More and more people are looking for side business ideas, for a variety of reasons. The reasons usually boil down to one thing: more money.
I will be the first to say that earning, or having, more money is not what makes for a more abundant life. However, being in debt or worrying over how you’re going to pay off a future imminent bill, such as a higher education, can definitely make it hard to feel like you’re living in abundance.
And some people want to start a side business hoping that it will eventually make enough money that they can quit a job they don’t like. I think we can all agree that if you’re working a job that doesn’t fulfill you, you’re going to have a hard time feeling as though you’re living in abundance.
Whatever you financial goals, if you’re thinking about starting a side business and you need some ideas, allow me to offer a few. Somewhere in the list that follows, you should be able find a side business idea that works for you.
#1: Walk other people’s dogs.
If you like dogs and live in the city, you can probably find a number of people in your neighborhood or subdivision who have dogs, but struggle to find time to walk them. If it’s a middle class and up area, they’d probably be willing to pay someone to walk their dog for them.
Determine what time of day you’d be willing to walk dogs, then create a flyer describing your service and listing your phone number. Charge six to ten dollars per hour per dog. If you can find three dogs who get along that you can walk together, and walk them for thirty minutes every day at four dollars a head, that’s twelve extra dollars per day of income for you. By the end of thirty days, you’ve added an extra $360 to your monthly income.
Though it’s not anywhere close to being quit-your-job income, it’s enough to accelerate either debt pay-off or savings build-up.
#2: Deliver flyers.
This is such a potentially lucrative side business idea that you may have a hard time finding this opportunity in your neighborhood, even city, because so many people are already doing it.
But, it’s a no-brainer job that could allow you to quit a job you hate while getting lots of exercise at the same time, so I believe it’s worth mentioning.
Local businesses such as restaurants and dry cleaning places pay per flyer attached to a residential doorknob. Find enough businesses who want flyers delivered so that you’re attaching three or more flyers to every doorknob several times a week. Learn to walk fast enough, and maneuver a rubber band quickly enough, and you could be making $75 to $100 every day that you deliver flyers – and that in just a couple of hours of work!
Even if this income wouldn’t replace your day job, it might allow to you quit the job you don’t like and find a lower-paying job that’s less stressful and more enjoyable.
#3: Buy and sell on Craigslist.
The number of people who make a full-time income – and I’m talking, average to above-average – with Craigslist might surprise you.
People selling items on Craigslist generally want to get rid of them quickly, so they sell them at garage-sale or thrift-store prices. Educate yourself on the most in-demand kinds of items, then start shopping on Craigslist.
After you’ve made a good purchase, wash or refurbish the item as needed, then post it back on Craigslist for twenty or more dollars than what you paid for it. Sell five items per day at a twenty-dollar profit per item, and you’ve pocketed a hundred dollars for probably just a couple of hours of work and a bit of driving.
Do you have a truck? Advertise that you’ll help local people who are making a local move. I’ve read that you can make up to $40 an hour with this gig.
What about a vehicle you don’t use a lot? Offer it up for rent.
Ditto for living space – a guest house in the back, or even your basement that you’ve set up as an apartment. (Make sure you do your legal legwork before offering living spaces for rent.)
Do you have a “she-shed” in your backyard that doesn’t get as much use as you thought it might? How about renting it out as an office to someone in your area?
If you have large machines, such as tractors, or power tools that you don’t use often, you could offer those for rent, as well.
#5: Sell a service.
This could be one of the best ways to start making money in just a few hours. It’s also one of the most potentially lucrative side business ideas on this list.
First, figure out what skills you have that others might need. One way to determine this is to pay attention to your pet peeves, those which make that make you roll your eyes and make critical remarks because you know that if you were in charge, you would do it better!
For example, I notice every typo and grammatical error in the novels I read. They are rampant among the self-publishing community, but I’ve seen pretty bad editing jobs in traditionally published books, as well.
So if I desperately needed to make money yesterday, I’d hang my shingle out as a professional editor. How?
There are a few different ways. First, you can join a Facebook group that contains your target market. Second, you can post an ad on Craigslist, describing your services.
Finally, if you personally know either individuals or businesses who could both use and might pay for your service, you could contact them directly, right now. I recommend couching it in terms of, “I’ve decided to start a side business using my XYZ skills to help people to accomplish ABC. Do you know anybody who might need that service?”
What kind of skills and knowledge could translate to services, besides those related to writing? Graphic design, photography, health and fitness (as a coach), money management, home organization…the list goes on!
#6: Start a blog, a YouTube channel, or both.
These side business ideas require certain skill sets, but if they appeal to you and you don’t have the skills, don’t worry! If you don’t think you have the skill sets now, you can develop them with a little bit of research and some practice.
To make good money with either a blog or a YouTube channel, you need to either pick just the right niche or have a large following on social media and know that a good percentage of them will begin reading your blog or watching your videos simply because they like you.
Both blogs and YouTube videos can be monetized in a variety of ways. If you want to earn money from ads, you’ll have to wait several months to build up traffic on a blog, or for 1,000 subscribers to qualify for Google Adsense on YouTube (as of this writing; YouTube could change their mind on that at any moment).
You can also make money from affiliate income, selling your own products (including online courses), or asking people to support you via Patreon.
There are a lot of resources out there to help you select a popular niche, as well as that teach you the skills you need in order to be a successful blogger or YouTuber. Do searches such as “best resources about making money blogging” or “how to grow a YouTube channel.”
Also, be advised that of all the side business ideas I’m sharing here, this is the one that requires the most time and patience to start earning an income from. That said, it’s the one that has the greatest income potential, because there is no ceiling. Many people have been able to quit their jobs after working on a blog or a YouTube channel for a year or two…and many of those end up making much more money than they ever could have if they had reached the top of their former career ladder!
But wait, there’s more!
There are many more side business ideas floating around out there. Three that I recommend you staying away from because of ethical issues are multi-level marketing, online surveys, and mystery shopping.
However, there are many other types of legit side businesses, some of which can eventually lead to a full-time income with you working far fewer than forty hours per week. Let the above six ideas be the jumping-off point so you can find a way to accelerate your journey toward your financial goals.