Making money on the side can be a lot of fun (with the right idea), even if it isn't as easy as most people would like.
To be clear, it's not that hard to come up with a profitable idea, but it is hard to get your content, products and services in front of the right people at the right time. There are millions of businesses, and many more spammers all trying their best to squeeze very last bit of revenue out of people using the Internet, so competition online is intense.
But, if you can find a way to get a side business up and running (while having fun), you are at a serious competitive advantage over most other startups and online ventures.
This article looks at 10 super fun side business ideas that can be operated online, from home, and could potentially put good money in your pocket.
1. Entertaining pics & clips
Posting a funny image or video clip online can lead to huge volumes of traffic if that content goes viral. The trick here is to be able to come up with pictures and clips that are genuinely entertaining, so that people share them readily.
The hardest part about making money from this idea is being genuinely funny. It's not something that everyone can do well - otherwise, we'd all be highly paid comedians. Here's a great example of a funny YouTube clip that has garnered over 32 million views:
Pretty astounding numbers for a relatively easy clip to make, right?
With the right ads in place, and good use of links back to your own blog or website (where you can generate additional revenue from ads, affiliate marketing, or selling other products), it's not hard to earn a decent amount from something like this.
The best way to set yourself up to make money out of entertaining media is to:
Post media to your site and share it on the big social networks like YouTube and Pinterest
Use Google Ads, or some other popular ad network, on your site to generate revenue from the content (remember that YouTube allows you to generate revenue from ads shown directly on posted clips)
2. Sell homemade, locally
I recently attended a local craft market to help out a friend who was selling stuff there for the first time. The thing that struck me was how often customers were interested in "keeping in touch" so that they could think things over or talk to someone, before coming back to make a purchase.
It was so clear how perfectly suited a website (combined with email marketing) is for this type of small enterprise. If you love making food or goodies as a hobby and want to take it more seriously, then:
start selling at a local market
use an eCommerce website with email marketing features to make more sales, build your brand, and start getting repeat business
Setting up a cutting edge eCommerce site is really easy these days, and can be done for as little as $20 - you can learn how using our beginner guide to creating a website.
By integrating eCommerce into your hobby, or whatever fun activities you love doing, you create the potential to grow that hobby into a startup, and beyond.
And remember, having your own online store will also make it possible to integrate with other online retail platforms like Etsy and eBay, giving you even more revenue generation potential.
3. Adventure blogging
If it feels like you are stuck in a bit of a rut, why not try something completely different?
A friend, after qualifying with a doctorate in Geology (or something like that), decided to take a break and go work with her husband on yachts in the Caribbean. She is going to cook for people on the boats, and blog about the food she prepares, and her experiences travelling around one of the most beautiful parts of the world.
The blog itself stands a really good chance of doing well because it has some really unique features that will make it stand out.
For example, her recipes all have to be made in a single pot (because there is no room in the cramped kitchen of the boat), but need to satisfy the tastes of the very affluent (so presentation and flavor are key). Plus, she needs to cater for the customers by buying from local markets wherever the yacht stops off.
So she's going to have awesome, colourful pictures, really unique and interesting recipes, combined with exotic tastes and flavors, and top-class presentation to put in her blog each day. She can make money from advertising as more and more people start loving her recipes, and she can also make commission by promoting the boats she works on.
It's hard work, no doubt, but what a fun experience!
4. Celebrity endorsed bling
If the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) has taught us anything, it's that the average consumer no longer knows enough about technology products to make an informed buying decision.
Instead, celebrity endorsed products tend to capture the attention of the media and the consumer. Why not capitalize on this trend by starting up an eCommerce store that focuses purely on celebrity endorsed products and bling?
In order to do this, you'll need a good eCommerce solution (shopping cart software) that is easy to set up and operate - as well as some Internet marketing skills. Check out:
This is something I am going to do myself when I get the time. It's a fantastic idea if I do say so myself.
City workers waste a lot of time sitting in their cars trying to get to and from work during peak traffic. This is not only a waste of their time, but it spews toxic exhaust fumes into our atmosphere, choking the air.
Wouldn't it be much better to offer people great lifestyle alternatives? Instead of trying to rush home after work, they could join a walking club, learn how to do new things (think parkour, playing guitar, yoga, getting fit, learning how to make chocolate, etc), socialize and network.
By giving people a great lifestyle oriented activity for an hour or two after work, traffic at peak times in your town or city could be reduced. This could lead to huge saving in petrol and potentially carbon credits for the city that implements this idea on a large scale.
Take this to your local municipality and encourage them to get on board. With local government buy-in, your startup will get a huge boost in terms of visibility, exposure and potentially, grants, investment and loans.
6. Online consultant
Big businesses has caught on to the fact that there is a great pool of talent out there on the Internet. Many job positions are now advertised as telecommute or virtual.
If you have skills and experience that can be utilized by companies without the need for you to commute to the office, then becoming an online consultant is a great option.
Approach companies that are offering telecommute or remote work and offer your services as a contract worker or consultant. Once you have sufficient work, you can hire additional people to help, and become a proper consultancy based out of your home office.
7. Cool new... something
One of the most rewarding ventures to start, is one that involves something new. A new idea has to immediately appeal to people. It has to be smart.
No matter how good your idea, if it is complex and difficult to understand it will be that much harder to market and sell (perhaps I should say... if you can't find a way to present it in a simple and compelling way, it will be hard to sell).
There are plenty of great ideas for you to explore. One of the best I have seen in recent times is mushrooms from coffee grinds - check out Back to the roots.
Why is this such a great idea? Because coffee is used and then thrown away. Used coffee is therefore readily available almost anywhere you are, and is most probably free for you to pick up and take away from your local coffee shops.
If growing and selling mushrooms is not your idea of fun, what about selling Gold bullion by post? That's what an English entrepreneur did - check out Bullion By Post.
Look around you. Find a gap in the market. Come up with a great solution.
8. Hyper niche affiliate blog
A hyper niche affiliate blog is a lot like the single product eCommerce store idea just mentioned. The major difference is that instead of managing transactions via an online store, you funnel Web traffic to an affiliate partner who converts the reader (and pays a commission).
Everything else applies exactly the same - create plenty of great content, and become a trusted resource and authority in that niche.
The trick to making this idea profitable, however, is finding a niche topic that you can make your own.
Most people don't realize that they already have what it takes to do this. It doesn't matter who you are, your life experience, passion, interests, and circumstances make you unique. Use this uniqueness to give your affiliate blog a perspective that speaks to your audience in a way that other blogs don't.
Find out what it is that makes you special and harness this to create content that is meaningful to your readers, and related to the niche affiliate product or service you want to sell.
As with eCommerce sites, creating affiliate blogs is super easy and can be done for free using the world's leading, free blogging platform WordPress. However, down the line you can expect to pay a bit for a professional WordPress theme or template, and possibly some high quality WordPress Web hosting.
9. Ad supported niche community
Did you know that it is possible to make lots of money online without selling anything? In fact, offering free, quality information and advice can often be more profitable than trying to sell products and services.
What do you know and understand well in life? Perhaps you are a single mom, or an out-of-work plumber? Maybe you're a rich investment banker, or a professional windsurfer? Whatever you are or do, there are thousands of people in the same, (or similar) position.
Capitalize on this by offering lots of great content and an online support community targeted at these people. Give them somewhere to come and hang out, exchange ideas, give each other support, and so on.
Once you have built a community of people it is not difficult to find marketers and advertisers who are willing to sponsor your site, or pay to advertise to your community. Direct advertising can bring in a lot of money, but you can also use Google AdSense to pay some bills while you build up community membership.
With a vibrant community website up and running you can start to think about products and services to sell, in addition to the advertising that brings in your base revenue. As with the affiliate blog, a community website can easily be started for free.
However, if you are going to implement a forum type site, it may be wise to use good forum software - even if you have to fork out a bit of cash for it.
10. Performance based online advertiser
A lot of organizations have good quality Web content that drives a lot of valuable organic search traffic. In particular, academic institutes have fantastic content that often goes viral, driving hundreds of thousands of visitors - if not millions.
Many of these content resources are extremely valuable and highly profitable, but the people responsible for creating them don't necessarily know this, or have the skills to monetize them properly.
Start a company that offers to monetize valuable Internet real estate in return for a performance related commission. In other words, you work for free unless you earn money for your clients.
[Primary benefit of this idea] Large Web traffic volumes already exist. Simply apply sound marketing strategies to your methods of revenue generation, and you should be able to deliver handsome profits for both yourself and the client.
Your success will depend on your ability to choose Internet real estate that is easy to monetize, and has decent Web traffic volumes. A good place to look for clients is by browsing highly popular pages in social media to see if they are being monetized or if you can improve their monetization methods to increase profits.
Those are my side gig ideas. Now its your turn. Do you have a really fun job you wanna share? What ideas do you have that people would really find fun?
Drop a comment and tell us how you would have fun and make money at the same time.
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Finding a way to make money quickly is really not as good as finding a way to earn a stable income in the long term - get rich quick schemes tend to be a waste of time and effort (except for the people selling the scheme).
At least that was the point of my argument with a friend the other day. They ended up betting that I couldn't come up with at least one idea that would start generating cash within 24 hours.
Starting a business can be a daunting task - often made all the more difficult by a small advertising/marketing budget and an insufficient network of contacts to help get things off the ground.
It's a good thing then that there is always one fantastic, free strategy to generate some high-quality buzz and exposure for your startup that will not only put your idea in front of plenty of the "right" people, but also, potentially, lead to some much-needed funds, influential connections, and media coverage.
I'm talking about university business competitions.
Universities and colleges across the U.S. are brimming with new business ideas from student entrepreneurs that can be a fantastic source of inspiration for every aspiring entrepreneur, from school right the way through to retirees looking to start their own business.
We want to shine a light on the creativity and innovation being demonstrated at universities across the nation by students with a passion for entrepreneurship and sharing new ideas.
Encouraging younger people to become involved in entrepreneurship by holding business idea competitions is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to innovate our way out of the current financial doldrums the world finds itself in.
The creativity and energy exhibited by the students who enter the top business idea competitions from around the U.S. have shown the rest of us just how easy they can make it look when it comes to generating a new idea, putting together a plan, and pitching it to the world like pros.
Coming up with innovative new ideas can be a frustrating ordeal unless you know where to look for inspiration. The good news is that there are people making a lot of money doing things you may not have dreamed of.
So, if you are feeling bold and adventurous I've got a list of killer business ideas that are working for people right now. Who knows, perhaps one of them is perfect for you.
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