Affiliate marketing. You know this one already. You include links to products you are promoting as an affiliate, and every time somebody buys the product, you get a commission. With a blog you can integrate advertising with content to make it even more likely you’ll get the sale. For example, you could do a product review — which is useful content — and then include a link to buy the product under an affiliate link.
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.
You offer the products for sale, for example, on your blog or e-commerce website. Each product has a unique link that tracks back to your account with your affiliate partner. A prospect who clicks on the link is taken to your partner’s shopping cart for checkout. Once they buy, that purchase is recorded and you receive a commission. It varies depending on the affiliate partner, but is generally 5 percent to 25 percent, or 50 percent or more with digital information products. As you can see, there’s little risk on your part and virtually no investment needed either.

Not everything is just a Google search away. Media organizations hire fact checkers to make sure that items in stories are accurate and that sources quoted really exist. Other organizations need people to find statistics and other data for presentations and reports. There are plenty of opportunities online to get started researching at home. Just be prepared to get into some really esoteric topics that will take you way beyond Wikipedia.
If you have never been self-employed before you need to do some further self-assessment to determine whether you have the right personality to be an entrepreneur. Starting a business is not for everyone. (See 6 Traits You Need to Be Self-Employed.) Common traits for successful business owners are motivation, self-reliance, perseverance, initiative, and the ability to deal with uncertainty.
When I set out to start in on a new business idea, I always make sure it aligns with both my core competencies and my interests. It starts with learning how to discover your strengths as an entrepreneur, and it's how I make sure I'll be engaged, even when the going gets rough. I learned this the hard way when I decided to start a freelance business a few years ago to offer my freelance content marketing services.
To help you stay on track, we've contacted homebased business expert Rosalind Resnick, CEO of Axxess Business Centers Inc. , a New York small-business consulting firm. Resnick is a former business journalist who has regularly contributed her expertise to Entrepreneur.com. She's put together eight helpful tips for keeping your homebased business running smoothly.
45. Smartphones: Just because your business is based from home, doesn’t mean you need to be stuck at home. A smartphone can help you run your business from anywhere. “Smartphones can create flexibility and accessibility while attending to the children’s needs,” says Monica Harris Mondolovich, who has been running a home-based business, MHM Editorial Services, for 10 years while raising two young children.
Yes, even the PowerPoint presentation requires outside consulting every now and then—especially if it's not your forte. I know I would happily outsource the visual layout of my presentation decks for work meetings, investor pitches and lectures. Tobias Schelle of 24Slides is living proof that you can turn your skills at slideshow presentation design into a legit side business idea—and potentially earn up to $20 a slide for your time and talents.
Skills honed, the entrepreneurial 26-year-old launched her own graphic design shop, Darling Design, out of her apartment last year. She figures that an office lease would have cost an extra $1,000 per month. Sure, the home office can get a bit crowded--Schmechel shares the cramped three-bedroom rental with two roommates--but she's happy she did it. "I couldn't have started the business without doing it in my house," she says.
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.
Yes, you can turn your car into a money-maker by driving for Uber and Lyft, but there are other ways to convert mileage into money as a clever side business idea. One way is to do vehicle advertising, a potential side income source of anywhere between $100 to $600 per month. Whether you own a compact sedan or a full-sized bus, your vehicle’s exterior space is prime real estate for ads. Check Wrapify, carvertise, and similar sites for more details about getting started with this business idea and for being paired up with local advertisers.
One of the online world’s hottest professions at the moment, this business is a gold mine for the tech-savvy entrepreneurs. While everyone’s slightly obsessed with getting their sites SEO optimized, not many people can actually wrap their heads around this topic. If you decide to go into this field, you can think about offering link building, content creation, on-page SEO optimization and similar one-off packages. 
Thanks for posting this. I really needed to hear (what my husband has been saying for a while) that just because I have a blog, doesn’t translate into a real business. And here all along I think I have been doing something great and fabulous. That smack in the face was sooooo necessary. I need to really focus on where is the revenue going to come from. My approach to this is like a serious business but my actions say cool hobby.
If you know how to make jewelry, there’s really no reason not to sell it. Handmade jewelry has long held appeal for collectors and admirers alike. The biggest challenge to setting up a jewelry business might be running the business itself—just making beautiful things won’t be enough to sustain the operation. Study up on what it takes to run a jewelry business and then make it happen. A great place to start is online with sites like Etsy and eBay
New entrepreneurs often find it difficult in determining what to charge. Factors that will influence your pricing include the value your customers place in your products and services and what they are willing to pay for them; your industry’s pricing guidelines; and your own pricing strategy and “formula.” Your accountant can guide you in determining how to charge enough for each “billable” hour or product to cover your expenses and to ensure you will be making a profit.

Add Google AdSense advertisements to your blog or website. Google’s AdSense is a revenue-sharing opportunity for small, medium and large web sites that places ads for goods and services that are relevant to the content of your site, targeted to the people who frequent your pages. In turn, you get paid a small amount when the ad is either displayed on your page, or clicked on.


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.
Excellent information. I will be sharing this article with my list since most of them are beginning online marketers. I really resonated with #1 and #7. I was so hesitant to produce my first product. I think it had to do with not thinking it was anything that people would want to buy. Also, I did a whole lot of thinking and learning before I ever started. I think a lot of people fall into the trap of thinking they need to know everything before they even get started.
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.
Your home business may be small, but it enjoys one great advantage big conglomerates can only envy: very low overhead costs. You have no rent to pay, no payroll for an army of workers to disburse every month, and no office furniture and equipment for each one of your staffs to buy. Instead of paying for overhead costs, you can channel your limited resources to making your business grow and flourish. Your concentration should be to spend on items that will give you multiple returns for your money.
51. Get quoted. “Use services such as Reporter Connection, PitchRate, and ProfNet to connect with reporters and be quoted in traditional media,” recommends Shel Horowitz, a home-based marketing consultant and copywriter who, in one year, was quoted or cited in 131 stories thanks to such services. HARO, Reporter Connection, and PitchRate are free, while ProfNet is a paid service.
For many years, the IRS has followed a very strict interpretation of "principal place of business," which prevented some self-employed persons—such as an accountant who maintained a home office but also spent a great deal of time visiting clients—from claiming the deduction. But in July 1997, responding to the concerns of small business advocates, the U.S. Congress passed a tax bill that redefined an individual's "principal place of business" to include a home office that meets the following two criteria: 1) it is used to conduct the management or administrative activities of a business; and 2) it is the only place in which the small business owner conducts those management or administrative activities. When this change became effective on January 1, 1999, it was expected to enable many home-based business owners who also perform services outside of their homes to claim the home office deduction.
One way to make money in this field is by being an expert witness yourself. If you have an expertise that could be useful in legal cases, you can market yourself to attorneys to act as an expert witness. Another way to be active in the expert witness field is to play a sort of matchmaker, matching attorneys up with expert witnesses for their cases--either for the defense or for the prosecution. Expert witnesses for big money cases can be expected to fly anywhere to testify. There's no reason your database of witnesses can't be from all parts of the country.

There are many directions you can take this business. If you want to work during hours when no one else does, you can focus on office clients. You can focus on retail businesses and keep your customers clumped into one or two blocks. Restaurants are in great need of daily thorough cleaning and can be a great source of steady clients. Perhaps you would be more interested in house cleaning. Many times with cleaning services you don't have to spend lots of money on advertising or marketing because your customers will come by word of mouth.
If you’re a fitness buff and have the right combination of charisma and business sense, working as a part-time personal trainer as a side business idea can be both physically and financially rewarding. Once you build up a reputation and client base for yourself, it could easily turn into a full-time endeavor for you. Check out these tips to a successful personal training business by the American Fitness Professionals and this interview with several fitness blog owners who are making a living online, from MonetizePros. Finally, I'd recommend checking out this resource if you want to take this business idea seriously and get started with a business plan for your personal fitness trainer business today.
Mild spoiler alert: Viewers of the TV drama Orange Is the New Black might remember that the show’s main character made amends with one of her fellow prison inmates by making her a soothing lotion. Hopefully you won’t find yourself in prison, but if you find yourself wanting to start a home-based business, consider hand-making soaps and lotions yourself.
44. Equipment lease: An equipment lease is a loan in which a lender buys equipment and then “rents” it to a business at a flat monthly rate for a specified number of months. At the end of the lease, the business may purchase the equipment for its fair market value. This option is great for businesses that are making small purchases and have no revenue yet.
Become an affiliate marketer. There are many companies and webmasters who use affiliate programs to boost their online sales, and most of these affiliate programs are free to join. When you sign up for an affiliate program, an affiliate link with a unique affiliate ID will be assigned to you. The affiliate link is used for marketing the products of your merchant. When a visitor buys an item through your affiliate link, you earn affiliate commission.
Working with other companies is one of the easiest ways to market your products. Sell baked goods? Ask local coffee shops if they’ll carry them. Are you a graphic designer? Offer to do low-cost graphic design for other businesses in exchange for referrals to their clients. There’s always someone you can partner with in a way that will benefit you both.
Are you good with animals? Spread the word to friends and neighbors that you're available to watch their pets while the owners go on a vacation or weekend trip. Pet owners often feel more comfortable leaving their furry friends in the care of an individual rather than placing pets in a boarding facility, so getting referrals shouldn't be too difficult. If you can't commit to lodging animals in your home, consider starting a dog walking or waste cleanup business.
If you have a fondness for taking pictures of smiling families or laughing children blowing bubbles, consider becoming a stock photographer and selling your images to a stock photo company like Unsplash, ShutterStock and iStockPhoto as a side business idea. You’ll get royalties every time someone licenses an image you’ve submitted. To really be successful, build your own photography website to be able to showcase your portfolio and start getting higher-paid private corporate work.
If you speak like James Earl Jones or Scarlett Johansson, quite a number of digital publishers (including game developers, animated film-makers, and training video producers) pay good money for voice talent and the time investment isn't too intensive—making this a great side business idea. You can find these publishers looking for voice-over artists on sites like PeoplePerHour, Freelancer and Upwork, as well as their calls for talent directly on their websites or through voiceover agents. If you do pursue this as a side business idea, be prepared to invest for the long-haul as it can be a very competitive industry.
As your business grows, review, and revise: your business plan to see if you are achieving your goals; your marketing plan, to see what strategies were the most cost-efficient and had the best responses; your customer service plan to see if you are receiving satisfactory feedback; and your financial plan, to review your business’s current financial statement to ensure your business has a positive cash flow.
Without realizing it, I skipped over doing the good work of pinpointing my target market and ideal clients, defining my brand and my offer, figuring out my Why, etc. I studied audience-building and content marketing tactics and put a lot of work into growing a community from the start, but because I wasn’t clear myself on the purpose of my brand, I didn’t have a consistent message to share with that community to build trust and gain their interest in any kind of offers.
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