20 Side Business Ideas You Can Start Today

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1.Kindle Publishing. Selling ebooks on Amazon is one of the income streams I’m cultivating. I love the idea of having my work for sale on the world’s largest store!
You may be closer than you think to your first title, as Steve Scott explains how you can get started in just an hour a day.

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I also took a deeper dive into a different Kindle strategy with Nicklas Kingo, and had break down how I generated 20,000 downloads with my own book launch. Later, I chatted with Lise Cartwright on how she built her publishing business into a $3-4k per month operation in just half a year.

2. Human Billboard. If you’re not afraid of embarrassing yourself on a street corner, there are always businesses looking to hire sign-spinners or people in costume to attract attention.

human-billboard

3. Alterations. Handy with a sewing machine? I believe the market for clothing alteration is ripe for disruption because of a lack of transparency in pricing. I’ve had some suits altered from a couple different places with dramatically different rates.

Free marketing tip: Post flyers at the gym or other places where people may have lost a lot of weight and need their clothes altered.

4. App Development. The mobile app market is hot, but one developer likened it to the gold rush — where the ones who made the most money were the ones selling the gear and the shovels. Similarly, an app developer gets paid whether or not the app goes on to become a hit.

To learn more about app development and some useful tips and strategies, check out my podcast interview with Alex Genadinik, the creator of the Glowing Start business app series.

In another edition of The Side Hustle Show, Benny Hsu shares how he made $30,000 in 30 days on the app store, with no programming experience!

And more recently, uber successful app-preneur Carter Thomas broke down what he’d do if he had to start over.

5. Baking. Do people love your desserts? Maybe you could provide cake, cookies, or cupcakes to some corporate event in town.

Kathryn, my public coaching volunteer, was hustling hard to start a gluten-free bakery in Portland.

6. Being a TaskRabbit. Task Rabbit is an on-demand errand-running service that enlists regular people to help out. You can earn money in your spare time completing real-world tasks on their unique platform.

One user in Atlanta makes a full-time living assembling IKEA furniture!

The platform also allows for virtual work like online research and other tasks that can be done remotely.

7. Blogging. Blogging is difficult to monetize but can be a fun outlet to practice your writing or build an audience around a particular idea.

Click here to learn how Robert Farrington earns $10k per month blogging in his spare time!

Want more? Jon Dykstra is the master of quickly building and monetizing blog sitesfrom zero to six-figures.

There’s also Lindsay and Bjork from PinchofYum.com, on how they built it up to $17k a month part-time, and Pat Flynn on building a 6-figure fitness blog.

8. Bookkeeping / Accounting / Tax Preparation Service. Help other businesses with their accounting and finances. This can be a great option for people with an accounting background from school or from their day job.

9. Brand Ambassadorship. Big brands are always looking for assistance with their on-the-ground marketing efforts, and pay pretty well for the help.

Kenny Azama explained it’s a relatively easy (and fun) way to earn $1000 a month part-time, and could even turn into a full-time gig. When we spoke he was earning $2k a week on a cross-country RV road-trip as a brand ambassador!

10. Building an Authority Website. While niche sites (see below) get a lot of attention, an authority site has a better chance of withstanding the changes in Google’s algorithm and turning into a long-term asset.

Matt Giovanisci shared how he turned his expertise in the pool industry into a profitable, and often passive, authority business.

11. Building Niche Websites. Building niche sites is a popular side hustle because after some initial research and time investment they can be a relatively hands-off income source. I’m not an expert in this field but I’m happy to refer you to two excellent resources, here and here.

Spencer Haws of Niche Pursuits joined me on a podcast episode and shared his exact step-by-step process for creating and ranking a brand-new niche site.

Later, Freddie Mixell explained how he sells off his profitable niche sites to accelerate his earnings and reinvest in his business.

And finally, Kurt Elster told me about several fascinating one-page microsites that earn money with AdSense.

12. Car Flipping. If you’re a savvy negotiator and know your way around cars, you can buy low and sell high and turn a profit quickly with this side hustle.

13. Car Wash and Detailing. A mobile detailing service would be a super-low cost startup and you could get clients in bunches at office parks, shopping malls, schools, sporting events, and other places where cars like to gather.

14. Caregiving. This business continues to grow as the population ages.

15. Carpet Cleaning. Carpet cleaning would be a relatively simple and low cost business to start. You could get clients on an annual or semi-annual recurring schedule like the dentist.

16. Catering. If you have a passion for cooking, a catering business has a lower barrier to entry and time commitment than say, opening a restaurant.

17. Child Care. Is it just me, or does “babysitting” sound amateur compared to “child care”?

18. Cleaning Service. It may not be glamorous, but it’s something nearly every business spends money on and usually gets done in the after-work hours.

Cassandre Poblah actually earned $1000 a month doing this part time.

19. Computer Repair Service. There are more computers in this country (including tablets and smartphones) than there are people. The repair market is very fragmented which means there is opportunity for solo-operators to break in.

20. Computer Tutoring. Some of the computer skills we take for granted are still lacking for portions of the population. If you can find them and sell them on the necessity of technical skills for their careers, there might be a business opportunity here.

21. Consulting / Coaching. Consulting is an ambiguously broad field, but there are consultants for practically every area of expertise. What are you a relative expert in that others might pay for your advice?

With platforms like Clarity.fm, you can get started very quickly and earn $60/hour and up.

Interested in starting a coaching business? Check out this side hustle interview with life coach Jeremy Blanchard.

In this episode, my friend Kai Davis breaks down his step-by-step methods of building a consulting business in 20-hours. Later, Jonathan Stark shared his framework for getting a new consulting business from zero to $5k a month.

22. Cover Letter and Resume Service. Especially if you have experience in HR, there is a massive opportunity to help job seekers with their resumes and cover letters. Since the payoff of landing a job is so high, it can be worthwhile for applicants to seek some professional assistance on their documents.

It would be interesting to see this sold on a pay-for-performance model, where you only get paid if the applicant gets the interview.

23. Craigslist Arbitrage. Craigslist and other markets are still filled with inefficiencies that a trained eye can exploit for profit. There are some great stories of regular people doing just this.

For instance, Ryan Finlay of ReCraigslist.com, makes a full-time living buying and selling on Craigslist and stopped by the podcast to tell me about it.

24. Customer Service. Some companies are now employing part-time customer service representatives to work from home and handle incoming phone or live chatservice requests.

25. Dating. The dating site WhatsYourPrice.com actually lets suitors pay women to go on dates with them.

26. Dog Walking. Yes, some people are too busy to walk their own dogs.

27. Doula Service. Doulas can earn $500-$1000 per birth, if you’re into that sort of thing.

28. Driving. If you’re free nights and weekends, you can earn extra cash driving your fellow citizens around. Sign up with Lyft, Uber, or another driving service to get started.

Harry Campbell, The Rideshare Guy, stopped by the podcast to give me the inside scoop on this side hustle, and a couple Lyft drivers I spoke to reported earning up to $200 in an evening.

29. Dropshipping. Dropshippers set up their own storefront and process sales, but never touch the actual product. Instead, the items are shipped directly to the customer from the manufacturer or wholesaler. My friends over at Fit Small Business have some info on how to get started.

30. Ecommerce. Sell products online through your own store or through Amazon or eBay. In this episode, Will Mitchell walks me through how to find a profitable import product.

31. Estate Sale Service. Estate sales are often managed by a third-party company, who takes a percentage of the proceeds in exchange for handling the event. To learn more about this side hustle check out Robert Farrington’s post on Budgets are Sexy.

32. Event DJ-ing. I feel like DJ-ing is something of a lost art in the era of pre-made iTunes playlists, but there are still plenty of events that have a live DJ.

33. Freelancing. There are millions of people supplementing their income by freelancing in their spare time. You’ll find them on sites like Upwork.

This is the best post I’ve seen on getting started as a freelancer on these platforms, and I actually had a chance to chat with the author and he shared how he went from $18/hour to $1000/hour.

On The Side Hustle Show, Cameron Rambert shares a step-by-step method for freelancers to earn their first $1000, and I also really enjoyed hearing how both Alexis and Carrie set their freelancing business up for recurring revenue.

And freelancing isn’t just about trading hours for dollars; in fact, it can be a gateway to bigger more scaleable businesses. Nick Reese shares how.

34. Furniture Making. If you’re skilled in carpentry, maybe people would like to buy your hand-crafted furniture. OK, this one reminds me of Ron Swanson.

 

35. Ghostwriting. With millions of websites all competing for attention, writing is a service that’s constantly in demand. Someone’s got to create all that content, right?

You can start out on your own, or on one of several established ghostwriting platforms like The Content Authority, Scripted, or TextBroker.

Dayne Shuda even turned his ghostwriting side hustle into a full-blown agency!

36. Gigwalking. Gigwalk is a free smartphone app that pays you to complete small tasks in your neighborhood, like photographing the inside of a store.

You might also check out the similar EasyShift app.

37. Graphic Design Service. Quality graphic design is always in-demand, and never before have there been so many outlets on which to sell your skills. The most popular design-focused site is 99designs, but you can check out Crowdspring, Witmart, or any of the freelance marketplaces as well.

38. Handyman Service. This is certainly not a good option for me, but I’m positive someone else with the right skills can make it work.

39. Home Inspection Service. Certification is required, but this is a viable side hustle because the inspections can be scheduled at your convenience and only take a few hours.

40. House Sitting. I’m more intrigued in house sitting as a way to get free accommodations while traveling, but I guess it can be a way to supplement your income at home as well.

 

 

 

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