So, you start out with some stunning jewelry designs but how do you turn it into a business? One of my friends’ sisters turned her jewelry hobby into a full-time job by selling her products to a few local jewelry stores. Another woman I know built her business into a much larger enterprise…all built around a strong unifying theme. That’s the key here, success will come a lot easier if you build a distinctive overall brand, and ideally have closely matched collections within the brand.
While this is a long list of business ideas—I have carefully pruned it for you. I started out with an initial list that was more than twice as long…and ruthlessly chopped off the weaker business ideas that I didn’t want you to consider starting.
Put together parties for your friends and get paid for it! Sign me up! For starters, you should have a strong following on social media. Then if you have a knack for promoting, see if a nightclub will pay you to help boost their attendance.
I published a book by Don Dwyer who was the king of the carpet cleaners—having made many millions building a gigantic carpet cleaning business franchise system. This business isn’t glamorous, I remember Don talking about the best ways to get dog urine stains out of carpet, but the demand and the money-making opportunity is huge!
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.
Signage. Most localities have signage restrictions. However, if your business is in a residential area, you are likely to face very strict limits on the size, number, and placement of signs on your property. You need to verify what you can and cannot display before ordering any type of signage.
Organize your business as a legal entity. When setting up for business you have several options in determining the structure of your business. The easiest is to simply act as a sole proprietorship where you, the business owner, are legally the business. In this case, you would use your SSN for tax identification purposes. However, if you plan to have partners or hire employees, you will need to organize your business as a separate entity like a corporation. Doing so will require you to incorporate your business with you state and obtain an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS.
Believe it or not, eBay is now more than two decades old, but it’s still the most viable platform for setting up a home-based business online. Big success stories have been around for years now, but there is an enormous amount of competition on the site.
I find the car wash business highly attractive and even considered opening one at one point. You have a regular clientele, in many areas the competition isn’t too intense, and there is lots of room to upsell more expensive services like detailing. If I was going to go into this business, I might consider starting with a smaller facility in a smaller market, and really learning the business before going for a larger facility, in a more competitive marketplace.
While the barriers to entry for a retail shop can be very high, one way to keep costs down and limit your time investment while you keep your full-time job, is to set up a weekend popup shop as a side business idea. More of whatever it is you’re selling—donuts, clothing, antique baseball cards, or anything else—will stay in your pockets instead of going to pay for operating expenses such as rent or utilities by choosing to pursue retail as a side business idea with a short-term rental. This guide from Shopify will give you a step-by-step process for getting your popup shop off the ground.
Yes, you can make a lot of money with a simple ice cream shop! Perfect your ice cream before you start, find a good busy location without a crazy rent and consider starting with a smaller footprint to minimize your overhead. I’ll have an ice cream sundae please—with everything on it!
Even the portrait and general-interest options, though, aren’t really for beginners. Photography businesses can be complex operations, with lots of equipment required and years of portfolio and relationship building necessary to really get steady income flowing. Still, if you’re a hobbyist already, starting a photography business as a side operation is a great way to make some extra money and possibly begin a career change.
Potential challenges: Starting a food business can be complicated, as you’ll have to deal with permitting requirements and health department regulations. Other obstacles include securing a desirable location and fierce competition, although these factors may depend on your local market.
If you had a knack for standardized tests and had no trouble acing the SAT, ACT or other college exams, why not start tutoring high schoolers as a side business idea? Parents of all economic backgrounds are more than willing to shell out upwards of $100/hr to the right tutor, if it means their son or daughter will get admitted to the college or university of their choice. See this quick checklist for starting an SAT tutoring business from the Work At Home Mom. Whitney over at Rookiemoms also has a cool story to share about a stay-at-home mom making $40/hr helping kids out with homework and turning it into a profitable side business idea.
SeedTime (formerly ChristianPF) is a community of Christians desiring to use money wisely, enjoy it, and to communicate His love via giving. We are your go-to resource for practical tips to earn more money, save more money, and Biblical wisdom about how to better manage your money!
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]
An editorial services business is incredibly easy to start, doesn’t require an initial monetary investment, and has the potential for expansion once you’re established.Additionally, you could offer your services from both small and large businesses, as well to authors and students. Speaking of services, you could offer everything from copywriting, ghostwriting, proofreading, editing and indexing.
Yes, even the PowerPoint presentation requires outside consulting every now and then—especially if it’s not your forte. I know I would happily outsource the visual layout of my presentation decks for work meetings, investor pitches and lectures. Tobias Schelle of 24Slides is living proof that you can turn your skills at slideshow presentation design into a legit side business idea—and potentially earn up to $20 a slide for your time and talents.
Am I likely to need planning permission? It depends on whether you are intending to make any alterations to the property. If you are planning on making structural changes or constructing any extra buildings, you are likely to need planning permission.
Yoga is getting ever more popular, which means yoga instructors are more in demand than ever—making this another physically rewarding side business idea. Link up with a local yoga studio to teach nightly classes or offer personalized yoga in-home at a higher rate to pursue this kind of emotional and physical balance with others, during your free time while helping your bank balance, too.
I have a friend that is the city manager of a town of about 25,000 where his main task is processing requests for building permits. Actually a volunteer-type job, no salary. But he makes a bunch of contacts every day, and his address book is huge. So he is busy all year except the Holidays. To fill in this time he started a Christmas tree lighting service (houses, lawn ornaments, etc.). In this 3-month period he makes enough to keep him going the rest of the year.
Set up a dedicated phone line and internet service. Almost all businesses will require contact with customers over the phone. In order to ensure that your line will be free when customers call, you’ll have to get a dedicated phone line for business use. You should also sign up for voicemail rather than using an answering machine. This sounds more professional to customers. You should also add an internet connection that is fast enough for your business purposes while still remaining affordable.
Figure out if you can make this business profitable. How much will people pay for your services? Can you make a good income off this? Many people see astronomical numbers in their future until they take the time to determine their profits. Be sure to consider how much time you can reasonably commit to your business and how much profit you can get back for your time and investment money. In some cases, a great business idea in theory can in reality be unprofitable.
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.
The key to get going with this business is to build relationships with schools and school music directors, who can recommend your services. Chances are a larger school isn’t going to recommend you unless you have a track record, so you will probably have to start with some very small schools. Musical instruments, especially those that are rented out, are highly financeable for low rates, so this is a business you can get into with very little money, and expand aggressively.
There is a huge upside potential rebuilding auto parts, like transmissions. However, I have friends who have gone into this business and it can take years to nail down your production process, develop your customer base and start to reap the big money.
The other option for online sales is to simply become the eBay middleman. Millions of vendors sell their wares on the online auction house. If you can find an inexpensive source for (legally!) saleable merchandise, you can get into business.
If you’ve always enjoyed cooking, but don’t want to take the risk of opening a restaurant? Then why not invest in a food truck, trailer, or cart? While a food truck may get pricey, you can purchase a trailer or something like a hot dog cart for only a couple of thousand dollars.
Tutors commonly charge up to $50 per hour, and although these websites take a healthy cut of that, they provide a no-cost way to start. From there you can build a local clientele and start hiring others to work for your business.