Get More on the Side: 6 Proven, Potentially Lucrative Side-Business Ideas

Is your 9-to-5 income barely enough to keep you afloat? Or are you just looking for some budgetary breathing room?

Whatever your financial position, you could surely benefit from some supplemental income. For those considering a side business, these six proven ideas don’t require you to tack on another 40 hours (or more) to your already-hectic work week. You can pursue them in your spare time, working your side duties in and around your existing professional and personal obligations.

  1. Graphic Design

For the creative types, graphic design can be a fantastic side income opportunity that requires little upfront investment. A basic photo suite costs less than $100, and you likely already have a machine capable of running it. Free or low-cost online graphic design courses can help sharpen your skills and guide you toward potentially lucrative specialties. The real work comes in the prospecting department — to make a go of it, you’ll need to establish a presence on general-purpose and design-specific freelance work platforms frequented by design-hungry entrepreneurs and execs.

  1. Nonprofit Fundraising

If you have a few extra hours to spare each month, consider running nonprofit fundraising campaigns out of your house. According to the experts at ABC Fundraising, well-organized fundraisers can earn up to $5,000 per month, depending on their chosen products. As a part-timer, you’ll probably earn closer to $500 per month — but that’s likely enough to cover your car payment, if nothing else.

  1. Freelance Writing

Have a way with words? If you don’t get to work your creative writing muscles at your 9-to-5, look for after-hours projects on general-purpose freelance platforms like UpWork. Narrow your focus to subjects about which you’re knowledgeable, or at least curious. Expert-level writing commands higher pay rates, after all.

  1. Medical Billing and Coding

Think back to the last medical bill you received. All those unique codes denote specific ailments, services, prescriptions — and someone has to keep them all straight. Medical billing and coding is a frightfully complex, specialized business that requires a surprising amount of manpower, including independent coding specialists who can and often do work out of their homes. Training requirements aren’t trivial, but they’re manageable within the constraints of a 9-to-5.

  1. Craft and Secondhand Sales

How crafty are you? If you’re looking for a creative outlet, consider professionalizing your hands-on hobby with an Etsy or eBay shop. You’re limited only by the time you can devote to your creations — and what they’ll fetch on the open market.

  1. Photography

You have to be very good or very lucky — or both — to make it big as a stock photographer. But that doesn’t mean you can’t earn impressive side income as an event photographer: weddings, christenings, confirmations, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and more. You’ll have to travel to capture the photos, of course, but you can run everything else from home.

What Are You Doing on the Side?

Everyone has hidden talents. Setting aside the extra income, side work presents a fantastic opportunity to exercise creative muscles that don’t get much use during the 9-to-5 workday. For many side-jobbers, the joy of exploring untapped wells of potential exceeds the thrill of taking home extra pay each week or month. If all goes well, your side gig might just supplant your day job — and you could find yourself much happier for it.

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