To write this article I took myself back to the beginning. What was going through my head when I first decided to work from home?
How did I make the change from a career as a contract lawyer, to a guy that could work in his pajamas?
And while I talk about the reasons I made the leap here, (the short version is I was sliding into depression as a result of my day job), there was one fundamental issue I had to be sure of before I quit my job.
I needed to make enough money to support my family.
We all have different versions of what that means. You could have savings (we didn’t), you could be mortgage free (we weren’t) or you could have an alternative form of household income to bridge the gap.
Unfortunately we had none of these.
To wave the mid-digit to my boss, I had to find a way of making money.
When you have a family there is no other choice. This is where the potentially lucrative side hustle steps in.
Before I was comfortable enough to hand in my notice, I had to find a money making venture I could start alongside my full-time job.
I then needed to build that side hustle into a business that would support my family over the long term.
After that, I was free…
Welcome to the side hustle
I made this list of 20 side gigs with two issues in mind.
First, each hustle needed to have the potential to grow in to a healthy income. Secondly, it had to be possible to start the venture alongside a full time job with very little investment except time.
The sacrifice involved is of course that time, (and maybe your sanity).
It is not easy to do a full day at the office only to arrive home to get started on the side hustle.
However, if you keep that dream of the work / life balance in your head, you will find the energy and motivation to put the hours in.
I’ve listed a range of opportunities here.
Whether you have an interest in crafts; fancy the online world for making a buck, are handy with power tools, or feel you have enough knowledge in a specific field to teach others about it, there’s something here for you.
So are you ready to shake things up?
Good. Let’s jump to it…
20 side hustles that can be built into lucrative home-based businesses
1. Web Design
I’ll start with the side hustle that became my one way ticket out of a miserable working existence; web design.
Experts in the field will hate me for this, however these days you do not need to have extensive programming knowledge to make money as a web designer.
I then pestered family and friends, building them sites for free.
After a couple of months I had enough content to knock up a portfolio website. I then printed business cards, visited online business forums and freelancing sites and found myself work.
It was tough.
I was doing all of this after a long day hating my job as a lawyer.
But the desire to get out of that job kept me going.
After 6 months building sites on the side I had a small but reliable list of clients I was doing work for; (and all the time my skills were developing; not a session went by where I didn’t learn something new, a trick, or a faster way of completing a task).
A month before my daughter was born I handed in my notice.
By the time she entered the world I was no longer a lawyer. Our income was drastically reduced, but I was making enough for us to get by.
Most important of all, I was happy.
2. Sell hand-crafts on Etsy
There’s an entire community of artisans making a full time living using Etsy.com
For the uninitiated, Etsy is an online platform for buyers and sellers of hand-crafted or vintage goods.
Check the site out and be inspired by the range of offerings on sale.
Do you think you could hand-craft something people would want to buy?
If so, you have the beginnings of a business.
The beauty of Etsy is that it takes away the difficult part of selling online: building a site, adding payment processing, getting visitors.
You can quickly create your online store using their easy to use set-up wizard, and there is an entire market place of potential customers waiting.
It’s fast and affordable and can be done in your free time alongside the day job.
Build enough custom and you’ll be in a position to wave goodbye to that day job.
These days any chump with a smart phone considers themselves to have an eye.
However, if your skills (or desire to learn) go further than just pointing an iPhone lens at something, you could turn your interest into a full time home-based photography business.
The important issues here are planning, practice and promotion, (all of which can be done alongside the day job of course).
You also need to decide what kind of photography you want to take:
- Are you ready to give up your weekends to be a wedding photographer?
- Or pursue the long list of corporate work (realtors, restaurants / food, businesses, magazines).
- Take pet portraits and become a regular at the dog shows;
- Or maybe a dedicated AirBnB photographer? More and more home owners are seeking professional shots.
- You might even want to sell your soul and join the paparazzi. Although the long, unsociable hours are not really designed for the family man.
As you can see, there’s plenty of scope and finding your niche will make it easier to find the work.
Most important of all is to market yourself hard, (without the boss finding out).
You’ll need a portfolio website, and possibly Pinterest and Instagram profiles. You should attend trade shows and events in your chosen field and make it known that this is what you do.
Get out there, build up regular work and then start on the resignation letter.
4. Start an Amazon FBA Business
Amazon has been a money making machine for online entrepreneurs for many years now, (my first 6 figure a year business was an Amazon Associates website, but more on that below).
It is a good horse to back.
Setting up an online store via Amazon has recently got a whole lot easier too.
Under the old seller program (which still exists) you would have to stock everything you sell and send it off to the customer yourself once a purchase has been made.
Now, you can simply have your inventory sent to the Amazon warehouses. You list it, and when it is sold, Amazon takes care of all the heavy lifting.
There’s an abundance of resources available about setting up an FBA store, however I recommend The Amazing Seller above all of them.
On the site you will find all you need to get started.
5. Lawn Care / Landscaper
For the right person, starting your own lawn care business could be a great way of jacking in the day job for healthy outside air and the smell of freshly cut grass on a daily basis.
Assuming you don’t live smack, bang in the middle of a large metropolitan area, opportunities in this service sector can be wide.
Furthermore, the business is scalable too.
From the services you provide (you may start mowing lawns, but could build that into landscaping services for example), to the level of personal you employ (have enough custom and you could have a whole team of gardeners working for you).
True, while stuck in the day job you could only work on this side hustle during weekends or evenings.
However, that would be enough to begin building your client list and to test the waters of demand in your area.
The figures look good too.
According to Entrepreneur.com, lawn care and landscaping business owners earned anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 in their first year, and $160,000 to $250,000 once businesses were fully established.
More than enough to support the family.
6. App Developer
I have discussed in greater detail here about the benefits of being an app designer. It made my list of remote jobs that earn over $100,000 a year for a start.
There are a ton of freelancing opportunities in the field too, which is handy for those that are looking for a side gig to quit the day job.
Clearly it takes specific programming skills to be an app designer, however if you have the motivation to learn, there are a whole host of resources and online courses there to help.
Spend your evenings after work completing some of the courses, build up your skill base and then take on some of those freelancing gigs.
Once you are confident that you know what you are doing, it will be time to organize a leaving party.
7. Freelance Writer
Freelance writing is one of the best side hustles to start alongside a fulltime job.
As far as professions go, it is difficult to find anything more flexible.
Generally speaking, as long as you have a laptop and internet connection it doesn’t matter how, where or when you work.
You can build up your client list and portfolio all in your own time.
And now is a good time to be a freelance writer. The demand for online content is insatiable, with the written word still reigning supreme.
With online publishers constantly looking to fill that demand, it is possible to find writing jobs covering any subject you can possible imagine.
There is a down side to this high demand and low barrier to entry however; wages can suck.
However, there are more lucrative opportunities if you can break into article writing for magazines, journals and newspapers.
It won’t be easy to make a full time income from freelance writing, however with perseverance and hard work it is possible.
8. E-Book Publishing
The growth of the eBook has created a multitude of home based earning opportunities.
Digital self-publishing as well as print-on-demand services has made it easier and more affordable for writers of all genres to get the work seen and sold.
According to Statista, ebook sales will account for 25.8% of all book sales in 2018, (up from just 12% in 2013); that amounts to over $8 billion in revenue.
However, similar to freelance writing, the barrier to entry is low and the competition is fierce.
To rise above the competition you will need to ensure a number of factors are in place:
- A quality product – Clearly you need a great content. It should be properly edited and formatted, with a professional looking cover)
- A clear idea of your genre / target audience – You should know who you are writing for. In eBook fiction, romance, sci-fi and fantasy sell well. In non-fiction, self-help, health and well-being fill the bestseller lists.
- A platform to sell your ebook – Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and your own website are good starting points
- A way of letting people know about you. – Push, push push. You will need to market the hell out of your existence in order to sell your ebooks. Get a following however, and it is possible to make millions.
I am actually currently having a go at writing an eBook myself.
I won’t go into details now, but I do plan to write a series of articles on my progress in the future.
In the mean time, one website I can recommend for great content all about eBook self publishing is Steve Scott’s, Authority Pub.
Ah the good old blog as a way of making some coin.
Despite the fact that for every blogger than does make a fulltime living from their venture, there’s clearly countless others that make little to nothing all.
However, there is no denying that dedicated bloggers can make a comfortable living from providing valuable content online.
There’s a disgusting amount of resources teaching the ins and outs of blogging, as well as how to make a living from it, (just Google search “how to start a blog in 2018″ to see what I mean”).
I would steer clear of the many ‘gurus’ out there. Their entire business model is to sell you stuff rather than educate.
This is another side hustle that can easily be started alongside a full time job. However, making a full-time income from it is far from straightforward.
Write about what you’re interested in, grow your audience and experiment with monetization methods.
With skill, hard work and a bit of luck it could become the path towards your work life balance and freedom.
10. Interior Designer / Home Staging
This is the career my wife is currently pursuing.
So the credentials can be gained alongside a full time job, what about getting your toes wet with actually designing the interiors of people’s homes.
As with so many of these side hustles, getting the work is all about getting yourself out there. People need to know this is what you do.
A good starting point is to network with builders, realtors, and home renovation businesses. This way you can get referrals and begin building your portfolio.
You can also do freebie jobs for friends and family that are looking to update their interiors and could do with your expert guidance.
Take plenty of pictures and set up a website. Always carry your business card.
Additionally, you might also want to use your newly developed skills to help people sell their homes.
As a home stager, you rearrange the interior of a home so it becomes more appealing to prospective buyers.
If you have knowledge in a specific field, consulting could be the home-based side-hustle that you turn into a fully fledged business.
Consultants can be in just about every industry going as there is no shortage of people and businesses that are prepared to spend good money to improve themselves or their bottom-line.
Whether your skills lend themselves to an area of business consulting, or something more personal such as health and wellbeing, your knowledge can be valuable if you can find the right opportunities.
Incomes vary of course, however a 2018 report by PayScale found that median income of business consultants was $71,254 with a range from $45,549 – $108,964.
A healthy wage to say the least.
So how do you go about becoming a consultant?
First you will need to identify your expertise and conduct some market research, (ie. Google searches, Google Trends, similar services locally? Discuss the prospect with family and friends) to determine what kind of demand and / or competition you might expect once you get started.
Essentially, are there people out there willing to pay for your expertise?
If there is, you then have to find them. Market yourself as a consultant; attend meetings / conventions where your consulting services could be in demand.
Network like crazy and slowly build an army of satisfied customers that can help get the word out.
12. Sell Information Products online
In keeping with the subject of turning your knowledge into dollars let’s take a look at information products.
The wonderful thing about this business model is that once built, an information product can provide you with a passive income for as long as the information remains relevant.
You do not get a better work life balance than that.
However, before you can reap the benefits of making money while you sleep, you need to have a great product and an audience willing to buy it.
The latter being the hardest part of all.
So what types of products can we create to sell online?
- Home Study Courses
- Audio Books
- Video Tutorials
- Training Materials
Note how all of these product can be delivered electronically. Furthermore, an information product should enable you to set up an automated system of delivery.
A customer should be able to pay for the product online and have access to it immediately without any intervention from you.
This is why it can be classed as a passive income stream.
How To Launch An Information Product Business
Download my 10 step cheat sheet explaining the full process of researching, creating and launching an information product. Spend more time with your kids, and get paid while you play.
13. Sell Products on Ebay
Ebay is an excellent side-hustle that can be built into a full time income at a pace that suits the demands of your life.
My parents currently do this very successfully.
In fact I somewhat envy the laidback rhythm of their lives, (I have very young parents, they have only just turned 60).
They live in a beautiful area of rural England where every weekend there are no shortage of auction houses and thrift sales (better known as carboot sales in the UK).
And they can sniff an antique bargain a mile off.
Completely self-taught they transformed their love of the bargain hunt into a profitable eBay businesses.
They shop at the weekend, and list and sell during the week.
The principle is very simple.
Source items at a low price and sell them for higher on eBay.
If my retired parents can do it, anyone can.
14. Personal Trainer
Are you one of those self-motivated individuals that just loves to get down the gym? You eat healthily and have a washboard stomach that would make Chris Hemsworth double-take?
Then good, a personal training business might be the side-hustle you should look into in order to quit the day job.
It is a growth market, with people of all ages and body types turning to personal trainers in the hope of achieving their fitness goals.
According to Payscale, 2018 personal trainer rates range between $10.00 – $49.08 an hour, (the difference is very much dependant on your locale and clientele – a Wall Street, wannabe Patrick Bateman can pay more than a single mom from Ohio for example.)
This creates a large disparity in yearly earnings with trainers receiving anything between $21,043 – $91,739 annually.
While a degree isn’t required to be a fitness trainer, you will need to be certified in order to turn your passion into a legitimate business.
There are a whole host of organizations in the US that provide personal fitness certification.
This makes continued education and speciality training possible as you develop your knowledge to include areas such as anatomy, kinesiology, training techniques and more.
You then need to find the clients of course.
Some trainers will partner with gyms, community centers, and sports teams in order to find the work.
Others provide house calls working with the client’s equipment in the comfort of their own home. You might choose to do both.
Along with knowledge and experience in personal training, you will also need good people skills. This will help you motivate your clients and bring out the best in them.
If you can successfully help them achieve their fitness goals, they will be ready to recommend you to everyone they know.
15. Amazon Affiliate Marketing
Amazon Affiliate Marketing was a home based business game-changer for me.
Beyond the web design that helped me quit my day job in the first place; it was Amazon that led me to a very healthy online income and the wonderful work life balance that comes with that.
The business model is simple and can be summed up in the following steps:
- First you build a website or blog.
- Once you have enough visitors to that website (I’ve started Amazon affiliate sites on less than 10 visits per day), you sign up for a free Amazon Associates account.
- You then promote products that are being sold on Amazon from within the pages of your website (most commonly through product reviews, but you can also link via any of your web pages and through Amazon advertising banners).
- Within those products reviews and articles you will include special links that once clicked will lead your website user to the Amazon page where the product is being sold, (you get these special links from your Amazon Associates profile).
- If that person then buys something on the Amazon website with 24hrs of clicking your special link, you will receive a percentage of the sale.
- Boom – passive income while you sleep.
O.K, I may have over-simplified it a bit (the hard part is getting enough traffic to make a healthy income), however, I do love the business model.
As I have mentioned here and other places on The Balance Hub, I made my first 6 figure annual income online via the Associates program.
There are countless resources on how to succeed with Amazon Associates.
I am also toying with the idea of creating an epic guide or course on this very site.
However, in the mean time I would actually recommend a forum on Reddit called Just Start.
It’s full of people just like you and me; newbies tackling the issue head on and sharing their experiences, and veterans offering valuable information for free.
If you want to know how to start making money online as an Amazon Affiliate, definitely check it out.
16. A Home Services Business
There’s a range of home service businesses that you could start alongside a full time job.
Admittedly the juggle would be difficult to begin with as customers would expect to see you outside of weekends and evenings.
That being said, it would be possible to test the waters of a local market by offering services on a part time basis.
If it proves to be something you want to do full time (and financially viable), you can get to work on your notice.
If using your hands and getting away from the laptop is what you envisage being part of the work / life balance, one of these businesses could be the answer.
According to the Pew Research Center, 30% of the national workforce is made up of self-employed individuals and their employees.
Many of these small businesses require book-keeping services. Why not step in to fill the void.
Your business will be maintaining the financial records for these enterprises. Single-entry ledger work is the name of the game here; your clients will provide you with their receipts and invoices, that you collate into their yearly reports.
Self-employed bookkeepers can earn upward of $25 an hour.
Income can also be increased by taking on larger business clients that require more complicated financial reports and by offering tax preparation services.
However, all of that can be done in good time. The important issue here is that you can make a start alongside your day job just by limiting the amount of clients you take on.
Decide it is the new, home-based career for you and the prospects look good.
The profession is expected to grow by 12 percent through 2018, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Furthermore, no formal education or training is necessary, (although getting a certification from the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers would be a good way of legitimizing your expertise.)
The national average wage for bookkeepers is around $37,000, however, network hard to build your client list and your earnings can be substantially more.
18. Wedding / Party Planner
If you fancy yourself as a bit of Van Wilder, becoming a party planner might be the home-based side-hustle you’ve been looking for.
The potential here is wide. From corporate parties to special birthdays and of course the definitive event; a couple’s wedding, the expertise of a professional party planner is a sought after service.
So much so, people are willing to pay good money to receive that assistance. According to PayScale.com, U.S wedding planners earn between $20,443 – $51,691 a year.
The job certainly has some responsibility however. From flowers to catering, to rehearsal to transportation, wedding planners are in charge of everything to ensure that the day is perfect.
If you can handle that kind of pressure you’ll be part of a buoyant sector.
We all know the cost of weddings is only going in one direction, and the Occupational Outlook Handbook states that Event planning in general is expected to grow faster than the national average of US occupations.
19. Website Flipping
If you know a little about websites and Search Engine Optimization, website flipping can be a very lucrative side-hustle.
This is another area where I threw myself into the mix and experienced some good returns.
As I began to phase out taking on clients for web design (and began growing my Amazon Affiliate site portfolio), I dabbled in buying and selling websites.
The business model is simple (in theory).
You then use your skills in content, design, SEO (to increase traffic) and website monetization to make the site perform better.
Enjoy the increased revenue for a while and then sell on at a profit.
All of this can be done from your laptop and easily alongside a full time job.
However, without the prerequisite knowledge on how to make a site perform better, and the skills to spot a dud before you buy, (there are a lot of toxic sites out there beyond repair); you could end up losing a lot more money than you earn.
That being said, there are a lot of good resources available on the subject. Experiment tentatively, and you can make a healthy income over the long term.
20. Book Editor
As we explored above, Amazon has completely torn apart the rule-book when it comes to authorship and publishing.
With very little investment, authors can get their books out there while avoiding the traditional paths of agents, book deals and publishing companies.
One thing they still need however is an editor.
If you like to read, have a fantastic eye for detail and have a strong command of language and grammar you could have a future as a freelance book-editor.
There are varying degrees of service you can offer too:
- Basic Copy Editing – correction of grammar and punctuation.
- Line Editing – which also looks at paragraph structure, flow, and word choice.
- Development editing – all of the above plus content evaluation; story flow, character development and narrative pacing
Clearly, the more comprehensive your editing service, the more you can earn.
To get started you should have a website with details of the services you offer, and references and examples of your work. Linkedin is also a good place to have a profile.
Then you need to start marketing your skills and networking with authors to get referrals. Freelance writing sites are also worth visiting to for editing jobs.
When starting out you will probably have to undercut the competition in order to land your first few gigs.
You might even want to offer free sample edits in order to encourage new business.
Once established your prospects are good however. Demand is high, with most freelance editors charging $25 per hour or more for their comprehensive editing services.
And there you have it, 20 home-based side hustles that I believe can be started alongside a full time job and can eventually lead to successful, profitable businesses.
Have you made the leap and started a home based business with a view to quitting your job?
Or are you in the research stages of your journey?
Either way, drop us a comment below, I always love hearing from you guys.