By Trent Hamm Last updated January 15, 2015
In the past, I’ve discussed how it’s a good idea to spend your spare time dabbling in entrepreneurship: it fills your time with something that you choose (and thus you enjoy) and sets up a potential long-term revenue stream. I also discussed how I got a side business going myself.
Since then, lots of readers have written to me, asking for ideas on how to start a simple side business. What follows is a list of 50 of those ideas that I’ve collected over the last year or so.
Each of these ideas is very simple to start, and most can be done as a sole proprietorship at first (meaning you don’t have to file any legal documents to get started, though you will want to do that if it starts to take off). Most of these can be done at home in your spare time in your spare space, too.
See if there are any ideas below that fit you well. If you find an idea, seek out a guide on how to get started in that area.
15 Business Ideas
1. Antique refurbishment - This is a perfect side business for people who love antiquing. Take worn-out antiques home with you, invest the time and care needed to transform those old items into something amazing, then resell them at a profit.
2. Auto detailing - Have a meticulous eye for detail and love to get things gleaming clean? Auto detailing is probably a perfect side business for you. In essence, your job is to make cars sparkleinside and out – and many people are quite happy to pay well for this service.
3. Babysitting - Got lots of evenings free? Like kids? Babysitting may be a great side business for you. Keep an eye on multiple children on Friday and Saturday nights and you can earn some solid income.
Have some extra space in your home? Turn that extra bedroom into a “bed and breakfast” room. This works particularly well if you have a somewhat older home or live near an area that attracts regular travelers and tourists.
If you enjoy writing, find a topic you’re passionate about and start a blog on the topic. All you need is a computer, some time, and some energy to consistently write. It can start as a hobby and turn into a business
Enjoy baking and have a bit of an artistic touch? Learn how to decorate cakes and make them for special events. One of my mother’s old friends does this and makes quite a bit of money on the side.
Candle making is a great little craft to learn. You can often easily sell the candles at local shops and also through websites like Etsy.com, eBay and more.
8. Candy making - Homemade candies are easier to make than you think and quite popular. Package them in nice little boxes and sell them through a local gift shop. You can get started pretty quickly.
This is another artistic “crafty” angle you can follow. Make greeting/birthday cards from scratch using your own photographs, some blank cards, and a healthy dose of artistic flair. Again, you can sell items like these through a local gift shop or at sites like etsy.com.
If you love to cook, take the “Blondie” route and start a home catering business. Catering is a business that’s perfectly designed to reward those who plan well and can often fit perfectly into weekends, lining up wonderfully opposite a normal workweek.
Many states allow people to start up in-home day cares with minimal licensing and paperwork. If you love children and have plenty of time and space at home, this is a perfect business to get into
12. Cleaning services for businesses - Many businesses and civic institutions have a need for individuals who will provide cleaning services at a low cost outside of business hours. This is a great side business for those who can put in a few hours late at night or on weekends.
13. Collectible trading - If there’s a particular type of collectible that you know a great deal about, you can often make good money as a collectible trader, utilizing tools like eBay and opportunities to find those collectibles in the community. I had some success with this myself with both trading cards and video games in the past.
14. Computer troubleshooting - I had some success with this in the past, though I’ve largely moved away from it now. If you have a knack for fixing computers, this is a good place to start.
15. Consignment buyer - Consignment shops and consignment auctions are often loaded with good deals if you know how to identify them – quite often, you can turn these good deals around and make a nice profit elsewhere. Get started by visiting some consignment shops and critically evaluating the prices on the items there