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 a potentially lucrative side business idea. 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.
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.
The marketing process begins with your branding and we have worked through the process with dozens of clients over the years and using some online resources we can help you build a modern brand that resonates with your target market. We can even help you develop your stationery at a fraction of the cost of engaging a graphic artist or marketing consultant.
So, I put together a free master course for you to take that spreads out all of the work involved in starting a blog, into a series of action-packed lessons. My free course breaks the entire process of starting a blog down into an incredibly simple 7-day process for going from 0 to publishing (and promoting) your first blog post in just 1 week. I can't recommend it enough.
The content on MoneyCrashers.com is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional financial advice. Should you need such advice, consult a licensed financial or tax advisor. References to products, offers, and rates from third party sites often change. While we do our best to keep these updated, numbers stated on this site may differ from actual numbers. We may have financial relationships with some of the companies mentioned on this website. Among other things, we may receive free products, services, and/or monetary compensation in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products or services. We strive to write accurate and genuine reviews and articles, and all views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors.
If writing is something you enjoy and have a knack for, SEO can earn you a nice online income. Simply put, SEO is content writing that revolves around providing content that does two important things. Number one is providing written content that targeted audiences will enjoy reading about. The second thing is writing in a way that search engines will pick up and understand so the audiences are trafficked to a specific website. This is why it is known as search engine optimization (SEO).

Equipment. The largest, and most important, piece of equipment that you’ll need is a high-quality sewing machine. They can range in price from about $2,000 up to $6,000, and you’ll want the best one that you can afford. Other pieces of equipment will vary, depending on what you want to specialize in. For instance, if you intend to make custom draperies, you’ll need a serger, and a drapery steamer.

Research Pricing (And Set Fair Starting Prices): Before setting prices for each item, research your local Craigslist website and (if possible) nearby yard sales to get a sense of how to price them. Remember that many buyers will try to haggle – so set prices a bit higher than your bottom dollar, but not so high that you’ll scare off first bids. 10% to 15% is a good rule of thumb. Consider bunching low-value items, such as old CDs, into lots of five or 10, or offer x-for-$y deals.
Experience. Whatever area you want to work in as a consultant, you must be able to show clients that you’re qualified to advise them. If there are organizations related to your field, make sure that you’re a member of them. Similarly, if you can take a course and become certified or registered in your field, do it and then add that to your credentials.
28. Subscription – If you think of something valuable (newsletter, online magazine, etc.) that you can consistently offer on a certain basis (weekly, monthly, etc.), you may want to offer a subscription service. This could be a fee charged each time your product is sent out or on a monthly basis. Either way, this has to be something that your customers can only get by subscribing to your website.
Sometimes it seems like there’s an app for everything. Yet somehow, new ones keep popping up and selling for lots of money, all the time. If you spot a niche that hasn’t been filled to its potential just yet, and you can learn the coding skills (or know someone who already has them), you could be on to something with this side business idea. Today, it's even possible to build an app without any coding skills whatsoever. Just make sure you validate your app idea before jumping too far in. Even if your app business idea doesn't pan out to be a best-seller, you'll still pick up valuable skills.
My next self-funded business hit $160,000 in revenue in its first year alone. After that first taste of self-made success, I’ve gone on to sign consulting contracts worth tens of thousands of dollars with startups like LinkedIn and Google, launch profitable online courses, and build a following of hundreds of thousands for this blog and my podcast series.
Offering online course is a popular way to start a business online. With an online course, you’re able to share a skill that others want to learn, along with your expertise. Putting together an online course can take a lot of work, and so can market it to the right kind of people. However, if you have a skill that you think others are interested in learning, it’s definitely something to look into.
Many businesses have tons of papers to dispose every day. However, it is mandated by law to keep important documents, particularly those that involve personal data, confidential. The towering papers will eventually become a hassle for companies, but they cannot just be thrown out in the trash. They can choose to invest in a costly heavy-duty shredder or just hire a paper-shredding service to dispose the confidential papers properly.
Writing copy for websites is another great freelancing option for those who have a way with words. Copywriting can involve writing the text for websites, press releases, promotional offline materials including leaflets and brochures, and any other professional text for businesses. While writing blog posts is well paid it won’t make you as much money as writing copy for sales pages. However, clients can be more fussy, as they want the highest quality writing for the forefront of their website or advertising campaigns. Many freelance writers offer both copywriting and blog writing amongst their services. This can be a good way to juggle regular but lower paid clients (blogging) with the higher paid but ad-hoc project based copy work.
Remember that simply posting even a well drafted Privacy Policy on your website is not enough: you need to stand by it and respect your customers’ privacy and personal information. The potential damage to your business from “spamming” your customers, for example, can be huge and irreversible. In addition, it can ruin your online reputation which is difficult to repair.
Starting a blog is pretty simple nowadays, but generating income from it can be a massive challenge. Although the internet is full of blogging success stories, there are also many more who never figured it out. Still, if you’re a good writer and you’re not totally clueless about the ins and outs of marketing, you can use affiliate marketing, product reviews (for cash or items), and contextual links to make a solid little income that isn’t just money generating, but fun as well.

If you love gardening, then you might want to share your techniques with others who want to try it. Make the most out of your green thumb by teaching about gardening. You can offer seminars in community colleges, local nurseries, recreation centers, and even in your own backyard. You can offer a class each month, tackling the different aspects of gardening. Your topics can be about preparing the soil, learning about perennials, planting flower beds, bulb planting, and so much more.
Acorns works by essentially rounding up the spare change from your everyday purchases (to the nearest dollar) and then invests the difference into the stock market. If you’re clueless about how the stock market works, but still want the highest return you can possibly make on your money, this is the perfect way to start investing. You can read our full Acorns Review here.
If you are really short on cash and need some immediate funds then you should start by looking around your house. Clear out your cupboards and find any items lying around that you don’t need or haven’t used for a while. Then sell them on eBay. Just because they are gathering dust in your cupboards, doesn’t mean someone else won’t snap them up. Simply sign up with eBay, list your products and then, as they are sold, send them off to the buyers.
I’ve been providing a simple ‘green’ service at commercial properties since 1981. Using only hand tools, I perform a daily litter cleanup service for the exterior property (sidewalks, parking lot, landscape). Almost as easy as going for a walk! I generate a six figure income yearly from this simple, home based, low cost start up business and I can teach you how to do the same. Details online: http://www.cleanlots.com. Affiliate program available.

Basically, you pick a profitable niche for your online business, and then you find an affiliate partner who has products available in that niche. Some of the most popular affiliate sites are Clickbank.com, Amazon.com, and CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction). Between them, they offer just about any digital information product (like ebooks, audio files, video files) or physical product you can think of. May big name companies and brands, like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, etc. run their affiliate programs through these third-party affiliate sites.
A niche affiliate site often presents like an eCommerce store. To get started with an affiliate site, choose your niche then display products with pictures, descriptions, and prices, just as you would on an online store. However, when visitors click the ‘buy’ button, they will be taken directly to Amazon, to make the purchase. You then make an affiliate fee for sending the traffic to Amazon but have none of the packaging hassle, or initial financial output creating or buying the products.

Lots of successful makeup artists started their career on YouTube. All you need is a strong portfolio and a professional-looking website to get this gig going. Offer a couple of free makeup sessions to build your reputation and use content marketing to spread the word online. When you feel that you’ve got enough momentum going, start selling makeup tutorials, makeup products, and personalized tips. 


For sure! I think that’s something Jeff and I have learned rather quickly is to definitely not put all your eggs in one basket. We had 1-2 affiliates that we promoted for the longest time that were by and large our main sources of income. We realized that if we lost even 1 of those affiliates we would be in for a huge world of hurt when it came to our monthly intake.
Next, you’ll need the right tools. You can be as complicated or simple as you want depending on your comfort with audio equipment, but at the minimum you’ll want a microphone and software for recording your voice. Companies like Behringer, Blue, Focusrite, and others sell studio-quality plug-and-play podcast setups that can get you recording today.

Social media is a booming industry and is only going to continue to increase in popularity. Companies both large and small are in need of social media assistance and are often happy to have an expert manage their social media presence part-time. There are plenty of social media training courses available and getting started is easier than you’d think! Similarly, with Google being such a valuable source of traffic for website owners, starting an SEO company is something you could also consider!


Another option is to again set up a Shopify store. But instead, you have customer orders drop-shipped to them by the manufacturer, or distributor. You know those super-cheap items you see on Facebook that seem too good to be true? The catch is always that it can take 30 – 45 days for your order to arrive – that's the drop-shipping model in operation right there.


Tools. You don’t need much to work as a home-based freelance writer, but there are some tools that you must have. The most important will be your computer. Get the fastest Internet access that you can afford. It doesn’t matter what kind of computer you get. Just make sure you’re comfortable enough to spend a lot of time with it. Most clients will request that you submit your work as a Microsoft Word document, so make sure that whatever programs you use are compatible. In addition, because you’ll be spending so much time at the computer, make sure that you have a good work area with proper lighting. Some clients will want to be able to reach you by phone or Skype, so have both set up and accessible. You’ll need an invoicing program, such as Freshbooks, and a good bookkeeping system to keep track of sales, orders, and accounts receivables.


Mechanical Turk: Amazon's Mechanical Turk is a resource for doing human-intelligence tasks, or as the site commonly refers to them, HITs. You get paid a very small fee for any given HIT and you'll need a good deal of volume to make a substantial amount of money. But it is a resource you can use in your spare time to generate a small income online. 
There's nothing more off-putting than a poorly designed website, and often, it kills credibility. If you know HTML and have a good eye for design, you can launch a service to create attractive, easy-to-use websites for small businesses. Put your skills to good use for business owners who want to take their online presence to the next level. Build a comprehensive portfolio, and then create your own website to show it off and attract a steady stream of clients.

Once you’ve gathered a list, put together a template outreach email (as you’ll be doing this over and over) that’s short and clear with expectations. Tell your potential interviewee who you are, what your podcast is about, and what you’re asking of them. Do a few test interviews with friends and family to make sure everything is being recorded at the quality you want and then book your first episode.
Freelancing via the Internet is a great way for experts in their individual trades to help a variety of clients overall. Several freelancing and project-based websites let businesses that need extra help to list their projects. Small businesses and freelancers offer proposals, ideas, or bids, whereby the buyers can easily choose what they want and need. Sites like Elance or Upwork cover just about everything including writing content, creating graphic design, programming, and data entry.
Find a profitable niche: We’ve talked about this a lot. But, where are you most comfortable. What niche do your skills, values, and interests intersect? Do you have 10 years of experience as a technical writer? Do you have long-standing PR relationships that’ll be invaluable in helping startups launch a successful crowdfunding campaign? Determine what makes your value unique, and lean heavily on showcasing that strength to your potential clients.
Music is a crucial part of early childhood development. If you have a musical background and are willing to share your talent with kids, then this might be for you. You can offer your services at kindergartens, daycares, and preschools. There might be a need for a free first performance for them to see how the students will interact with your music before hiring your services.
Teaching and tutoring English as a second language is a great way to make money online, not to mention open some doors for you to travel the world if you'd like. While full ESL (English as a Second Language) accreditation is recommended, as long as you’re a native speaker and have the ability to teach, there are people in countries such as Hong Kong or the UAE who are willing to pay upwards of $25/hr for you to tutor them English via Skype. Check out Indeed, Learn4Good and Remote.co for remote english tutoring jobs or sign up on a specialized site like VerbalPlanet or Chegg Tutors.
Research. You need to know what others are selling before you decide what wares you will offer. Lots of people sell handmade items, but those who work hard to make their items unique in some way are the ones who truly stand out. After you’ve decided on a product, check out the other sellers on Etsy and find what they’re offering, and then figure out how you can do it differently.

Next Day Payment: When you sell on Decluttr, you receive payment within 24 hours after the sale completes and the item arrives at the new owner’s address. That’s substantially faster than many online consignment platforms, which tend to have more flexible payment terms. And it’s much more predictable than auction sites or venues for third party sellers (including Amazon), which typically allow buyers and sellers to work out their own payment arrangements.

Note:  There are dozens of other survey sites out there. These just happen to be the more well-known ones that have a reputation for paying out in a timely manner and not having impossible standards for cashing out. As always, be careful with your personal information. I recommend using an entirely separate email address for survey sites so they don’t clutter your inbox.
However, with online employment comes fraudulent companies who scam job seekers into signing illegitimate offers. "There is currently a 61-to-1 scam ratio among work-at-home job leads on the internet — that is, for every legitimate job, there are 61 scams," says Christine Durst, cofounder of RatRaceRebellion.com and consultant to the FBI on internet scam.
Persistence and Commitment. You’ll need to have a good amount of persistence while pursuing freelance writing gigs. This business is subjective, and while one person may love your writing, another may not. Do your best to always produce good, solid copy and hold on to your commitment to do the best you can for your clients. Just by committing to do those two things, you’ll be miles ahead of your competition.
4. Resume/cover letter writing — It’s a tough truth to swallow, but a standout resume and cover letter can make all the difference when you’re applying to a job. While listing your career accomplishments might seem like an easy task, the fine art of “humble bragging” eludes some of us. Get hired to help others get hired by writing stellar CVs. Capitalise on the increasingly important social media branding bandwagon and offer to fix LinkedIn profiles as well.

Merch by Amazon is another service offered by Amazon that will enable you to make money online without any initial outlay. To get started you need to create an account with Merch by Amazon. Then simply design some T-shirt logos or slogans, and upload them to your Merch account. You will need to choose a T-shirt type, color, and price, and Amazon will create product pages for each T-shirt. When someone makes a purchase, Amazon takes care of production and shipping. And you are paid a royalty for your design.
Creating a jobs board website can be another profitable venture. The ‘jobs’ field can be quite saturated, so it is important to find a niche that is still crying out for a jobs board website. Monetize this type of site by charging businesses to list their jobs on your site. Those searching for jobs could also be charged a fee to access the higher paying job adverts.
I want to start an affiliate marketing blog and also sell some of my career expertise such as career coaching and helping people with resumes and cover letters. I want to start a blog through your blue host link but I have some questions first. How do I create appropriate affiliate disclosures? What is the privacy policy that meets GDPR guidelines? (what does GDPR stand for?) Are there any more regulatory guidelines I need to know about? Also, what are some of the best affiliate sites to apply to? The only one I know about is Amazon.
However, like anything else truly worthwhile, apps require a significant investment of your time or money upfront. If you don't have the skills, then you have to hire someone who can assist you in creating a great app. But first you need to come up with an idea that will sell. Do the proper market research and analytics to come up with the right app.
If you have experience with marketing, SEO, or a knack for getting people excited about the products and services you use on a regular basis, think about refining your skills and putting them to work making money online as a small business marketing consultant in your region—especially if you can become a local SEO expert and can help local clients rank higher in their search results.
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.
Persistence and Commitment. You’ll need to have a good amount of persistence while pursuing freelance writing gigs. This business is subjective, and while one person may love your writing, another may not. Do your best to always produce good, solid copy and hold on to your commitment to do the best you can for your clients. Just by committing to do those two things, you’ll be miles ahead of your competition.
Think about whatever you do well and become a coach in this area. It could be blogging, life skills, working online or anything else. You can offer email or Skype coaching. The typical way it works is to offer a package over a certain length of time and involves a certain amount of contact. For example, over one month you will have 2 x 1 hour phone calls plus unlimited email questions.
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