If you’ve developed valuable skill sets or certifications within your industry over the years, consider putting your skills to use in your free time by offering your consulting services to local business owners as potentially lucrative side business ideas. Whether you’re an expert marketer, business strategist, or manufacturing aficionado, there’s likely a local business owner who’s willing to pay you to help them solve an issue with their company—if you can craft an effective cold email that convinces them to hire you. Start with this 18-step checklist to becoming a local business consultant as a side business idea, from Karyn Greenstreet. When you’re ready to get serious about becoming a consultant, check out all of my picks for the best online business courses to keep building your skills and learning how to land your first consulting clients. Personally, I think this is one of the best business ideas you can get started with today.
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 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.
If you have a fondness for taking pictures of smiling families or laughing children blowing bubbles, consider becoming a stock photographer and selling your images to a stock photo company like Unsplash, ShutterStock and iStockPhoto as a side business idea. 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.
Build your audience on a course community: If you’re just getting started building an audience for yourself and want to leverage communities already actively looking for content you can choose to host and sell your online course on a site like Skillshare or Udemy. These are easy, cost-effective ways to build an audience and test your niche to see if there’s demand for it.
Hi Edwin – Maybe start by taking a look at products you really like, then see if you can improve on them somehow. Can you make it better? Can you make it cheaper? Can you deliver it faster? Can you find a market niche where the product will take off. It’s not necessary to come up with a whole new product, which is also very risky. But if you can take an existing product and make it better you’ll have a better chance at success. Also take old product and see how you reinvent them. That’s what Howard Schultz did with Starbucks. He virtually reinvented coffee, which is something no one thought could be done at the time.
If you have a way with words, know how to do keyword research and craft beautifully designed landing pages that follow the best blog SEO strategies, why not charge other companies for your services and turn it into money-making side business ideas? Even a short landing page is worth a couple hundred bucks in most cases, and so much more if you know how to pitch your prospects well. If you want to get started with your business idea of becoming a landing page specialist or freelance copywriter, check out Len Smith and Sean Kaye’s awesome course on Udemy, Copywriting Secrets: How to Write Copy That Sells.
My marketing journey was born out of SEO roots, where the priority of content promotion has always been high in order to create the kind of accountable marketing performance that matters. In contrast, I see a lot of brands putting the majority or all of their investment towards content creation without qualitative or quantitative effort towards the promotion of that content.
Build up a following on your Instagram account and you could quickly be making extra money online. Major brands, gear companies, and even startups are willing to shell out $500-$5,000+ per post to get in front of your audience. While it’s getting harder and harder to build a massive Instagram audience, if you already have a solid niche and are posting quality content regularly with a great camera for taking Instagram photos, with a few small tweaks you can make yourself an influencer. Check out this awesome article from Shopify on how to build and grow your Instagram following to get started.
If your mastery of another language is good enough to have the grammar and spelling down, translating is a great side business idea to set up for yourself and can even be done remotely. Flexjobs has literally hundreds of freelance, remote translator jobs available right now and if you’re looking to land more remote work on the side of your other pursuits, then browse through these remote jobs websites to find the right opportunities for you.

2. InboxDollars – InboxDollars is similar to Swagbucks, since you’re going to be taking surveys, shopping, etc., so if you want to maximize your return, sign up with both websites. They also offer a search engine that pays you (like Swagbucks) and you get $5 just for signing up.  I won’t continue to list survey sites one after another down the list, but if you want to get paid to take surveys, also check out GlobalTestMarket, E-Poll Surveys and Survey Club.


You could also opt to use existing websites for making money. These include both active income and passive income methods. For example, you could sell some used items or invest in creating some digital designs that then can be sold on merchandise. Again, devote a sizable portion of your time to passive income so that you can slowly build up earnings that will arrive on autopilot without any extra added effort. 

How can you make a living as a real social-media expert? Practice. Build an audience for yourself before offering your services to others. Determine your target sector, build your own online presence in that community and start making contact with the social-media elite. Twitter is a great place to start. Keep cranking out content and getting it to the right users, and you’ll find a way to get yourself hired even in an ever-expanding universe.

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.
If you upload photos of yourself, or friends/family with consent, it's worth going for the 'rights managed' licence option – otherwise you'll have little to no control over how your images are used (eg, you could star in an ad for haemorrhoid cream). See Alamy's page on understanding stock image licensing for more on the different types of licences.
As home business ideas go, there are plenty of opportunities for designers to create and sell their own clothing from home. Whether you stitch intricate gowns, create hand-painted scarves or design t-shirts, the opportunities for making money from home are almost endless. Many people are willing to pay for unique wearable art. If you have a passion for fashion, and need to make money, make this your business.
How to Get It: You'll need to create a YouTube account and then shoot video either with your phone or a video camera, then upload it to your account. To enroll in the partner program, click on YouTube settings, check the circle next to "Allow Advertisements," then click on "View Additional Features." On the YouTube monetization page, opt in. Generally, you must earn a minimum before you get paid, and YouTube pays monthly — if you don't earn enough in one month, the balance rolls over.

Then you can move on to more immersive sales education through online courses like Sales Training and Prospecting on Udemy, The Guide to Pitching and Selling Clients on CreativeLive. Once you’re ready to put your selling skills to the test, check out Angel List and see if any sales position opportunities align with your interests—the last thing you want to do is get stuck selling products or services you’re not interested in. However, by starting out your sales career as a side business idea, that gives you the flexibility to easily change courses if you ever need to.

MyPoints is one of my favorites. You can earn up to 40% back on all your purchases at 2,000 top retailers like Walmart, Home Depot, Best Buy, and Amazon. They also offer promo codes at tons of online stores. One of my favorite things about MyPoints is that you can redeem your points whenever you want. All you have to do is can cash out and get gift cards, or you can transfer the cash to your PayPal account. It’s actually very easy.
What It Is: If you're already fluent in two languages, why not put your skills to use and work as a translator? Translators are often required to translate documents or audio recordings from one language into another. You can work for yourself as a freelance translator, or apply to work with companies like Welocalize that offer a wide range of remote translation services.
29. Videos – This could be an entire section on it’s own. Many people have made money by creating YouTube videos. Evan of EvanTube is a kid and he has made millions by creating reviews of products that other kids his age would use. It’s not easy to get views into the millions, but once you do, you’ll start seeing some cash come in. Many bloggers have completely turned to videos to get their point across by starting a video blog.
Not everything is just a Google search away. Media organizations hire fact checkers to make sure that items in stories are accurate and that sources quoted really exist. Other organizations need people to find statistics and other data for presentations and reports. There are plenty of opportunities online to get started researching at home. Just be prepared to get into some really esoteric topics that will take you way beyond Wikipedia.
Brian Dean, an SEO expert and the creator of BackLinko, uses SEO tactics to rank #1 on YouTube for keywords like “on page SEO” and “video SEO”. Initially, Dean admits his YouTube account struggled to get any views. Employing SEO methods like keyword optimization has enabled Dean to rise to #1 on YouTube for search results related to his business. He published his full strategy on Backlinko.
25. Products – You can create your own product, such as an ebook or computer software. You would then use your blog as a promotion tool to get people to buy your product. As long as you create a legitimate product with a whole lot of value, you should be able to get some buyers, but like everything else with a blog, you’ll need the traffic to get the sells.
Better yet, you can even upload your own book to one of the world’s largest book sellers: Amazon. With Amazon self-publishing, you set the price, retain the rights to your book, and get access to Amazon’s massive audience. For every sale, you keep 70% with Amazon taking the remainder as a fee. If you want to get started, check out Tara Gentile on CreativeLive as she shows you how to use your existing body of work to write an eBook within the next week. Who knows, you might just write one of the best business books of this year!

And by now you probably already know… one of the lowest cost (and most attainable) business ideas you can start working on right now is launching a blog of your own. For that reason, I recently put together a free guide that breaks down how to start a blog and I share the exact strategies I’ve used to turn my blog into a more than $50,000/mo business.
But if you do go the fashion route, be prepared to do quite a bit of networking before you get your business off the ground. Don’t be afraid to do free consultations for contests and giveaways. The more word gets around about your fabulous fashion sense, the larger a clientele you’ll build. If you’re really good, you can start this business with little to no training.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking this will be a passive source of income—you’re on call whenever you have a guest and you’ll always need to keep the place clean for incoming visitors. On top of just renting on Airbnb, consider offering your guests paid add-ons, like Lauren Gheysens’, Royal Day Out in London, England—where she gives visitors a local’s only tour of the city, complete with bespoke 18th century costumes.
Hair stylists can set up a room in their homes to accept appointments with clients. However, read up on state and local licensing requirements to make sure you comply. Take this business online to diversify revenue streams. Display your styling abilities on YouTube or Instagram. As a virtual stylist, make money from online classes showing others how to arrange the latest hairstyles, or by recommending sponsored products or becoming a brand ambassador.
There are numerous repositories to source affiliate products and services from. However, some of the biggest are sites like Clickbank, Commission Junction, LinkShare and JVZoo. You'll need to go through an application process, for the most part, to get approved to sell certain products, services or digital information products. Once approved, be prepared to hustle.
If you don’t mind doing other people’s chores, then TaskRabbit is a great option for making money online. Earn extra income by walking your neighbor’s dog or mowing Mr. Smith’s lawn. It might seem like not the most lucrative option, but the top taskers reportedly earn as much as $7000 a month, making this a full-time way to make money online for some.
Then, if my piece of content is so unique and valuable around hiking backpack recommendations, that other reputable outdoor websites are willing to link to it (as a result of a blogger outreach campaign) and build the page’s authority, then I’d have a very real opportunity to rank high in organic search for these search terms (meaning, my page will come up first when someone searches for hiking backpacks).

Better yet, you can even upload your own book to one of the world’s largest book sellers: Amazon. With Amazon self-publishing, you set the price, retain the rights to your book, and get access to Amazon’s massive audience. For every sale, you keep 70% with Amazon taking the remainder as a fee. If you want to get started, check out Tara Gentile on CreativeLive as she shows you how to use your existing body of work to write an eBook within the next week. Who knows, you might just write one of the best business books of this year!

The second (and cheaper) path assumes that you have the design and dev chops yourself to build your dream software. Naturally, it’ll take more time to get your product off the ground, but being able to bootstrap the development of your software lets you retain more ownership in your business and be more in control of your path, making this a lower-cost, but higher time investment to make money selling apps.
Webinars are quite possibly one of the most potent ways you can make an exorbitant amount of money online. You'll need an audience to train and you'll need to know what you're talking about. Of course, this usually requires having a website and some semblance of an online presence. However, people can still do webinars without all of that. For example, you might have a sizable social media following and you train them every week on something to do with social media. But you will need a product to embed and sell at some point. Don't worry about it in the beginning. In my experience, the best webinar platform out there is GoToWebinar. 

If you’ve developed valuable skill sets or certifications within your industry over the years, consider putting your skills to use in your free time by offering your consulting services to local business owners as potentially lucrative side business ideas. Whether you’re an expert marketer, business strategist, or manufacturing aficionado, there’s likely a local business owner who’s willing to pay you to help them solve an issue with their company—if you can craft an effective cold email that convinces them to hire you. Start with this 18-step checklist to becoming a local business consultant as a side business idea, from Karyn Greenstreet. When you’re ready to get serious about becoming a consultant, check out all of my picks for the best online business courses to keep building your skills and learning how to land your first consulting clients. Personally, I think this is one of the best business ideas you can get started with today.
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.
If you don’t mind parading yourself around in public places as a side business idea, and enjoy a little attention, then working as a human billboard can pay a surprising amount of dividends. Renting out your beard, for example can earn you as much as $5 a day while having a brand logo tattooed on your shaven head for five years could pay as much as $7,000—though this type of earning opportunity is admittedly rare. This business idea is definitely not for the faint of heart, and is a little extreme for me, but nonetheless it’s been done as a side hustle for many people, even some having done it to pay their college tuition fees. You can start by holding a placard or wearing a sandwich board. If you think this is a good side business idea, you can go all the way and turn it into a full on small business idea with enough hard work—plus you won’t have to deal with all the issues other more complex businesses have to constantly think about.
Your customers, prospects, and partners are the lifeblood of your business. You need to build your marketing strategy around them. Step 1 of marketing is understanding what your customers want, which can be challenging when you’re dealing with such a diverse audience. This guide will walk you through (1) the process of building personal connections at scale and (2) crafting customer value propositions that funnel back to ROI for your company. Get Started
There are ten essential types of marketing that can be done online. Some of these can be broken down into organic marketing and others can be categorized as paid marketing. Organic, of course, is the allure of marketing professionals from around the planet. It's free and its unencumbered traffic that simply keeps coming. Paid marketing, on the other hand, is still a very attractive proposition as long as the marketing pays for itself by having the right type of offer that converts.
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