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. From there, it’s all about networking and lead generation to grow this one. Learn more about this side business idea with this getting started in life insurance guide from the team over at NoExam.
EBay seems as ancient as a dinosaur in today’s fast-moving webiverse, but it’s still the top online auction marketplace, where users go to order collectibles, rare goods, and other items. Building a solid reputation on eBay can take some time, as most sales go to the power sellers who have established five-star ratings. Still, if you can acquire the goods no one else has, you can make a nice income reselling items on eBay.
Gardening can be very relaxing, and potentially very lucrative. With both the increased interest in alternative therapies and the demand for locally grown and organic foods, an herb farmer can find plenty of customers, particularly if you’re in an urban area. While this does require some space for growing, herbs are fairly small and nearly any home can be slightly modified to allow for an extensive herb garden.
Bob’s Rent-A-Bike was my first business which I started when I was 19 years old. For this business, you can set up service stations or other local business as your agents, giving them a percentage of the rental fees. Vacation areas and being near bike trails are great places for bike rentals.
The reason we were able to grow quickly in a year with no funding was largely due to our ability to automate tasks. This helped us save time and create an efficient business right off the bat. Using tools like Zapier and Process Street to automate tasks like webinar reminders or even your entire hiring process can save you hours every week and let you focus on the most important aspects of your business. Even if it’s a small task that takes you one minute a day–the sum of all those tasks at the end of the year equals BIG time savings.
Do you have your nursing license? Insurance companies and hospitals are seeking registered nurses to perform case management tasks from home. Tasks include reviewing medical records, following up on patient’s care, and education. If you’re looking for more remote nursing jobs, check out this post — it has listings for MSNs, RNs, and LVNs.
Of course, you can try your hand at building homes and other large endeavors or you can specialize in smaller projects. Maybe driveways? Patios? Outside waterfalls? Closet renovations? There is no limit to what you can do, but to be highly successful or to build a scalable business I suggest you carefully find a highly profitable niche.
I really like the idea of the outdoor deck business. I envision beautiful wood, wonderfully stained and maybe an attractive awning or roof. Outdoor furniture could be beautifully made out of wood too!
Having a specialized skill set can help, especially in some businesses, but even without many skills it’s worth trying something when the risk is so low. My wife and I knew nothing about putting websites online, but grew our internet publishing business to six figures within a few years, starting with less than $100.
Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.
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, LinkedIn Learning 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.
Instead of spending hours playing with accounting software, dreaming up potential expense and income categories, and creating fancy reports with no data, spend that time generating revenue. As long as you record everything you do now, creating a more formal system later will be fairly easy. It will also be more fun, because then you’ll have real data to enter.
While selling items doesn’t seem like an actual internet business, some individuals turn it into a business by buying clothing, books, and various items at garage sales and thrift stores — then they turn around and sell it for a higher price on sites like Craigslist, Amazon, VarageSale, eBay, or Etsy.
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.
Businesses always need graphic designers to help them convey information visually, through logos, advertisements, posters, websites, and the like. While it is possible to be an entirely self-taught graphic designer, most have either a certification or a degree. Other than the cost of design software, this business has very little overhead and can be done anywhere with a dedicated computer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, graphic designers have a median salary of $45,000.*
Do you have a musical background? Share your love and knowledge for music with others by offering music lessons and instruction. Check out sites like Live Music Tutor or Lessonface to connect with interested parties.
There is a growing trend for personalised clothing with some companies now charging a premium for personalised trainers. You could start a business creating uniquely personalised items of clothing. As all the products would be unique there would be a lot of potential added value.
You can succeed with a specialty food store but it is tricky. You must be ruthless in your research, in both what the market can support, and which competitors currently have overlapping offerings. I would also look at what specialty food stores have succeeded in nearby markets.
No one likes doing taxes, and they need to be paid whether the economy is booming or tanking. This is why at-home tax preparation can be a great business for anyone with a tax background, or anyone willing to take training courses. Since there are annual changes to the tax code, you will need to refresh your training each year, and you will also need to register with the IRS as a tax preparer. This is more of a seasonal business than a year-round endeavor, but it can be a great way to earn some extra income each winter/spring. Median salary: $30,900.
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, 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 audience. Then once you’ve been able to build a community around your blog, you’ll want to invest in really understanding your readers—so that you can give them more of what they want.
There’s never a guarantee of making it big on YouTube. But you can create and post a variety of video content to the platform right from the comfort of your own home, and maybe even make enough from ads to run it as a business.
E-books have made self-publishing a real income-generating option for writers who previously may have had trouble partnering with big-name publishers. If you have in-depth knowledge about a specific topic, crafting a well-written, informative e-book and selling it online can be a great way to supplement your regular income.
Some people have no time. They may have a job that requires lots of travel or an executive position that has them working around the clock. But you can make their life easier offering personal concierge services!
How do all the pets get to doggie day care or make their appointments at the vet? Your pet taxi service! As people offer more and more services for their pets the need to transport them will continue to grow for years to come.
While home-based businesses are not just for families, a family will become closer by spending time together, sharing problems, designing challenging projects and sharing work and school lives. King Solomon put it this way: “Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one. If one fails, the other pulls him up; but if a man falls when he is alone, he’s in trouble. One standing can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple-brained cord is not easily broken.”
Before the bank grants a mortgage, they will require a real estate appraisal. So, this is a great, steady income business with the only overhead being your scooter to get you to your homes to be appraised.
One of my friend’s mothers who had performed as a Radio City Rockette, founded a highly successful dance studio for young girls. She was successful enough to rent large commercial space, but this is a business you may want to start in your home.
Do you see how this is such a different approach from what you hear in the media? It would be easy for me to write some post about credit card interest rates or the newest savings account. Or to tell you how bad the economy is.
Since we live in a digital world, it’s expected that you have a website – especially for businesses who need to drive traffic to increase sales. If you have the skills then you can start creating personalized websites for customers. Start small by developing websites on a platforms like WordPress and work your way up. If you don’t have the talent, you can teach yourself through Codeacademy or hire a talented designer.Besides developing websites, offer a service like website management where you keep clients websites properly running and updated. Here is a guide to being a better programmer.
What subjects do you have a good working knowledge of? Math, Science, History, Baseball, Soccer? Parents will often pay to see Johnnie or Sally excel at _______. If you can help, then it sounds like a business.
Do you have a distinguishing eye? Then use your talent to take photos for others – family photos, kids, pets, weddings, special events, and professional headshots. Need more ideas? Here is a HUGE list of stock photo sites where you can sell your photos for cash.
Being a clown for kids’ birthday parties and similar events can be a fun job if you enjoy entertaining and working with children. You’ll, of course, need to leave your home for the actual events. But you can do the booking and prep work from home.
The Internal Revenue Service has carefully defined what business deductions can be taken by home-based businesses. For a summary, please visit: https://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Deducting-Business-Expenses
This could be a lot of fun, playing store merchant every now and then, when you decide to attend a flea market. There are general flea markets to attend, plus more specialized ones. For example, being a model railroad buff, I notice the many model railroad vendors who travel to model railroad shows around the northeast, selling new or used model railroad supplies. You could make your own items to sell, trade used items, or sell new items that you buy wholesale. The options are endless.
If you’re thinking about starting your own home-based business, the available options can seem overwhelming. What type of business is the best fit for your background, skills, and interests? If you don’t have a lot of initial capital to invest, which ones can be started at a low cost? And, most important, which home business has the best chance of succeeding, especially with the U.S. economy still on the rebound?