If you own a camera, starting a freelance portrait photography business could be a very natural way to turn your skills and passions into a profitable business idea. Start with doing free shoots for friends and family to build up a strong online portfolio, get familiar with your gear and the editing process, then you'll be able to get paid for photographing professional head shots and celebratory family moments as your side business idea. Get started by checking out this men's portrait photography class that regularly broadcasts for free on CreativeLive. Plus, once you have all the photography gear, you can earn a little extra side income by renting it out when you're not using it through online marketplaces like Fat Lama.
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.
Thanks for sharing these top 10 mistakes. Sometimes I think these “top failures/mistakes” posts are even more helpful than the usual “top 10 best advices” type of posts, since they give people concrete ideas about what they should avoid. For me, the biggest setback was and still is number 7, wasting too much time thinking and not enough doing. One of my favorite quotes regarding this is by Napoleon: “Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action comes, stop thinking and go in.”
If you’ve mostly been buying print ads, consider web-based ads. If you have tried Google Adwords, you might want to try to advertise on Bing or Facebook. Try sending out a newsletter by email, and don’t forget about social media. If you have a B2B target market, you could start your own business networking group. The key is to always try at least one new marketing technique. If it works, great, keep doing it. If it doesn’t work, try something else. Entrepreneurship is about experimenting with new ideas.
People are always searching for one-of-a-kind venues for meetings, parties and weddings. Why not earn some extra money off the space you already have by renting it out for events as a side business idea? If you own a unique venue, like a studio, warehouse or boat, UK-based company Tagvenue will connect you with clients looking for somewhere special to host their event. Not a bad low-effort side business idea.
2. Keep your overhead to a minimum. “It’s not about how much money you make, it’s about how much you keep, so overhead is key,” says Craig Wolfe, founder of CelebriDucks, a company that creates celebrity rubber ducks. “It’s great that you’re working from home, but you can still bankrupt yourself through ill-conceived overspending, especially in technology.”

Create a flier outlining your services. Before you do that, you need to know what those services will be. Do you want to simply do bookkeeping for a small business? A more involved level of accounting would be do actually work up balance sheets, income statements, and other financial reports on a monthly, quarterly, and/or annual basis, depending on the needs of the business. Other specializations can include tax accounting, a huge area of potential work. Service companies like Due.com assisted freelancers with payments. Many owners don't mind keeping their own day-to-day bookkeeping records but would rather get professional help with their taxes.


College counsellors come in all shapes and sizes. Their primary duty is to help guide students through an important period in their lives. Some counselors focus on admissions, career advice, financial aid, athletics, extracurricular activities, and other concerns. There are institutions looking out for part-time college counselors, making this a fantastic side business idea, or you can even start your own practice and charge anywhere from $25-$100+ per hour for your consultative services if you're well-versed on the subject.

Another big suggestion is finding small and easy ways to test business ideas and assumptions. I think this is implicit in your post. For example, if you have an idea for a digital course, you may do a free webinar on the same topic first. If you can’t get enough people to show up for a free webinar, then there probably isn’t enough interest for a paid product on the topic.
The whole “building an audience” is challenging for me. I’m not much of a blog subscriber myself, and so I’m really not quite sure what makes a blog tasty enough for someone to subscribe to. I solve more of a technical business problem… one of those things that if you need it, you REALLY need it now. And if you don’t need it, then you’re not really interested in getting weekly updates talking about it (I would imagine).
Online sites like Etsy and ArtFire are platforms that make it extremely easy for crafters who can produce a steady supply of quality handmade items, like crocheted blankets or unique painted glassware. Startup costs are extremely low if you purchase your materials in bulk from a craft supplier, and if you can turn around orders quickly, you'll be making a profit in no time at all. It's even possible to turn your store into a full-time gig.
Every website owner (including myself) hires copywriters to write content for things like about pages, FAQ's, or blog posts. Hourly wages for novice copywriters are not very high, but with some experience and a growing portfolio, you can become a freelance writer today and soon be charging more than you make at your full-time job if you find the right clients and brand yourself as an expert with this side business idea. Check out one of my most talented friends, Jory Mackay, for an example of someone who's doing a great job of positioning himself as a premium service-provider with his freelance writing side business idea. Then when you're ready to start cold emailing potential clients, pick up my free downloadable freelance proposal template and get started today.
If you're a fast typer with an ear for dictation, than transcription might be right for you. A lot of different businesses require transcription, from medical practices to attorney's offices, and will pay handsomely for quality work. Why not be the service to meet their needs? All you need to start is a computer, an internet connection, and the will to build a network of professionals and gain their referrals.
I have a friend that is the city manager of a town of about 25,000 where his main task is processing requests for building permits. Actually a volunteer-type job, no salary. But he makes a bunch of contacts every day, and his address book is huge. So he is busy all year except the Holidays. To fill in this time he started a Christmas tree lighting service (houses, lawn ornaments, etc.). In this 3-month period he makes enough to keep him going the rest of the year.
Have a knack for staying organized? If you're a jack of all trades, you should consider working as a virtual assistant as a side business idea. You can find great gigs on Elance, Indeed, or Upwork. It can be an awesome way to rub shoulders with some very important people, build up your professional network, develop in-demand new skills (like creating GIFs and VR videos), grow your side business idea and you'll have the added perk of being able to start this as a home based business idea. Becoming a virtual assistant can be a particularly great side business idea if you're hoping to travel the world while making money online as a digital nomad.
Home based businesses are cheap to start: You might think that you need lots of money to start a business. And it’s true that having some startup capital is often a big advantage — it can give you a safety net to use while you’re figuring out how to become profitable, even if you make some mistakes along the way. But according to this data, 44 percent of home based businesses are started for less than $5,000. This is an optimistic sign that if you have a good idea and are willing to work hard, you can start making money while operating a business from home, even without a lot of startup capital.

Set up a merchant account. Service businesses in the past had to generally rely on cash or check—setting up an entire credit card processing system was a thankless, expensive task at best. Using a service such as PayPal makes it possible to accept virtually any form of credit or debit card for your services, and includes dispute resolution should the need arise (and it will arise).

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