What a timely post, Corbett, especially since I’m on day 3 of the creation process of my 30 Day Online Business Success training. I remember talking to you last year, in a desperate email, asking you HOW I could possibly hit the next level of success online. I just couldn’t see it. You, of course, probably thought I was crazy for NOT noticing the millions of opportunities out there to teach, to offer needed services, products, and more.
There are loads of job listings for freelancers on major job boards, and you can always advertise your services (and look for work) on craigslist or LinkedIn. Once the jobs start rolling in, don’t be afraid to go to previous clients and ask for more work. Steady work is the best work for freelancers. If all else fails at first, just write. Start a blog. Build clips. Get writing!
After you’ve tested and tweaked your small online business site with a limited amount of purchased traffic, it’s time to start generating qualified traffic for your site on a larger scale. You can either continue with paid advertising (PPC) or with the generated traffic optimize your website with the research you have acquired on keywords, user navigation and conversion rate.
If you want to start a business, a great strategy might be to run your business from home first. Some solopreneurs do so with the safety net of a full-time job before they decide to cut the “reliable paycheck” cord. Starting a home-based business is an ideal way to save money and enjoy a more convenient, flexible schedule while you learn how to build a profitable company. After a few years, once your business is more established, you can expand the footprint of your company by renting office space or warehouse space or by creating a retail storefront — but especially in the early days, by using online sales technologies and by keeping your overhead costs low, your home-based business might be your best route to long-term business success.
I think the biggest killer of new ventures is good ideas. A good idea sparks the imagination, causes the founder to invest heavily in a dream, and much of that investment goes into building filters to bad news, which ensures you will be way too overconfident and prevents you from transforming a good idea into an idea that works. The end result can get pretty ugly, and usually involves uncontrollable crying. (That’s right. Real men cry.) As an idea man, I have learned the hard way to distrust my ideas. Better to start with some problems worth solving that I am uniquely able to address and build a simple MVP prototype with no expectation that it will work. Then find out what is wrong with it, fix it, repeat.
But before you can graduate from side business idea and start earning a full-time living as a graphic designer, you'll need to build your skills—I recommend starting with reading the foundational book Graphic Design School and Steal Like an Artist, the incredible book by Austin Kleon about how to become more creative. To accelerate your education in becoming a graphic designer even quicker, check out the online courses Graphic Design Fundamentals and The Graphic Design Bootcamp. Then once you're an expert at your craft, you can further your education and move up to offering more hands-on experiences like design sprints for higher-value clients around the world.
You can start simply by using the Web’s free pages for business advertising that are part of the benefits of a business ownership membership, or by testing your products’ sales potential at online auctions sites. If your preliminary sales are good, you can then purchase a domain name/URL and build a basic site with tools like Microsoft’s FrontPage or Adobe Dreamweaver; or hire a Web designer. Keep web your site simple and easy to navigate. You can use PayPal to first accept online payments. If your Internet sales increase, consider adding a shopping cart program and applying for a merchant account so you can offer credit card processing. (Your site should be hosted by a service that provides a secure server for your credit card orders.)
Obviously some of these small business ideas have more earning potential than others, but what they all share in common are relatively low barriers to entry and the flexibility to work at them for a limited amount of time per week. I also tried to focus on side business ideas that have some sort of online component to them, since that's what I love most.
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.
On the other hand, Burt’s Bees - one of the most recognized brands in natural care products - sold to Clorox for an estimated $925 million in 2007 and has continued to expand its product line and distribution. But it all started with an artist, Burt Shavitz, making candles from a local beekeeper’s extra beeswax and selling $200 worth of products at a local craft fair.
Spencer, my friend’s bro shoots for the National Geographic. He saw the plain photography market slow down with all the digital media within the beginner’s reach. So he turned in around and now promotes language and culture preservation using photography. It’s so cool. As soon as you said “inspiration”, my heart jumped. I am very visual so I would totally buy it. It gets my emotional brain.
Any ideas for me? Am disabled physically/mentally …I had a side job stuffing envelopes..My boss was so thrilled with me and my partner he fired a bunch of workers as we could pull off the bulk of his work!…We got paid well when the economy went upside down we noticed our pay decreased but still made enough to pay 3 house bills. Since about 6 months ago my boss I think lost his house …I remeber his last visit he was so stressed saying he almost had 2 foreclose emergencies:(
No one likes doing taxes, and they need to be paid whether the economy is booming or tanking. This is why at-home tax preparation can be a great business for anyone with a tax background, or anyone willing to take training courses. Since there are annual changes to the tax code, you will need to refresh your training each year, and you will also need to register with the IRS as a tax preparer. This is more of a seasonal business than a year-round endeavor, but it can be a great way to earn some extra income each winter/spring. Median salary: $30,900.
Know someone who rents out property to others? Perhaps they could use a hand managing their property. If so, you can make a decent amount of money on this side business idea with relatively little work on your part (most of the time). It'll take some hustling and the willingness to be flexible with your schedule, as you'll be responsible for collecting rent checks, managing repairs and improvements, and simply being on call for emergencies. But, a property manager is essential for most real estate investors that have a large enough portfolio, so there's definitely merit to this business idea.
Another starting point is to have an idea that very few people other than the founders can actually build. These technical feats provide a natural defense against competition. Remember, every hard problem you solve drops a massive obstacle in front of anyone who’d want to replicate you. Certain problems haven’t been solved because none of the few people smart enough to do so have made it happen. Look at something like Google, which co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were technically capable of building at a time when not many people were. Back then, there were very few people smart enough to build their own search engine let alone imbue it with software that could crawl and rank the entire World Wide Web.
Moz’s Rand Fishkin agrees that there are potentially untapped opportunities out there for you to leverage. For example, there are almost certainly keywords in your niche that your competitors aren’t targeting. As you strive to reach the “content marketing maturity” zone, make a commitment to move beyond producing the same type of content that your competitors publish.
At this point, I was confident that people were searching for these parts and decided that we needed our own website. I contacted a few local web developers who all came back with quotes ranging from £4,000 to £8,000. Being a proud northerner, it was more than I was willing to gamble and I decided to put the whole thing on the backburner. Searching the internet one wet afternoon I discovered a hosted e-commerce solution for just £20 per month.
Start with a very good checkout flow / payment gateway right from the start. I’ve spent too much time thinking I could whack some checkout together with PayPal and a (typical Dutch) bank payment system, but ended up with a lot of coding and hacking into WordPress to make it all happen. Actually, the right checkout still hasn’t been implemented #@!^&*^
It’s not the sort of side business idea that’s covered in glory, but someone needs to make sure all the numbers add up at the end of the year. Every business and most individuals need someone with the domain expertise to help prepare tax returns, especially time or resource-strapped small business owners. Majo Jacinto in his Udemy course provides an in-depth foundational understanding of how to prepare tax returns (and stay current with ever-changing laws) that'll certify you with tax prep skills in as little as a few hours of training and practice. Then once tax season rolls around you'll be able to charge an average of $229 per return as a freelance tax preparer with this side business idea, according to CNBC.
So happy to see Jam Maker on this list. I recently started my own business making and selling unique jams and jellies online. I never knew I was trendy. Many good ideas on here. I’ve only just started to make the break from traditional work force, but believe it is the best decision I’ve made in a long time – though I still haven’t fully quit my day job.
Then you can move into more actionable online courses like Modern Web Design on CreativeLive and Learn Web Design and Profitable Freelancing on Udemy will teach you everything from foundational web design knowledge to earning your first freelance income as a web designer. On top of that, you can take even more immersive courses and learning experiences with access to direct instructor feedback and personal mentorship with platforms like Treehouse, LinkedIn Learning and General Assembly to get up-to-speed even quicker with this career path and listen to my podcast interview with Ian Paget about how to become a freelance designer as a side business idea.
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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.
The third element of the strategy is the type of post you go for. If you’ve got long-form content in the shape of reports or e-books you can draw upon, create mini campaigns around them and publish quotes or key stats over a number of days with links to your website. It’s absolutely fine to post about the same thing more than once, but don’t forget to use trackable links to check what posts work best.
This is a perfect business idea for trained accountants who would like to work from home, although it is not necessary to be a Certified Public Accountant in order to become a freelance bookkeeper—it’s just necessary to have the background knowledge that bookkeeping courses at any community college can offer. This kind of freelance work is especially helpful for small businesses that do not need or cannot afford a fulltime bookkeeper, making it possible for you to have full time work through several smaller clients. Median salary: $34,000.
There’s more to being a coach or personal trainer than just being fit and loving to exercise. Finding a specialization is important, and licenses might be required for certain types of coaching roles. For instance, a friend in Boston obtained US and European soccer-coaching licenses before opening a successful one-on-one soccer-instruction business.