10 Side Gigs for Anyone Who Wants to Start a Business Quickly and Cheaply

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Not everyone wants to be a full-time business owner.

Sometimes, all you need is a little extra cash on the side…something to keep you afloat or to cover some extra expenses.

Or maybe, you DO want to start a business…but are afraid of the risks associated with the process (namely, investing a bunch of time and money!) If this sounds like you, keep reading.

This article covers 10 ideas for side gigs you can start quickly and cheaply. As a result, you could be a business owner before you know it!

1. Online Course Creator

Use a tool like Teachable to easily create a course on a topic you’re passionate about (image source)

First off, let me say I firmly believe everyone’s an expert at something!

Take your skills, knowledge and experience and turn it into a side gig by creating an online course. There are many great tools out there that allow you to easily package up your knowledge and turn it into ready-to-sell e-courses. Some of the most well-known online course creation sites are:

  • Thinkific: Thinkific offers a free version, but will charge a 10% transaction fee. Other plans require you to pay more up front each month, but have a lower transaction fee (or don’t charge a fee at all).
  • Teachable: Creating a course on Teachable will cost you $39/month, plus 5% in transaction fees.
  • Udemy: It’s free to create a course on Udemy. Udemy will, however, receive a percentage of your course sales…usually around 50%.

Stuck for course ideas? Here are just a few I found on Udemy:

  • The Web Developer Bootcamp
  • Elevate Your Photography: Learn Essentials of Great Photos
  • The Complete Piano Course: Master the Piano
  • Write a Book: Basic Creative Writing Skills for Beginners
  • Wood Carving for Beginners

As you can see, you can start a course on just about ANYTHING you have knowledge or experience in!

2. Sell Handmade Goods Locally and Online

Do you have a gift for creating amazing, handmade items? Whether it’s knitting, baking, sewing or woodwork, there is likely a market somewhere for your goods.

To test out the local market, take your wares to local farmer’s markets, craft sales or flea markets. Additonally, you can also promote your stuff online through Craigslist or through local Facebook buy and sell groups.

If you want to expand your market significantly, promote your stuff to a global audience using sites like Etsy, ArtFire or Madeitmyself.com.

As your sales increase and you start to get positive reviews online, you may want to up your game even more by creating an e-commerce site where you can sell your products directly to consumers. In other words, when you cut out the middleman, your flexibility and revenues will start to increase significantly!

3. Neighborhood Service-Based Business

Sign up with TaskRabbit to start your own local service business

Prefer to start a local, offline business? The beauty of this type of business is that it requires very little investment up front (if any).

Some ideas for this kind of hands-on business include:

  • Dog walking
  • House cleaning
  • Landscaping or lawn-mowing
  • Assembling furniture
  • Grocery shopping or cooking meals

Wondering how to go about finding clients to serve? The TaskRabbit app connects you with people in your community who are looking for exactly what you have to offer.

Here’s how it works: Sign up to become a “tasker”, and specify the types of tasks you’d like to perform. When a potential gig comes up, the app will notify you and you can compete for those tasks. If you’re approved, simply connect with your client and then perform your task! The app even takes care of the invoicing for you. Doesn’t get much easier than that!

4. Online Writer or Editor

Want a side gig you can do 100% from home? There’s a huge need out there for excellent writers, editors, bloggers and proofreaders.

The majority of businesses are now engaging in some form of content marketing. Consequently, good writers and editors are in high demand.

Sound like something you’d be interested in? There are tons of places online where you can look for high-paying writing, editing and proofreading gigs, including:

As you get experience in this space, you can take your business to the next level by taking on other writers or sub-contracting out some of your gigs. Eventually, you could even get to the place where all you’re doing is marketing your business and managing your writers, instead of actually writing or editing yourself!

5. Tutoring


Sign up to be a tutor at TutorMe.com and earn $18+/hour

Do you have a passion for helping students succeed? Are you great at math, science or English? Do you have a university education…or maybe even a teaching certification?

Then tutoring may be a great side business for you. There’s a huge demand out there for smart, personable tutors, both locally and online.

If in-person tutoring sounds good to you, post flyers on bulletin boards at your local library, park, coffee shop or anywhere else young families would hang out.

For online tutoring jobs, apply to be a tutor at sites like Tutor.com, Chegg Tutors or TutorMe. You can also post an ad on your local Craigslist, or check with local schools about getting listed in their email newsletters.

6. Consultant or Coach

Interested in helping businesses or individuals achieve their personal or professional goals? Consider hanging up your shingle as a consultant or coach.

There are many different areas you can choose to focus on –  life coach, business coach, parenting consultant, fitness coach…the possibilities are limited only by your own education, experience and passion.

Not sure where to start? There are many different paths to becoming a coach or consultant. However, here are a few ways you can get started:

  • Set up a website or blog (see #7 below) to establish yourself as an expert in your field.
  • Attain a certification or license to become a coach or consultant (The International Coach Federation is the industry standard for coaching certification).
  • Create a coaching practice based on your existing education or training.
  • If you have a proven track record in a certain field, approach businesses who could benefit from what you know.

Basically, if you’re knowledgeable and experienced in a certain field, there are people out there who will pay to know what you know! Find them and your consulting or coaching business is born.

7. Start a Blog


Want to earn money working from home, writing about what you LOVE? Then you may want to start a blog as a side gig!

Start by identifying a topic you’re passionate about, and can write about with authority. Imagine you have to write 10 amazing blog posts off the top of your head…could you do it? Then you may have found a great topic for your blog!

Starting a blog these days is super easy…in fact, it can be done in 30 minutes or less, and costs as little as $2.95/month.

Once you’ve added some great content and have built up a reputation in your niche, you can monetize your blog in any number of ways. I’ve written extensively about how you can make money from your blog…check out these posts for more info:

How To Make Money On Your Blog With Affiliate Marketing

How To Make Money With Your Website, Part I

How To Make Money With Your Website, Part II

8. Social Media Management

Do you have advanced training or experience in social media, marketing and/or writing? Do you love fostering community and facilitating online discussion? Then, you may want to think about starting a social media management company for instance!

As a social media manager, you may perform a number of important tasks for your clients including:

  • Creating and scheduling post that are aligned with your clients’ brand and goals
  • Responding to questions and complaints on social media
  • Facilitating discussions in groups
  • Creating images or videos to share on social media
  • Monitoring and responding to brand mentions

If you’re experienced and skilled with any or all of the above, starting a social media management company may be in the cards for you!

9. Rent Out Your Extra Space



Looking for a way to reduce your mortgage payments? Or love the idea of creating a side business as a property manager?

Renting out your extra space through Airbnb can bring in some serious extra income, and is a low-cost, low-risk way to start your own business.

Worried you can’t reap the benefits of Airbnb without a separate apartment or suite to rent out? Think again! Many people are making a killing on Airbnb renting out:

  • An extra bedroom
  • An unused basement suite/area
  • A family cabin or cottage in the off-season
  • A boat

Basically, if you have a clean, comfortable space in a place where people like to visit, you can start a side gig as an Airbnb host!

Don’t have ANY type of property to rent out? No problem. Airbnb also lets you host experiences. Share hidden gems in your city by offering local tours or guided experiences. If your experience is selected, you can start a lucrative local guide business through Airbnb today!

? Don’t have ANY property to rent out? No problem! Airbnb lets you host experiences. Share hidden gems in your city by offering local tours or guided experiences. If your experience is chosen, you can start a local guide business today!Click To Tweet

10. Become a Virtual Assistant

Becoming a virtual assistant is another great gig for anyone who wants to earn extra money without ever leaving the house.

A virtual assistant (VA) is just what it sounds like: a personal or business assistant who works virtually, anywhere in the world.

Becoming a virtual assistant may be right up your alley if you have great computer and technical skills, and are extremely organized and self-motivated.

The great thing about becoming a VA is you can work in almost any field or industry that appeals to you and that you have experience in: anything from real estate, to e-commerce, to marketing to the medical or dental field.

Not sure where to start with finding VA jobs? Check out the following online VA job posting sites:

Final thoughts

In conclusion, if starting a business sounds exciting to you – but you’re hesitant about investing a ton of time and money, then one of these ten side gigs may be the right option for you.

While each of the gigs above can be started quickly and easily, they can also be grown into full-fledged businesses…if that’s something you’re interested in.

Looking for even MORE side gigs? Then, you’ll love my post, 30 Ways To Make Extra Money From Home.

I’m curious: Are you going to try any of the side gigs above? Which one(s), for instance? Share below!


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Enstine Muki
Enstine Muki
5 years ago

Excellent startup ideas Kim. I’m working on a cryptocurrency video course for busy investors and was looking at teachable and Udemy. Now you mentioned Thinkific so I will be adding it to my list of options 😉

5 years ago

These are some amazing side business ideas. Couldn’t thank more!

Katie from OutwitTrade
Katie from OutwitTrade
4 years ago

Cool to see you link to Teachable. We reviewed them and thought it was an excellent service, definitely one of the best. Just a small handful of people with negative experiences.

4 years ago

Very Nice

INCO Business Group
INCO Business Group
3 years ago

I am so impressed with the creativity ideas of this article. Some really great advice thanks a lot. I look forward to visiting this site again. Thank you so much, I definitely need this!

INCO Business Group
INCO Business Group
3 years ago

I am so impressed with the creativity ideas of this article. I look forward to visiting this site again.

Pro Mill
Pro Mill
3 years ago

Nice article. Thanks for sharing these gigs..

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