If you have the gift of gab, public speaking is a worthwhile side business idea for you to pursue. Many authors, medical practitioners, scientists, artisans, politicians, and other subject matter experts earn extra income by delivering speeches, seminars, and presentations. Professional motivational speakers earn an average annual salary of around $90,000 with just that portion of their income, making this a very realistic side business idea while you continue practicing your craft.
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. 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 (like reducing churn).
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Ever since the idea of online auctions came into existence, the online selling market has been on the rise. Many are interested, but don’t know how to get started. There are still all kinds of ways to make money by selling online, whether you’re selling what you already have or buying and selling like a store. Before we get started, here are a few general tips when selling anything online:
Working as a freelancer is a great way to make money online from the comfort of your own home. The beauty of freelancing is that you can tailor it to suit your needs. You can freelance for a couple of hours a week in the evenings to help save up for a holiday or some much-needed home improvements. Or carve out a full-time job for yourself, giving you a more satisfying work-life balance and enabling you to do the simpler things in life like taking the kids to school. With so many jobs available online, freelancing is becoming more and more popular.
As long as there is still the written word, there will always be editors. Freelance editing and proofreading not only pays a decent hourly wage, it also gives you the chance to read about potentially interesting topics too. What's more, pursuing freelance writing & editing as a business idea can afford you a lifestyle that lets you travel the world as a digital nomad. You can find lots of job postings from companies and individuals in need of writing, proofreading, and editing services on Contena, which makes this a high-demand side business idea.
Mechanical Turk operates much like TaskRabbit and GigWalk: it’s a corner online where Amazon gathers tasks to be done, people willing to do them, and people willing to pay for them. On Mechanical Turk, you get to do the oddest jobs you can imagine as an online business idea, made possible by a parallel online universe that runs on hits, visits, surveys, reviews, pins, likes, CPCs, reads, and other metrics. But don’t get too ambitious. The small sums being paid out to human Mechanical Turk users rarely add up to anything seriously substantial, even if you invest most of your spare time into it. It's a better opportunity for internationally-based people with internet access and lower costs of living than in the US. Here’s one person’s account of his former life as a Mechanical Turk talking through how he got started with  this business idea and what the experience was really like.
If you're a crafter, the internet is your showcase — and not only at auction sites like eBay. DeWitt Young of ObviousFront.etsy.com has had success turning her crafts into cash online. She has a booth at Etsy.com's Craft Mall, an amazing place where thousands of artisans and crafters offer their goods for sale. DeWitt turns salvaged parts from old TVs and VCRs into artsy necklaces, earrings, and figures. Colleen Jordan of wearableplanter uses 3D printing to create her necklaces called wearable planters.

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!)

Think blogging is no longer a viable source of income? Think again. Tens of thousands of bloggers (including yours truly) are creating profitable content on topics as diverse as scrapbooking, home cooking, travel, film, lifestyle, business, personal finance and more. And we're growing our blogs into six-figure businesses thanks to a combination of email subscribers, affiliate marketing, blog sponsorships, and other revenue streams. Your first step with starting a blog is quickly getting the technical side of things handled (my free master course on blogging will show you how), and then both understanding what your audience craves and learning how to attract those readers online.

Etsy is the most popular online marketplace for handmade goods and crafts. From bracelets to phone cases, rings, furniture, and more, Etsy is perfect for anyone who is creative and wants to sell their handmade creations. As long as you have the space, this can make for one of the best ways to make money online that can be started with a very limited investment. Consider these 5 steps to starting an Etsy store, from Handmadeology.


There's a proverbial gold rush happening today, of people trying to launch chatbots for their businesses to help automate some of their sales and marketing efforts that are needed to properly grow and scale in today's market. However, similar to California's Gold Rush, those that will likely get rich are the ones that sell the picks and shovels. For that reason, why not launch your own chatbot business? Sure, there's some effort involved here, but this is definitely worth the steep learning curve.

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.
As I’ve already covered with TeeSpring, the T-shirt retailing business is worth millions of dollars. But what if you want to do the manufacturing side of things? T-shirt printing turns out to be quite a rewarding business idea for many each year, but can quickly consume much of your side business idea time—so know what you're getting into before diving in. This multi-billion dollar industry counts big corporate factories as well as home-based part-time entrepreneurs.
With nearly 100,000 different custom extensions both free and paid available in Google Chrome's marketplace, there's a huge opportunity for creating a useful extension for people to use while browsing the web as a low effort business idea. One of my favorite Chrome extensions, Yet Another Mail Merge, which enables you to send bulk customized emails from within Gmail, gives you 50 free credits to send emails and gives you the chance to upgrade to a paid account to unlock more sending—a great upsell for the people who are getting value from the extension. Even free Chrome extensions like SVRF Tabs by SVRF, which replaces your new tab with stunning VR and 360º images, have the potential to bring in new users and eventually drive revenue for the startup's core business. Another fun example from a friend of mine, Kathleen Garvin, is Hide images with NOPE, a Chrome extension that hides images on the web pages you're browsing—to help eliminate distractions and keep you from seeing images (like those of certain politicians) that you may want to hide. This side business idea is particularly great because it also allows you to showcase your development skills—which can be put to work as an adjacent side business idea on a freelance basis alongside the Chrome extensions you launch.
Your Deals. In addition to establishing a per-class price, also offer packages to entice people to sign up for more than one class. For example, if you intend to host classes on making soap, offer the classes individually, as well as in a group. Someone could take a class learning how to use fresh flowers in homemade soap, or they could buy a bundle that teaches them how to use those, fresh herbs, and plastic toys for kid’s soap. However you decide to price your classes, remember that the buyer will want to feel like they’re getting a lot for their money. If you can provide that in a fun atmosphere, they’ll likely be back time and time again – and they’ll bring friends.

If you’re serious about making money selling things online, it’s pretty much impossible to not recommend Shopify. The platform gives you everything you need to get your online store up and running in less than a day including a custom domain, beautiful templates (so you don’t need design skills), secure payment options, and they can even take care of marketing and shipping for you. Whether you’re promoting your own products, designs, or curating other products for people in your niche, Shopify is the best option for powering your online store.
Think blogging is no longer a viable source of income? Think again. Tens of thousands of bloggers (including yours truly) are creating profitable content on topics as diverse as scrapbooking, home cooking, travel, film, lifestyle, business, personal finance and more. And we're growing our blogs into six-figure businesses thanks to a combination of email subscribers, affiliate marketing, blog sponsorships, and other revenue streams. Your first step with starting a blog is quickly getting the technical side of things handled (my free master course on blogging will show you how), and then both understanding what your audience craves and learning how to attract those readers online.
If you are a confident web developer then designing your own themes is an obvious path to follow if you are looking to make money online. ThemeForest sells a wide assortment of developers themes, including themes for WordPress, Shopify, Weebly, and Tumblr, to name a few. Once you have created your theme, get it accepted onto the ThemeForest marketplace and make money each time it sells.
For new entrepreneurs, deciding to start an online business is an exciting journey, but it’s also new terrain that can be intimidating and difficult to navigate. Maybe you’ve tried starting your own business before, or maybe you're planning your very first one. Regardless, every new business will present its own unique opportunities and challenges.

Nice writing style Ben. I’m finding out very quickly that to make any money writing, you have to read, read, and then read some more, no matter how smart you feel you are on a subject, before writing your first sentence. I have always been a fan of multiple income streams and am thrilled by the ideas of proofreading, editing, blogging, freelancing and transcribing. Having spent one of my careers doing just that for a large corporation, it’s a perfect fit, but now I can get credit for my work, thanks again for a great article.


More and more people are taking advantage of having a virtual assistant online. Being a virtual assistant can be quite varied. It might mean sorting and replying to email, tweeting, doing internet research or writing documents, among many other tasks. There are many sites where you can find employers or advertise your services such as Freelancer.com.
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