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.
When you commission a designer or developer, make sure you are clear about intellectual property (IP) issues. Wherever possible, insist that you retain the IP to the site once you have made final payment. Some designers will want to retain ownership of some or all elements of the site design, which can be a major problem if you later want to sell your online business. You may have to be flexible about this, though. For example, some developers may have created a particular system or technique for a website function and will only be prepared to license this to you rather than sell it outright.
Take the time to develop your skills at either making your own music, or becoming a pro at mixing, and your side business idea of dj-ing local events could turn into a much bigger endeavor. Though you'll first need to command a solid knowledge of sound design, mixing and music production before expecting to land your first gig with this business idea, as developing an entirely new skill set is not for the faint of heart.
If you are a native English speaker with reasonably good writing skills, one of the easiest ways to earn money straight away is by signing up for sites such as UpWork. Create a good profile with samples of your work and start applying for jobs. Initially, you may need to start with jobs that are quite poorly paid to build up a good rating, but then you should be able to earn reasonable money for your time.
The two expressions (Disclaimer and Terms & Conditions) are often confused or used interchangeably. However, an online standard is emerging with the term Website Disclaimer used for non-commercial websites (i.e. providing information only, such as a company brochure-type website) and the term Website Terms & Conditions used for commercial websites (i.e. providing a paid-for product, service or subscription).
If you're at all interested in starting your own online business, there's no time like the present. We live in a golden age of wealth. As much as the media tries to glorify the perils of our society, we actually live in a time that's ripe with opportunity and the potential for monumental business growth at a scale never before experienced. Thanks to the internet and smartphones, the amount of commerce being conducted online has experienced explosive growth.
Maybe you're not very good with computers, or don't want to sit behind a desk? Well, here's a side business idea that has more of a physical component to it. If you also like working with others,  then becoming an on-call mover will likely fit the bill. When someone's moving, they always need a helping hand (or three). You can provide that service and make some cash with this side business idea. Whether it's helping someone who's moving apartments or linking up with a local mover who needs an extra set of hands, working as a mover can be a pretty good gig.
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.
Considering that you have a finite amount of time, passive income should make up a large part of your work. If you're serious about generating any semblance of income online, then passive income should be one of your sole goals and ambitions. Why? Wouldn't you prefer to do the work one time and get paid repeatedly as opposed to relying on your time to generate that income? Invest the time at the front-end so that you can reap the benefits on the back-end. This means putting in a bit of sweat equity and not getting paid today. Rather, you'll get paid somewhere down the road. And you'll continue getting paid whether you keep building that passive income stream or you stop. 
Some subjects are much better paid than others, so although you may love the idea of writing about travel (badly paid) a better bet would be a niche like finance (much higher rates of pay). Check out the Pro Blogger job board for high paid freelance writing jobs – other places to look might be Textbroker or you can look at the “gigs” section on Craigslist.
There you have it – a  comprehensive guide to the best online businesses to start this year. We deliberately didn't cover ideas like app development or IT support because they require specialized skills. That's why we only provided you with businesses you can start with very little money. In fact, you can even start some of them with very little knowledge.
Domain name trading has been around for the last couple decades, and while most slam-dunk names have long been sold off (Insure.com went for $16 Million in 2009) there’s still plenty of others that you can get your hands on for relatively cheap and broker as your side business idea. But beware: some experts doubt the long-term viability of this business idea, so you shouldn’t quit your day job just to put all your effort into this one without some successes already in the bag. To get you started, here are some tips from GoDaddy, arguably the world’s largest and most famous repository of domain names. Imagine owning desirable domain names for the next decade's most innovative companies.
A fitness site can have numerous revenue streams. Create healthy eating plans and recipes and lock them away as premium content. Promote and sell a fitness training course, eBook, or a series of videos. Or advertise your own personal fitness services on your site. Topfithub is a good example of a fitness site with decent video content alongside product reviews.
Market your course: The beauty of using a course to make money online is that you can continue to sell it for as long as you’d like. Look for niche communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Reddit that might benefit from your content. Guest post on relevant blogs and sites. Look for anywhere you might be able to get in front of the right people. With just a few hours a month you can continue to generate sales.
There's a huge growing market for mobile phone accessories, and plenty of handmade sellers are raking in 6 and sometimes 7 figures from their phone case businesses. You can get your own phone case business up and running as a side business idea in a matter of days with turnkey solutions from Case Escape, my previous company, and you can now get ready-to-go kits that'll give you everything you need to start a phone case business. Once you're up and running, you can sell cases on Etsy, Amazon Handmade, and Fancy. During our first year of selling phone cases as a side business idea on our Etsy store, we made around $60,000 in revenue from that selling channel alone—not to mention additional sales from fairs, trade shows, promotional products vendors, parties, events and other online marketplaces. From there, the sales only continued growing and we graduated from side business idea to full-time company that I ran with my best friend for multiple years.
If you have ever dreamed about being a day trader but don’t want to spend the time or money on the best advice, then a social investment network such as eToro could be for you. It has a simple, easy to use interface for trading online. What makes this a great platform to earn money for people without a lot of experience in trading is that you are able to see what other traders are doing and set it up to copy their trades automatically. You can learn from their trades or (hopefully) make money by copying them.
Running a business consulting company is a great option for those who’ve been involved in the process of building a business before. Whether you’ve gained your experience through working with a number of different startups or learned the secrets of business management in a more corporate environment, helping other entrepreneurs achieve great results can include everything from business planning and forecasting to liaising with banks and institutions.
Do you love getting refunds? How cool would it be to get money back on stuff you’ve already bought? Paribus is a service that lets you find out if stores you’ve shopped at online owe you a refund.  It’s free to sign up. Paribus connects to your email account and checks your receipts.  If they find out a retailer has dropped their price they file a price adjustment claim for you.  Try out Paribus.
×