If you've developed valuable skill sets or picked up certifications within your industry over the years, offering your consulting services to local business owners can be a lucrative way to make money online. 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. Start with this 18-step checklist to becoming a local business consultant from Karyn Greenstreet and then use my guide to crafting an effective cold email to convince them to hire you.
From grad school to kindergarten, the opportunities to teach from the comfort of your home are endless. One warning, though: online or in class, the pay for teachers is abysmal at best. K-12 online teachers average about $40K per year; online college professors average around $60k (18), (19). But remember, that’s for only three-quarters of the year. Summers off? That’s hard to beat.
Keep in mind though, you don’t need a website to do sponsored content since you can also get paid if you have a lot of social media followers. My wife has a pretty big Instagram following, and she gets all kinds of sponsorships. Not only does she get paid in cash, but we get a lot of free stuff, too. We’ve received free rugs, free lights, and free carpet cleaners. She only promotes things she loves though, so this strategy works really well for her.
Ask for a raise. If you’re unhappy with your compensation at your 9-5 job, asking for a raise is one way to beef up your bank account. Most employers offer an annual review of your work – which could be the perfect time to negotiate a higher salary or ask for better perks. If your employer doesn’t offer such an opportunity, it might be time to initiate a review yourself.
If you’re looking for inspiration, my friend Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of the website Making Sense of Sense has become the expert on all things affiliate marketing. Michelle earns more than $100,000 per month from her blog and the bulk of her income comes from affiliate sales. Michelle has had so much success with affiliate marketing that she even has her own course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.
Then once you’ve got your domain name and hosting sorted out, it’s time to pick a CMS, or Content Management System, that will let you update pages, build your blog and integrate with all the other services you need. It’s hard to go wrong with WordPress—the CMS powering close to a quarter of the internet. Keep in mind that eventually as you start growing traffic to your blog, you'll be wise to invest in a managed WordPress hosting plan from a company with great service like Kinsta, where all of the settings are custom-tailored and optimized to work particularly well with WordPress-powered websites.
If you’re not using social media as a niche marketer, start. Right now. Social media is simply unbeatable for instantaneous feedback on your product or service and how well you’re doing at keeping your customers happy. If a customer has a problem, do everything in your power to solve it as quickly as possible. It’s hard to understate how important this is – just because your operation may be small or you’re marketing a niche product doesn’t mean you can slack off when it comes to taking care of your customer base.
Many of the same concepts that apply to making gift baskets or arranging flowers also apply here, but this time you’ll be putting people’s names on the things you send them. Personalization is especially hot for any sort of kids’ item, so don’t be afraid to be creative with the products you offer to personalize. Good photography, a good Website and some crafty skills will come in handy here.
This next category is one of my favorites. And, it applies to almost everyone looking for a good side hustle. Why? Because it is something everyone should be doing regardless of whether they are looking for a little something to earn a few pennies during commercial breaks that requires minimal effort or they are looking to create a full-time income from home.
Hold a yard sale. If you have a yard or garage and plenty of items to sell, you can have a yard sale as early as tomorrow. By advertising your sale on local Facebook pages and Craigslist, you can also skip the paid newspaper ad and keep all of the profits for yourself. If you don’t have time to price everything, try asking patrons to “make an offer” or grouping similar items on tables with an advertised price (e.g. everything on this table is $5).
If it’s not clear yet, information and expertise are two of the most consistent and lucrative ways to make extra money online. If you don’t like talking on the phone, you can sign up to get paid to answer professional questions on JustAnswer. There are thousands of questions being asked every month from people looking for help from lawyers, doctors, mechanics, vets, and more. To apply, you’ll need to supply your professional verification, resume, and a form of identification.
A blog highlights your technical ability and showcases your ability to write blog posts. Your blog can be about different topics than those you write about for your clients. In fact, it should be on a topic that interests you. Visitors will see that you can not only write, but you can also build an online community. A good blog has the potential to earn you many referrals for more clients.
Competition to get into top universities is as tough as it has ever been, so nervous parents are willing to pay handsomely for tutoring for their kids. You need an area of expertise—math, and specifically SAT math preparation, is always a favorite—but almost any subject will work. If you know how to market yourself locally, you can take advantage of parental paranoia and make money by tutoring right in your own home, or at a local library or coffee shop. Just make sure to do your homework on your local market in order to set prices and know which areas of expertise are most desired by parents in your area.
Set up the site. Choose a website building platform, such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. Next, choose a domain name and web hosting for your site. The domain name is your web address. Web hosting is a service that connects your site to the internet. Once you have your domain name and web hosting, go to the control panel of your hosting account and install your website platform. Design your website by choosing and installing a theme.
Whether your business serves only your niche, or a niche among other audiences, the purpose of niche marketing is the same. You want to find a small pond in which you can be a big fish. If you compete for everything, you’re going to win at nothing. However, if you pick one area to concentrate on, you can focus your efforts and stand out in your market.
You love dogs? You’re good at taking care of them? You want to open a dog-boarding business? Just make sure you’re prepared. Sure, it’s a great opportunity, and it’s totally doable—with some planning. Make sure you know your local zoning laws and, perhaps more importantly, make sure your neighbors would be OK with some extra noise and activity around your place.
Great list! I have another to consider that I personally have 35+ years experience providing. Clean up litter outside commercial properties on foot using inexpensive hand tools. It’s almost as easy to do as going for a walk! I started doing this as a side gig in 1981 and soon grew it into a profitable full-time business. I share my experience in my book, Cleanlots.
Learn then selling guidelines. Each marketplace has guidelines that define what you can and cannot sell. State and federal laws also impact what items are prohibited. In general, you cannot sell alcohol, weapons, service contracts, animals or event tickets. Also, while not always prohibited, you may find restrictions on how you can sell items in some categories, such as art, gift cards and coupons. eBay, Craigslist and Amazon publish these guidelines on their websites.
Dating sites and apps are extremely popular and have become more and more niche as the industry develops. They can also be very profitable, as there are many ways to monetize them. You can charge a joining fee, provide premium subscriptions, or make money from advertising on your site. White Label Dating provides a pre-built dating platform for your project. You simply choose the niche and branding for your new dating site. Once your website goes live, you just need to promote it, manage the users, and collect the earnings.
When you are an expert at something, not only do you obtain more customer trust, you also gain more brand recognition. If you do everything, you’re going to be average at everything, and you will blend in with the crowd. If you do a lot of things but are really good at one specific thing, you will stand out. You may be even become known for that specific thing. This won’t detract from other services you provide. The key here is that you become known. People may learn about your business because of a specialty you provide, even if they’re looking for a different service you provide.
If you’re thinking about starting your own home-based business, the available options can seem overwhelming. What type of business is the best fit for your background, skills, and interests? If you don’t have a lot of initial capital to invest, which ones can be started at a low cost? And, most important, which home business has the best chance of succeeding, especially with the U.S. economy still on the rebound?
If you’re a fitness buff and have the right combination of charisma and business sense, working as a part-time online personal trainer can be both physically and financially rewarding. Once you build up a reputation and client base for yourself, it could easily turn into a full-time endeavor for you. Check out this interview with several fitness blog owners who are making a living online, from MonetizePros. As well, I'd recommend checking out this resource if you want to take this business idea seriously and get started with a business plan for your personal fitness trainer business today.
One factor that you must be aware of though is that Care.com is a peer-to-peer arrangement. That means that you will be in direct competition with other pet sitters in your area. You must price your services competitively in order to get business. Once you begin to develop a list of regular clients, you will be in a better position to raise your rates. This will be particularly true as you get referrals from those customers.