13 Side Business Ideas You Can Start Today

By on January 31, 2013

13 Side Business Ideas You Can Start Today There are probably hundreds of ways to start a side business and make some money on the side.  Because blogs and websites are internet based, there are loads of lists about how to make money on the side from the internet, but today I want to focus on a few of the many offline small businesses that you could start in your spare time.  Any one of these could be your dream business; just waiting for you to discover it.

Because I know that so many people have a dream to start a side business of their own, I wanted to help you get a start.  This list will hopefully spark some ideas and allow you to realize a dream that you may have held dear for many years.  Your side business can help you pay off debts, increase your savings, live a more affluent life and in some cases a small side business like this can turn into a full time occupation.  I know that the dream of working for yourself is one that many of us share, so hopefully this list can get you started on the path to a profitable and enjoyable business of your own.

1. Refurbishing Expert (furniture, shoes, electronics)

If you know how to restore old items back to life this could be a profitable side business.  I have a family member who does this with furniture and he is making enough money to be independent and travel the world following his passion for scuba diving.  Some people are willing to pay very well to have items of historical or personal significance restored to their original splendor.

2. Landscaping

A landscaping business can be as simple as lawn mowing.  If you live near an affluent community or one with loads of seniors this can be a great little side business.  Many people are quite happy to pay someone else to cut their lawn for them and as you grow you could begin to include other services such as weed control, resodding, even landscape design if your talents are in that direction.

3. Snow Removal

This is a natural extension of the landscaping business.  Naturally if you live in the north there isn't much need for cutting grass in the winter, but there IS a need for snow removal.  If you have the right equipment, snow plowing can be an excellent source of winter income and in some cases you won't even have to look any farther than your already existing landscaping customers.

4. Dog Walking

This is best suited to large cities where there is a need from busy professionals to have someone who can take their darling pooches out for a stroll around the block while they are stuck in high powered meetings.  If you live in New York or Los Angeles you have likely already seen folks who do this out strolling with multiple dogs on their leashes.  You can also add in ancillary services such as feedings, medication application, etc.

5. Pet Sitting

Why limit yourself to just taking Fido for a walk.  Offer your services as a pet sitter to those who are frequently going out of town on business.  If you love animals this could be a dream job.

6. Pet Grooming

If you love animals and have a knack for properly grooming them, this could work like a charm for you.  And you can combine it with the above two businesses as well as your client base grows.  Maybe you will have so much business that you'll need to hire employees to take care of all those wonderful animals.

7. Pooper Scooper Service

Ok, so this is the dirty side of the animal care business, but people will pay for you to come and clean the poop from their yards.  It may not be glamorous, but it's a pretty easy business if you don't mind poop.

8. Electric Pet Fence Installation

This type of service has been growing in popularity and if you can get attached to one of the well known per fence companies you can really make bank with this side business.  It simply entails installing the underground electric pet fences and you can easily do it on weekends or in the evening after your regular job.  Plus, it costs very little to get started and has great profit margins.

9. Painting (Exterior/Interior)

I think I started seeing the College Painter signs in my town about 25 years ago.  And I still see them today.  I guess that means that this is both lucrative and in demand.  If you like painting why not start your own exterior or interior painting business?  If you have artistic talent you could even offer to paint murals (such as for the nursery) at higher rates.

10. Direct Sales

Want to start a business but you don't have a product?  That's no problem as there are hundreds of direct selling companies (think Amway or Avon) willing to pay you (sometimes quite handsomely) to sell their products.  Most don't ever get rich (average income of an Amway rep is $115/mo), but those who do can become super wealthy.  If you have the drive and sales skills this might be the perfect business opportunity for you.

11. Sell Fruits and Vegetables

If you have a garden or fruit trees you can sell the fruits and vegetables of your labor on the roadside for a tidy little profit.  Selling fresh fruits and vegetables like this is big business where I live in the Northeast.  People will come back time and time again for some of the freshest produce they've ever eaten.  It's a delicious way to make money!

12. Sell Your Kitchen Skills

If you have skills baking you can easily start a business selling your baked goods for profits.  Many successful bake shops and cafes got started this way.  Plus you get the joy of seeing people gobble up your creations day after day.

13. Home or Office Cleaning

Clean freaks rejoice, now there is an outlet for your need to clean and you can make money while doing it.  If you want to work during the day, a home cleaning service could be a great way to make extra money.  Those who are more interested in working off hours could approach businesses in their area to promote their cleaning services.  Office parks are ideal for this as you could have all your clients in one location.  Want to expand?  Offer home organization services too.

These 13 small business ideas are just the tip of the iceberg.  Do you have any other ideas for how to make some extra income from your own business?  I would love to hear about them below.  In the meantime, use these 13 ideas to help jumpstart your own thinking process and find the perfect side business that will get you out of debt, increase your savings, and maybe even provide you with financial independence.  It is never too early to get started.

Steve Walters
Steve Walters
Contributing Writer at ExcelLiving.com
Steve blogs about personal finance at his site Money Infant. After paying off over $40,000 in debt in less than 3 years, he and his wife sold all their stuff and moved across the world to Thailand with their 1 year old in tow. Needless to say it's been an adventure. He is also available for freelance writing assignments and can be contacted here
Steve Walters

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