In this guide, we’re breaking down 137+ of the best small business ideas for new entrepreneurs to start today. Choosing the path of entrepreneurship is no small move—and you need to pursue the right business idea if you hope to make your endeavor a success.
Once you’re reaping the lifestyle benefits of being your own boss it’ll be difficult to ever go back to working a full-time job again. And one of the best ways to build momentum with your new business, is to start it on the side of your day job that’s keeping the bills paid. So, let’s dive into the most relevant small business ideas for entrepreneurs in 2023.
And by now you probably already know… with some of the lowest startup costs, one of the most proven successful small business ideas you can start working on right now is launching a blog of your own. For that reason, I recently put together a free guide that breaks down how to start a blog and I share the exact strategies I’ve used to turn my blog into a more than $50,000/mo business.
Looking for Proven Small Business Ideas? Learn How to Start a Blog
Come read my ultimate guide about how to start a blog (that earns me $50,000+ every month), as featured on Forbes, Business Insider and Entrepreneur.
Disclosure: 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.
The question I’m asked most (by far) when I speak with fellow entrepreneurs is, “How do I know which business ideas are best for me?” This is always quickly followed by, “How do I start on this small business idea while I’m still working my full-time job?”
This makes perfect sense. With how many business ideas already exist out in the world, it can be difficult to come up with the right side business idea you should be spending your time on.
With that in mind, I put together this comprehensive list of the 137+ Best Small Business Ideas You Can Start While Working a Full-Time Job, to help give you inspiration with proven ideas that can be executed on while you still keep your primary source of income and healthcare coverage.
If I missed any good ones, please share your picks for the best side business ideas in the comments below! And be sure to use this clickable table of contents list to jump straight down to the business idea that excites you most.
137 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2023 (& Make Money) for New Entrepreneurs
- Start a Blog
- Graphic Design
- Web Development
- Web Design
- Teaching Online Courses
- Writing eBooks
- Instagram Marketing
- Online Coaching Business
- Dropshipping & Amazon Reselling
- Local Business Consulting
- Phone Case Business
- Commission-Only Sales Business
- Affiliate Sales and Marketing
- Virtual Assistant
- Tax Preparation
- Remote English Teacher/Tutor
- SAT Test Tutor
- Social Media Manager
- Google Paid Ad Consultant
- Presentation Design Consultant
- Travel Consultant
- Landing Page Specialist
- Interior Design Consultant
- Property Manager
- Sell Handmade Products on Etsy
- eBay Sales Business
- Fiverr Gigs
- College Admissions Essay Tutor and Editor
- Portrait Photographer
- Wedding Photographer
- Online Dating Consultant
- Writing Erotic Fiction
- Writing Greeting Cards
- WordPress Website Consultant
- Drive for Uber or Lyft
- Rent Your Car on Turo
- Art Collector
- Catering Business
- App Development
- Online News Correspondent
- Patent Something Useful
- Buy and Sell Domain Names
- Start a Popup Shop
- Brew Your Own Beer
- Freelance Proofreading and Editing
- Buy Used Electronics and Refurbish Them
- Data Analysis Consulting Business
- Acquire and Resell Parts from Electronic Stores
- Freelance Writing & Copywriting
- Licensed Product Distributor
- Fill Out Online Surveys
- Airbnb Host
- Personal Fitness Trainer
- Yoga or Meditation Instructor
- Start a YouTube Channel
- Online Translator
- Local Tour Guide
- Music Instructor
- Stock Photographer
- Online Subcontracting
- Clothing Alterations and Tailoring
- Teach DIY Projects
- Being a Task Rabbit Handyman
- Freelance Content Marketing
- Freelance eBook Writing Business
- Investing Your Money
- Investing Others’ Money
- Accounting and Bookkeeping
- Building a Niche Website
- Car Washing and Detailing
- Caregiving Business
- Carpet Cleaning
- House Cleaning
- Child Care
- Computer Repair Business
- Computer Training and Lessons
- Contract Customer Service
- Dog Walking Business
- Real Estate Sales Consultant
- Making Custom Furniture
- Making Handmade Jewelry
- Being a Gigwalker
- Home Appraisal Business
- Human Billboard
- Purchasing an Existing Website
- Mobile Laundry Service
- Junk Removal Service
- Becoming a Notary Public
- Wedding Planning Business
- Event and Party Planning
- Becoming a Personal Chef
- Pet Sitting
- Pet Grooming Business
- Pool Cleaning
- 30+ More Profitable Small Business Ideas
If like many new entrepreneurs, you have a lot of questions—fear not. I’ve got answers! Here are some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) I get from new, beginner & aspiring small business owners:
Do I need a business plan before starting a small business?
No, and I’ll explain why. Taking the time to develop a business plan before starting your small business can help ensure your chances of building a successful business. However, it’s far more important to invest your time getting to know your potential customers, learning how you can best solve their relevant problems (rather than making assumptions).
The #1 goal of creating a business plan is to make sure your idea has an established market of potential customers, and give you reasonable confidence that your solution has a high likelihood of helping those customers solve the problem you’re hoping to alleviate. Beyond that, a business plan is only effective if it’s regularly updated based on real-world learnings you can only gather from actually helping people solve a problem & getting paid to do it.
Instead of creating a business plan before starting your business, I always advise new entrepreneurs to focus instead on solving a real problem they’re motivated to tackle, for a few people (and get paid to do it). Once you’ve validated your business idea by getting paid to solve someone’s problem, you have a real business—one that’s worthy of then creating a business plan & figuring out how to scale your solution to more people.
I have a great business idea, but I don’t know how to get started. What do I do?
Simplify and take small steps forward. Rather than worrying about how you’ll get to making a million dollars or having your product on shelves in Target stores around the world, focus on the small things you can do right here, right now to get closer to your most important goal—helping real people solve real problems. Follow the simple steps in the next FAQ for beginners to get your business idea started the right way today.
How do I start a business? 5 simple steps to get started today
Starting a business isn’t actually that difficult. If you break a “business” down into its most simple form, it’s really just a vehicle for helping people (or other businesses) solve problems they’re facing. If you can solve a problem, you have the foundation of a successful business idea—any beginner entrepreneur can learn this process.
Follow these 5 simple steps to start a small business (and make money) with any business idea this year:
- Find your future customers and start talking to them: Ask questions, uncover their biggest pain points related to your idea and try out potential solutions with them.
- Work with 1 person (or business) to solve a relevant problem: This will prove that your idea has potential, and will give you the opportunity to work in a real-world situation that tests every angle of your solution.
- Validate your business idea: Ask that person to pay for your solution (whether it’s a service, product, SaaS tool, or otherwise) to make sure you’re solving a problem some people are willing to pay for.
- Get referrals: Ask if your first paying customer knows anyone else who has similar problems they can introduce you to (referrals are the best way to grow your business at first).
- Repeat: Find more potential customers through referrals, social media, blogging, publishing videos on YouTube & TikTok, or otherwise—and keep solving their relevant problems. With time and experience, you’ll perfect your solutions and have the opportunity to scale your business.
If your primary motivation is making money (and not solving a legitimate problem for yourself or others), you’ll almost certainly lost momentum when the going gets tough… and starting a small business of your own will get challenging. Stay focused on simple steps forward, while solving real problems and you’ll be on the right track to learning whether your business idea has real potential, or if it’s a learning experience on your journey.
What if I choose the wrong small business idea and change my mind?
The beauty of being an entrepreneur (even if you still work a full-time job), is that you’re never committed to sticking with a small business idea that isn’t right for you. As you work your way through the process of building a successful business, you’ll learn a lot, experience a lot and feel a lot. Sometimes, you’ll come to a clear conclusion that the business you’re building isn’t right for you—and that’s ok! You can always sell your business, formally close it down, or pivot to working on a totally different problem that you’re more invested in solving.
Which mistakes do new small business owners need to avoid? 6 things I wish I knew
The biggest mistake I see most new small business owners make, is spending too much time in the brainstorming, planning & preparation stages. The most important thing you can do when starting your own business, is to connect with your potential customers and listen to them. Ask questions, learn what their biggest pain points are & work on providing real solutions to them.
Other common mistakes to avoid when starting a small business include:
- Perfecting a business plan without actually selling to real customers from day one
- Solving the wrong problems that customers aren’t willing to pay for solutions to (not validating your small business idea)
- Chasing a money-making opportunity, rather than a purposeful small business idea that engages your interests, skills and experience
- Spending countless hours building a social media following without a clear plan for monetizing your audience and turning them into customers
- Not connecting with other entrepreneurs in your industry to learn, grow and find collaboration opportunities (this can help generate your first customers from referrals)
- Thinking the value is in the business idea itself (rather, execution and bringing your idea to life is where everything really happens)
Want more feedback on your ideas? Head down and leave me a comment & I’ll reply.
If you want my feedback on any small business ideas you’re considering starting, leave a comment down below at the bottom of this guide and I’ll weigh in with my advice! Now, let’s get to the first—and in my opinion best small business idea on our list—starting a blog.
This is one of the best low startup cost small business ideas you can start today.
Think blogging is no longer a viable source of income? Think again. Recent blogging statistics show that tens of thousands of bloggers (including yours truly) are creating profitable content on blog topics as diverse as scrapbooking, home cooking, travel, film, lifestyle, business, personal finance and more.
The best part with this small business idea? It doesn’t cost much to blog—about $65/year. And on average, bloggers make around $45,000—with most bloggers earning somewhere between $38,440 to $51,906 running this business out of their own home, setting their own hours. Even more people are growing their blogs into six-figure businesses thanks to a combination of email subscribers, affiliate marketing, blog sponsorships and other revenue streams. Your first step with starting a blog is quickly getting the technical side of things handled (my free master course on blogging will show you how), and then both understanding what your audience craves and learning how to attract those readers online.
If you want to speed up the process of launching your blog, I recommend setting up quick, affordable and easy website hosting with a company like Bluehost or one of the other best web hosting plans for bloggers, working through the process of creating a blog business plan, coming up with the right blog name idea, choosing a simple WordPress theme and working on your first post—in order to set the precedent of prioritizing your time on creating content, connecting with (and building) your target audience. You’ll also need to employ the right blogging tools to grow your blog along the way. Use my free domain name generator to grab your blog’s domain:
Check if Your Dream Blog Name is Available:
Once you’ve gotten your blog off the ground and begin building a community around your site, you’ll want to invest in really understanding your readers—so that you can give them more of what they want.
I know first-hand that learning how to start a blog (let alone make money blogging) can be a massive new undertaking.
So, I put together a free master course for you to take that spreads out all of the work involved in starting a blog, into a series of action-packed blogging lessons. My free course breaks the entire process of starting a blog down into an incredibly simple 7-day process for going from zero to generating creative blog post ideas, writing a blog post, optimizing and promoting your blog content in just 1 week. I can’t recommend it enough.
And if you want a deep dive tutorial on getting your blog up and running today, head over to my Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog, come up with a smart blog strategy, set the right blogging goals and then browse my list of all the best blogging courses to take your learning to the next level.
Get my Free Guide: How to Start a Profitable Blog in 7 Days (for Beginners)
Come read my ultimate guide to blogging that’s been featured on Forbes, Business Insider and Entrepreneur.
This small business idea is great for creative types that want to monetize their skills.
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 even more easily accessible tools like Stencil and Visme are making it so that just about anyone with two opposable thumbs, a bit of creativity, and motivation can earn a side income doing things like designing (and selling) images like these motivational quotes that can be printed onto posters and sold on platforms like Etsy. Or you can find a local startup, small business owner, or photographer who could benefit from some extra help designing or altering images.
But before you can graduate from side business and begin earning a full-time living as a graphic designer, you’ll need to build your skills—I recommend starting with reading the foundational book Graphic Design School and Steal Like an Artist, the incredible book by Austin Kleon about how to become more creative. To accelerate your education in becoming a graphic designer even quicker, check out the online courses Graphic Design Fundamentals and The Graphic Design Bootcamp—just beware how much AI is impacting the future of careers like logo design & graphic design. Then once you’re an expert at your craft, you can further your education and move up to offering more hands-on experiences like design sprints or more in-depth types of content you can create for higher-value clients around the world.
- Graphic Design Fundamentals by Timothy Samara on CreativeLive
- The Graphic Design Bootcamp by Derrick Mitchell on Udemy
Most people in this business start by learning how to code.
As a web developer, you’ll build incredibly valuable skills that are in extremely high demand. You can get up to speed on building websites in as little as a few months with inexpensive or free online education programs like Treehouse, the Web Developer Bootcamp on Udemy and CodeAcademy.
- Learn Web Design by Multiple Instructors on Treehouse
- Web Developer Bootcamp by Colt Steele on Udemy
This business idea is the perfect blend of creative and analytical.
Web designers are incredibly valuable for technology companies—which is why becoming a freelance web designer is one of the best small business ideas 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 foundational books like HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites by acclaimed web designer Jon Duckett and Don’t Make Me Think by user experience legend Steve Krug will get you started down the right path to quickly determining whether or not becoming a web designer is one of the most viable side business ideas for you.
Then you can move into more actionable online courses like Modern Web Design on CreativeLive and Learn Web Design and Profitable Freelancing on Udemy will teach you everything from foundational web design knowledge to earning your first freelance income as a web designer. On top of that, you can take even more immersive courses and learning experiences with access to direct instructor feedback and personal mentorship with platforms like Treehouse and General Assembly to get up-to-speed even quicker with this career path and listen to my podcast interview with Ian Paget about how to become a freelance designer as a side business idea. Once you have the skills, you can even build your own projects like ColorKit that can be monetized as websites of their own.
- Modern Web Design by Andy Pratt & Jesse Arnold on CreativeLive
- Web Design & Profitable Freelancing by Cristian Barin on Udemy
One of the easiest online business ideas based on teaching from your expertise.
Using your skills for profit is a common trend with all of the best small business ideas today. 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. You’ll learn from more than 8 hours of video instruction.
If you want to find a profitable online course idea in the next 3 days, join my free online course Find a Profitable Business Idea today. It’ll walk you step-by-step through the process I’ve used to generate more than $15,000 in online course sales in a single week. Then once you’re ready to start teaching your own online course, I recommend using Teachable, the easiest and most affordable platform to use for creating, hosting and selling your online courses. They also have a ton of free educational resources about how to get started with creating an online course (yes, even as one of our top side business ideas) when you sign up on Teachable here.
- Create Awesome Online Courses by Miguel Hernandez on Udemy
If you enjoy writing, selling eBooks can be a very fulfilling online business.
Packaging your skills and knowledge into a downloadable eBook (like I’ve done with my best blogging books) 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 learn how to find your target market (which is why it makes for such sustainable business ideas for many authors). A class I took with Tara Gentile on CreativeLive will also show you how to use your existing body of work to learn how to write an eBook within the next week (even by starting with something as simple as a blog post outline to kick the process off) and turn an eBook into one of the smartest business ideas you can execute on if you have a knack for writing. 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 top business books and really build your personal brand.
Marketers are always in high demand and do well as social media consultants.
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—creating multiple potential side business ideas that’ll come to you. If you have the right marketing skills and hundreds of thousands of followers, you can easily charge anywhere between $500 to $5,000 per post (or more)—which makes for very profitable small business ideas. Once you get some traction, to cut down on the amount of time you spend uploading Instagram reels & images, you can make your entire workflow more efficient by posting photos from your Mac or PC.
Have a skill others want to learn? This home-based business idea could be perfect to teach beginners in your field.
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 as one of the most dependable side business ideas that leverage your skills. 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. If you’ll be charging by the hour for your coaching services, be sure to use a robust time tracking tool like Teamwork to keep track of your billable hours while managing your client projects at the same time. Elmira Strange will give you a step-by-step plan for putting your skills and experience to work by developing an online coaching business—even as a side business idea in the time around your full-time job—so be sure to check out her course on Udemy for a jump start on this small business idea.
On top of just the skill and experience components to being a successful online coach, this small business idea is all about building a community around the help you’re offering and fostering trust with members. Plus, your community members will learn from each other along the way. Creating the space for that community can be as simple as setting up a private Facebook group or choosing a community-building platform like Slack that has more capabilities to use your own custom URL, have internal forums, customized designs and more.
The perfect business if you enjoy researching, chatting and telling stories.
If you can start a podcast and create a regular audience for it around 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 one of my current side business ideas I’ve been working on, 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. Side note: Here are my picks for the best podcast hosting platforms to get your show hosted here are my recommendations for the best cheap podcast microphones to start with today.
When I used to work at CreativeLive, I regularly paid $250-$500 (or even much more depending upon audience size) per episode for 90 seconds worth of advertisements on relevant podcasts like The Tim Ferriss Show, the #1 business podcast most of the time from the 4-Hour Workweek author, Tim Ferriss. The podcast has even helped Tim launch his latest New York Times bestseller, Tools of Titans to a wider readership.
Naturally, it helps if you already have an online audience you can tap for listening to your regular podcast (like I did), but that hasn’t stopped thousands of people from building successful small business ideas into lucrative podcasts—including Alex Blumberg, founder of Gimlet Media who teaches how to use storytelling and launch a podcast. You can also check out this class from podcaster and entrepreneur, Lewis Howes, about how to make money podcasting as a side business idea, which regularly broadcasts for free on CreativeLive.
If you can identify savvy product opportunities, this small business idea is for you.
Dropshipping is accessible to anyone willing to sell goods on either their own online stores or more commonly on Amazon—provided you have the right products to sell (or buy low, then resell at a higher price point). Plus, you can dropship products out of your own home (or garage) and set your own hours. If you’re the type to hit all the local garage sales each weekend, there are all sorts of valuable things that can be resold online with this small business idea. If you want to step your dropshipping game up on Amazon, check out this detailed story about Amazon and eBay retail arbitrage featuring an interview with several successful drop-shippers who’ve grown this home business idea from side business into a lucrative money-maker during the pandemic. If you can learn how to write a headline that’ll draw readers into your blog posts (hint: use my free blog title generator tool), then you’ll be well on the way to monetizing a readership with selling them the products they want.
Helping other local small business owners can be a lucrative enterprise.
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 potentially lucrative side business ideas. 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—if you can craft an effective cold email that convinces them to hire you. Start with this 18-step checklist to becoming a local business consultant as one of the best small business ideas, from Karyn Greenstreet. When you’re ready to get serious about becoming a consultant, check out all of my picks for the best online business courses to keep building your skills and learning how to land your first consulting clients. Personally, I think this is one of the best business ideas you can get started with today.
Cell phone accessories continue to be a very high-growth business idea.
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 (which had a partnership business structure with my friend), 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 and Amazon Handmade. During our first year of selling phone cases as one of our small business ideas 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.
If you have a knack for sales, this is a great side business idea to try.
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 side business idea 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. Develop your sales strategies, become an inside sales rep and perfect your cold emailing skills on the side in your free time for nothing but commission, negotiate a little equity and you could profit big time if you’re pitching a solid product and the startup succeeds. Start your sales education with the acclaimed books, Secrets of a Master Closer and To Sell is Human by famed bestselling author Daniel Pink and you’ll be well on your way to getting this small business idea off the ground.
Then you can move on to more immersive sales education through online courses like Sales Training and Prospecting on Udemy, The Guide to Pitching and Selling Clients on CreativeLive. Once you’re ready to put your selling skills to the test, check out Angel List and see if any sales position opportunities align with your interests—the last thing you want to do is get stuck selling products or services you’re not interested in. However, by starting out your sales career as a on the side of a full-time job, that gives you the flexibility to easily change courses if you ever need to.
Similar to blogging, starting an affiliate business can generate passive income.
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 with your easy small business idea, is through affiliate marketing (and joining the right affiliate programs). 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 income. Affiliate marketing has a lot of benefits for online business owners. One of those is boosting lead generation with affiliate marketing, a great additional option as leads never go waste. Check out how I’ve gone from starting a blog to now making money blogging (to the tune of often more than $50,000/mo) from affiliate marketing—to get some inspiration on how you can grow a blog from side business ideas to full-time company—and follow along as I grow my own side project affiliate blog, SmartWP: WordPress Tutorials and Advice.
People that excel at this business are detail-oriented problem solvers.
Have a knack for staying organized? If you’re a jack of all trades, you should consider working as a virtual assistant as a side business idea. You can find great gigs on Flexjobs, Indeed, or Upwork. It can be an awesome way to rub shoulders with some very important people, build up your professional network, develop in-demand new skills (like blogging skills, creating GIFs and VR videos), grow your small business 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 idea if you’re hoping to travel the world while making money online as a digital nomad.
If you have the credentials and love of numbers, this can be a zero-investment business idea.
It’s not the sort of small business idea 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. Majo Jacinto in his Udemy course provides an in-depth foundational understanding of how to prepare tax returns (and stay current with ever-changing laws) that’ll certify you with tax prep skills in as little as a few hours of training and practice. Then once tax season rolls around you’ll be able to charge an average of $229 per return as a freelance tax preparer with these kinds of side business ideas, according to CNBC—and you could even grow your business more by teaching your advice online (like taxes for bloggers, influencers and remote employees).
Believe it or not, teaching English can be a very well-paid business idea.
Teaching and tutoring English as a second language is a great way to put your skills to work into business ideas with potential to earn, 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. And naturally, the reason that this is such a viable small business idea right now, is that English is one of the languages in highest demand worldwide. As a result, you can rely on tutoring as a solid income stream.
If you did well on your standardized tests, this business idea is for you.
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 as a side business idea? 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. There are plenty of work from home jobs helping kids out with homework and turning it into profitable small business ideas that can stand the test of time.
People in this small business tend to be digital natives that love social media & community building.
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, Career Builder and most employers on these websites are conditioned to working with people who operate these services as their small 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.
Build your own social following and create a personal brand for yourself like Matt Nelson, founder of WeRateDogs has done (thus growing his following to more than 2.8 Million people) on his social media accounts—and countless opportunities will come your way for turning these kinds of side business ideas into a full-time business.
If you can optimize paid ad campaigns, this home business idea is perfect for you.
If you know a thing or two about paid internet marketing and are comfortable with Google, a great way to make some extra income as a side business idea is to sign a freelance contract to manage a company’s Google Ad Campaigns, and gradually start bringing on more clients as your consulting business grows. Just be sure to brush up on all the right business slang and industry jargon that’s pervasive in the online marketing world before you launch unprepared into this side business idea.
It’s time to monetize those Powerpoint skills with this very real business.
Yes, even the PowerPoint presentation requires outside consulting every now and then—especially if it’s not your forte. I know I would happily outsource the visual layout of my presentation decks for work meetings, investor pitches and lectures. Tobias Schelle of 24Slides is living proof that you can turn your skills at slideshow presentation design into legit side business ideas—and potentially earn up to $20 a slide for your time and talents.
More perfect business ideas don’t exist for those that love to travel.
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? Build travel consulting into one of your side business ideas by starting with word of mouth recommendations from friends who know they can count on you for the cheapest flights, create a Facebook or LinkedIn group to invite people who want to stay on top of the latest deals and eventually you could spin this business idea into a full-time consultancy—or even start a travel blog teaching people how to make their dream trips a reality. As an aside, I recently launched my own side blog called Hike with Ryan where I’m sharing my guides to hiking around the US and using social media to connect with other hikers in my area. Just be sure to avoid the most common blogging mistakes that can sink your site in the early days—like choosing a domain name that’s not right for your niche and not doing proper blogger outreach when seeking to build relationships in your space.
People in this business tend to enjoy writing and designing.
If you have a way with words, know how to do keyword research (with something like my free keyword research tool) and craft beautifully designed landing pages that follow the best blog SEO strategies, why not charge other companies for your services to learn how to get traffic from search engines and turn this into money-making small business ideas? Even a short landing page is worth a couple hundred bucks in most cases, and so much more if you know how to pitch your prospects well. If you want to get started with your business idea of becoming a landing page specialist or freelance copywriter, check out Len Smith and Sean Kaye’s awesome course on Udemy, Copywriting Secrets: How to Write Copy That Sells.
This is a great side business for design-conscious people.
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 and you have the motivation to turn these kinds of business ideas into a money-making enterprise.
While rarely a highly-paid side business, this is about as easy as it gets.
It’s not exactly a way to make consistent great money, but housesitting—exactly what it sounds like—is a fantastically easy business idea that can fund your ability to live in exciting locales around the world (or your city) 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 side business idea search.
The perfect business for those that love children and want to be a sitter.
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 as a sitter with these kinds of business ideas if you don’t mind the often odd hours (sadly you’ll rarely get to set your own hours with this one).
This is a great business idea for problem-solvers that like working with their hands.
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 this side business idea with relatively little work on your part (most of the time). It’ll take some hustling and the willingness to be flexible with your schedule, as you’ll be responsible for collecting rent checks, managing repairs and improvements, and simply being on call for emergencies. But, a property manager is essential for most real estate investors that have a large enough portfolio, so there’s definitely merit to this business idea. You can peep this guide from BusinessGuru to go deeper on everything you need to know about starting a property management business.
If you make handmade products, selling them on Etsy is a no-brainer.
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 with your own online store—making this a very lucrative potential business idea if you’re able to find an audience that loves your products and figure out how to best sell online to them.
Selling products on this large marketplace can be a very lucrative business.
Similar to selling on Amazon, eBay is a place to make money selling just about anything you can think of as a side business idea, with the added excitement of using the auction selling model to sometimes get way more than you expected for that antique baseball card you picked up at a local street fair. Plus, you won’t need to operate your own website if you’re concerned about how much web hosting costs—because you can sell directly on the eBay platform. To turn your eBay selling into a legitimate business idea, look for opportunities where you can buy in-demand products at a discount—and later sell them for a profit. Eventually, you can even take the lessons learned from your eBay store and build a full on blog or use one of the best eCommerce website builders to sell from your own online store.
30. Fiverr Gigs
If you have a skill that can be monetized, this business can help you earn quickly.
While there are plenty more higher-paying sites to land great blogging jobs out there, Fiverr can be 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. While this small business idea likely won’t be growing into a million dollar startup for you, it can still be a platform for funding one of your next big business ideas. Want to learn more about Fiverr’s history and how to get the most out of selling on the platform? Listen to my interview with Fiverr CEO Micha Kaufman.
With this business idea, be sure you’re helping students (not doing work for them).
If editing and advising college students on how to write compelling and informative essays on topics such as “You were just invited to speak at the White House. Write your speech,” seems like one of the more compelling business ideas to allocate your free time towards, 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.
If you love being behind the camera, this business is always in demand.
If you own a camera, starting a freelance portrait photography business could be a very natural way to turn your skills and passions into a profitable business idea. 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. Plus, once you have all the gear for your photography business, you can earn a little extra side income by renting it out when you’re not using it through online marketplaces like Fat Lama.
As far as photography businesses go, this is one of the highest-paid.
Wedding photographers command premium rates. After all, you are capturing one of a couple’s most important life moments, making it a very lucrative small business idea. Many professional wedding photographers charge between $2,500 – $10,000 (or more) to shoot a wedding, so it’s realistic that this side business idea could quickly blossom into becoming a full-time endeavor with the right happy clientele base that’s willing to refer you to their friends and family. Check out the Complete Wedding Photography Experience over on CreativeLive to get up to speed on everything you need to launch a successful wedding photography business.
If you fancy yourself a matchmaker, this business idea can be a lot of fun.
Believe it or not, some people have such a difficult time with dating, that they don’t even want to participate in the online (or app-based) component of it. If you’re a smooth talker, why not leverage that skill into becoming a paid match maker as a side business idea? People are paying.
People that excel in this business tend to write and pitch a lot of stories to publishers.
Werewolves, step-brothers, 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.
If you have a quick wit, this can be a great no-investment business idea.
Fancy yourself a poet? You can earn $300 for every poem you write that this greeting card company publishes—not bad as far as side business ideas go, if you’ve got a way with words and aren’t afraid of rejection on poems that aren’t a good fit.
You’ll definitely need the right technical skills to work on this business idea.
Countless small businesses start out their web presence using a WordPress website (myself included) with one of the best web hosting plans to power it (consider even cheap hosting plans or free hosting if you’re on a budget), before needing to upgrade to other solutions for various reasons. Many of them will pay several hundreds of dollars for someone to get their business ideas set up online. If you have the patience to learn how to start a blog yourself, it’s an extremely valuable skill and can be turned into a very low startup cost small business idea even if you’re just starting with teaching clients how to install WordPress and setting them up with one of the best WordPress themes and customizing their sites—especially if you sign up for affiliate programs with companies like Kinsta, who offer high quality managed Wordpress hosting plans that allow you to collect fees from the clients you refer their way. Consider an additional service offering to your clients by executing on a carefully curated digital marketing strategy that goes beyond just setting up their website, and into actually generating traffic to it. Plus, with the skills you pick up from this side business idea, you’ll be able to make money in other ways like landing WordPress developer jobs or working on other website ideas like my friend Andy’s been able to do with his site, AwesomeStuffToBuy. Just be sure to take my lessons learned about the things you should know before starting a blog.
One of the easiest small businesses you can start today, just don’t expect massive earnings.
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 small business idea, do your homework and calculate the startup costs of extra gas, mileage, tires, wear & tear and usage on your vehicle—it’s not one of the best guaranteed business ideas that’ll turn a significant profit every weekend, though.
If you have a car (or multiple) that often sit in your garage, that’s earning potential.
If you own a car but barely use it, you can make some easy cash as an effortless side business idea 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.
This business blurs the line between investing and gambling, but can be lucrative with the right eye.
Not to be confused with hoarding, these kinds of business ideas take 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 small 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. Beware though, this business idea will take a whole lot of patience (and storage space for all that art).
If you enjoy cooking and serving, this business idea is always in demand.
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 endeavor where you’re leveraging your network to book catering events. This side business idea is built heavily upon getting happy referrals, so be sure to over-deliver for your first customers, and ask if they know anyone else who could be in need of your catering services. Plus, if you play your cards right and start to build a social media following over time, you could parlay your success as a caterer into starting a food blog that can open up additional revenue streams for your business.
If you want to solve a (digital) problem, app development can be a great low-investment business idea.
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 to get into app development (or know someone who already has them), you could be on to something with this small business idea. Today, it’s even possible to build an app without any coding skills whatsoever. Just make sure you validate your app idea before jumping too far in. Even if your app business idea doesn’t pan out to be a best-seller, you’ll still pick up valuable skills and can now do app development on a freelance or full-time basis.
Listen to my interview with serial entrepreneur and investor, Michele Romanow about how she built an app that earned $500,000 in 3 months (as a side business idea outside of her day job) and how she eventually sold the company to Groupon. It’s seriously incredible. Want to find a profitable niche business idea this week? Join my free online course Find a Profitable Business Idea today.
Most people that thrive in news are quick and confident writers.
You don’t need to have a degree in journalism to be a reporter these days (and pursue this business idea as a work from home job). Plus, 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 to news organizations as your side business idea.
Being an inventor can pay off big time, but not every patent will be worth something.
This side business idea isn’t for most, but consider Kia Silverbrock who 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.
This business idea involves a little speculation, but the right domain names can earn a lot.
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 idea, so you shouldn’t quit your day job just to put all your effort into this one without some successes already in the bag. If you know how to name a blog the right way, you could even use a smart domain name generator to find and buy a good name today, with an affordable monthly hosting plan—then sell it one day in the future as the right buyer comes along.
This is one of the lowest-cost mobile businesses you can get started with.
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 small 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.
It’ll take time to perfect your craft with this business, but most breweries start small.
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.
You’ll thrive with this business if you have an eye for detail.
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.
There’s a huge online market for reselling electronics that others don’t think to repair.
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 pursuing this side business idea of refurbishing and reselling used electronics in your free time.
Love numbers? People in this line of business are great at pulling insights out of data.
Got a thing for numbers? Plenty of companies need to hire talented contractors who are good at data analysis, making this a potentially lucrative small business idea if you have the right credentials and experience. Platforms like Upwork and Digiserved are but a two of many websites that are great for freelancers with an analytical prowess, looking for extra work as a side business idea around their full-time jobs.
There’s a surprising market for reselling unused electronics parts online.
Believe it or not there’s 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 earn a bit (more than you ever thought possible) with this side business idea.
I got my start with this small business idea, and know first hand how lucrative it can be.
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 some experience and a growing portfolio, you can become a freelance writer today and soon be charging more than you make at your full-time job if you find the right clients and brand yourself as an expert with this small business idea. Be sure to understand how AI is impacting the world of freelance writing and check out my picks for the best AI writing tools like my free AI article writer and free paragraph rewriter. Check out one of my most talented friends, Jory Mackay, for an example of someone who’s doing a great job of positioning himself as a premium service-provider with his freelance writing side business idea. Then when you’re ready to start cold emailing potential clients, pick up my free downloadable freelance proposal template and get started today.
If you have an eye for spotting promising foreign products, this business is for you.
It doesn’t happen overnight, but licensing a foreign product for sale domestically, can be one of the most lucrative business ideas that (at times) leads 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.
Keep your expectations relatively low for the earnings from this side business.
It’s not very engaging, or mentally stimulating, but taking online surveys through companies like Survey Junkie, User Interviews and InboxDollars do pay out (a little), believe it or not. Payouts come in the form of PayPal, check or sometimes Amazon gift cards, but if you’ve got the idle time—then sites like Survey Junkie, User Interviews and InboxDollars might be a good way to spend some of your down time. Just don’t expect to make bank with this side business idea—I recommend combining it with another source of side income from this list of my best business ideas, and turning to surveys in your downtime when you need a little extra income.
Whether it’s a second home or your own apartment, this can be a very dependable business.
Not only is Airbnb a great way to make money by renting out your spare bedroom or living room couch as a legitimate home-based business idea, but you also have the benefit of meeting new people and making new friends if that’s your kind of thing. You can even rent out an entirely new apartment just to manage as an Airbnb small business idea. And if you have some money for a down payment, you might even consider investing in vacation rental property. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking this will be a passive source of income—you’re on call whenever you have a guest and you’ll always need to keep the place clean for incoming visitors. On top of just renting on Airbnb, you can take this business idea to the next level by offering your guests add-on and personalized experiences for an extra charge. Take Lauren Gheysens’ Airbnb-based side business, Royal Day Out in London, England for example—where she gives visiting tourists a local’s only tour of the city, complete with bespoke 18th century costumes.
Helping people get fit will always be one of the most reliable business ideas.
If you’re a fitness buff and have the right combination of charisma and business sense, working as a part-time personal trainer as a side business idea 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 who are making a living online. Finally, I’d recommend taking this business idea seriously and actually devising a go-to-market plan that can let you hit the ground running with clients from day one. Finally, I’d recommend taking this business idea seriously and actually devising a go-to-market plan and creating a PT marketing strategy that can let you hit the ground running with clients from day one.
This one has quickly grown into a viable online business idea this year.
Yoga is getting ever more popular, which means yoga instructors are more in demand than ever—making this another of our most physically (and mentally) rewarding small business ideas. Link up with a local yoga studio to teach nightly classes or offer personalized yoga in-home at a higher rate to pursue this kind of emotional and physical balance with others, during your free time while helping your bank balance, too. This business used to require a physical storefront, but has since gone mainstream with online classes on platforms like Zoom where you can now reach students around the world and still have them book a class with an upfront payment through tools like Stripe or PayPal..
Have a skill to teach? Turning on your camera can lead to a very promising business on YouTube & TikTok.
Yes, spending time on YouTube can be a legitimate business idea if you take it seriously. 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 eventual millionaire with the right combination of content, audience, skills, relationships and timing. If you’re considering starting a YouTube channel it’s important use best practices when making videos—and my advice is to evaluate blogging vs YouTube content creation. Read the YouTube playbook for tips which will result in faster growth of your channel. Additionally think about investing in a quality camera and microphone since the production quality of videos can often affect your viewership—and when you’re ready to expand to additional video platforms like TikTok, you’ll already have a process in place for growing your reach (and attracting clients that are willing to sponsor you with tasteful advertisements on your TikTok account).
People in this business will need to speak multiple languages.
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, then browse through these remote jobs websites to find the right opportunities for you.
If you know your area well, this business can pay very handsomely.
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 company is arguably the best business idea that 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 company on the back of what originally began as a crazy small business idea.
This has become a very popular online business idea in recent years.
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.
People in this business have quality camera gear and an eye for a good shot.
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 as a side business idea. 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 higher-paid private corporate work.
Only pursue this business if you love writing and don’t mind others taking credit for your 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 with these kinds of business ideas. Ghostwriters like Jeff Haden have created very lucrative careers for themselves by writing for business executives and CEO’s—and Jeff also started his ghostwriting career as a side business idea outside of his full-time job as a factory manager. Listen to Jeff’s interview with me on The Side Hustle Project (podcast) right here. It’s a grind getting to a place where you can earn a full-time living from ghostwriting, but if you stick with it and bounce back from your defeats, you’ll make it. These free blog post templates should help get you started, too.
This business idea is perfect if demand for your services is outpacing your own time.
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.
If you have a love for making music, this small business is great for self-starters.
Take the time to develop your skills at either making your own music, or becoming a pro at mixing, and your side business idea of dj-ing local events could turn into a much bigger endeavor. Though you’ll first need to command a solid knowledge of sound design, mixing and music production before expecting to land your first gig with this business idea, as developing an entirely new skill set is not for the faint of heart.
People in these businesses thrive on working with their hands.
Fashion, style, and grooming continue to be a lucrative small business idea lets you set your own hours outside of a full-time job, and you can even do it from your own home. If you know how to mend clothes, then you have a growing market of budget-conscious and/or personalization-obsessed customers. Many experienced entrepreneurs in this field say you need around two thousand dollars to start a decent side business 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.
If you’re creative and crafty, you’ll find an audience on Pinterest for this business.
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.
Love baking and feeding others? Look no further than this business idea.
It’s funny how much baking can translate into different types of business ideas that make 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 to pursue this business idea just yet. Depending on your experience, you can start by doing something simple on the side like perfecting grandma’s nostalgic cookies before heading on to offer exquisite artisanal fare.
This part-time side business idea is great for handy people with flexible schedules.
If you don’t mind doing other people’s chores and you consider yourself a handyman (or woman), then TaskRabbit may be the right small business idea for you. You can earn a little side money doing odd jobs like walking your neighbor’s dog, mowing Mr. Smith’s lawn, fixing a leaky sink and so much more. Running errands not your style? The top handyman workers on this site reportedly earn as much as $7000 a month, making this a full-time business idea for some entrepreneurs.
Put your marketing and writing skills to work with this small business idea.
From personal experience as a freelance content marketer, I can vouch for the profitability in this industry. I grew my side business into a $160,000/yr business before quitting my day job to pursue this small business idea full-time; all you need is 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.
Since brands will always need high quality content to bring in new customers, your skills will always remain an asset to invest in—especially since the nature of creating a content marketing strategy is an ever-evolving one. Start by tapping into your existing network with this business idea and begin tracking down local small business owners who could benefit from your marketing tactics, do a bang up job, ask for referrals and grow from there to the point where you’re doing things like guest blogging and blogger outreach and spreading out to a wider market.
Whether selling your own ebooks or writing for others, this business is for serious writers.
If you’ve always wanted to publish your own book as a small business idea, there never been a better time than now. That’s because access to self-publishing tools and marketplaces has never been easier and more affordable. One eBook writer I know currently earns up to a couple of thousand bucks each month from six ebooks she published; while you can reportedly demand around $1,000 per eBook project serving as a ghostwriter. My good friend, Caroline Beaton used freelance writing as her side business idea 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.
This business idea takes at least a little money already, in order to earn some more.
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 smarter stock investing as one of your side business ideas to keep slowly working on. 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, and to avoid jumping too heavily into trends like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies without proper understanding.
Just be sure you’re compliant with any legal regulations before investing for others.
Incidentally, helping others grow their wealth is also a good way to grow your own financial worth as a small business idea. 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 as a lucrative side business idea if you can get results for those clients—otherwise this business idea can be the fast-track to alienating friends and family, so be careful.
This business idea requires few pre-requisites aside from a proficiency with numbers.
Many small companies and startups now outsource jobs that aren’t part of their core business (such as HR, admin, and accounting), which makes this skill set a great opportunity for starting a side business idea that engages your number prowess. Because companies always need to track their cash flow, freelance accountants and bookkeepers can really benefit from the increasing demand for part-time help.
People in these businesses often enjoy writing and designing websites.
Find an audience for your passion or hobby and you’re all set to monetize something you love via learning how to make a website in a clever blog niche as a side business idea. Check out my list of profitable niches to consider. Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that this business is of course, is easier said than done to get to profitability, something not intended for the faint of heart. Prepare to invest a lot of your time in choosing from the best website builders and learning what a blog is, but if you can hurdle the steep challenges and positively answer a few key questions on whether the website business ideas you’re thinking about can make money, then you can begin building it.
Your niche website doesn’t even need to be built around an existing business of yours. For example, one of my newest side projects, Word Finder Pro, was built out of a desire to create the best possible Scrabble word finder tool (where not many good options currently exist), and we’ll worry about the greater business model later—once we have a steady flow of traffic coming into the website. But if you’re asking yourself, do people still read blogs? The answer is a resounding yes. Check out my guide on how much bloggers make & how long it takes to make money from a blog to get a sense of the payoff possibilities with a niche site.
These days, I’m working on two side blogs in the food niche with the goal of eventually selling them for a profit—one with my girlfriend, Vegan Anj. Consider also that you may even want to buy a blog that already has a steady stream of traffic, work on growing that audience and later sell it for a profit. For more inspiration, check out these blog examples and see how successful niche sites are doing it today (even in niches like mom blogging and dad blogging).
If you enjoy working outside with your hands, this can be a great small business idea with growth potential.
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. Not bad for an easy business idea that’ll keep you outdoors and moving your body on the weekends.
Make sure you have any applicable credential before starting this business.
To be clear, providing care for the elderly often requires a broader set of credentials (as it should) so this business idea isn’t one most people can get started with this weekend. These credentials 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 as a side business idea. 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 to excel with this side business idea.
Believe it or not, steam cleaning carpets as a side business can generate serious income.
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.
Cleaning homes (or offices) will always be a viable small business idea.
If you want to broaden your services and earn more, you can opt to make the entire house look neat and clean with this side business idea. 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 sales, 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 with the help of cleaning business management tools like Swept. Beyond that, I’d recommend checking out Cleaning Zoom if you plan on taking this business idea seriously—and be sure to have ready access to this checklist to ensure nothing flies under the radar on you cleaning appointments.
With a flexible schedule, this small business can be great for those that love children.
Many families with kids, including single-parents, have very limited time resources, creating a demand for part-time child care providers (and a business idea opportunity for you). 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 way to really expand upon these kinds of business ideas if you have the right environment for it.
People in this business will need to have the necessary technical skills.
Employed techies planning to earn some extra side income can leverage their software and hardware skills by offering home-based computer repair services as a business idea that engages their passion. 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 a starting point to this business idea, as well as offer remote support through online messaging and video calling services before making your way into a retail setting. From the perspective of choosing to launch your own business around a specific skill set that’s in high demand, it doesn’t get much better than this.
If you have the right look, there’s nothing wrong with this potentially lucrative business.
If you’ve got the attitude (and look), there should be a product or service out there on the hunt for the right model to grow their brand (or promote your own blog) as a standalone business idea. You can sign up with a large agency, find a freelance agent, or look for your own modeling 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 it’ll take to establish 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 and grow this into a business idea that has the potential to scale.
Similar to an online course business, teaching your skills online can be very profitable.
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 and Treehouse and continue to grow and you’ll understand the urgency of getting computer training for our generation (thus making great business ideas to train others if you already have the skills). 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 as a side business idea. You can even set up your own tutorial site with an interface for online payments.
If you’re a people person that likes solving problems, this business idea is for you.
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 to test the waters with this business idea first. 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.
Walking dogs in your neighborhood (and beyond) is a surprisingly good business idea.
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 70% of Americans having pets in their homes, dog walking services have become a thriving industry in some U.S. cities. In fact, there’s a popular app called Wag that links up dog walkers who want to exercise this business idea with the pet owners who need a helping hand.
With a flexible schedule, real estate sales can be the perfect side business.
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 to build up a stable of clients as a side business idea, especially if you begin to scale your sales organization and build a team of reps working with one of the best real estate CRMs to help you close more deals. 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 side income as a home-based real estate consultant—especially if you employ one of the best CRMs for small business and know how to work magic finding home buyers and sellers over the phone.
Most people in this business are very crafty and can build furniture themselves.
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 these kinds of handy business ideas.
Start this small business idea by selling your jewelry on Etsy and growing from there.
There are at least three teenage entrepreneurs who’ve already earned astonishing amounts of money by launching hand-made jewelry business ideas: 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 to this business idea who can offer sparkling new takes on how to craft appealing handmade goods.
This ultra flexible, gig-style business is a great way to monetize your free time.
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).
Be sure to research the local credentials necessary for this business.
A real estate appraisal business can be operated from home, on a part-time basis, making for a fun side business idea if you have the credentials to back it up. A perfect option if you want to keep your day job while earning a little extra on the side. You won’t need a college degree to start in on these kinds of business ideas either, 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.
This is one of the more creative business ideas out there today.
If you don’t mind parading yourself around in public places as a side business idea, 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—though this type of earning opportunity is admittedly rare. This business idea is definitely not for the faint of heart, and is a little extreme for me, but nonetheless it’s been done as a side hustle for many people, even some having done it to pay their college tuition fees. You can start by holding a placard or wearing a sandwich board. If you think this is a good side business idea, you can go all the way and turn it into a full on small business idea with enough hard work—plus you won’t have to deal with all the issues other more complex businesses have to constantly think about.
You’ll need at least a little capital up front, but this business can be very profitable.
Websites aren’t too dissimilar to stocks. Many are junk, but some can generate value for you, making it a strong potential business idea if you have an eye for spotting the diamond in the rough. That’s why, like stocks, they are bought and sold all the time. You can buy a blog and then turn around, later selling the blog for more as a lucrative side business idea 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 Empire Flippers to find websites currently for sale. Want to find a profitable niche business idea this week? Join my free online course Find a Profitable Business Idea today.
Catering to busy professionals can always present good business opportunities.
We all wear clothes (at least some of the time). Which, of course, makes the business idea of cleaning soiled laundry an obvious 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. Cash in on this trend as a side business idea.
People in this business aren’t afraid to get their hands a little dirty.
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. These kinds of business ideas might not be glamorous, but you get to make the world a cleaner place while earning extra side income. To start, you’ll likely need a sturdy second-hand truck and standard equipment like shovels, wheelbarrows, sledgehammers, rakes, and garbage cans to launch the foundation of this side business idea.
With a relatively easy certification process, this side business idea is very flexible.
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, which makes it a great business idea to do as a side hustle as you bring in money through other ways. If you want to get started with this business idea, here are the requirements and steps you need to consider in the US.
If you love details, then helping couples plan their special day can be a great business.
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 business ventures. Now imagine if you can form a network of these service providers so you can offer engaged couples a range of hassle-free wedding packages as a turnkey business idea. The process is certainly fun (and time-consuming), but as a side business idea, the pay can be pretty great.
Any event (with the right client) can use a helping hand from a detail-oriented event planner.
Being a wedding specialist works well for top-notch players, but being a generalist also has its benefits. Event planners 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, making it a relatively diverse business idea. Here are some tips if you want to run a part-time event planning business at home as one of our more fun side business ideas. And here’s a very honest look into the upside and downside of the trade. As a quick aside to this idea, if you want to build a digital business around event planning too, blogging can be a great start—grab my free blog planner bundle and get inspiration for your event planner business today.
Most people in this business will have some training or experience working in a kitchen.
Busy schedules can stress people out. It can also disrupt family life to the point 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 as a business idea. If cooking healthy and delicious meals is your thing, then this is one of the more lucrative side business ideas that can supplement your regular income by helping feed busy homes. Hear Gaby Dalkin’s story of going from side business idea to full-time food blogger while she was a part-time personal chef in our conversation on my podcast.
For dog or cat people, a more exciting side business doesn’t exist.
I mean come on, who wouldn’t be interested in business ideas that let you spend time with puppies? Getting paid to take care of a cute pup sounds like a dream. The prevalence of unattended pets is another side effect of busy life, creating job business ideas and 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 as his side business idea.
Many pet owners will pay handsomely to outsource keeping their animals clean.
If that isn’t enough, you can expand your services to include pet grooming as an extra side business idea. 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 business idea if you can find a way to get in most of your clients on the weekends.
If you have the right tools and knowledge of pool chemicals, this can be a great side business.
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 idea 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 list.
If you have any proven business ideas you’d like to share (or personal experience with a side business of your own), please add to them in the comments below!
102. Private Labeling and Selling Products on Amazon
People in this business tend to have a knack for spotting emerging lucrative products.
Counted amongst the most valuable tech giants, Amazon is also a massive global market where virtually anyone can try to get in on the rising tide of launching an eCommerce store, supported by easy to use tools like a virtual phone system, if you have the right business idea. 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 developing a sensible sales strategy that’ll help you generate profits from your private label side business idea. Check out this guide to selling on Amazon FBA for a super detailed breakdown of how to execute on this idea today.
Want to find profitable niche business ideas this week? Join my free online course Find a Profitable Business Idea today.
103. Officiating Recreational Sports Games
This small business idea is perfect if you like staying active in your community.
Do you love sports? Officiating non-professional games held at community parks and college sport fields can be an exciting way to turn your love for outdoor activities into one of the most fun and physically rewarding profitable side business ideas you can engage in during your nights and weekends.
104. Selling on TeeSpring
Most people in this business have solid design skills.
T-shirts can be a viable path toward creating an automated side business idea that makes money for you while you sleep. Even Bloomberg and Forbes feature stories from entrepreneurs who’ve done just that. Bring business ideas like this to life by setting up a simple store on TeeSpring, coming up with a few novel designs, creating some targeted t-shirt mockups and working hard to drive traffic to your store.
105. Build Custom Software for Freelance Clients
While not for those without the right skills, this business idea can be highly profitable.
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 many other occupations—creating massive opportunities for these kinds of business ideas well into the future. In fact, it won’t take you long to find a good-paying software development project as a side business idea 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
There’s a lot of appeal to staying fit and teaching a sport to kids in your community.
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 with this side business idea. The median pay for sports coaches clocks 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 as a side business idea only.
107. T-Shirt Printing Business
Be sure you’re in love with creating lots of designs if you start this business.
The T-shirt retailing business is worth millions of dollars. But what if you want to do the manufacturing side of things? It turns out that learning to sell t-shirts online can be translate into one of the more rewarding business ideas for those with an affinity for creating visually appealing designs, but can quickly consume much of your side business idea time if you’re not careful—so know what you’re getting into before diving in. This multi-billion dollar industry counts big corporate factories as well as home-based part-time entrepreneurs.
108. Vehicle Advertising
Believe it or not, advertising on your own car can be a decent side business.
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 as a clever side business idea. 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 about getting started with this business idea and for being paired up with local advertisers.
109. Window Cleaning Services
Whether for homes or offices, many need professional window cleaning from time to time.
From the inside looking out, I want to see the world as clearly as possible. And so do a lot of homeowners and particularly office managers. Now that creates a demand for window cleaners to step into this business idea, especially if you can land a contract cleaning windows for an office building. If you want to try it out as a side business idea, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start a window-washing business at home.
110. Working on Mechanical Turk
People in this business should expect to get small gigs that add up over time.
Mechanical Turk operates much like TaskRabbit and GigWalk: it’s a corner online 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 as an online business idea, made possible by a parallel online universe that runs on hits, visits, surveys, reviews (like my compilation of honest Bluehost 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 seriously 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 talking through how he got started with this business idea and what the experience was really like.
111. Landscaping Business & Yard Work Services
This low-investment business idea requires only basic equipment and a knack for sales.
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 idea, you need training, equipment, and a growing network of customers. In the U.S., a full-time landscaping business owner and groundskeeping worker reportedly earns a median wage of around $25,000, while those working on this as a side business idea largely during evenings and weekends can expect to make substantially less.
112. Public Speaking
Inspiring others with your words is a true gift that can be a real business, too.
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.
113. College Counseling
People in this business have deep knowledge into the college admission process.
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, making this a fantastic side business idea, or you can even 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
This seasonal side business can earn a lot in very short periods of time.
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 explore the side business idea of 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, making this a potentially year-round seasonal side business idea.
The biggest barrier to entry with this business is the right equipment (and sometimes permits).
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 with this side business idea from home by offering snow and ice removal services.
116. Selling Handmade Clothing and Garments
If you love making things with your hands, this can be a very fulfilling business idea.
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 as a side business idea. 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 earn a little bit with this side business idea while you sleep and customers from around the world browse your Etsy & Amazon stores.
117. Antique Refurbishing
Breathing new life into antiques is a great business for crafty people.
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 in order to truly excel with this side business idea. Start small by borrowing around what you can, and learning the basics of the trade as a side hustle before investing in a ton of equipment.
118. Dance Instructor
Whether self-taught or formally trained, teaching dance can be a great business.
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 with this side business idea as a passion project around your day job. Part-time dance instructors get a fraction of the pie that their full-time peers enjoy, but it can add up to hundreds each week if you’re consistent—making for a great side business idea to those with the skills and drive.
119. Part-Time Bicycle Delivery
People in this business tend to live in cities where bicycle delivery is most viable.
Believe it or not, this freelance bike messenger makes more money than some people glued to their office desks. You won’t rake in a whopping $50,000 as this guy does by just doing this in your free time as a side business idea only, but you’ll surely get a piece of the action. Even Uber is trying out a blueprint for a delivery service, and companies like WunWun and Amazon are stepping up their efforts to expand same-day delivery, increasing the demand for more to jump in on this business idea. If you have a decent bicycle, those pair of pedals might just earn you a healthy side hustle income.
120. Home-Based Makeup Services
Most people in this business tend to cater their services to events.
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 pursue this easily profitable side business idea. For under $2000, you can start your own make-up artist business which can make for the foundation of a potentially lucrative side business idea that turns a profit largely by referrals and word-of-mouth from your happy customers.
121. Voice-Over Talent
With the right vocal range, this is one of the easiest online business ideas you can do from home.
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 talent and the time investment isn’t too intensive—making this a great side business idea. You can find these publishers looking for voice-over artists on sites like PeoplePerHour, Freelancer and Upwork, as well as their calls for talent directly on their websites or through voiceover agents. If you do pursue this as a side business idea, be prepared to invest for the long-haul as it can be a very competitive industry. Try looking for voice over jobs for beginners as a start.
122. Buying and Selling Cars
People who succeed at this business can identify opportunities for flipping cars at a profit.
Car flipping can be a fun way to turn your love for cars into quick side business ideas 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 can be very high. 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 with this side business idea.
123. Small Business Marketing Consultant
Helping local companies with their marketing will always be a solid business.
If you’ve got experience with marketing, experience in executing an effective SEO plan 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 on Google 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—just be sure to brush up on your on-page SEO strategies to make sure you can provide immediate value. Start by pitching a small business marketing idea and you’ll be sure to impress the first set of clients you begin working with in your area.
124. Professional Organizing
This business is best deployed in geographic areas with wealthy clients.
If keeping your home organized comes naturally and you enjoy helping other people, consider becoming a professional organizer as a side business idea. 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 low startup costs and expert advice from someone well-versed in the space (similar in a way to how I’ve built a business here by sharing blogging tips and advice for those looking to learn more about blogging). 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. What’s even better, is that you can take this on as side business ideas during the nights and weekends when your clients will be at home.
125. Rent Out Your Space
If you have a home (or space) that’s perfect for events, this is a very flexible side business.
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 as a side business idea? 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
Most people chasing this business idea will have some coding skills already.
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 as a low effort business idea. 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 have the potential to bring in new users and eventually drive revenue for the startup’s core business. This side business idea is particularly great because it also allows you to showcase your development skills—which can be put to work as an adjacent side business idea on a freelance basis (especially if you learn email marketing) alongside the Chrome extensions you launch.
127. Floral Design
If you love arranging flowers, this can be a very high-margin business idea.
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 with these kinds of business ideas, your low startup costs can remain there 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 floral designer, Sara Tedford of Ladybird Poppy to learn about how her floral design company started out as a side business idea of doing weddings and events for her friends and family.
Don’t expect this business to deliver massive profits, but it can be a good use of free time.
Though certainly not for everyone, recycling the containers from products left strewn around on the ground can become a surprisingly decent side business idea 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, sturdy plastic bags, and you can sell them for upwards of $4.00/pound on eBay.
129. Litter Removal for Local Businesses
If you’re not afraid to get a little dirty, there’s a lot of money in cleaning up around businesses.
Like recycling, this side business idea requires the willingness to get your hands a little dirty. If you enjoy working outdoors, then you can make a pretty good side income cleaning up litter outside retail, office and industrial properties—especially for businesses that have large parking lots that need regular cleaning. Property management companies need their properties maintained litter free and you can do so with an on-foot service using inexpensive equipment like this cheap pick-up too and a broom. Charge for your time at $35 – $50 per hour and bill your clients the same contract price each month. For even more on how to get started with a litter removal side business idea, check out Cleanlots.
130. Brand Ambassador
People in this business tend to have a decent following on a social media platform.
It sounds too good to be true—getting paid to represent your favorite brands at events across the nation. But, if you have a friendly and outgoing personality (a growing social media following helps too), you can forge a potentially paid relationship as a brand ambassador with companies who want to reach other people within your community with this small business idea. As a Brand ambassador, you do anything from demoing the latest technology, to passing out free swag at music festivals, to going on nationwide tours, to pumping people up as a mascot, engaging with a brand’s social media following and more. Depending upon the gig, you can expect to earn anywhere from $18-$100/hr.
131. Career Coach
This can be a lucrative online business idea if you’re an expert in your field.
Have you cracked the code for landing higher paying jobs at the drop of a hat? If you have a knack for helping your friends or co-workers navigate the process of finding their dream job, nailing an interview, negotiating a better salary or getting a raise at their current day job, other people would be willing to pay for your help too—making this a great side business idea that doesn’t take too much time. Get started by sharing your advice on a personal blog and becoming a career coach on platforms like The Muse and Coach Me where there’s already an existing audience of people looking to make a move in their careers. From there, keep your focus on helping people get real results, building case studies to support this side business idea, and eventually charging for the results you’re delivering clients.
132. Selling Life Insurance
Be sure you enjoy sales and have a broad network if you start this small business.
Are you an extrovert that loves meeting new people? Selling insurance products—particularly life insurance—may be a great way to bring in some extra cash and build residual income in your spare time. Selling life insurance on the side could quickly generate a consistent $1,000 – $2,000 per month depending on how much time you invest in this side business idea. To get started you’ll likely want to take an online course to brush up on the subject matter, and then pass a state licensing exam. The biggest challenge you’ll face as a new agent is generating sales beyond just helping out friends and family. Learn more about this side business idea with this getting started in life insurance guide from the team over at NoExam.
133. Writing and Editing Resumes
There will always be profits in helping people land their dream jobs.
Everybody knows that finding (and landing) your dream job can be tough—especially when you’ve had the same position for a while and your resume is looking a little rusty. Before jumping in and becoming an expert resume writer, you’ll have to learn how to write a resume on your own, and then practice by redoing resume’s for your friends and co-workers. Next, you’re ready to join a resume writers’ association, continue establishing your credibility and you can eventually make your way into more hands-on career coaching opportunities. If you need to brush up on your resume writing skills, check out this guide about how to make a resume today.
134. Being a Part-Time Mover
Most entrepreneurs pursuing this small business idea will have access to a truck and moving equipment.
Maybe you’re not very good with computers, or don’t want to sit behind a desk? Well, here’s a side business idea that has more of a physical component to it. If you also like working with others, then becoming an on-call mover will likely fit the bill. When someone’s moving, they always need a helping hand (or three). You can provide that service and make some cash with this side business idea. Whether it’s helping someone who’s moving apartments or linking up with a local mover who needs an extra set of hands, working as a mover can be a pretty good gig.
There’s also (of course) now an app for this side business idea. It’s called Bellhops, and you can quickly sign up to start working as a mover almost right away (after going through their application process). The best part about using Bellhops is that they already have customers booked and ready to schedule their moves, meaning you can pretty much get a steady stream of moving jobs depending upon your location, just by signing up and setting the hours that you’re available.
135. Start a Food Truck
The startup costs of this small business idea can be a bit higher, but are more manageable than launching a restaurant.
While I’ve curated most of these small business ideas to be low-cost options, starting a food truck business is something that many food service-minded entrepreneurs should consider as a viable option. With startup costs that run around $28,276 on average (in the U.S.), that’s comparatively very low if you stack these costs up next to the massive investment of launching a physical restaurant location or coffee shop. Plus, your food truck business is mobile by design, which gives you the flexibility to drive where your customers are. You can cater events, appear at local farmer’s markets, find permitted spots to park near business hubs and find your lunch crowd during the days. Moreover, this small business idea comes with a lot of flexibility—if you keep your full-time job, you can still operate your food truck on your own hours during a couple of evenings in the workweek and on weekends.
136. Become a Life Coach
Life coaching is a very flexible type of business you can start from anywhere with a solid Internet connection.
A life coach helps people to reach their goals and find fulfillment in their lives. They’re there to offer encouragement and advice, and to provide a non-judgmental, supportive environment in which people can explore their thoughts and feelings, often in an on-demand capacity. They can help people to set realistic, achievable goals and to develop strategies and plans to help them reach those goals. Life coaches can also provide guidance and support in areas like career development, relationships, family dynamics, and personal growth. Ultimately, they’re there to help their clients become the best versions of themselves—which is a beautiful type of business to start.
137. AI Prompt Engineer (& AI Marketing Consultant)
The explosion of AI tools has created countless new business opportunities, including selling your AI expertise as a service.
Eager to ride the wave of AI Marketing Consulting and AI Prompt Engineering? Not a bad idea. This emerging small business idea lives at the intersection of where tech meets creativity and data-driven tactics—and it’s changing everything. I’ve even hired and partnered with AI tool builders to make tools here on my blog like my free AI article writer, paragraph rewriter, blog title generator and more.
Your first pit stop on this business idea is self-education. Dive into the vast ocean of online resources to wrap your head around the nuts and bolts of AI, machine learning, data analysis, and marketing strategies. And don’t skip Natural Language Processing (NLP)—your secret ingredient for crafting AI-generated text. Next, it’s time to get paid to further sharpen those skills by offering your expertise to local startups or small businesses, so you can build a portfolio that highlights your talent across different content types and industries. Try reaching out to potential clients on LinkedIn, Twitter, in professional groups and through your existing connections. Share your insights through blog posts and webinars, on social media, and let your potential clients see the value you bring to the table.
Once you have a few paying clients, it’s time to make things official by registering your business, sorting out a more scalable pricing model (i.e. raising your rates), and scaling up your outreach. And remember, your goal here isn’t just to chase all the shiny new AI tools of the week, but to genuinely boost business results for your AI clients. Keep in mind that your goal is to keep soaking up new knowledge and growing, too!
Which Small Business Ideas for New Entrepreneurs Did I Miss?
Share in the comments if I’m missing any of your picks for the best side business ideas that you can start while working full-time! Bonus points if you’ve already gotten started on one of these business idea, and share the link to your website.
Now, if you’re trying to figure out ways you can fund your new business idea, consider these options:
- Start slow on a tight budget and self-fund your business if you can (lowest startup costs and you’ll be the sole small business owner like I am with RightBlogger)
- Find a strategic business partner who’s willing to take a financial stake and partial ownership by funding the business alongside you
- Consider an SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration) backed small business loan to get your initial capital
- Pitch your idea to an angel investor that makes investments in your sector (if your business needs substantial funding)
- Carefully weigh your options with using credit cards to fund your early growth (if your interest rates aren’t too high)
At the end of the day, I’m a staunch advocate of working very hard and making financial sacrifices in order to bring your business to life without going into debt or needing to share your dream with other small business owners. If that means growing your business a little slower than you otherwise would, then in most cases I’d argue that’s a worthy cause—in order to retain ownership and not expose yourself to as much financial risk.