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.
Even small businesses need all kinds of insurance and you can help them by getting them the coverage that will help save their business on a rainy day. To succeed in this business, you need to be outgoing and network well. But you also need to come across with a smart, consultative sell, not a hard-core pitch. It will take some time to build a corporate insurance brokerage, but this kind of business offers both high income potential and the possibility of someday selling it for a high multiple of earnings.
But even if you don’t need an EIN, get one anyway: It’s free, takes minutes, and you can keep your Social Security number private and reduce the chance of identity theft, because if you don’t have an EIN, your SSN identifies your business for tax purposes.
The first few years for a startup founder is essentially a marketing and leadership game. And winning at it means learning the skill of giving more thought to other people’s problems than those of your own.
Contrary to popular wisdom, real estate prices don’t always go up and catching the trends can tremendously amplify your success in this market. One of my business school classmates caught the trend just right in the Houston commercial real estate market, and then did the same in Boston. Another business school classmate took advantage of the huge 2008 real estate sell-off by scooping up thousands of homes in particularly hard-hit areas like Las Vegas with his hedge fund. The safest way to buy real estate is to make sure that your cash flows from current rents will justify the minimum return you need, then you can look at any appreciation as pure gravy!
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 as an easy side business idea, is through affiliate marketing. ShareASale, Rakuten, Clickbank, and Skimlinks are a few of the best affiliate networks and tools that can help you make money from the content you already produce, thus amplifying your side business idea income. Check out this extensive list by Justine Grey, covering the 59 Best Affiliate Programs for Business Bloggers to get some inspiration on how other bloggers are growing affiliate blogs from side business idea to full-time company.
Brainstorming Equipment: Some people do their best thinking with a pen and some paper; others prefer a white board and markers. How do you do your best brainstorming? Invest early in the equipment you need to spark your creativity, whether it’s a case of legal notepads or a dry erase board. NOTE: There are now dry erase and chalkboard paints. If you have an extra wall in your workspace, why not turn it into your own dry erase board?
If your social media postings develop a large enough, or a specialized enough, following you may be able to earn money as a social media influencer. There are social media influencer platforms you can get listed on, and there are advertising companies hired specifically to promote company brands via social media influencers.
Unlike opening a brick-and-mortar storefront, an eCommerce site is easy to build and doesn’t require the monetary investment and time commitment. And, you’re not limited to one location or business hours since you can sell to customers anywhere in the world 24/7. BigCommerce and Shopify have a ton of priceless guides to get you started.
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.
One of my business school classmates started a concert promotion business while still an undergrad at Harvard, and even as a student he was making a fortune at it. He started with lesser known groups and smaller venues, and within a couple years he was booking some of the largest venues in greater Boston. He also enjoyed partying with the rock stars!
You would think that you get your electrical contractor license and the money would rain on you forever more! I have been shocked with the prices some electricians have tried to charge me. Then again, I called back a more reasonably priced electrician who had done some work for me a couple years ago and he told me he went out of business for lack of work. This goes to remind you that in any business there is always some risk.
Are you a foodie? Create and sell food products, from gourmet peanut butter to spicy sauces and salsas, the niches available are endless. Try testing out your food creation on a smaller site like Foodzie or learn how to bring your food product to market.
You can begin in a very small way, starting with one order at a time and grow by the power of compounding. For example, sales in your first six months may produce only $1,000 per month. But if you can continue growing by 20% during each ongoing six-month period, in five years your annual sales will be over $370,000.
Another option is cleaning offices. One friend in Boston built a highly successful cleaning business focusing on small businesses. They trusted him with access to their businesses at night and were willing to pay him a hefty premium. He worked just 4 or 5 hours a night and made a very healthy living.
Craft beer is popular today, as are local, independently-owned businesses. If you’re passionate about beer, consider starting a microbrewery that offers unique flavors and quality products. You can experiment with different brewing techniques and conduct taste tests. You’ll also save startup money by opting for a smaller business rather than a large brewery or chain. Choose a lively location and plan your venture.
Even in this digital age, there remains a huge market for independent sales reps who sell the products for a number of different companies to other businesses. You will typically work on a commission basis which means income will start slowly, but established manufacturer’s reps can make a lot of money over the years.
If you’ve already created a successful business then you can pass that knowledge along to someone else for a fee – such as market research, business plan narrative, and financial statements. New business owners are more than willing to pay a someone who has successfully started a business to help guide them in developing their own successful business plan.
Your wages will be one of largest expenses the business will carry in its first few years and figuring out how much to pay yourself with them will be one of the most critical business decisions you’ll have to make.
Do you hate dirt and grime? Offer cleaning services to friends, families, and neighbors, ranging from laundering clothing and house cleaning to meal prep and washing windows. You can also check out sites like Care.com for house cleaning gigs.
Users of smartphones and tablets are always damaging the screens. Sometimes just a single drop can be enough to crack a screen. Many devices require special tools to replace screens and so most people need to turn to a screen repair business. You could charge customers for your labour and there would be little costs after the initial set-up costs.
Desire for an increase of salary: The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time. At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.
Instead, at least for now, forget branding and unique selling propositions and all the business-identity stuff. And don’t worry about finding the perfect URL or website design or promotional literature. You’re putting those carts way before your business horse, too.
Are you organized? Professional Organizers help others organize their homes and offices with the end result being a more functional environment, increased productivity, and decreased stress and chaos. Want to get more specific? Help individuals organize their digital photos; otherwise known as Photo Organizers.
Looking for a way to make passive income? Find products and services that you LOVE and introduce them to your friends, family or blog audience via affiliate advertisements. As an affiliate marketer, you will you promote items and in return will earn a commission on every product that is sold through your affiliate link. Don’t have a website? No problem. Here’s how to earn affiliate income without maintaining a website or blog!
Switching off at the end of the day is difficult. There’s always an inbox of unread emails, always a number of projects which need to be moved forward, a client who is waiting, a problem that needs attention and a number of social media feeds that require input.
The selling costs are remarkably low on the Etsy website. But you will be competing with some awesome looking crafts, so make sure you create some great stuff that is highly distinctive. Then take perfect photographs and write up snappy descriptions. Try to build a following by developing a related line of goods
Many business and non-profit associations are too small to hire a full-time administrator but still have a lot of administrative work to be done. Some of the business groups I belong to, such as local chapter of The Young President’s Organization and The Harvard Business School Association of Boston, have hired an association management service which is typically a single individual or in one case a mother/daughter team. For these businesses, the management service processes membership dues and event payments, fields questions about events, arranges logistics for events, and attends events and welcomes members. Payment is usually on a monthly retainer basis.
Expertise is another matter, but remember that writing can take many forms—from resumes to news articles to marketing materials and even thank-you notes. (You can even write for businesstown.com, although that gig doesn’t pay … yet.) There’s probably some form of writing you’re qualified to do. Plus, if you’re good enough with grammar and punctuation, companies will pay you to be a freelance editor. One friend made good money editing posts on a popular travel site.
Darren the more I learn, the more I realize that I have so much to learn. At the beginning I knew I had a lot to learn, and I have learned a lot, but as I have moved further along my eyes have been opened to things that I couldn’t understand at the beginning. Anyway, it is a good thing that there is always room to grow.
Yes, graphic design is hyper competitive. But everyone wants a little different style. So, if you get a highly appealing design in front of your prospective audience you can be successful. For this business, I would go crazy having a fabulous looking website with a totally “kickass” front page! Then I would use SEO techniques, social media, and every other marketing tool I could think of to drive traffic to it.
Today people don’t just change jobs, they change careers. And many people changing careers want to get help from someone who can help them find their dream job—that could be you. You could get up to speed in this field by reading a number of books, and by finding some standardized tests to help analyze your clients’ skills and desires. I once published a book that just listed and described career counseling services in the Boston area.
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 this business idea into a money-making enterprise.
Everyone knows legal proceedings take forever, can be very expensive, and the outcomes can be uncertain. I became involved in litigation with a service vendor and it looked like we had no alternative but to go to court. However, our opposing attorneys agreed to hire an arbitrator and we ended up with a much better result, with much less time and agony. A great business—and a great service for individuals and businesses.
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.
I think it’s very empowering for a stay-at-home-mom (or anyone, for that matter)to know that there are more than 100 ways to make extra money from home or even create a full-time income. I say “more than 100” because, as extensive as your list is, it certainly did not cover all the possibilities.
Find an audience for your passion or hobby and you’re all set to monetize something you love via a niche website as a side business idea. That of course, is easier said than done, something not intended for the faint of heart. Prepare to invest a lot of your time, but if you can hurdle the steep challenges and positively answer a few key questions on whether the website business idea you’re thinking about is profitable, then you can begin building it.
I like sporting goods. It is a good local business. If you can go out and connect with local sports teams, you can further solidify your franchise. And you can further bolster your business still more by also selling used equipment.
You may need quite a bit of outdoor space at your home for this. But if you enjoy nature, being outside and welcoming people to your property around the holidays, then running a Christmas tree farm or lot may be a fun home based business idea for you.
This is one of the most popular small businesses in the world! And no wonder! Everyone needs to have it done and many people don’t like to do it! It is also a business that can be challenging to get your employees to consistently do a fantastic job. That’s why this business is particularly well-suited for both solo entrepreneurs and an entrepreneur who runs one single crew of cleaners.
If you’re a fast typer with an ear for dictation, than transcription might be right for you. A lot of different businesses require transcription, from medical practices to attorney’s offices, and will pay handsomely for quality work. Why not be the service to meet their needs? All you need to start is a computer, an internet connection, and the will to build a network of professionals and gain their referrals.
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.
Like Karen, I would like for someone to help me with the “how to” part. I have a couple of business ideas, but when you start researching on the internet you are barraged with plenty of sites that lead you no where, and don’t answer specific questions. @ Karlene: How could I get your information?
I am a rep at PawTree.com/special. I have did well by selling products to dog owners. It’s easy, I just visit dog parks with samples and hand out order forms. PawTree.com/special has a special going on until March 31, you can start for just $1 at pawtree.com/special. Most direct sale companies charge much more to get started, so this is something you can start with little investment. Make sure you choose sponsor spectacular at checkout.
Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
Despite Instagram’s growing popularity, not all brands know what they’re doing on the app. If you have a background in social media and marketing and a passion for photography and Instagram, starting a consulting business that focuses on the popular photo app can be a great way to make money while helping other businesses improve their content and thrive.
A friend in Boston made a living doing this. He had lived in the Netherlands and was fluent in Dutch. He contacted companies who sent people to the Netherlands to work and live, and offered to provide not just his language expertise but important information on Dutch culture and living in the country. It worked. If you’re from or have lived in another country, consider channeling not just your language but your cultural expertise into a new career.
Unique presents create a great gift and are in growing demand. You could create custom hand-made gift baskets for customers and provide individual gift baskets for every customer. Once again convenience is what customers are willing to pay for.
Have you ever been turned off by a business’s generic-looking website layout or logo? If you have a good eye for design, you can launch a service to create attractive, easy-to-use websites for small businesses. You can put your skills to good use for business owners who want to take their online presence to the next level. Build up a portfolio of work with smaller freelance jobs, then create your own website to show it off and bring in a steady stream of clients. [10 Things Every Freelancer Should Know]