Great post. My husband has been selling used books on-line for 10 years…It’s not enough to fully support our family of 6, but it does afford us a lot of flexibility. We both work other odds and ends spot jobs and it ends up working out. We have also had the flexibility to be volunteer managers at a church camp in the summer. (Right now the camp can not afford a manager) I’m pioneering a women’s conference and event ministry. I’ve always been very greatful for the freedom we have. My husband helps at the kids schools, apointments are easy to make, and the stress is less. It’s been a sacrifice in some ways but worth the gains in time and flexibility for sure.
Giving speeches is a terrifying experience. Giving bad speeches… Well, no one wants to be in that situation. Wordsmiths have a hugely sellable skill to win people over using nothing else but the power of well-strung sentences. If you can write, cash in on this skill by crafting speeches that make birthdays, weddings, award ceremonies, or political debates a more memorable experience.
The basic idea behind an online drop shipping business is that, as a small business owner, you don’t have to maintain a large inventory of products or handle any delivery to your customers. That eliminates the financial cost and risk of having a warehouse full of stuff you might not sell, and the hassle of arranging to send orders all over the country or the world. In fact, you don't have to manufacture or store any products at all.
Expertise is another matter, but remember that writing can take many forms—from resumes to news articles to marketing materials and even thank-you notes. (You can even write for businesstown.com, although that gig doesn’t pay … yet.) There’s probably some form of writing you’re qualified to do. Plus, if you’re good enough with grammar and punctuation, companies will pay you to be a freelance editor. One friend made good money editing posts on a popular travel site.

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.
I am 3 years away from full retirement but would love to do it earlier and get out of the rat race and learn new skills. I have plent of office experience and working wiith numbers and pc’s. Can anyone give me an estimate of the cost of the online schools for certificates in medical billing? I looked at some of your links to the schools and I know I can ask them for info, but woud like to get an idea of the cost before I have someone contacting me without knowing first if I can afford to pursue this. I am very interested and thank you for wanting to help others.
Starting a pet sitting service requires almost nothing in start-up costs. You do need some general credentials that will cost little or nothing to acquire. Your list of credentials should probably include personal pet ownership--if not currently, at least in the past--as well as other pet-related experience, including working at a pet food store, an animal hospital or other animal-related business. You will need to spend a little to become "bonded." This is known as "honesty insurance," and ensures your clients that you won't get their house keys and make off with their valuables (or that they'll get their money back if you do). 

Just revisited this post after it was mentioned on the Fizzle show. And man, I’ve found that #6 is SOOO true. There are still plenty of “gurus” who say, “Even just dedicating 15 minutes per day to your new business will get you going.” While I suppose that’s literally true, fact is, I’ve found that while I’m working my full-time gig I still need to spend no less than 2 hours per day (and preferably 4+ hours per day), 7 days per week to get a useful amount of work done. Launching a business while holding down a full-time job can certainly be done (and I’m doing it), but I think too many of the IM advice-givers sugarcoat the amount of time that actually needs to be invested. Perhaps that’s why so many people “fizzle” after a few months. They start something, then realize “Oh no…this is actually real work that takes real time!”
If editing and advising college students on how to write compelling 500 word essays on topics such as "You were just invited to speak at the White House. Write your speech," seems like a compelling business idea to allocate your free time towards, trust me—tons of parents will pay you to edit admissions essays and offer constructive feedback for their children. Be careful not to blur the ethical line of actually writing their essays, but serving as an editor to help them convey their message can become a great side business idea that has the potential to spread by word-of-mouth referral in your community.
There are a lot of items that can be purchased very inexpensively at garage sales or thrift stores and sold for higher prices elsewhere. A few years ago I discovered that I could purchase good hardcover books at my local thrift shop for $1 or less. I realized that some of them could be sold on Amazon.com for $15-$20, which turns out to be a pretty decent profit.
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.
Be social. Whatever your business, whatever your venue, keeping your name in the air is key to internet success. Have a business account on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If your business is graphically oriented, have accounts on Flickr and Tumblr as well. Whenever there is news of any kind—a new contract, a new page, a new entry, a new photo—cross-post it to all your social media sites. Also make sure those sites link back to your main website, and that your website has links to all of them.

Choosing the path of entrepreneurship, and working on your side business idea, is without a doubt riskier than being content with holding a 9-5 job. It requires way more sacrifice. However, once you’re reaping the lifestyle benefits of being your own boss and hustling your way into making significantly more money with your business idea than you ever could at your day job, the hard work will have all been worth it. So, let’s talk business ideas.
78. Understand your own work habits and what tools will work best for you. “Get an egg timer or a digital stopwatch with a countdown function,” advises Laurence J. Stybel, founding partner and president of Stybel Peabody Lincolnshire. “Decide on the chunk of time that you are most productive. For example, I can be productive for 45 minutes at a time. After that, the law of diminishing returns starts to apply.”

Choosing the path of entrepreneurship, and working on your side business idea, is without a doubt riskier than being content with holding a 9-5 job. It requires way more sacrifice. However, once you’re reaping the lifestyle benefits of being your own boss and hustling your way into making significantly more money with your business idea than you ever could at your day job, the hard work will have all been worth it. So, let’s talk business ideas.
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