When you’re starting a small business, every penny counts. Just ask Levi King, co-founder of Nav and an entrepreneurial veteran of nearly two decades. While in his early 20s and vacationing with his wife, Rachel, in Mexico, he saw a display of knockoff Oakley sunglasses and bought them all. Back home, he recouped the money spent on the trip by selling them at a local mall.
“It was a little weird to be walking around in a billboard covered in knockoff shades at first,” says King, “but watching cars pull up with their drivers waving cash out the window accelerated the acclimation process. If you want to be successful in business — especially at the beginning — you’ve got to swallow your pride, hustle and do whatever it takes to keep yourself afloat.”
Side gigs can also supplement the business by helping when cash flow becomes an issue. Cash-flow problems are a top concern for new businesses, especially in the early years, and having a steady flow of it through the business (coupled with establishing a business credit score) are important to getting a business loan down the road when you’re ready to go full-time as an entrepreneur.
Here are 21 ideas for to keep yourself afloat with an extra source of income while you launch the business of your dreams.
With Airbnb you can rent out a couch, a bedroom, a whole apartment or even a houseboat to people eager to pay you for the experience. Once you’re known for providing a nice place to crash, you’ll get visitors on a regular basis.
2. Car Wash & Detailing
Spring, summer, winter and fall, folks want to see their cars clean. They’ll pay good money for it, too. Invest in some basic cleaning supplies, practice on a few of your friends’ cars, and build a reputation for turning out glowing, clean-smelling vehicles.
3. Home Daycare
Good with kids? Live in a place with lots of room for them to spread out in? For those with the hours to spare, home daycare is a great option for making some side money while building a small business. If you’re put off by the idea of paperwork and licensing, make sure you do your homework regarding what your state actually requires, because you might be pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of it.
4. Home & Business Cleaning Service
We all want clean bathrooms at home; businesses want them, too. Why not capitalize on both? Plenty of people are willing to pay a good hourly rate to those who can make their environments sparkle.
5. Pet Sitting
Good with animals? More and more people — millennials especially — are picking pets over kids these days. Consider providing a loving environment for them while their owners are at work or on vacation.
6. Selling on Amazon
Amazon’s FBA program lets you hunt down local bargains and then sell them on Amazon for a healthy profit. If you’ve got an eye for a good deal and the diligence to stay on the hunt, take advantage of Amazon’s colossal customer base.
7. Junk Hauling
For junk hauling, all you need is a truck, some muscle and a willingness to be on intimate terms with your local dump. Help folks get rid of all the useless stuff that they bought for some reason.
8. Senior Citizen Assistance
If you have aging relatives, you know how important it is that they be taken care of and treated with respect. Think of the sort of care that you’d want your parents or grandparents to have, and offer that affection and good-natured patience to others as you help them with basic chores like laundry and washing up.
9. Music Lessons
If you had the talent and perseverance to stick with an instrument and master it, good for you. Why not spread the wealth a little? Offer your skills and experience to other aspiring musicians. Plus, plenty of parents will pay good money just to have you take their budding Mozarts off their hands for a little while.
Driving services are here to stay, as increasing numbers of people choose Uber and Lyft over traditional taxis as their favorite way to get to the airport. If you keep a clean car, have a clean driving record and are self-motivated enough to set your own hours, ferrying people from one place to another is an excellent option for making a few extra dollars.
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It’s a hypercompetitive world, and tutors are in high demand as students of all ages fight and claw to stay ahead of the pack. Put your hard-won knowledge to good use and help further your small business ambitions at the same time.
12. Dog Walking
Ever seen those people walking five dogs of assorted breeds and sizes through the park? They’re called dog walkers, and it’s a pretty sweet gig. Dog owners can be as loyal as their pets if you prove trustworthy, and getting paid to take Rufus and Scruffy to the park isn’t a bad idea.
13. Window Cleaning
We all take clean windows for granted until we move into a place of our own and realize what a pain in the butt it is to keep them shiny and clear. Invest in a squeegee, Windex and some paper towels and let it be known that you aren’t afraid of a little bird poop.
14. Yard Work
If you own a lawn mower, weed wacker and other expensive yard tools, capitalize on your investment by starting your own yard service. Not only does it pay well, the work can be soothing and it’ll help you get more sun in your life.
15. Rent a Room in Your House
Why use that spare bedroom to store gift wrap and abandoned exercise equipment when you could be making hundreds of dollars a month by renting it out? Start with friends and family, and if none of them need a place to lay their head, consider a nice hygienic stranger.
Residents of snowy states know that there is no greater hero than the neighbor with a snow plow who makes it possible for them to get to work in the morning. Be that hero for multiple neighborhoods, and get rewarded in cold, hard cash.
Busking is a great word. It refers to the act of standing on a street corner and playing an instrument while passersby shower you with loose change. If you’ve got musical chops and charisma, you can actually make some decent side money on busy weekend nights.
It isn’t easy to break into the DJ scene, but those that do receive handsome compensation. Check out our interview with successful DJ Rob Bennion for some handy tips on how to begin.
If people are consistent about anything, it’s their undying love for delicious homemade treats. If you’ve got a gift for warm, fluffy bread, scrumptious cookies and cupcakes to die for, monetize it. Check out our interview with successful baker Rachel Dunston to see how.
20. Human Billboard
Walking around dressed as a slice of pizza while vigorously shaking a cowbell at passing cars isn’t the sexiest way to supplement your income, but just remember Levi King and his knockoff Oakley sunglasses. Born entrepreneurs will do whatever it takes to succeed.
21. Resume Writing
It’s amazing how many hardworking people with solid job histories absolutely stink at writing a resume. Lighten their burden by doing it for them. Begin by looking up examples of outstanding resumes, master a few basic templates and you’re on your way.
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