With the kids back in school, your home is probably becoming an unfamiliar place of solitude. What are you going to do with the extra seven hours per day? Perhaps you can experiment with some of these ideas for generating extra income:
Wikipedia describes a blog as "a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries ("posts") typically displayed in reverse chronological order." Basically, a blog is a public journal, and has become extremely popular as a tool for networking and promoting. It doesn't take much to get a blog started, since hosts such as Wordpress and Blogger will provide free templates and all that's left to do is insert content. It usually works best when you have a very specific interest such as photography, cooking, teaching, and careers. This Microsoft Business article provides five easy tips for earning income through your blog: 1) sell advertising, 2) sell products, 3) ask for contributions, 4) market your services, 5) expand your customer relations. Google Blogger also allows you the option of adding AdSense to your blog in order to generate income per clicked ad. You can also be affiliated with related brands and companies and earn a commission on sales via your blog. Most importantly, don't expect instant success, as good things come with time.
This is especially great for those who already own a high quality SLR/DSLR. Digital Photography Review provides some helpful tips on how to start your own photography business that targets a specific market within your local community. PhotographyCorner.com advises that you build an online portfolio that displays your best images. Some of the most successful photographers have high quality websites that showcase an excellent portfolio of their work. What makes these small businesses successful is that their websites clearly articulate their unique vision. For example, Matt Cheung Photography in the NYC area is known for contributing 20% of all profits to charity. Making your vision known to your community is the best way to get clients on board.
Are you an expert in a certain subject and are interested in getting paid to help a student in need? Market research firm Global Industry Analysts, Inc. (GIA) has released a study this past week stating that the global private tutoring market is projected to surpass $102.8 billion by 2018. With the tutoring business growing so rapidly, it's becoming easier to land a tutoring gig. Subject matter expertise is required, and the more qualified you are the better. For example, if you're tutoring a student preparing for the GMAT, it's essential to have a high GMAT score. There are many ways you can get started. One is to post or view ads via sites like Craigslist, although this approach is more independent and may require much time and effort on your part. On the other hand, you don't have to split your income with an agency, and you can charge as much as you like. Another option is to go through professional tutoring agencies such as Sylvan, Club Z, or other local tutoring companies. They interview you to see if you're a fit for their company and, if so, you're paired with a student in need. The best part about a tutoring job is that it's very flexible, so you often get to make your own hours.
Selling Old Things on Ebay
Do you have a collection of unused goods at home? Rather than holding a yard sale (for pennies) or reselling your items to a consignment shop (long wait required), you might find EBay to be a better option. Selling your things individually can help you stack up more income, and you can post an ad within a matter of minutes. Research the site to see what's hot and how much other similar items are selling for. Most importantly, make sure your items are in good condition, as the success of your EBay business is highly dependent on getting good seller reviews.
Sell Created Things Online
Sites like Etsy and TeachersPayTeachers are the latest buzz, especially for stay at home moms. If you're talented in creating cute and original things, you might want to consider selling on Etsy. This site features all things hand made from cards to clothes to knit goods. You can even purchase home-made salsa. Etsy usually features items you can't find in stores, which is why prices are reasonably higher - great for running your own business.
If you're a retired teacher, or have struggled to land a teaching job, you might want to consider starting your own TeachersPayTeachers store. This could be the best business you've never heard of, which is currently producing several teacher-millionaires. According to this Business Insider article, the top ten sellers have generated more than $5 million in sales - a great bonus to add to any teaching salary. If you've created your own worksheets or lesson plans, or if you can whip up some quality printable resources that are unique and original, this might be the business for you.
Walk/Care for Pets
This is an especially great option for you if you already love pets and enjoy going for routine walks/jogs. According to The Humane Society, "A good pet sitter also spends quality time with the animal, gives him exercise and knows how to tell if he needs veterinary attention. What's more, pet sitters typically offer additional services, such as taking in mail and newspapers and watering plants."
Care.com and Craigslist are great sites that list a wealth of ads for pet owners within your local community looking for walkers/sitters. You can also post your own ad on Craigslist, or build your own website, to market your services. Building a network of good references can help boost your business and increase your income.
Host an Exchange Student
Do you have a spare room in your home? Sometimes, subletting may not be the best option, especially in regards to letting a complete stranger into home with your children. However, inviting an exchange student is a completely different story. An exchange student is coming to you with one objective in mind - getting a great cultural experience. Wikipedia outlines the different types of exchange programs available and what to expect. Of course, some drawbacks are to be expected. An obvious drawback of course is that communication may be difficult due to language barriers. However, many organizations will provide a generous stipend for your services.
Cater Easy-to-Make Foods
Perhaps the thought of owning your own catering business is scary and a bit overwhelming. However, there is a high demand for caterers of simple foods like sandwiches, salads, and even coffee. The best independent caterers have excellent websites that showcase a detailed menu and make it easy for clients to place an order. According to this Fox Business article, here are some important things to consider when running your own catering business: Follow the US Small Business Administration rules for catering regulations; Make sure you have all of the necessary equipment to run your business; Consider joining a catering association such as the NACE. You never know when your small business might become a branded chain like Rubio's (popular for California fish tacos).
Hopefully by now you've been inspired to invest some of your spare time wisely. Before you know it, you'll be generating some extra income towards the next summer vacation. Also, you can always anticipate the possibility of these side projects blooming into booming businesses.
Dr. Tracey Wilen-Daugenti is a leading thought speaker on career development. She is the author of ten books, a regular media contributor, and global speaker. She is a key advisor for recruiting and outplacement firms. Her most recent book is Women Lead: Career Perspectives from Workplace Leaders. Tracey has served as a visiting scholar at Stanford University's Media X program, researching the impact of technology on future careers. Find Tracey on Twitter and Facebook.