Start a bed and breakfast. If you live in a popular resort area or own a historic property, a B&B might be the perfect side hustle. Not only can you work at home with this career, but you’ll also score some tax write-offs in the process — although most innkeepers caution that the profession requires a lot of hard work and is more of an attractive lifestyle than a money-making pursuit.
Earlier this year, the world lost someone I think of as perhaps the greatest entrepreneur of all time: Gary Dahl, freelance copywriter, bar hound, and inventor and marketer of the Pet Rock. Back in 1975, while knocking back a few cold ones in a California bar, Dahl told friends he had a new pet who never needed to be fed, walked, or trained: a pet rock.
It’s not the sort of online money making opportunity that’s covered in glory, but everyone needs a set of eyes to make sure the numbers add up at the end of the year. Every business and most individuals need someone to help prepare tax returns, especially time or resource-strapped small business owners. The Income Tax School provides an array of training programs that'll certify you with tax prep in as little as 10 weeks, and once tax season rolls around you'll be able to charge an average of $229 per return as a freelance tax preparer with this side business idea, reports CNBC.
If you have a fondness and talent for taking pictures you can make extra money online by becoming a stock photographer and selling your images to a stock photo company like ShutterStock or iStockPhoto. 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.
Sell blood or donate plasma. Plasma is a component of blood, and the process of extracting it is similar to donating blood: your blood is drawn, the plasma is separated, and the red blood cells are returned to your body. Laws may not technically permit you to sell your plasma, but you can be compensated for your time spent donating. In the United States, you can make about $200 a month by registering with a plasma center near you.
Monetize a hobby. While some hobbies actually cost money, others can be transformed into a profitable business venture. Ultimately, it depends on what your hobby is and how talented you are. You could turn your love of photography, for example, into a part-time gig taking family portraits and wedding photos or selling prints on Etsy or at arts fairs.
Try Uber EATS or DoorDash. Uber EATS offers part-time work that’s similar to driving for Uber or Lyft. Instead of picking up passengers, however, you will pick up food orders and deliver them in your area. Pay works similarly, letting you earn a per-job rate plus tips. Door Dash works similarly, letting consumers order food from restaurants and connecting drivers to pick up and drop off their meals.
If you’ve got a way with words and expertise in a niche, there are plenty of sites that will pay for articles and content you write. Think of the sites you read regularly. What can you contribute to them that would be interesting? Research your niche and then look for ways to pitch articles. Many sites will simply have a submission or contact link in the footer. To get started, check out my full guide to becoming a freelance writer on the side and then submit your articles to places like Instash, Listverse, TopTenz, A List Apart, International Living, FundsforWriters, and Textbroker.
Find your niche partners, collaborators, and champions: As you’re creating your course, look for notable people who are also creating content in the space. Look att how their businesses operate and incorporate that into your own plan. You can also reach out to any influencers and make them affiliates for your own course. This way, they’ll be incentivized to share your content with their own audiences (which can be a major way to generate your first sales—it helps if you're using one of the best CRMs for small business—and start building your own community!)
Start analyzing your decisions from the perspective of a firm. In economics, a firm's goal is simply to maximize profit. Well-run firms spend money only if they can expect to make more money from their investment, and they allocate their resources to the most profitable use. You're not a firm, of course, and you have other considerations, but if you make the majority of your time and money decisions by choosing the options that promise the highest return on investment, you'll likely earn more money, and that's good news for your shareholders (you and your family).
What these opportunities typically turn up to be is a pyramid scheme. You pay a fee to signup. You then receive a flyer saying how great stuffing envelopes is and list of names and addresses to mail said flyer. IF those people pay that signup fee so they can mail that flyer too, you get paid a small referral fee. ONLY if they take the bait do you get paid.
Since time is the most precious commodity on this earth, invest the time at the front-end so that you can reap the benefits on the back-end. This means putting in a bit of sweat equity and not getting paid today. Rather, you'll get paid somewhere down the road. And you'll continue getting paid whether you keep building that passive income stream or you stop. It's obvious that this is the preferred route, but clearly the road less traveled.
Diversify your business. You may use a lot of trial and error to determine which business ideas work the best, but doing so will let you discard methods and ideas that do not work in favor of ones that do. Try new business ideas or products to sell as you go. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket. Ten products that make $100 per month are more profitable than two that each make $300. If you seem to cap out at a certain amount each month on one product, add another to your repertoire.
Manage social media for businesses. If you have a knack for social media, you could potentially get paid to manage various platforms for others. Many businesses are too busy running day-to-day operations to stay on top of their Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts – and will pay someone with the knowledge and time to do it for them. To find these jobs, ask local businesses and check sites like UpWork.com and Problogger.net.
Provide excellent customer service. Answer any questions buyers post as quickly as possible. Be professional and courteous. Positive communication builds your reputation with buyers and gets you return business. Also, package your product well and ship it out quickly. Allowing an item to become damaged or taking too long to ship can negatively affect your reputation among buyers. Wrap all items, especially fragile ones, in appropriate packaging. Commit to shipping items as soon as you receive payment.
If you’re serious about making money selling things online, it’s pretty much impossible to not recommend Shopify. The platform gives you everything you need to get your online store up and running in less than a day including a custom domain, beautiful templates (so you don’t need design skills), secure payment options, and they can even take care of marketing and shipping for you. Whether you’re promoting your own products, designs, or curating other products for people in your niche, Shopify is the best option for powering your online store.
Be willing to negotiate. You might have two neighbors who want their sidewalks shoveled, but one might be willing to pay $5 per week while another will pay only $3. If the neighbor who's paying you less is elderly, living on a fixed income, disabled or otherwise strapped for cash, consider accepting the lower price in order to build your clientele. Remember, that person who pays you less might later recommend your services to someone else willing to pay more.
Here’s a good example of how lead sales can work in real life: My second website, Life Insurance by Jeff, brings in a ton of traffic from people who are searching the web to find answers to life insurance questions. While I used to have the website set up so I could sell these people life insurance myself, it was a lot of work to process all the different requests and clients. As a result, I started selling the leads I gathered instead.