If you love to travel and find yourself randomly searching for airfare sales or browsing Lonely Planet, why not carve out a niche for yourself as a private travel agent? My friend, Mark Jackson did just that, making extra money online with his travel consulting side business. Start with word of mouth recommendations from friends who know they can count on you for the cheapest flights, and then move on and create a Facebook or LinkedIn group to invite people who want to stay on top of the latest deals. Eventually you could spin this into a full-time consultancy teaching people how to make their dream trip a reality.
Blogging often takes a while to produce income because it requires you to build an audience or community first, but once you have that community in place, provided that you keep providing valuable information to your fans, you can start to “monetize” that community by offering advertising, products or services that serve the community. These can be products or services that you create or own, or things that you promote as an affiliate to make affiliate commissions from.
If you know a thing or two about paid internet marketing and are comfortable with Google, a great way to make some extra income as a side business idea is to sign a freelance contract to manage a company’s Google Ad Campaigns, and gradually start bringing on more clients as your consulting business grows. Just be sure to brush up on all the right business slang and industry jargon that's pervasive in the online marketing world before you launch unprepared into this side business idea.
You know those top-down cooking or craft videos you just can’t seem to get away from these days? There are people out there making a living from them. 78% of B2C companies depend on user-generated content, like those videos, for their marketing campaigns. You can sign up as a creator on a site like Darby Smart and potentially work with brands like Nordstrom, Mattel, and BarkBox. Or, learn how to master PPC advertising and you can use the content to build your YouTube following and monetize through ads and views.
If can't afford to buy a website there are just as many opportunities in buying and selling domain names. The people who do this are referred to as domain flippers. The principle is the same – you buy a domain for as little as $10 and flip it for several times that amount. Do companies still pay thousands of dollars for a domain name you own but they want? Absolutely.
Some people just seem to intuitively know more than others – they don’t get involved in destructive relationships or suffer from loss of self-knowledge. If you can relate to that description and feel your relationships have been fairly happy and stable, then maybe you’re one of them. You’ll need to invest in relevant workshops and books, get knowledgeable and certified before you can start coaching others, but it’s a fascinating business idea that will reward you both financially and morally.
Setting up a successful online business does cost money. You need professional website designers, developers, SEO providers and other specialists. You can’t do it by scrimping on costs and trying to do it all yourself. It will reflect in your business, website, growth and sales. Quality professional websites will go a long way to convincing customers you are selling quality goods or services. Do your research, get recommendations from forums (the Flying Solo forums are a great place to start!) and try to buy local services to protect yourself as it is difficult and expensive to sue an overseas company or provider if things go pear shaped. There are, unfortunately, a lot of online business owners who have learned the hard way that not all overseas service providers are honest. The other essential item is to ensure you have tight contractor agreements in place with your service providers that include: clear timelines for delivery, payment in phases not upfront, and ownership of the website AND software code after finalisation. This is important to be able to change developers if you want and also to be able to show your full ownership for investment purposes.
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.
Next, you need to set up and build your YouTube channel. Your YouTube channel is your homebase for all your content. If you already have a Google account for Gmail or Google Drive, then you can use that to log-in to YouTube and start setting up your channel. Pick a username that works for you and is memorable (if you’re using an existing Google account you’ll have to edit your username in Google+).
Teaching and tutoring English as a second language is a great way to make a solid side business idea work, not to mention opening 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, there are people in countries such as Hong Kong or the UAE who are willing to pay upwards of $25/hr for you to teach them English via Skype. Indeed, Learn4Good and Remote.co often have remote english tutoring jobs posted, check back frequently. Then once you land that remote job, you'll need somewhere more professional than your dining room table to meet with students—check out this post about how to find places to work remotely and you'll officially graduate this side business idea into a full-time endeavor for yourself.
There's an audience for everything, whether it's making dollhouse furniture or creating organic dog food. With a specialty e-commerce store, you can reach those customers who are seeking your specific products. All you need is a web-hosting service with an integrated shopping cart feature or with e-commerce software, and your business will be operational in no time. You can even work with vendors to ship products to customers on your behalf, which means you don't need to own a lot of inventory. [See Related Story: A Small Business Guide to E-Commerce Shipping]
Naturally, it helps if you already have an online audience you can tap for listening to your regular podcast (like I did), but that hasn't stopped thousands of people from building successful side business ideas into lucrative podcasts—including Alex Blumberg, founder of Gimlet Media who teaches how to use storytelling and launch a podcast. You can also check out this class from podcaster and entrepreneur, Lewis Howes, about how to make money podcasting as a side business idea, which regularly broadcasts for free on CreativeLive.
Once you’ve had children, many parents find themselves caught in the trap of needing to work but wanting to stay home with their kids. Creating your own parenting blog can not only be a way to make some money, but it can also help you connect with other parents and make sense of those crazy sleepless early parenting years (it does get easier don’t worry!)
Approximately 3.7 million people in the U.S. were self-employed as of 2018 and working from their homes. Nine out of 10 American workers have wished at some point that they could make the transition to working from home. With the ups and downs of the economy, the slicing of employer benefits, and the crazy pace of life, many people are deciding to take control of their careers and incomes by launching a home business.
For example, Amazon affiliates can potentially rake in obscene amounts of commission dollars if they work at it. Simply sign up as an affiliate to sell a company’s products using your special referral link, and you can get a commission for each product sold without lifting a finger. Commission ranges from product to product and also goes up in stages according to how many products sales your clicks generate. The top commission tier is 8%. That adds up to some serious amounts of cash each month if you’re promoting products with that high rate of commission ( Home & Garden is one such product area with high commissions).
Believe it or not, this freelance bike messenger makes more money than some people glued to their office desks. You won't rake in a whopping $50,000 as this guy does by just doing this in your free time as a side business idea only, but you’ll surely get a piece of the action. Even Uber is trying out a blueprint for a delivery service, and companies like WunWun and Amazon are stepping up their efforts to expand same-day delivery, increasing the demand for more to jump in on this business idea. If you have a decent bicycle, those pair of pedals might just earn you a healthy side hustle income.
Another way of how to make money online is to sell links on sites that you own. Many bloggers and website owners earn money taking this route. Basically, companies want lots of links to their sites as this tells Google that their site is a quality site and then they rank higher in Google searches. People try to game this system by buying links on other sites. Usually it is very quick and easy to add a link to your sites for someone. However, you do run the risk in that if Google finds out, your own sites can be penalised in Google search rankings.