I’ve found that fear often stops aspiring consultants from starting a consulting business–or any business–and on my blog, I talk about how to overcome those fears. I also talk about practical, concrete things you can do to start and run a successful consulting business, along with tools, tips, tricks, and techniques for automating your business and keeping costs to a minimum. The info I give is applicable to most other types of businesses as well.
If you've developed valuable skill sets or certifications within your industry over the years, consider putting your skills to use in your free time by offering your consulting services to local business owners as a potentially lucrative side business idea. Whether you're an expert marketer, business strategist, or manufacturing aficionado, there's likely a local business owner who's willing to pay you to help them solve an issue with their company—if you can craft an effective cold email that convinces them to hire you. Start with this 18-step checklist to becoming a local business consultant as a side business idea, from Karyn Greenstreet. When you're ready to get serious about becoming a consultant, check out all of my picks for the best online business courses to keep building your skills and learning how to land your first consulting clients. Personally, I think this is one of the best business ideas you can get started with today.
This is a job with much potential, in part because the title description covers many things. “You can fit your offerings to what you know how to do,” says Stephanie Foster, a former medical transcriptionist who runs the website HomeWithTheKids.com. One can own a virtual assistant business or work from home for a company that makes you available to other employers or clients. HomeWithTheKids.com, for example, currently features several such companies.
I overheard my wife talking to a homeschool mom that raises and sells a certain type of dog (a registered breed of some kind) ranging from $1,000 to $1,800. I also know a couple teens that started a bread business where they sell the product at the local famer’s market and local stores. The product(s) have been so successful, most of the family has been involved in it.
I kind of “fell into” my at home business. I was a customer of their website division a few years ago. When my husband got downsized – I closed my business and started working with my current company. It’s been such a blessing to be able to stay at home (2 girls in elementary school) and help contribute to our family. When our company started another division helping non-profits with alternative funding – it was something I was passionate about. I feel very blessed to have found the real deal with my at home businesses and in the two years I’ve been with them – it all keeps getting better.
Also, make sure you’re up-to-date on CPR, first aid and other emergency procedures. Then make sure your own kids are OK with sharing their home every day. Once all of that is wrapped up, go to your friends and neighbors, your kids’ teachers, your place of worship and anywhere else busy parents are looking for day-care services, and get your word out.
Your skills are the things that you can do. The difference between talents and skills is that talents are passive and skills are active. Or, to put it another way, you're born with talents but you develop skills over time as you learn. For instance, a creative person may have excellent skills for drawing or writing or design. A person who has a talent for attending to detail may have strong accounting or organizational skills. You'll need to call on both your talents and skills to start a successful home-based business.
Every website owner (including myself) hires copywriters to write content for things like about pages, FAQ's, or blog posts. Hourly wages for novice copywriters are not very high, but with some experience and a growing portfolio, you can become a freelance writer today and soon be charging more than you make at your full-time job if you find the right clients and brand yourself as an expert with this side business idea. Check out one of my most talented friends, Jory Mackay, for an example of someone who's doing a great job of positioning himself as a premium service-provider with his freelance writing side business idea. Then when you're ready to start cold emailing potential clients, pick up my free downloadable freelance proposal template and get started today.
Cambly is an online, foreign language, tutoring platform that lets individuals practice their language skills with a native speaker. Online tutors make 17 cents per minute ($10.20 per hour) talking to paying Cambly users. To get started, you must be a native English or Spanish speaker; you must have a webcam and Internet connection. Payments are made via PayPal.
Being a wedding specialist works well for top-notch players, but being a generalist also has its benefits. Event and party planners leverage their network of service providers to cover not only weddings, but also seminars, corporate events, birthdays, baptisms, concerts, conferences, holiday parties, and other events, making it a relatively diverse business idea. Here are some tips if you want to run a part-time event planning business at home as a side business idea. And here’s a very honest look into the upside and downside of the trade.
It’s great to see so many opportunities at one place. People often say how much they want to leave the corporate world and change the way they earn money but “they can’t”. And I think the reason is fear. They fear that working from home might not work out immediately. There are countless opportunities, if you want to work from home and every excuse is just due to lack of courage.

What Employees Say: “Company is comprised of hard-working individuals who are extremely passionate about what they do. We have done wonderful things for communities through foundations, IBO’s and our own employees giving back. It is exciting to be part of a growing company that has allowed me to use my knowledge to help build my department. I am proud to see how far we have come..” —Current Employee
A home-based business is any enterprise for which the principal administrative and managerial activities take place within an individual's personal residence. People start home-based business ventures for a wide variety of reasons. For example, some people are forced to leave the corporate world as a result of downsizing or early retirement, while others leave voluntarily out of a desire to be their own boss, to avoid the hassles associated with commuting, or to facilitate caring for children or elderly relatives. Whatever the reason, home-based businesses have become a significant trend in recent years. Once viewed as a way for an unemployed person to make some money until a "real" job came along, home-based businesses are now taken much more seriously. Today, home-based businesses run the gamut from consulting firms and advertising agencies to photography studios and free-lance writing services.
Like birthdays, marriages happen all the time. Which means you can treat weddings as a recurring fountain of business opportunities: wedding dresses and coats, jewelers, food caterers, venue providers, photographers and videographers, performers, flower shops, travel agencies, souvenir crafts, and a host of other ventures. Now imagine if you can form a network of these service providers so you can offer engaged couples a range of hassle-free wedding packages as a turnkey business idea. The process is certainly fun (and time-consuming), but as a side business idea, the pay can be pretty great.
If you have a fondness for taking pictures of smiling families or laughing children blowing bubbles, consider becoming a stock photographer and selling your images to a stock photo company like Unsplash, ShutterStock and iStockPhoto as a side business idea. You’ll get royalties every time someone licenses an image you’ve submitted. To really be successful, build your own photography website to be able to showcase your portfolio and start getting higher-paid private corporate work.
Car flipping can be a fun way to turn your love for cars into a quick side business idea if you have the capital and a stomach for the inherent risk. Buying and selling cars is similar to other “buy low, sell high” business models, but the profit potential per hour invested can be very high. According to Jeremy Fisher at 3HourFlip.com, the trick is to learn how to make car deals come to you, so you can minimize your time invested and maximize your profit on each flip with this side business idea.
And don’t forget social media as a home-based business. Many churches, other non profit charities, and business owners NEED to advertise via social media. You can either be hired to do theirs or become a consultant who trains their staff. Many churches don’t know the Internet laws like an avid social media user does. They’ll need someone to teach them how to use social media and protect their organization while doing it. Ask me how I know. 😉 My husband and I have worked with some organizations who refused to listen and they ended up with some scandals. Take a gander at what happened to Pastor Alios Bell’s ministry reputation when someone who knows social media happened upon her indiscretion at Applebee’s. Google it. It went viral.
What It Is: Think Mary Kay (cosmetics), Pampered Chef (kitchenware), or Rodan + Fields (skincare) — over time, you build a base of clients to whom you sell a company's wares. "There are several reasons why I decided to become a consultant," says Rodan + Fields independent consultant Debbie Royer. "I had seen how much of a blessing the business had been to a friend of mine and my sister-in-law. Plus, everything can be done from my phone, and being a mom to a preschooler and an infant I don't have a lot of extra time to be sitting at a computer."
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