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15 Small Business Ideas for Extra Income

 Easy-to-start small businesses

By using your existing skills and some readymade online tools, it's easier than you might think to launch a small business. Here are some small business ideas that you can start today..


1. Design and sell print-on-demand t-shirts

Websites and apps that offer print-on-demand services are perfect for small businesses. With them, you can sell custom products without worrying about manufacturing, shipping, or pre-paying for inventory.

Print on demand is the process of choosing products from a catalog and customizing them with your designs. A print-on-demand company will produce and ship your products as orders come in. This allows you to create and sell original items with branding and unique visuals.

T-shirts, hats, phone cases, hoodies, tote bags, and more become canvases for your creativity. Create laptop stickers with witty slogans for developers or cute cushions for cat owners. If there’s passion and pride within a community, a potential print-on-demand t-shirt business is waiting to be started.

2. Sell a service

A service business is another simple form of self-employment. When you offer a service, “time” is your inventory and your biggest investment. That makes it easy to get up and running if you have in-demand skills and a few spare hours each week.

Writers, graphic designers, virtual assistants, SEO practitioners, cleaning service providers, dog walkers, real estate professionals, and others can build a business around their skills. You could offer your expertise as an ongoing service or start a consulting business that advises on projects.

Once you’ve found your first customers, try apps like BookThatApp or Acerill Appointment Booking for easy booking and appointment management.

You can also offer your services through a freelance marketplace like Upwork to increase your chances of being discovered by people who need your skills.

3. Join an affiliate marketing program

Affiliate marketing refers to a performance-based marketing tactic where a business pays people to promote products for them. Every time an affiliate brings in a new customer, they receive a commission from the business.

Affiliates can promote products on their blogs, social media accounts, websites, or in communities. For many, affiliate marketing is a low-cost way to earn passive income.

To join an affiliate program, do the following:

Find an affiliate program on sites like ShareASale, CJ, or LinkShare

Choose offers you want to promote

Get an affiliate link

Promote that link across your assets

Get a commission every time someone signs up or makes a purchase through your link

Commission rates vary, depending on the company and the retail price of products. You could earn as low as 5% for each sale, while some commissions can be as high as 50% if you’re promoting a class or event. Some affiliate programs also offer a flat rate versus a percentage.

4. House and pet sitting

House and pet sitting are good business ideas to start if you feel comfortable caring for and staying in a stranger’s home, potentially with their pets.

You can create an online store to market and sell your services, or register for an account on dedicated home and pet care apps. Here are some examples:

HouseSitter.com: This website is for both house and pet sitting. You can create a profile and apply to postings. People who need house/pet sitting can also browse sitters and reach out to them.

Rover: Rover is a website and app specifically for pet sitting. On it, you can create a profile and apply to gigs. These arrangements include drop-in visits but not overnight visits (or house sitting).

Care.com: Care.com is a listing site where pet sitters can create a profile and list their experience. You can also apply to jobs posted by people seeking pet sitters. Care.com is a good site to use if you offer senior care, tutoring, housekeeping, and child care services.

TrustedHousesitters: TrustedHousesitters is a great place to start if you need experience or testimonials. The platform specifically prohibits paid gigs, so these arrangements are viewed more as an exchange—you get a free place to stay, and they get free sitting.

Consider that some pet sitters offer on-site services while others care for pets in their own homes. You can even add a dog-walking element to appeal to a wider range of people.

5. Tutor

Tutoring school kids or adults who want to learn a new skill can bring in extra income around your regular working hours. You might be great at math, playing the drums, or speaking French, so why not teach others?

Promote your tutoring services on local Facebook groups and in nearby schools to get the word out and build up your client base. If you're planning to create courses for your students, start by watching this guide to making online courses.

6. Personal assistant

Becoming a personal assistant requires little upfront expenditure and means you can work with a range of businesses. You’ll essentially be helping business owners take care of admin tasks, like booking appointments, responding to emails, and taking notes in meetings.

Start by networking with business owners on LinkedIn to build relationships and market your services. Creative effective Linkedin marketing strategies with these tips.

7. Dog walker

Dog walking is a fun and rewarding job (and you get a bit of exercise at the same time). Build a dog walking business by checking your local state laws to see what licensing and insurance you’ll need, then set up a website to advertise your dog walking services. If you don’t want to manage the administrative aspects, sign up with a company like Rover, a directory that owners can use to connect with potential dog walkers.

8. Airbnb host

You don’t need a fancy second home to become an Airbnb host—in fact, the accommodation platform originally started as a way for homeowners to temporarily rent out their spare room for extra cash. If you have the extra space in your house, you can create an account with Airbnb and rent it out at weekends, for overnight stays, or whenever suits you.

Like the idea of running a rental business? Here are some other rental business ideas to consider.

9. Sell baked goods

Are you always called on to bake cakes and sweet treats for your friends and family? If the answer is yes, you can sell baked goods to locals in your community. In addition to baking cakes for birthdays and events, your bakery business plan could also include creating batches of baked goods to sell in local coffee shops and cafés, or distribute more broadly through an online store.a10. House cleaner

If you’re a stickler for cleanliness, starting a cleaning business can be a fulfilling way to make money. Create a batch of flyers to stick through doors in your neighborhood and advertise your services on local Facebook groups. If you do a good job, chances are word of mouth will help you organically pick up customers.

11. Car washer

Car washing has long been a source of fundraising for high schoolers, but it can also work as a business for adults too. If you’ve got space outside your house or a nearby yard, you can offer car washing and valeting services to locals. Alternatively, you can go door-to-door to hand out flyers and wash cars on the road while you build up your business.

12. Start a dropshipping business

Dropshipping is a fulfillment model where a third-party supplier stores and ships inventory to customers on your behalf. It’s one of the best businesses to start, because it’s low overhead, hands-off, and scalable.

You don’t need to handle any products yourself—you just need to make the sales and pass orders on to your supplier. In fact, it’s one of the quickest and cheapest businesses to start.

You can curate products from one or more suppliers into your own online store under a theme that focuses on a specific dropshipping niche, like gear for yoga enthusiasts or water bowls for dogs. When a customer buys a product from you, the order is sent to your supplier, who fulfills it on your behalf. However, you are still responsible for marketing and customer service.

Dropshipping is a great way to sell trending products and launch a business before you invest in your own original products.

13. Build an audience you can monetize

In today’s connected world, the ability to capture and keep the attention of others is an asset. It’s one many businesses are willing to pay for and one many creators are able to convert into a business with multiple revenue streams.

Whether you choose to grow your following on YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, or a blog (or, ideally, on a combination of different channels), you have many avenues for monetizing your audience:

14. Offer child care

The rise in demand for child care services with a decreasing supply is a perfect combination for starting a new business. If you enjoy taking care of kids and can get the proper licenses, a new child care business could be a good business idea for you.

Daycares are a particularly good business idea for parents looking to make money from home.

15. Become a handy-person

Everyone has a go-to maintenance specialist in their family. You know, the person who’s always doom chores around the house: a plumbing issue, installing tile, cleaning out gutters, putting up a fence. They’re always the person friends and family call on for odd jobs. If this is you, why not get paid for your work?

The home repair and improvement industry sits at around $540 billion in market value. Whether it’s fixing a boiler or building a patio deck, if you’re someone who likes to fix things, this could be a lucrative business for you.

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