You may love your full-time job - I know I do. Or you may hate the 9-5 grind. Either way, there’s no reason that you can’t leverage your career experience, mix in your personal interests and skills, and start a profitable side business to make money online in your free time. Creating a side business is riskier than working full-time - you don’t get the benefits, a steady paycheck, or 401k - but it can be much more rewarding, as you’re using your unique voice and talents to create your own business and control your own destiny.
I am a huge supporter of starting a side business while working full-time, as you get to keep your day job, remove the risk associated with running your business as your sole source of income, and get to test ideas while building a following online. You may not be able to quit your day job overnight, but starting a side business right now will set you up for future success and more money in the long run.
Here are my top picks for the best side business ideas that you can start while working full-time in 2018.
1) Start a Blog
In 2018, blogging is as viable a source of income as ever. Hundreds of thousands of bloggers (including myself) are writing on topics as diverse as hiking, cooking, fitness, DIY projects and more. Monetizing a blog takes a certain strategy. You start by writing compelling content and building an audience, then understanding what your readers need and attracting them to perform a revenue-generating action. This income stream can be created by a combination of email subscribers, affiliate marketing, blog sponsorships, online courses, coaching, consulting, and more.
To create a blog, you can set up a quick and easy website with WordPress using Bluehost. There are plenty of WordPress blog themes that will give you a professional and polished blog with minimal set up time. Then you have to really prioritize writing content, as it takes consistent and quality content to begin building a following and ranking on Google. There are a ton of great SEO strategies to get more traffic to your blog, including guest posting on other sites in your niche, link building outreach, social media promotion, and more. However it all comes down to creating high-quality, unique, shareable content that can’t be found anywhere else.
I’m currently working on a free online course that will take all of the guesswork out of creating a blog as a side business, helping you launch a blog in as little as one week. I’ll post that link here and across my site once it’s completed.
2) Sell an Online Course
Online courses have been exploding in popularity in recent years, with the online education industry expected to grow past $241 billion by 2020. Rising tuition costs and an increase in quality online courses are allowing digital offerings to compete with traditional teaching institutions. Now is the perfect time to leverage your expertise (and make a ton of money) from creating and selling your own online courses.
And online course platforms are making it easier than ever. They offer full-featured solutions and allow you to upload your video content, edit the look of your online school, add documents and homework assignments, and engage with your students all in one place. I recommend using Teachable, the easiest and most affordable online course platform to use. They have a ton of free content on how to get started with your online course and what you need to do to be successful. You can sign up right here.
3) Open an Ecommerce Store
Ecommerce growth has been surging over the past decade, and there’s no end in sight. In 2017, ecommerce accounted for $2.3 trillion in online sales, with that number expected to hit $4.5 trillion in 2021. If you have an idea for a niche product, or want to sell products via dropshipping, you can set up your own online store quickly with a number of different platforms.
One ecommerce platform that I recommend, and work for :), is BigCommerce. They are the best online platform for growing ecommerce businesses, with best-in-class SEO, more discounts and promotions out of the box, mobile-friendly themes, and over 40 payment gateways in 100+ countries.
4) Affiliate Marketing
If you already started a blog and have web traffic, an awesome way to make money online with a side business is to recommend other people’s products and make money with affiliate marketing. All that you have to do is join an affiliate marekting network like Rakuten, Clickbank, or CJ by Conversant, and look for products and services in your niche. Based on the credibility you’ve built with your audience, you can send targeted traffic to the merchant’s products and generate a percentage of revenue from each sale.
Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income, regularly makes over $100,000/month with affiliate marketing. It is one of the best income streams for your website and can turn your blog into a revenue generating machine.
5) Online Coaching
If there is a topic you’re very skilled in and passionate about, why not make money as a one-on-one online coach? To be a successful online coach, you need to build a community around your expertise and engage with your audience on a consistent basis. Using a private community tool like a private Facebook group or membership site will allow your community members to message and learn from each other regularly.
As an online coach, you can set up online courses, 1:1 meetings, meet-ups and events, or private mastermind groups in order to generate revenue for your side business. It’s all about your personal brand. The more influence you build with your website, the more you can charge for your coaching services.
6) Start a Podcast
Never before in human history have we had the ability to access audio content from anyone in the world on absolutely any topic that interests us. In past decades, we had to rely on news networks or radio broadcasts to hear content (that was filtered by media companies and businesses). Now with podcasts, we can listen to unfiltered information on any topic and you can listen in the car, at work, or anywhere you travel with your smart phone. Podcasting is the future of interactive 1:1 media, and with a little bit of planning and a unique angle, you can profit from this growing medium.
Once you have a decent-sized audience listening to your podcast, you can get sponsors in related niches to pay for ad space. Podcasts with just a few thousand followers can generate thousands of dollars in paid sponsorships if they have a dedicated and loyal audience in a narrow vertical. Plus, it’s very easy to create a podcast. All that you need is a microphone and some audio software and you’re up and running with a profitable side business.
7) Sell an eBook
If you are an excellent writer, you can take those skills and publish your own eBook as a side business idea. There are so many self-publishing tools out there like Calibre, which can take your Microsoft Word documents and convert them into epub or mobi file ready for eReaders.
You can also publish your eBooks easily to Amazon and start selling them right away. Once you write and publish your eBook, all that’s left is promoting it. Send your eBook to family, friends, and followers to get some initial online reviews before you officially launch. Once you launch, there are tons of ways to promote your eBook and start generating revenue from this side business opportunity.
8) Digital Marketing Consultant
If you have experience with PPC, SEO, or generating leads for local businesses, you can offer your services as a freelance digital marketing consultant. Businesses of all sizes, including restaurants, law firms, financial advisors, retail stores, (and any company imaginable), are all moving online, and many are lagging behind when it comes to the effort they’re putting into their online presence.
You can offer recurring marketing services for their business and help them rank higher organically on Google, boost their presence with paid ads on Google and Facebook, manage their reputation with online review platforms, and more. Once you have a following in your local community, you can offer word-of-mouth incentives and rely on your own online marketing to reach a wider audience.
9) Web Design and Development
10) Freelance Writing
As long as people are reading content online, there will be a need for freelance writers. And here’s a secret: many influential bloggers do not write most of their site’s content, and rely on freelance writers and content writing companies to do most of the grunt work for them. As a freelance writer, you can write blog posts, social posts, whitepapers, landing pages, and easily offer your services on platforms like Upwork. Once you have some writing work under your belt and in your portfolio, your demand will increase and the amount of money you can make will drastically increase.
What other side business ideas are out there?
Please share in the comments other side business ideas you have that you can start while working full-time. And if you’re interested in working with me on a custom plan to launch your side business in under 7 days, please join me!