Sometimes, one job just doesn't cut it. Maybe you're barely making ends meet, or perhaps you're just looking for some extra cash to spend on the weekends. Whatever the reason, starting a side business is a convenient way to earn a profit with less commitment.
If you're passionate about a skill or talent you have, build on it to create a part-time business and earn an income. Here are some business ideas perfect for a side hustle.
Handmade art and designs
Today, more people are turning to handmade crafts for invitations, greeting cards, wall art and more, despite technology's presence in the industry. Build a website or a social media account that displays your work so you can build credibility and attract customers. Whether it's selling your products on an online Etsy shop or hand painting wedding invitations and greeting cards for a friend, leverage your skills and make a profit.
Freelance content creation
In the marketing world, content is king, and businesses of all stripes need talented writers to create blog posts, whitepapers, press releases, social media copy and more. If you have a way with words, you can begin advertising your freelance writing services via a personal website and on your social profiles, or start looking for gigs on sites like Upwork or Freelancer.com. Be sure to include a portfolio of past writing samples to share with your clients. Don't have any? Create a blog and start self-publishing articles about topics you're passionate about.
Living in an area with lots of bars, restaurants and nightlife might earn you a few extra bucks if you own a vehicle. All you need to become a driver for a service like Uber or Lyft – aside from an eligible four-door vehicle – is a valid U.S. driver's license, proof of registration and insurance, and a smartphone. After you sign up, there's an online screening which will review your driving record and criminal history. For more information, visit our guide to becoming a rideshare driver.
If the term "artist's palette" brings eyeshadow and lipstick to mind, and you're constantly watching the latest YouTube beauty tutorials, you may want to become a freelance makeup artist. Though it's wise to take a cosmetology course before you open shop, your makeup skills, a good reputation and client trust are the solid foundation of this side business. Since beauty professionals often build their business through client referrals, Businessweek recommends working on friends and family for free or at a discounted rate at first. Once you have a solid customer base, you can offer competitive rates for makeup for weddings, proms and other special events.
If you're proficient in a highly specialized software, you can get paid to pass your knowledge on to amateurs and professionals looking to expand their skill sets. Technical manuals are available for programs like QuickBooks and Final Cut Pro, but these are often expensive and difficult for the average user to get through. Schedule small group workshops or private sessions, and charge by the hour for a full tutorial of the program. Patience and a great personality are critical.
Home repair service
A home repair business is a great way to work with your hands, help people in your community and make some extra cash. A new handyman can put up fliers, advertise in local publications, and recruit friends and family for an online social media blitz. Then, you can get to work repairing everything from leaky pipes to faulty electrical wiring — just be sure you read up on the proper techniques and procedures, and check with your local government to make sure you have the necessary permits for any projects you might take on.
While the term "disc jockey" might be a little outdated in the age of streaming music, there's no question that event entertainment is still in high demand. With your music collection, mixing software and your laptop, you can get people out on the dance floor at weddings and birthday parties, or simply provide background music at more casual events. DJ equipment is a big investment, but plenty of companies offer daily rentals of speakers, subwoofers and other accessories that you can use until you can save up enough to buy your own.
For the musically gifted, offering lessons to others who want to learn how to play an instrument can be a great source of extra income. Unless you're teaching piano, students can bring their own instruments to your home for hour-long lessons. Stock up on sheet music or songbooks in varying genres, and aimed at various skill levels, so you can offer a wide selection for your potential clients. Voice lessons can also bring in a lot of money if you market yourself to local high school and community theater groups.
Additional reporting by Nicole Fallon.