). If you’re the type to hit all the local garage sales each weekend, there’s all sorts of valuable things that can be resold online as a side business idea. If you want to step your Amazon selling game up, check out this detailed guide to Amazon Clearance Arbitrage on SideHustleNation featuring an interview from Travis Scott of StuffParentsLike.com who’s turned this home based business idea into a lucrative money-maker.
12. Local Business Consulting.
If you’ve developed valuable skill sets or certifications within your industry over the years, consider putting your skills to use in your free time by offering your consulting services to local business owners as a potentially lucrative side business idea. Whether you’re an expert marketer, business strategist, or manufacturing aficionado, there’s likely a local business owner who’s willing to pay you to help them solve an issue with their company. Start with this 18-step checklist to becoming a local business consultant from Karyn Greenstreet.
13. Phone Case 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. With turnkey solutions like Case Escape readily available, you can now get ready to go kits that’ll give you everything you need to start your own phone case business. Once you’re up and running, you can sell cases on Etsy, Amazon Handmade, and Fancy. I know one seller who clears around $60,000/yr through Etsy alone.
14. Affiliate Sales and Marketing.
If you already have a website that’s driving in targeted traffic, a great way to make passive income from the content you’re already creating, is through affiliate marketing. ShareASale, Rakuten, Clickbank, and Skimlinks are a few of the best affiliate networks and tools that can help you make money from the content you already produce, thus amplifying your side business idea income. Check out this extensive list by Justine Grey, covering the 59 Best Affiliate Programs for Business Bloggers.
15. Virtual Assistant.
Have a knack for staying organized? If you’re a jack of all trades, you should consider working as a virtual assistant. You can find great gigs on Elance, Indeed, or Upwork. It can be an awesome way to rub shoulders with some very important people, build up your professional network, and you’ll have the added perk of being able to start this as a home based business idea. Becoming a virtual assistant can be a particularly great side business if your partner’s job means you’re constantly on the road—for example if you’re the husband or wife of a coach or athlete, which makes regular moving a way of life.
16. Remote English Teacher/Tutor.
Teaching and tutoring English as a second language is a great way to make a solid side income, 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 gig, 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.
17. SAT Tutor.
If you had a knack for standardized tests and had no trouble acing the SAT, ACT or other college exams, why not start tutoring high schoolers on the side? Parents of all economic backgrounds are more than willing to shell out upwards of $100/hr to the right tutor, if it means their son or daughter will get admitted to the college or university of their choice. See this quick checklist for starting an SAT tutoring business from the Work At Home Mom. Whitney over at Rookiemoms also has a cool story to share about a stay-at-home mom making $40/hr helping kids out with homework and turning it into a profitable side business idea.
18. Social Media Manager.
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? Lots of companies, especially startups or those in retail or travel, 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.
19. Google Paid Ad Specialist.
If you know a thing or two about paid internet marketing and are comfortable with Google, a great way to make some extra income on the side is to manage a company’s Google Ad Campaigns, and gradually start bringing on more clients as your consulting business grows.
20. Start a Blog.
Think blogging is no longer a viable source of income? Think again. Tens of thousands of bloggers, creating content on topics as diverse as scrapbooking, home cooking, travel, film, lifestyle, and more are launching self-employed careers thanks to a combination of blog subscribers, affiliate marketing, sponsorships, and other revenue streams. Your first step is sharpening your writing abilities, understanding what your audience craves and learning how to write a blog post that drives traffic and brings you readers on a regular basis. Even blogging about tech gadgets and products you love can turn into a profitable side business; take AwesomeStuffToBuy for example. If you want to speed up the process of building your blog, I recommend setting up quick, affordable and easy website hosting with a company like HostGator and then hiring a talented freelance designer or developer on a high quality marketplace like Crew.
Want to find a profitable niche business idea and get your first 10 potential customers in the next 72 hours? Join my free mini course The 72hr Validation Challenge today.
21. Presentation Design Consultant.
Yes, even the lowly PowerPoint requires outside consulting every now and then. I know I would happily outsource the visual layout of my presentation decks for work meetings, investor pitches and lectures. Adam Noar from Presentation Panda is living proof that you can turn your skills at slideshow presentation design into a legit side business idea.
22. Travel Consultant.
If you love to travel and find yourself randomly searching for airfare sales or browsing Lonely Planet, why not carve out a niche for yourself as a private travel agent? Take my friend, Mark Jackson’s lead with what he’s doing to build a travel consulting side business idea. Start with word of mouth recommendations from friends who know they can count on you for the cheapest flights, and don’t forget to set up an account with Plansify to start getting paid for your travel expertise in your free time.
23. Landing Page Specialist.
If you have a way with words and know how to make the keyword-friendly, beautifully designed, SEO-optimized landing pages, why not charge other companies for your services and turn it into a money-making side business idea? Even a short landing page is worth a couple hundred bucks in most cases. If you want to get started as a landing page specialist or freelance copywriter, check out Neville Medhora’s awesome post on How to Become a Copywriter with No Experience.
24. Interior Design Consultant.
Someone out there is remodeling their kitchen and needs to know which shade of granite will match best with mahogany flooring. That someone will often be happy to pay you for your advice, especially if you’re the kind of person that subscribes to websites like Contemporist.
It’s not exactly a way to make consistent great money, but housesitting—exactly what it sounds like—is a fantastic way to live in exotic locales around the world without paying a dime in rent. Did I mention it’s a way to travel and live rent free? Here’s a list of four great websites from the legendary Nomadic Matt, to start your housesitting search.
No, babysitting isn’t just for teenagers and college students. Quite on the contrary, if you call yourself an Au Pair instead, you can make some pretty good side money working nights and weekends.
27. Property Manager.
Know someone who rents out property to others? Perhaps they could use a hand managing their property. If so, you can make a decent amount of money on the side with relatively little work on your part. From collecting rental checks, to managing repairs and improvements, or simply being on call for emergencies, a property manager is essential for most real estate investors.
28. Sell on Etsy.
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 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.
29. Ebay Sales.
Similar to selling on Amazon, eBay is a place to make money selling just about anything you can think of, 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.
30. Fiverr Gigs.
Fiverr is a great place for first-time freelancers who might not have tons of experience and want to build up a portfolio of their work. You’ll be able to complete simple tasks ranging from logo design, to creating animations, or even drawing a company logo on your forehead.
31. College Admissions Essay Editor.
If editing and advising college students on how to write compelling 500 word essays on topics such as “You were just invited to speak at the White House. Write your speech,” seems like a compelling way to spend your free time, trust me—tons of parents will pay you to edit admissions essays and offer constructive feedback for their children. Be careful not to blur the ethical line of actually writing their essays, but serving as an editor to help them convey their message can become a great side business idea that has the potential to spread by word-of-mouth referral in your community.
32. Portrait Photographer.
If you own a camera, starting a freelance portrait photography business could be a very natural way to make a side income. Start with doing free shoots for friends and family to build up a strong online portfolio, get familiar with your gear and the editing process, then you’ll be able to get paid for photographing professional head shots and celebratory family moments as your side business idea. Get started by checking out this men’s portrait photography class that regularly broadcasts for free on CreativeLive.
33. Wedding Photographer.
Wedding photographers command premium rates. After all, you are capturing one of a couple’s most important life moments. Many professional wedding photographers charge between $2,500 – $10,000 (or more) to shoot a wedding, a very lucrative side business idea. Check out the Complete Wedding Photography Experience to get up to speed on everything you need to launch a successful wedding photography business.
34. Online Dating Consultant.
Believe it or not, some people have such a difficult time at dating, that they can’t even handle the online component of it. If you’re a smooth talker, why not leverage that skill into a paid match maker? People are paying.
35. Writing Erotic Fiction.
Werewolves, stepbrothers, and tentacles—the demand is high. As odd as it may sound, if you’ve got the imagination (and a clever pseudonym), you can make upwards of $5,000 a month writing erotic fiction in your free time as a side business idea.
36. Writing Greeting Cards.
Fancy yourself a poet? You can earn $300 for every poem you write that this greeting card company publishes.
37. WordPress Website Consultant.
Countless small businesses start out their web presence using a WordPress hosted website before needing to upgrade to other solutions for various reasons. Many of them will pay several hundreds of dollars for someone to get them set up online. If you have the patience to learn how to do it yourself, it’s an extremely valuable skill.
38. Drive for Uber or Lyft.
Driving for one of the two globally expanding app-centric taxi alternative services, Uber or Lyft can be a very lucrative way to earn money on nights and weekends – working only when you want.
39. Rent Your Car on Turo.
If you own a car but barely use it, you can make some easy cash on the side by renting it out on Turo. Before you freak out, know that there’s a $1 Million insurance policy on all cars, plus drivers are prescreened, so you can have peace of mind.
40. Art Collector.
Not to be confused with hoarding, this one takes a lot of time, patience, and passion. If you have an eye for good art, it’s easy to get in on the ground level by visiting the studio department at your local university—though don’t expect to get rich overnight with this side business idea. Many art students are more than happy to sell their work for a bargain, and in as little as a few years, there’s a chance that piece you bought for a couple hundred bucks may be worth well into the thousands.
41. Catering Business.
EatWith is a great way to test the waters as a chef for your side business idea, and if you have enough rave reviews you might be able to turn your knife skills into a full-time business.
42. Develop an App.
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. 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.
43. Online News Correspondent.
You don’t need to have a degree in journalism to be a reporter these days, and there are many news websites that can always use a bit of help on getting local coverage. Some of them, such as The Examiner or HuffPost, will compensate contributors based on ad revenue generated per article written—a great incentive to provide compelling content for your side business idea.
44. Patent Something.
Kia Silverbrock has been granted over 4,665 US Patents in his lifetime (so far). You don’t have to invent the wheel to make good money from your patented concepts—just make sure that your idea can be produced affordably, or it will never stand up against a lawsuit in the future.
45. Buy and Sell Domain Names.
Domain name trading has been around for the last couple decades, and while most slam-dunk names have long been sold off (Insure.com went for $16 Million in 2009) there’s still plenty of others that you can get your hands on for relatively cheap and broker as your side business idea. But beware: some experts doubt the long-term viability of this business, so you shouldn’t quit your day job just to put all your effort into this one without some successes already in the bag. To get you started, here are some tips from GoDaddy, arguably the world’s largest and most famous repository of domain names. Imagine owning desirable domain names for the next decade’s worth of innovative companies.
46. Start a Popup Shop.
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. 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. This guide from Shopify will give you a step-by-step process for getting your popup shop off the ground.
47. Brew Your Own Beer.
Like drinking beer? Why not try making it yourself? With 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.
48. Freelance Proofreading and Editing.
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, freelance writing & editing 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 Upwork, which makes this a high-demand side business idea.
49. Buy Used Electronics and Refurbish Them.
Many people give up on their faulty laptops, mobile phones, or cameras without even looking into the cause of their malfunctions. If you have the skills to fix them, consider starting a side business refurbishing and reselling used electronics.
50. Data Analysis.
Got a thing for numbers? Plenty of companies need to hire someone who’s good at data analysis. Upwork and Digiserved are but a two of many websites that are great for freelancers with an analytical prowess, looking for extra work.
51. Acquire Parts from Electronics Stores.
There is a treasure trove of valuable items being thrown away by big box stores around the world. Electronics stores toss out everything from printer cartridges to tablets, and if you’ve got the stomach for rummaging around in dumpsters you can easily make money rummaging than you ever thought possible.
52. Copywriting for Websites.
Every website owner (including myself) hires copywriters to write content for things like about pages, FAQ’s, or blog posts. Hourly wages for novice copywriters are not very high, but with experience and a great portfolio, you can start charging more than you make at your normal job. Pick up my free downloadable Freelance Proposal Template and get started today.
53. Licensed Product Distributor.
It doesn’t happen overnight, but licensing a foreign product for sale domestically, can lead to a big payoff down the road. Invest intelligently, sell a product you believe in, and you can reap the rewards for years to come.
54. Fill Out Online Surveys.
It’s not very engaging, or mentally stimulating, but online surveys do pay out, believe it or not. Just don’t expect to make bank with this side business idea—I recommend combining it with another source of side income and turning to surveys in your downtime.
55. Airbnb Host.
Not only is Airbnb a great way to make money by renting out your spare bedroom or living room couch, but you also have the benefit of meeting new people and making new friends.
56. Personal Fitness Trainer.
If you’re a fitness buff and have the right combination of charisma and business sense, working as a part-time personal trainer can be both physically and financially rewarding. Once you build up a reputation and client base for yourself, it could easily turn into a full-time endeavor for you. Check out these tips to a successful personal training business by the American Fitness Professionals and this interview with several fitness blog owners who are making a living online, from MonetizePros. Check out this resource if you want to get started with a business plan for your personal fitness trainer business.
57. Yoga or Meditation Instructor.
Yoga is getting ever more popular, which means yoga instructors are more in demand than ever. Pursue emotional and physical balance with others, during your free time while helping your bank balance, too.
58. Start a YouTube Channel.
If you can create value-driven, entertaining video content and grow your subscriber base to a few thousand subscribers, your videos can start generating pretty substantial income from all the ads being displayed on your videos. Many YouTube users make well into the millions each year, so there’s clear potential to take this from side business idea to millionaire with the right combination of content, audience, skills, relationships and timing.
If your mastery of another language is good enough to have the grammar and spelling down, translating is a great side business to set up for yourself and can be done remotely. Flexjobs has literally hundreds of freelance, remote translator jobs available right now.
60. Tour Guide.
Live in a destination where travelers frequently visit? If you love meeting new people from around the world and also love the city you live in, starting your own local tour business will give you both of those perks. Take a unique spin on your local tour business like Erik from Vantigo. He was starting his VW van tour business in San Francisco as just a side business idea while he was still working a full-time job, and grew it to being a sustainable source of full-time income before quitting—now he’s running a multiple van tour business for himself.
61. Music Instructor.
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 based on your experience? Private music instructors in all disciplines charge upwards of $20-100/hr, and you don’t necessarily have to do them in person, either.
62. Stock Photographer.
If you have a fondness for taking pictures of smiling families or laughing children blowing bubbles, consider becoming a stock photographer and selling your images to a stock photo company like Unsplash, ShutterStock and iStockPhoto. You’ll get royalties every time someone licenses an image you’ve submitted. To really be successful, build your own photography website to be able to showcase your portfolio and start getting private corporate work.
Ghostwriting pays pretty well, and if you’re talented at researching and creating great content within a certain subject domain, you can quickly build a roster of high-paying clientele. Writers like Jeff Haden have created very lucrative careers for themselves by writing for business executives and CEO’s.
64. Online Subcontracting.
Once you’ve established yourself in any number of freelance verticals online, subcontracting your jobs out to other freelancers can help you significantly grow your client list, and revenue generating possibilities.
Take the time to develop your skills at either making your own music, or becoming a pro at mixing, and your side business of dj-ing local events could turn into a much bigger business. Though you’ll first need to command a solid knowledge of sound design, mixing and music production before expecting to land your first gig.
66. Clothing Alterations and Tailoring.
Fashion, style, and grooming continue to be a lucrative side business. If you know how to mend clothes, then you have a growing market of budget-conscious and/or personalization-obsessed customers. Entrepreneur says you need around two thousand dollars to start a decent side business idea in this niche but there’s no harm in starting smaller and growing from there, as long as you can make magic with needle and thread.
67. Teach DIYs.
Nothing beats teaching more novice learners about your passion, hobby, or craft. Explore dozens of DIY portals (such as DIY.org, DIY Network, Instructables and Mahalo) to get 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.
It’s funny how much baking can relate to making money. Start bringing in some side income by kneading flour, mastering the oven, and appeasing everyone’s sweet tooth. While some experts have already turned baking into their sole “bread and butter,” you need not leave your day job just yet. Depending on your experience, you can start by doing something simple on the side like Grandma’s nostalgic cookies before heading on to offer exquisite artisanal fare.
69. Being a Task Rabbit.
If you don’t mind doing other people’s chores, then TaskRabbit may be the right side business for you. Earn money doing odd jobs like walking your neighbor’s dog or mowing Mr. Smith’s lawn. Running errands not your style? Tell that to the top taskers on the portal who reportedly earn as much as $7000 a month.
70. Freelance Content Marketing.
From personal experience as a freelance content marketer, I can vouch for the profitability in this industry – if you have the right skills and experience to back it up. With startups, established brands, and even notable influencers needing to build credibility and grow their brands, professionals who can serve up compelling content enjoy a huge demand for their services. And, since brands will always need high quality content to bring in new customers, your skills will always remain an asset to invest in.
71. Freelance Ebook Writing.
If you’ve always wanted to publish your own book, there isn’t a better time than now to do so. That’s because access to self-publishing tools and marketplaces has never been easier and more affordable. This eBook writer currently earns up to a couple of thousand bucks each month from six ebooks she published; while you can reportedly demand around $1000 per eBook project serving as a ghost writer. My good friend, Caroline Beaton used freelance writing as a side business to eventually go from secretary to self-employed, while focusing on her own personal development and looking inward to discover what she’s truly passionate about.
72. Investing Your Money.
If you keep your money hidden in the attic or earning close to nothing in a savings account, you might want to consider putting it to better use through smart investing. Sure, there are plenty dangers to look out for, but most personal finance experts will advise you to start learning about the stock market if you want to grow your wealth.
73. Investing Others’ Money.
Incidentally, helping others grow their wealth is also a good way to grow your own financial worth on the side. If you have stock market and finance credentials, then you can earn freelance commissions or consulting fees advising clients on how to get the best returns for their investments.
74. Accounting and Bookkeeping.
Many small companies and startups now outsource jobs that aren’t part of their core business (such as HR, admin, and accounting). Because companies always need to track their cash flow, freelance accountants and bookkeepers can really benefit from the increasing demand for part-time help.
75. Building a Niche Website.
Find an audience for your passion or hobby and you’re all set to monetize something you love via a niche website. 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 idea you’re thinking about is profitable, then you can begin building it.
76. Car Washing and Detailing.
A lot of car owners simply don’t have time to personally care for their vehicles, much less make them sparkle. With simple equipment such as car shampoo, polishing wax, tire black, sponges, a pail and a sturdy hose, you can start earning a decent side income by making cars look fresh in your free time after work and on weekends.
Providing care for the elderly often requires a broader set of credentials. These may include licenses, training certificates, business permits, and tax forms depending on which state you wish to operate, the level of care you intend to provide, and whether you plan on running a formal business or just hiring yourself out as an independent worker. If you’re already giving unpaid care to an elderly relative or friend, you may want to review Medicaid provisions for some compensation. In all cases, you need genuine affection for the elderly, a lot of common sense, and good knowledge of first aid, CPR, and elderly care basics.
78. Carpet Cleaning.
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 business 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. 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.
79. House Cleaning.
If you want to broaden your services and earn more, you can opt to make the entire house look neat and clean. House cleaning services cover carpets, floors, lawns, garages, windows, walls, and roofs, requiring a whole range of cleaning tools. You can hire maids and janitors to do the actual cleaning while you handle administrative and customer service tasks. Or, you can start small by actually getting your hands dirty as a contractor, learning on the job before launching your own cleaning operations. Check out Cleaning Zoom’s ultimate guide to starting a cleaning business.
80. Child Care.
Many families with kids — including single-parents — have very limited time resources, creating a demand for part-time child care providers. If you love kids and have some spare time, you can earn plenty of side income by looking after children while their parents are away. Just be sure to identify the particular age group you’re comfortable caring for and you’re all set after any necessary certifications. Establishing a home-based daycare center capable of servicing six or more kids is also a lucrative option.
81. Computer Repair.
Employed techies planning to earn extra money on the side can leverage their software and hardware skills by offering home-based computer repair services. If this rings a bell, you can start with a modest one-man tech team before envisioning a scaled-up operation as massive as Geek Squad. Remember, you can provide home service locally as well as offer remote support through online messaging and video calling services.
If you’ve got the attitude, there should be a product or service out there looking for the right model to promote their brand. You can sign up with a large agency, find a freelance agent, or look for your own modelling gigs as an independent talent. Since modeling is a complex field, get all the advice you need before jumping right in and find a mentor who can guide you through some of the early challenges before establishing your brand. Depending on your preference, you can specialize in a single media format such as video or still images, to build a compelling portfolio.
83. Computer Training and Lessons.
Everyone (even kids and retirees) need to have some level of technical know-how to stay competitive and appreciate the marvels of the digital age. Just observe how learning sites like Codecademy, Treehouse, and Udacity continue to grow and you’ll understand the urgency of getting computer training for our generation. If you’re a techie, you can cash in on this need by offering lessons and tutorials within your neighborhood or across cyberspace through portals like YouTube or Udemy. You can even set up your own tutorial site with an interface for online payments.
84. Contract Customer Service.
Some firms outsource their customer service operations and many of these companies accept home-based contractors. You can start by signing up on freelancing sites such as Upwork. If you’re already a CSR specialist with management skills, then you can form and lead a virtual team online and engage clients as a bona fide customer service company or, provide customer service training to such teams as well as individuals.
85. Dog Walking.
Dogs are amazing. But, owners aren’t always at home to take them for a walk. If you’re a canine fan like I hope you are, this great side business idea can net you a regular profit by just taking some adorable pups for a stroll around the park. With pet-crazed, yet busy Americans having more pooches around, dog walking services have become a thriving industry in some U.S. cities. In fact, there’s already an app called Wag that links up dog walkers and pet owners.
86. Real Estate Sale Consultant.
The real estate market is on the rebound (for today) and people are buying and selling properties in many locations across the U.S. That means a lot of opportunities for professionals who know how to navigate the legal, financial, and commercial aspect of real estate. If you consider yourself an expert in the subject, it won’t be a walk in the park (hehe), but you can earn significant additional income as a home-based consultant.
87. Making Custom Furniture.
Turning your favorite craft or hobby into a revenue-generating business 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.
88. Making Handmade Jewelry.
There are at least three teenage entrepreneurs who’ve already earned astonishing amounts of money by launching hand-made jewelry businesses: M3 Girl Designs’ Maddie Bradshaw, Bella Weems of Origami Owl, and the girl behind DesignedByLei. With the industry set to shine in the near term via a brisk annual growth rate of 5-6%, the market is ripe for new entrants who offer sparkling new ideas on how to craft appealing handmade goods.
89. Being a Gigwalker.
Earning money on GigWalk is similar to working on Task Rabbit. 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 some sustainable side income, 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).
90. Home Appraisal.
A real estate appraisal business can be operated from home, on a part-time basis. A perfect option if you want to keep your day job while earning extra on the side. You won’t need a college degree to start one, but you’ll need bankable appraiser credentials (including relevant training and professional licenses), strong knowledge of the sector, and a growing network of industry players including mortgage brokers, real estate agents, banks, and fellow appraisers that’ll want to utilize your services.
91. Human Billboard.
If you don’t mind parading yourself around in public places, and enjoy a little attention, then working as a human billboard can pay a surprising amount of dividends. Renting out your beard, for example can earn you as much as $5 a day while having a brand logo tattooed on your shaven head for five years could pay as much as $7,000. This is definitely not for the faint of heart, and is a little extreme for me, but nonetheless it’s been done. You can start by holding a placard or wearing a sandwich board. If you think this is a good business idea for yourself, you can go all the way and turn it into a full on home business.
92. Purchasing an Existing Website.
Websites aren’t too dissimilar to stocks. Most are junk, but some can generate value for you. That’s why, like stocks, they are bought and sold all the time. You can buy and sell websites in the hope of generating future earnings based on their user traffic, current revenue intake, domain name, or some other factors that might be a hidden cash cow everyone else has overlooked. Interested? Check out marketplaces like Flippa and Flipping Enterprises to learn more.
93. Mobile Laundry Service.
We all wear clothes (at least some of the time). Which, of course, makes the business of cleaning soiled laundry a hit. In fact, the self-service laundromat industry in the US is worth more than $3 billion, with many related businesses such as a mobile app laundry service, a real rolling mobile laundry service, and home laundry pickup & delivery services springing up each year. Here’s one way you can cash in on the trend.
94. Junk Removal Service.
As the saying goes, one person’s trash is another’s treasure. Without people cleaning up everybody else’s junk, the world would be a lot messier than it already is. The job might not be glamorous, but you get to make the world a cleaner place while earning extra side income. To start, you’ll need a sturdy second-hand truck and standard equipment like shovels, wheelbarrows, sledgehammers, rakes, and garbage cans.
95. Becoming a Notary Public.
Public notaries primarily serve as validators of, and impartial witnesses in public legal documents, especially those related to affidavits, oaths, deeds, estates, special-powers-of-attorney, and business agreements. Depending on the state, a full-time notary public earns an average annual salary of $36,000, and it’s a great business to do on the side as you bring in money through other ways. If you want to get started, here are the requirements and steps you need to consider in the US.
96. Wedding Planning.
Like birthdays, marriages happen all the time. Which means you can treat weddings as a recurring fountain of business opportunities: wedding dresses and coats, jewelers, food caterers, venue providers, photographers and videographers, performers, flower shops, travel agencies, souvenir crafts, and a host of other ventures. Now imagine if you can form a networks of these service providers so you can offer engaged couples a range of hassle-free wedding packages. The process is certainly fun, and so is the pay.
97. Event and Party Planning.
Being a wedding specialist works well for top-notch players, but being a generalist also has its benefits. Event and party planners leverage their network of service providers to cover not only weddings, but also seminars, corporate events, birthdays, baptisms, concerts, conferences, holiday parties, and other events. Here are some tips if you want to run a part-time event planning business at home. And here’s an honest look into the upside and downside of the trade.
98. Becoming a Personal Chef.
Busy schedules can stress people out. It can also disrupt family life to the oint that busy parents and homework-laden kids barely have time to prepare decent dinners and weekend meals. Hence, the surprising demand for part-time family chefs. If cooking healthy and delicious meals is your thing, then this lucrative side business idea can supplement your regular income by helping feed busy homes.
99. Pet Sitting.
The prevalence of unattended pets is another side effect of busy life, creating job opportunities for people with time, patience, and affection to spare. Just check out DogVacay and Rover to see what I mean. Would the payout be worth it if you try? One person in New York earns $3,300 a month just pet-sitting for busy animal lovers.
100. Pet Grooming.
If that isn’t enough, you can expand your services to include pet grooming. To do that, you’ll need to have relevant training, an operating license depending on your location, and pet grooming equipment. According to PayScale, pet groomers have an average salary range of $17,600 to $48,500. Not bad as a side gig if you can find a way to get in most of your clients on the weekends.
101. Pool Cleaning.
Spending a leisurely afternoon in a swimming pool can be a lot of fun. But cleaning it can be a pain in the neck. Hence, most pool owners hire people to do the cleaning for them. If you need extra cash and don’t mind getting physical, then pool cleaning is a viable side business for you.
I’ve been getting so much feedback with great business ideas from my community and in the comments, so I frequently add to this post. If you have ideas you’d like to share, please add to them in the comments below!
102. Private Labeling and Selling Products on Amazon.
Counted amongst the most valuable tech giants, Amazon is also a massive global market where virtually anyone can cash in on the rising tide of ecommerce. But, like everything else that involves money, you have to do quite a bit of work to earn it. In this case, you need to do tons of research (looking for generic products such as clocks, key chains and mugs to attach your brand to) as well as a sensible selling strategy to milk profits from your private label. Check out how digital marketer Neil Patel is doing this right now.
103. Officiating Recreational Sports Games.
Do you love sports? Officiating non-professional games held at community parks and college sport fields can be an exciting way to earn extra income on nights and weekends.
104. Selling on TeeSpring.
T-shirts can be a viable path toward creating an automated side business that makes money for you while you sleep. Even Bloomberg and Forbes feature stories from entrepreneurs who’ve done just that. Want to learn how to make it happen? You can find TeeSpring selling walkthroughs here, here and here.
105. Build Custom Software for Freelance Clients.
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 other occupations. In fact, it won’t take you long to find a good-paying software development project 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.
106. Coaching Sports Teams.
Nothing beats playing your favorite game. But getting paid for coaching a sports team and staying close to the action is the next best thing. Not only will you learn new skills, you’ll earn money getting your team into shape. The median pay for sports coaches clock in at $30,400 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Expect to have only a slice of that if you’re signing up for part-time coaching only.
107. T-Shirt Printing Business.
As I’ve already covered with TeeSpring, the T-shirt retailing business is worth millions of dollars. But what if you want to do the manufacturing side of things? T-shirt printing turns out to be quite rewarding. This multi-billion dollar industry counts big corporate factories as well as home-based part-time entrepreneurs.
108. Vehicle Advertising.
Yes, you can turn your car into a money-maker by driving for Uber and Lyft, but there are other ways to convert mileage into money. One way is to do vehicle advertising, a potential side income source of anywhere between $100 to $600 per month. Whether you own a compact sedan or a full-sized bus, your vehicle’s exterior space is prime real estate for ads. Check Wrapify, carvertise, and similar sites for more details.
109. Window Cleaning Services.
From the inside looking out, I want to see the world as clearly as possible. And so do a lot of homeowners and office managers. Now that creates a demand for window cleaners, especially for office buildings. If you want to try it out as a side business, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start a window-washing business at home.
110. Working on Mechanical Turk.
Mechanical Turk operates much like TaskRabbit and GigWalk: it’s a corner on cyberspace where Amazon gathers tasks to be done, people willing to do them, and people willing to pay for them. On Mechanical Turk, you get to do the oddest jobs you can imagine, made possible by a parallel online universe that runs on hits, visits, surveys, reviews, pins, likes, CPCs, reads, and other metrics. But don’t get too ambitious. The small sums being paid out to human Mechanical Turk users rarely add up to anything substantial, even if you invest most of your spare time into it. It’s a better opportunity for internationally-based people with internet access and lower costs of living than in the US. Here’s one person’s account of his former life as a Mechanical Turk.
111. Yard Work Services.
A large proportion of homeowners and small businesses have lawns to tend to. Many turn to independent providers of yard work services to take care of their lawn care woes. To start and sustain a yard work services side business, you need training, equipment, and a growing network of customers. A full-time landscaping and groundskeeping worker earns a median wage of around $25,000, while those working on the side during evenings and weekends can expect to make substantially less.
112. Public Speaking.
If you have the gift of gab, public speaking is a worthwhile side business 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 business.
113. College Counseling.
College counsellors come in all shapes and sizes. Their primary duty is to help guide students through an important period in their lives. Some counselors focus on admissions, career advice, financial aid, athletics, extracurricular activities, and other concerns. There are institutions looking out for part-time college counselors, or you can start your own practice and charge anywhere from $25-$100+ per hour for your consultative services if you’re well-versed on the subject.
114. Making Seasonal Decorations.
Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Yuletide, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, 4th of July, Mother’s Day. There are a ton of traditional holidays that count as solid reasons to start a side business crafting and selling seasonal decorations. After all, people and businesses pay good money for them. In fact, total sales of Christmas trees in the U.S. alone amounted to a whopping $1.04 billion in 2014. And you still have holiday lights, nativity scenes, crafted hangings, baskets, wreaths, and other decorations to cover.
The holidays do bring cheer, but when winter comes, so does the snow. Thick, traffic-hindering piles of it. Snow can be fun for a while but somebody has to get rid of it for our lifestyles to continue onward. Make extra money from home by offering snow and ice removal services.
116. Selling Handmade Clothing and Garments.
With the rise of online craft marketplaces like Etsy, people with decent artisanal skills like sewing and woodworking have an always-open market to sell their products. If you’ve always wanted to design and make clothes by hand, then you can start turning those fashion ideas into real, hand-sewn garments and make some money on the side.
117. Antique Refurbishing.
The antique market is not as lively as it used to be. But there’s still money to be had from the industry if you love rare old stuff and possess the skill of restoring them to their former glory. To start an antique refurbishing business at home, you’ll likely need a few thousand dollars to build out a basic workshop and stock it with all of the right treatments and materials. Start small by borrowing around what you can, and learning the basics of the trade.
118. Dance Instructor.
Most people, even those many won’t admit it, love moving their bodies. It’s also a great workout. If at some point in your life, you had to hang your dancing shoes for a more sensible office job, there’s nothing stopping you from earning money on the side with this passion project. Part-time dance instructors get a fraction of the pie their full-time peers enjoy, but it can add up to hundreds each week if you’re consistent.
119. Part-time Bicycle Delivery.
Believe it or not, this freelance bike messenger makes more money than some people glued to their work desks. You won’t rake in a whopping $50,000 as this guy does by just doing this in your free time, 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. If you have a decent bicycle, those pair of pedals might just earn you a healthy side income.
120. Home-Based Makeup Services.
If you have a talent for helping people look their best, and know how to mesmerize with eyeliners and turn heads with lipsticks, consider using your beauty skills to create a profitable side business. For under $2000, you can start your own make-up artist business.
121. Voice-Over Talent.
If you speak like James Earl Jones or Scarlett Johansson, quite a number of digital publishers (including game developers, animated film-makers, and training video producers) pay good money for voice talents. You can find these publishers looking for voice-over artists on sites like PeoplePerHour, Freelancer and Upwork.
122. Buying and Selling Cars.
Car flipping can be a fun way to turn your love for cars into a quick side business idea if you have the capital and a stomach for the inherent risk. Buying and selling cars is similar to other “buy low, sell high” business models, but the profit potential per hour invested is very high. According to Jeremy Fisher at 3HourFlip.com, the trick is to learn how to make car deals come to you, so you can minimize your time invested and maximize your profit on each flip.
123. Small Business Marketing Consultant.
If you have experience with marketing 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. Businesses of all sizes are in constant need of bringing in more customers, which is where you come in. 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.
124. Professional Organizing.
If keeping your home organized comes naturally and you enjoy helping other people, consider becoming a professional organizer. As the need for baby boomers to start downsizing grows, you can use your organizing and decluttering skills to start making an industry standard $50-125 an hour with very little startup costs and some free expert advice from Jen Kilbourne. Believe it or not, pro organizers don’t just work with hoarders. More and more people are hiring professional organizers in order stop wasting time and money due to the stress of everyday disorganization.
125. Rent out your space.
People are always searching for one-of-a-kind venues for meetings, parties and weddings. Why not earn some extra money off the space you already have by renting it out for events? If you own a unique venue, like a studio, warehouse or boat, UK-based company Tagvenue will connect you with clients looking for somewhere special to host their event. Not a bad low-effort side business idea.
126. Build a Chrome Extension.
With nearly 100,000 different custom extensions both free and paid available in Google Chrome’s marketplace, there’s a huge opportunity for creating a useful extension for people to use while browsing the web. One of my favorite Chrome extensions, Yet Another Mail Merge, which enables you to send bulk customized emails from within Gmail, gives you 50 free credits to send emails and gives you the chance to upgrade to a paid account to unlock more sending—a great upsell for the people who are getting value from the extension. Even free Chrome extensions like SVRF Tabs by SVRF, which replaces your new tab with stunning VR and 360º images, have the potential to bring in new users and eventually drive revenue for the startup’s core business. Another fun example from a friend of mine, Kathleen Garvin, is Hide images with NOPE, a Chrome extension that hides images on the web pages you’re browsing—to help eliminate distractions and keep you from seeing images (like those of certain politicians) that you may want to hide.
127. Floral Design.
Valentine’s day. Birthdays. Weddings. The list goes on and on—throughout the course of a year, there are dozens of occasions when people need to order flowers. What’s more is that once you’re up to speed in this business, your costs can stay relatively low if you know where to source your flowers, and typical margins are in the neighborhood of 300% (or more) on cut flowers which makes this a particularly profitable side business idea in the right geographic area. Check out this amazing interview with floral designer, Sara Tedford of Ladybird Poppy to hear about how her floral design company started out as a side business idea of doing weddings and events for her friends and family.
Though certainly not for everyone, recycling the containers from products left strewn around on the ground can net you a surprisingly decent side income if you put in the time. Attending events like street fairs and outdoor concerts can be a great starting place. Put on a clean shirt, jeans, apply your sunscreen, grab a cheap pick-up tool like this one, sturdy plastic bags, and you can sell them for upwards of $4.00/pound on eBay.
129. What Did I Miss?
Share in the comments if I’m missing any great business ideas that you can start while working full-time! Bonus points if you’ve already gotten started on it, and share the link to your website.