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July 18, 2017

27 Ways to Make Extra Money from Home

We live in a side-hustle generation—so why not you?

3 Steps to Find Your Business Idea

One question I hear all the time from Dreamers is, “Where do I find my side-business idea?”

Regardless of why you want to start a side or small business, there’s never been a better time to do it. We live in a side-hustle generation—so why not you?

Start thinking about your passions and hobbies, as well as what you have to work with and where the money is, then you can dream up ideas! Here is a list of 27 types of side businesses you can start from home.

Products you can make and sell

  1. Custom jewelry

Jewelry is a great place to start because simple necklaces are currently on-trend. All you need is string, beads, and a tassel or pendant to start. Kendra Scott began her now multimillion-dollar jewelry business with just $500 for supplies! If you want to dip your toes in the water before buying expensive gems, try ordering wholesale beads online or picking up an inexpensive box at your local craft store using coupons. Don’t forget to charge for the cost of your materials and for the time it took you to make your custom piece.

Related: Use my Profit Potential tool to see how much you should charge!

  1. Scented candles

This one has so much potential because it’s cost-efficient and people LOVE candles. You can start out with a simple glass jar and a just few dollars worth of supplies! There’s a guy here in Nashville who cuts the top off of empty local craft beer bottles, fills them with wax and a wooden wick and sells them for $15 a piece. He gets to enjoy the beer on the front end and support another local business through his inventory. Cheers to that! You can also think of other unique pieces you could use, like mason jars, small flower pots, wine bottles and more.

  1. Organic dog treats

Everything organic is in high demand right now, and that means you can make it in your own home! A homemade dog treat free from artificial ingredients will make dog lovers love you. There are endless recipes and adorable designs you can pull up for inspiration if you Google “organic dog treats.” Bonus: If you have a dog of your own, they will enjoy taste-testing and “cleaning up” any burnt batches.

  1. Baby blankets

As a mom of two babies in three years, I can tell you that you can never have too many baby blankets. Between spit-up, blow-outs and just the day to day mess, baby blankets are in high demand!

If you know how to knit, sew, or simply have an eye for fabric prints, sewing baby blankets could be your money-maker. You don’t even need a fancy, expensive sewing machine to get started. You can make adorable and soft no-sew fleece tie blankets, then use your profit to sign up for a sewing or knitting class and expand your line.

  1. Barnwood signs

I love those rustic wood signs with Bible verses or quotes on them, don’t you? A pastor friend of mine once created wood signs with the Nashville skyline and his business took right off! My husband and I even have one above our couch because they are so awesome. Check Craigslist and flea markets for cheap wood and pallets and then get creative. And you’d be surprised at the amount of newspaper and construction companies and hardware stores that give away their wooden pallets for free!

  1. Upcycled furniture

I’m not sure I’ve seen a craze quite as popular in recent years as upcycled furniture. In fact, I got really into it myself a few years ago back when I had more time for DIY projects. If you have the time and space to refinish, reupholster and resell furniture, it can be a great business. Or paint and distress it for a shabby chic look. Stalk your local flea markets and yard sales to find pieces that just need a little love!

  1. Cards and invitations

Every year in early November I order my custom Christmas card PDFs through a graphic designer I found on Etsy a few years ago. She did a beautiful job and was easy to work with, so I go back to her every year! This is a great side hustle if you have design skills, because if you do good work, people will come back to you for holidays, birthday invitations, wedding shower invitations and more.

And you can find your niche within this market too. For example, Emily McDowell created a line of empathy cards after having gone through cancer herself and being annoyed with the cheesy cards people sent her. She saw a problem and created the solution!

  1. Christmas ornaments

People love to celebrate milestones and life experiences with ornaments! Whether it’s Christmastime or the middle of June, opening a “Baby’s 1st Christmas” or “Our First Christmas” ornament is guaranteed to get the most heartfelt reaction at a shower. Get creative with glass, wood, and knick-knacks, or make your own using clay! My mother in law does this and I look forward each of the different and beautiful creative ornament that she gifts us every year!

  1. Gift baskets

I had a girlfriend who would put the most adorable gift baskets together, each one for a specific occasion or theme. If it was for someone who loved movies, she’d fill a movie theater popcorn bucket with a movie theater gift card, a DVD, packages of microwave popcorn and some candy. If it was a housewarming gift, she’d fill a basket with painter’s tape, a candle, Bath & Body Works soap and a magic eraser. These baskets were so thoughtful that eventually our friends started offering her extra money plus the cost of materials to put them together so they could give them as gifts!

  1. Door wreaths

Door wreaths are one of those things that adds the personal inviting touch to your home. When I walk up to someone’s house for the first time and see a simple wreath wrapped with some burlap and fake hydrangeas with their initial on it, I just immediately feel welcome! Think about different ways you can customize them—maybe create a line of wreaths in the colors of college or professional football teams. If you’re at all crafty, you can definitely make extra money selling them! If you’ve never made a wreath before, ask your local craft store for a lesson.

  1. Soaps, lotions and beauty products

There are all kinds of different recipes for these online! Here’s a super simple sugar scrub recipe that I used to make gifts for my girlfriends as gifts—and they loved it! Just think about what your unique position can be within this space—what will your soap or beauty product do for your customer? That’s the angle you want to lead with in your marketing.

  1. Halloween costumes

Have you ever searched for a costume on Etsy? If you haven’t, let me just tell you: There is some good money to be made here! There are thousands of variations of “Elsa costumes” on Etsy, for example, and each one adds its own flair to her beloved sparkly blue dress. So if you have a sewing machine and a little imagination, there’s room for you too!

  1. Ugly sweaters for Christmas parties

Every holiday season when Matt and I get invited to an ugly sweater party, I have the hardest time finding the perfect sweater. Many stores sell Christmas sweaters that are trying to be too cute, which is even more awkward (and not in the ironic way) because it’s not quite ugly enough but it’s definitely not cute!

You could actually start by purchasing these mediocre sweaters or thrifting for some better deals. After you have your starting point, let your inner kindergartner run wild! Once you turn on the glue gun, I promise you there will be no shortage of imagination.

Services you can provide

  1. Private tutor

To this day my friend Naomi swears she wouldn’t have made it through algebra if it wasn’t for her tutor, Kristy. Kristy was able to help Naomi bring her failing grade up to a B+! So even though Naomi will never forget how much she hates algebra, she’ll also never forget Kristy.

If you have the heart of a teacher and knowledge of a particular subject, and you want to make a lasting impact on students (of any age), consider tutoring for some extra money. It’s something you can easily work around your schedule, and thanks to Skype and other video-chat applications, you can even do this remotely.

  1. Party rentals

My friend Caroline bought three party tents (of different sizes), string lights and some Bluetooth speakers to start up a backyard party rental business. Her pricing is approachable enough that people hosting tailgate parties, baby showers and engagement parties love it, and the income she’s earned has allowed her to be a stay-at-home mom! With a relatively small investment on the front end, you can buy all kinds of equipment, furniture and/or decor for weddings, parties, corporate events and more. Then, as your business grows, you can add to your catalog!

  1. Pet photographer

Want to be a photographer but not sure how to set yourself apart? Make pets your niche! (I bet most pets would be more cooperative than my two rowdy boys for photos shoots anyway!) When you take a skill like photography and focus on a market that isn’t served as often, like pet-owners, you may just see your business take off!

  1. Professional organizer

There are women who are organized and women who are not, and for the latter (myself included), organized women are a mystical breed of unicorn superheroes! Coming into someone’s home and organizing their kitchen cabinets or child’s playroom is a valuable service that people (like me) will pay for. And if you have knowledge or experience in a particular industry, you can even offer your services to businesses like Kelly Buchtien did with “The Simply Organized Teacher.”

  1. Florist

You can do this as a side hustle without needing a whole flower shop! If you have a knack for arranging flowers, you can prep and design the bouquets in your own kitchen and then deliver them to the event.

  1. House cleaner

Are you that woman who gets down on her hands and knees to scrub your kitchen tile with a toothbrush? Do you find the dust on top of the fridge or the ceiling fan or places other people miss? In the cast of Friends, are you Monica? If you answered yes to any of these questions, your inner clean-freak may be a great way for you to make some extra money! Offer initial discounts to your friends and neighbors, and post your services on your community’s Facebook page, because this business is all about word-of-mouth!

  1. Calligrapher

Love hand lettering? Try dipping your pen into calligraphy! Calligraphers can charge anywhere from $2-5 per envelope. This means that if you made 200 envelopes at $5 a piece, you just made $1,000! Even if you simply have neat handwriting, you could still offer a lower price for your naturally beautiful font.

  1. House sitter

Some of my girlfriends in college would do this for extra cash. It cost them nothing and they got to stay in some pretty cool houses as a result. If the home owner has pets, you can charge more for taking care of them also.

  1. Freelance writer

You may have heard me say that every business is in the content business, and it’s true! There’s a growing need for freelance writers to write on virtually any topic you can think of! Whether you’re telling a story, reviewing a restaurant or writing a how-to guide, businesses need that valuable content you can provide.

You can get started by writing on subjects that you’re already familiar with, then pitch your ideas or articles to websites, businesses and newsletters that are in that line of work. Keep in mind you will likely experience rejection—a lot—early on. But once you’re published, even for just one or two recognizable names or websites with some clout, the doors will start to open.

Related: Business Boutique Podcast | How to Create Engaging Content for Your Business

  1. Makeup artist

If you enjoy making people look and feel good, this is a great way to make extra money. You can start small doing parties, proms and events, working your way up to weddings and maybe even video shoots. While becoming a makeup artist can be a sizable investment on the front end—you’ll need quality brushes, a carrying case and of course, the makeup—you’ll be able to make a lot of money in a short amount of time once you get started!

  1. Social media manager

Do you know the ins and outs of Instagram stories? Have you mastered targeted ads on Facebook? Being on social media is no longer optional for businesses. It’s critical for them to have some form of social media presence and promote what they’re doing to new customers. And the fact is that many businesses just don’t know how to do it effectively. The great thing about social media is you can manage it for someone else from your own home, or just about anywhere!

  1. College planning consultant

If you have grown kids who have been through the college application process, you know it’s no walk in the park. This is one of the most stressful times for parents, because chances are it’s been a long time since they went through the application process themselves. If you enjoy writing, you can help students with their résumés and applications; if you enjoy research, you can help them find scholarships specific to each student.

  1. Home stager

How fun does this sound? If you like to redecorate all the time like me, this might be the perfect job for you to make some extra money! You’ll have the freedom to decorate with new styles on someone else’s budget. Get plugged in with local real estate agents—because they already know the value of the service you’re providing. 95% of homes that are professionally staged sell in just 11 days!

  1. Travel agent

As an independent contractor for a travel agency, you can have so much flexibility. You can work from home, your clients come from pretty much everywhere, and you may get to take all-inclusive vacations for free a few times a year. The knowledge you need to sell a travel package comes from experience working at a travel agency, from college classes and online courses, or—you guessed it—from traveling. So if traveling is something you’re passionate about and you’re super organized, look into becoming a travel agent!

What would you add? There are a lot of exciting ways to make money from home that I didn’t even cover. Simply brainstorming ideas—the good, the bad and the crazy—can help you identify more specifically which side hustle is right for you!

Are you already in business and want to make 30% more money this month? Join me here for a live webinar on July 31 at 11am to find out how!

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Leave a Comment

  1. mable says:

    Vacation dog sitting. $30 a day per dog and the owner supplies the food and treats. Get half payment in advance and be aware that once in a while you will get an owner who never comes back for the pet—you were just a guilt-free place to abandon the dog.

  2. Cheryl G. says:

    What if you have your idea and your inventory but can’t make any sales? I’ve been on Etsy for a month selling baby blankets and have sold 2. Do you have resources on social media marketing?

  3. Beth says:

    This is a good article and I have read it twice.
    My problem is, I have so many ideas running around in my head, I cannot stop long enough to complete a task before I am thinking about doing something totally different.
    I love to sew for babies and children. I also think I would love freelance writing , but don’t know how to send queries or even how to get experience.