Are you ready to start a business?
One of the best ways to ease yourself into entrepreneurship is by starting a part-time or side business. Before I have started a full-time business, I had a side business. I was writing test questions for Microsoft and training materials for Cisco, just to mention a few. It was a great way to make an extra income. When I got laid off in 2002, it wasn’t nearly as hard because of the income I had from my side business. Even if you are not worried about losing your job, it is great to have some extra income from a part-time business.
Freelancing is one of the most popular ways to start a side business. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), freelancers now make up about 15 percent of the workforce, compared to only 7 percent 20 years ago. The trend is still growing as the BLS predicts that freelancers will make up 20 percent of the workforce by 2020.
Coming up with Business Ideas
The process of generating business ideas takes time and some careful soul-searching. The most important part of coming up with your business idea is to write it down. Don’t expect your first idea to be a great business idea. The key here is to brainstorm and constantly think about possibilities. Keep a small notebook with you at all times. Jot down ideas that come to you throughout your day.
There are countless possible business ideas for you. To help I wanted to list some business ideas that should help you get started.
Business Ideas to Start a Part-Time Business
If you have a hobby or there is a topic you are passionate about, you could become a professional blogger. I am a professional blogger. I make money with my blog in multiple ways. Do you want to start making money as a blogger? Click here to find out how to start a blog.
The only requirement is that you should enjoy writing and creating content around your topic. If you want to blog as a business, I recommend that you avoid free hosted blogging platforms. You can build your blog on WordPress which is one of the best platforms out there all you need is a paid web hosting account. Check out our article on how bloggers find the best hosting account for their business. Check out our interview with Crystal Stemberger who paid off her mortgage blogging. We have also interviewed Adam Connell who built a 5-figure a month blog on the side while working at his full-time job.
2. Mobile Bike Repair
The other day a friend of mine told me that he had a bike repair person come to his house to fix his bike. I got the repair guy’s number from my friend and had him come to my house to work on my bike. I was glad to pay him. This was the first time I didn’t have to take my bike to the shop for a tune-up. If you like working on bikes and have a car, you already have everything you need to start this business. Post your ad on Craigslist and tell all your friends to help you spread the word about your new business.
3. Web Designer
Most businesses need a website. If they don’t have one, they need one. If they have a website, they need someone to help them update it or maintain it. Web design is a growing field. Network in your local community to get your first clients.
You don’t have to have an inventory to sell online. You can sell products that are shipped by dropshipping businesses. Check out our entrepreneur interview with Anton Kraly who is making a living with a dropshipping business.
5. Dog Walking
Dogs might be man’s best friend, but a dog walker is the busy man’s best friend. If you love dogs, you could start a thriving business within a few mile radius of your home. This kind of business does really well with word of mouth marketing. If you take good care of your customers, you might have to hire people to help you with your business.
6. Tech Geek for Hire
Are you good with tech? You could become your neighborhood’s tech geek for hire. You could charge people for setting up wireless networks, TVs, sound systems, smartphones, tablets, laptops or PCs.
7. Handyman Services
Things break around the house, and not everybody wants to get their hands dirty. If you are skilled at basic home repair, start your own handyman service.
8. Notary Public Service
Each state commissions its own notaries public. Check with your state to find out about the requirements. Then, start your own notary public business. You can run this business from your home by offering it as a mobile service.
9. Affiliate Marketing
If you have the skills, affiliate marketing can be a very lucrative business for you. As an affiliate marketer, you are getting a commission paid to you every time your marketing efforts result in a sale. Affiliate marketing requires substantial skills, but all of them are learnable.
10. App Development
Companies need help creating their smartphone apps for IOS and Android. The interesting part is that you don’t even have to be a coder to develop simple apps.
11. Buy and Sell on Craigslist
If people want it, it is sold on Craigslist. We have interviewed LaJuan Stoxstill-Diggs who built a nice little side business buying and selling appliances on Craigslist. You can check out our interview with LaJuan and his book “The Craigslist Hustle.”
Do you enjoy teaching? One on one tutoring could be a lucrative part-time business for you. Tutors are always wanted in major subjects like math, English, and chemistry.
You can sell your own products in your own e-commerce shop such as Shopify. You can import products, then sell them in your own e-commerce store or sell through Amazon, Shopify or eBay.
14. Travel Agent Service
Yes, even with all the travel sites in the world, there is still a market for travel agents. If you are a seasoned traveler, you can build a lucrative travel agency. It is best to specialize in a niche like adventure or Europe instead of trying to focus on all travel.
15. Window Cleaning
You could make some extra cash with your window cleaning service. If you do a good job, word travels fast, and your window cleaning business could become very busy quickly.
16. Life Coach
If you are passionate about helping people, you could start a side business as a coach. The biggest challenge with a coaching business is that the barrier to entry is extremely low. What that means to you is that you have to work hard to differentiate yourself from the crowd. One of the best ways to become a business or life coach is by building your own following through your own blog and social network accounts.
Are you passionate about a topic? Start your own podcast and sell advertising for it. You can list your podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. We have interviewed John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur On Fire who has built a six-figure podcast business.
You can monetize your podcast in several ways:
- Sell advertising
- Offer consulting services
- Sell books
- Sell membership
- Sell training
Yes, it’s true that eBay has been around for a while, but it is still a great marketplace. Just to show you how popular even now Ebay has 157 million users. The site has about 25 million sellers, listing more than 800 million items for sale. The number of daily searches on eBay is over 250 million.
Do you love spending time with children? Babysitting may be a great part-time business for you. If you don’t mind working Friday nights and weekends, you can make some extra cash.
20. Tax Preparation
Tax preparation is a lucrative business. An advantage is that it is a seasonal business. You might be very busy during the first few months of the year, but you can relax for the rest of the year.
21. Car detailing
Do you love a clean car? Do you enjoy spending time detailing your car? If you have an eye for detail and love to see cars gleaming clean, car detailing could be a good part-time business for you.
22. Become an AirBnB Entrepreneur
If you have an extra room in your house, get rid of the junk and list it on Airbnb.com. The more touristy area you live in, the better. We have interviewed Jasper Ribbers who supports his travels renting out his apartment in Amsterdam. You could also try vrbo.com or couchsurfing.com.
People are busy. Many of them are happy to pay someone to clean their homes. One of the great things about this business is the recurring aspect of it. Most people will want you to clean their homes at least a couple of times a month. With recurring revenue, it is much easier to grow a business.
24. Local Business Newspaper
You could start a small local newspaper where you write about the community and sell advertising.
25. Consulting Services
Establish yourself as a consultant. There are consultants in almost every field. From marketing to accounting to finding employment, there are people who offer consulting services.
If you don’t mind starting a seasonal business, snow plowing could be a great option. You could start by cleaning driveways with a shovel and a snow blower. Once you have made some money buy your own plow attachment for your pickup truck.
27. Resume Writing
The difference between getting your dream job could be the quality of your resume. If you know how to write a killer resume, you will find that there are people willing to pay for the service.
Etsy is a great place to sell your handmade creations. Etsy is the ideal marketplace to bring together buyers and sellers of unique handmade items. Etsy gives you an opportunity to turn your hobby into a side business.
29. Buy a Website
You could buy a website that is already making money. There are marketplaces like Empire Flippers. Check out our interview with Justin Cooke who is one of the founders.
30. Driving for Uber
If you have a car and a valid driver’s license and a smartphone, you are in business. Uber has been one of the most controversial and exciting startups in the last few years. Passengers and drivers flock to Uber all over the world.
31. College Admission Advisor
Are you an expert in the college admission niche? If yes, there are parents who are willing to pay for your expertise.
32. Teaching Online
You can create your own course, using a service like Udemy.
33. Senior Care
The population in the U.S. is aging. Senior citizens need help with a variety of daily tasks to be able to stay in their homes. The children of elderly people are willing to hire caretakers.
34. Cake Decorating
If you have the artistic touch, you could start a part-time cake decorating business. If your designs are popular, word will travel fast about your business.
35. Freelance Writing
I love writing. There are businesses out there who outsource writing to freelancers. You don’t have to be the next J.K. Rowling to make a living with writing. You could write articles, reports, blog posts, white papers, press releases, ad copy, presentations, and books. If you have a computer and Internet connection, you have everything you need to get started.
36. Home Daycare
Although your state might require some sort of licensing to start your home daycare business, it could be a lucrative part-time business. If you love taking care of children, this might be the best business for you. All you need is a safe environment where children can play, toys, and patience.
37. Build a Niche Website
Do you have expertise in an area? You might build a niche website and make money in several ways.
Your niche site could make money:
- Selling advertising
- Selling books
- Offering consulting
- Selling membership
- Through affiliate marketing
- Showing Adsense ads
38. Jewelry Making or Repair
People have an emotional connection to their jewelry. They are willing to pay a lot of money to have their broken pieces of jewelry repaired. You could charge even more if you are willing to travel to people’s homes to do the repairs.
39. Design and Create Clothing
There are people who love nothing more than to design and sew their own clothing. There are people who are willing to pay to wear something custom tailored. You can start selling your custom designed clothes through your own network.
40. Editing and Proofreading
Even good writers should work with editors and proofreaders. You can work any time of the day with clients anywhere in the world. You can advertise your proofreading services on Freelancer, Fiverr or any number of freelancing marketplaces.
41. Junk Removal
Do you have a pickup truck? There is a reason that there are several successful junk removal franchises in the U.S. market. There is a huge market for junk removal. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, this could be your ticket to a part-time business.
42. Pet Sitting
If you own a pet, you can’t travel unless you take your pet to a hotel. Many people prefer to hire a pet sitter, so their pet stays in the home. In a home, pet sitting is a convenient alternative to leaving your dog or cat in a hotel.
You can find clients everywhere as a videographer. You can work at weddings, to graduations to corporate events. Businesses need help making and editing videos too. They might want you to create an explainer video or a company introduction.
44. House Sitting
If you don’t mind maintaining a property, house sitting might be a perfect business for you. House sitters often also take care of the pets and yards of homes. House sitting is a great way to travel while earning a living.
Do you love to cook? There are businesses with events that need catering. Or, you could cater holiday meals for well-to-do families.
46. Event DJ
If there is a party, there is a need for a DJ. Do you love music and making people laugh? Market yourself as a wedding or event DJ.
47. Office or Retail Cleaning
Just like people’s homes, businesses need to be cleaned too. Most commercial spaces are cleaned outside of normal business hours. So, if you don’t mind working evenings or nights, office space cleaning might be a good part-time business for you.
48. Kindle Publishing
We have interviewed several successful entrepreneurs who built a business on Kindle publishing. We have interviewed Brandon Nolte who published 50 Kindle books one year. We have also interviewed Steve Scott who sold over 40 titles and more than 150,000 books at the time of our interview. If you are a creative writer, you should check out our interview with Ernest Dempsey who sold 12,000 copies of his books.
Depending on your skills, you could freelance as a photographer in a wide range of situations. You could be a wedding photographer of you like that kind of thing. Or, you could do freelance photography for local businesses.
50. Virtual Assistant
Do you want to work from home? Business owners and professionals hire VAs to ease the load. You could start a business by offering VA services.
51. Promotional Products
Companies pay billions of dollars every year to print their logos on everything from shirts to pens. The greatest thing about the promotional product business is that you don’t have to make the products. You just sell it and make a commission on each sale. If you are good at building relationships with businesses, selling promotional products could be a great part-time business for you.
52. Graphic Design
Are you good with Adobe Illustrator or some other image editing software? You could design logos, brochure or catalogs for small businesses in your area.
53. Soap Making
There is a market for handmade items like soaps. You can market your soaps at local farmer’s markets. You could also sell your handmade soaps at local gift shops.
54. Home Inspection
The home inspection space has a surprisingly low barrier to entry. The most difficult part about starting your part-time home inspection business is differentiating you from everyone else. You have to network hard with real estate agents to get them to refer you to their clients.
55. Social Media Consultant
Do you enjoy hanging out on Facebook? Why not manage companies’ social media accounts as a business? You could post and respond to customer comments. As the word gets out about your business, you could manage multiple businesses’ social media accounts.
56. Vehicle Advertising
You can make money while you drive through vehicle advertising. According to Wrapify, in San Diego, an average 25 mile per day Daily round trip commuter can expect to earn between $400 and $600 per month.
57. Event Coordinator
There are corporate and personal events that require a lot of planning and organization. If you are an organized person, you might want to start an event planning business.
58. Personal Trainer
If you love to work on your fitness, solicit your services to others. There are many people who want to avoid going to the gym. You could organize workouts in parks or on the beach. Make working out fun for people. You could teach a class for several people at the same time or give one-on-one fitness training.
59. Gardening Services
Do you enjoy working in the Yard? Do you have a lawnmower? There are people – like me – who are ready to pay someone to take care of the yard.
60. Mobile Oil Change & Car Repair
There is a market for mobile car repair and maintenance. Many people are happy to pay you for the convenience of getting their cars maintained without leaving home.
61. Interior Decorating
There are many people with the cash who are clueless about interior decorating. You can help people transition their homes into magazine-style interior designs.
62. Furniture Making
If you are an experienced woodworker, you can get into furniture making. In addition to tools, furniture making requires hard skills and creativity. If you don’t want to start out by making furniture, you could start with furniture repair.
63. Pet Grooming
Just because they own pets, it doesn’t mean they want to groom them. Many people are more than happy to pay someone to groom their pets. If you like to groom pets, this could be a great side business for you.
64. Tour Guide
If you live in a touristy area, you could start a nice side business as a tour guide. You could charge per person or per group. You could also make a commission when you take tourists to certain businesses.
65. Sewing and Alterations
Are you handy with a sewing machine? You could take it a step further, offering your services to others.
66. T-Shirt Printing
You could reach out to professional organizations and event organizers, offering your t-shirt printing service. You could start out by becoming the middleman to avoid having to buy an inventory and machines.
67. Christmas Lights Installer
Christmas lights installing is seasonal, but a great part-time business. You don’t need any special tools of skills, just the willingness to hustle.
68. Sales Consultant
Mary Kay, Avon, Pampered Chef, and Tupperware all work with sales consultants. If you have a large network, becoming a sales rep might be a great way for you to start a side business. To succeed in a sales consultant position you have to be able to talk to people, network to meet more people, and deal with rejections. Selling is tough but can be lucrative. Another advantage of becoming a sales consultant is that it is fairly inexpensive. Avon costs less than $10 to register, Tupperware and Mary Kay cost $100 to start, and Pampered Chef is $80.
Are you fluent in a language other than English? Both businesses and individuals need help translating letters and documents.
If you enjoy helping people, you could start a side business where you are running errands for busy – or lazy – people. Market your business within your community, especially to busy professionals.
71. Product Licensing
There are some very successful entrepreneurs in the product licensing business. We have interviewed Stephen Key who licensed more than 20 ideas that have generated billions of dollars of revenue. Stephen’s products have been sold by brands such as Disney and Walmart.
72. Carpet Cleaning
You don’t have to own your own equipment when you are starting out. You can rent carpet cleaning equipment until your business takes off.
73. Moving Service
A person in the United States is expected to move 11.4 times in his lifetime. You could take your share of the market by starting your own moving business.
74. Mobile Laundry Service
There is a market for mobile laundry service for busy people.
75. Pool Cleaning
Cleaning your own pool sounds like a good idea until you have done it a couple of times. Soon after, most people are ready to pay someone to clean their pool.
76. Offer Services on Fiverr
There are small tasks you can do for customers on Fiverr. It is not a lot of money, but it is a great way to build your skills.