Are you are satisfied with your full-time job but you want to make some extra money and you’re thinking about side businesses? Maybe you’re dreaming of that full-time entrepreneurial life and need to start while you’re still working for someone else. Either way, self-employment is on the rise at a notable rate and you have options.
We have been moving rapidly into what has been dubbed a “freelance economy.” More and more people are challenging the norms and ditching the 9-5 grind for an on-their-own-terms type of lifestyle, according to an article on IncFile Blog, 2018 U.S. Home-Based Business Statistics.
Deciding What Business Fits You Best
Entrepreneurship can be risky business and you’re assuming all of the responsibility, but the opportunities are growing every day. There are hundreds of places for you to fit into the self-employment world. These days, even if you can’t find a place to fit in, you can create your own. The possibilities are endless as our outlook on how business is done continues to change and expand. This list is not all encompassing (like I said, endless possibilities), but I bet it will spark some ideas based on your own skills, experiences, and passions. If you have additional ideas, I would love for you to share them in the comments. These ideas are in no particular order.
10 Side Businesses You Can Start and Grow While Working Full-Time
1. Virtual Assistant
If you have some experience in administrative rolls and a knack for organization and time-management, this could be an easy fit for you. Don’t have that experience? That doesn’t really matter. Hit the Google search bar for all the things you need to know to be a virtual assistant. You can learn everything for free. Since you won’t have work experience, track and document any learning you do online. Then you can offer to demonstrate your capabilities to potential clients. What you lack in experience you can make up for with determination.
More and more businesses are outsourcing tasks to virtual, freelance workers because it saves them loads of money. You can find all kinds of freelance virtual assistant jobs on Indeed and UpWork. If you would rather not compete with all of the applicants on those forums, you can take a different approach. Online networking, word of mouth, and contacting businesses or individuals you’d like to work with are some other options. In that case, you’ll need to be able to market yourself online. To get started you’ll want a basic website or at least a profile on your choice of social media platform(s).
Overall, a virtual assistant business can yield a pretty quick profit without a ton of effort and little to no financial investment. In relation to other types of business, the work is minimal. If you’re looking for a home-based business that allows for flexible hours, this one could get tricky. Some of your clients could operate during regular business hours and need you available during those times. If flexible hours are important to you there is always the option of working with unconventional business owners. They tend to also have unconventional hours of operation.
Blogging is definitely not a thing of the past. Tens of thousands of people are making money blogging about basically any topic you can think of. As long as people go to the internet for information, there will be opportunities to grow a profitable business as a blogger.
With that said, a profitable blog does not happen overnight. While it can be super lucrative in the long run, this one will require a lot more time and patience. It will also require a lot of initial and continued learning. Obviously, you’ll need a website to get started and if you have never built a website then you’re learning starts there. Beyond that there is niche choice, content creation, formatting, on and off screen SEO and many other ways of driving traffic to your blog. It will take some hard work, which isn’t different than any other business.
The good news is that, again, there is endless free information online for you to comb through and apply. Starting a blog is a great, low cost/high return option if you are willing to put in the time and work. It can take anywhere from a few months to over a year to start making money from your blog. It will depend on how hard you’re willing to work. The best part about blogging is that you work exactly when, where, and how often you want to work. You make your own deadlines. It’s total freedom to go at your own pace.
3. Social Media Manager
If a business is in it to win it these days, they have a solid social media presence to maintain or are working toward building one. Businesses, influencers, and anyone trying to create a following for their brand are often looking for someone to manage their social media or at least help them learn to do it. There are remote jobs out there for this sort of thing, but there’s also a big market for freelance social media managers. While this could fall under the virtual assistant category, it often stands on it’s on a full fledge business. This is typically really flexible work because content can be created anytime and posts can be scheduled ahead of time. Some businesses might want you to be available during business hours for last minute additions, edits, promotions, etc. Generally speaking though, you would have a lot of time freedom with a social media manager business.
One of the most important aspects of social media management is marketing. Learning the ins and outs of of marketing and management in general is actually no big deal when it comes to social media. There are endless free resources online. This Social Media Management Bootcamp costs just $10.99 and has everything you need to dive right into the business. If you would rather not invest anything but time at first, search for free resources and you’ll find more than enough to get you started. Having a website isn’t really necessary as you can promote yourself right there on social media. Show them what an expert you are with your own profiles.
4. Property Manager
If you’re looking for something other than an online business, property management can be a great option that still doesn’t require a brick and mortar set up. As a property manager you can be responsible for a number of things which can vary depending completely on you. After all, it is your business. Some things might include finding and screening tenants, collecting rent, scheduling and overseeing completion of maintenance, staying within a budget, and just being the go-between for the tenant and owner in general. No matter what services you offer as a property manager, you’ll need to know the landlord-tenant laws in whatever state you are working.
Property managers can make anywhere from 8-12% of the monthly rent from each property, plus expenses. Some property management companies charge a flat rate fee of $100 per property per month. Getting into property management can be a little tricky if you don’t have any work experience in the field, but it’s not impossible. Get yourself educated on common practices for property managers and reasons why an owner would want or need a manager. Be prepared with the knowledge and you’ll probably be able to find an owner who will give you a chance to get some experience. After that, if you do a good job, you’ll have someone to give other owners recommendations for you. This might require that your starting rates are a little lower than your more experienced competitors, but as you gain experience you can increase those rates.
This business could require some free time during regular business hours but you would be surprised how well it works out even if you have a full time job. After all, most of the people who are looking for a place to rent also have full time jobs and would prefer to communicate after business hours.
5. Online Coaching
I like this one because, just like blogging, there are people out there coaching other people in anything from careers to life skills. If there is something you are particularly good at and enjoy, do some research about the kind of demand there is for coaching in that area. Reach out to other people who are doing the kind of coaching you would like to do. You can get some rate and services ideas from them.
If you’re not comfortable with your coaching skills at first, find someone who is doing things the way you would want to do them and ask them to be your mentor. There will probably be some people who will shoot you down. They may be too busy or maybe they don’t want to help the potential competition. But there are people out there who would love to share what they’ve learned and just be helpful in general.
When it comes to start up costs, there aren’t a lot for online coaching. You can use social media as your platform if you aren’t ready to put a website together just yet. You’ll want to put some time and effort into creating some great content to share with your clients. That might include some PDF’s of helpful information or even step-by-step programming for them to follow. That will all depend on your style of coaching. You would also benefit from spending some money on social media marketing to get your name out there. Do some free coaching with friends and family to get some input on your skills and to share reviews with your potential clients. Once again, the internet is your friend for everything you need to know to be an online coach.
6. Network Marketing
I find it mind blowing that there are people who still believe that network marketing is not a legitimate business option. Maybe it’s not right for them, but it is a feasible option for a whole lot of people. Research found that in 2017 there were 18.6 million people involved in network marketing/direct sales. Also a notable fact, in 2017, 58% of Americans involved in network marketing/direct sales had a household income greater than $50K. Whereas only 52% of Americans who are not involved in network marketing/direct sales have a household income greater than $50K.
Network marketing start up costs vary between the different company options, but they are very low cost-low risk. On average you’re looking at $106 to get started with 90% of companies offering a complete refund if decide to quit. You might be thinking, “but this isn’t really working for yourself.” That’s sort of true, but not entirely. You are selling a specific product from a company that is not yours. But you are still working for yourself. You set your own goals and work hours. Your income is totally up to how hard to work.
Plus, most direct sales companies make your life easier, not harder. A lot of them handle all your shipping costs, marketing costs, and other usual overhead expenses for a business. Not to mention they basically hand you great products and promotional materials on a silver platter and all you have to do it take it to your network of customers. If you’ve never researched this option, I recommend that you at least get more information before you pass on it.
7. Music Lessons
This is one option that is going to require some prior experience and knowledge. If you are musically talented and able to teach what you know, online music lessons are massively popular. This is also something you can do one-on-one in person if you want too. You can make money from booking client sessions like a regular music teacher, online or offline. But that’s not your only option. Much like blogging, a lot of people are making big bucks by creating a trusted presence on YouTube. They offer free short video lessons and they make their money in ads. You could even combine these two methods and make money off of your client sessions while you’re building your online brand.
Start up cost could be zero for this endeavor if you start out by word of mouth for client sessions, assuming you have the musical instruments that you need. If you want to do more, you could spring for some flyers or even some Facebook promotions. Learning and implementing Facebook ads would be helpful to any business you’re looking to grow, online or otherwise.
If you’re book smart and love teaching, becoming a tutor is actually pretty easy and profitable. Depending on the subjects you feel comfortable teaching and at what level, the pay for a tutor can be between $25 and $80 per hour. If you want to fall closer to that $80 per hour you’ll need to focus on specializing in things like SAT prep and college level tutoring.
Tutoring doesn’t require anything more than a high school diploma or GED and any college education would just be icing on the cake. If you’re going to work for yourself I would recommend some proof of your grades in high school and/or college. Your client base can be entirely online, in person, or a mixture of both. Word will travel fast if you’re a good tutor so it probably wouldn’t be necessary to advertise too much in the beginning to save on costs. A social media presence is always helpful but a website wouldn’t be necessary.
9. Meal Planning
Did you that people will pay you to create weekly meal plans and grocery lists to go with them? Now you know. If you enjoy the planning process of weekly meal prep, you might be perfect for this business. Some people set clients up with a monthly subscription. As long as they are subscribed, they receive meal plans each week or bi-weekly along with the shopping lists for each meal. Some people do pay-per-week. It’s really genius because you can make one meal plan for tons of people. Having different options like vegan, paleo, vegetarian, and other special diet options would no doubt make you the most popular meal planner.
Besides promoting yourself, which you can start on social media, your start up costs would be zero. There’s so much room for profit in this business model. There’s also so much time freedom in this idea because you can work whenever you can or want to, as long as the meal plans are out on time every week.
10. Personal Training
While you will have to have some credentials for this option, the benefits justify the time, money, and effort spent. Not only will you stay in great shape, you can make good money from it. This is the highest start up cost option I’ve listed today. Obtaining a PT certification will be challenging and can cost you a little under or over $1000 for a good certification. Still, it can be a great side business and eventually a full-time business, if you market well and do a great job helping your clients.
Personal trainers working independently can make anywhere from $25 to $80 per hour. The hourly rate depends mostly on geographical location and only marginally on experience. Working independently as a trainer is how you make the most money. If you work for a gym or club you will be living off of commission based pay. It’s tempting to take a gym job for the gym access, but personal training is a much more lucrative career when you work independently. It is worth mentioning that if you want to get started in a gym as an employee, you can learn a lot to move your business forward faster and get some client experience.
You still might have other options for gym access. Some gyms might allow you to pay a flat monthly fee to bring in your clients for training. If not, you always have the option to go to client’s homes or their gyms, if they allow. There are also great opportunities for outdoor workouts in the seasons when weather cooperates. If you work it right and do what you have to do while you’re building a client base, you could have a small studio yourself before long.