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The Best Side Business Ideas

Ready to take the first step and become your own boss? This article covers some of the most lucrative side business ideas you can start today.

With the growing digital landscape and a plethora of opportunities, tying yourself down to the traditional 9-to-5 might be a thing of the past! The way we look at work has completely changed. The pandemic and the ‘new normal’ have pushed us to relook at the way our workforce functioned.

Now more than ever, people are looking for ways to add to their income, focus on their passion, and break away from the monotony of a typical workday. Starting a side business is a great way to earn a little extra on the side while pouring your love and care into a business that you own and run. It is a chance to be your own boss, and enjoy the work you do!

A side hustle might be considered to be a tough addition to your daily routine. But there are a lot of smaller projects you can take on to either get the hang of it or treat as a stepping stone to building a business empire of your own! 

We at Hoist have rounded up some of the best side businesses you can start, to make a little more money, gain flexibility and fast-track your professional growth.

What do you need to know before you start?

Before we get into it, there are a few things you need to know about starting a side gig. For starters, are you looking for a side business — something you plan to start, devote time and energy to eventually turn into a full-time job? Or are you looking for a 'side hustle’ — where you’re looking to make a little extra on the side, but that’s about it?

To understand the right avenues, you will have to first determine the purpose of your side business.

Ask yourself these questions before you start:

  • How much time and effort are you willing to put into your side company?
  • Is this something you'd like to pursue on your own time?
  • Do you intend to devote a significant amount of time to it?

There’s nothing wrong with either of the options, the approach remains the same for the most part. Regardless of it being a business or a hustle, what you will need is a course of action with set deadlines, achievable milestones, and an expected timeline for growth. Along with this, do a full assessment of your strengths and weaknesses -  an honest look at your skills, talents, and work ethic. 

Best side businesses to invest your time in, and to build on:

  1. Freelancing: 

The most obvious of them all, freelancing is the way of the future. From someone who has had decades of experience in the field to a student whose schedule only allows for a part-time gig, freelancing is the best way to get a little dough on the side and do something you like.

Depending on the needs of the market, and your skill set, there are many types of freelance jobs you can pick up. You can also develop the skills required for most gigs, as there are courses and classes you can take for them. It never hurts to be up-to-date!

Freelance Writing: 

Ghostwriting, copywriting, blog writing, or even review writing! There are a lot of things under freelance writing that you can do. The important thing is to find your niche, and this can be a form of writing (blog posts, copy, or social) or a topic (painting, art, high fashion, baked goods), and then you can build a clientele based on it. 

Once you establish yourself as a writer and then build your market, you’re all set! If you’re a student, you can focus on the subjects you’re majoring in. If you’re a seasoned industry expert, focus on the forms you’re most well versed with. This can just as easily be turned into your full-time freelance gig or left as a side hustle from your college days.

Freelance Photography and Videography: 

If you have the skills for photography and videography, then it’s a great freelance idea to start, as it is a slightly more high-skill job with a narrow demand.

As is the case with freelancers, the only downside is the difficulty in finding clients. But once you’re established, work will flow your way! It helps to find a niche in the industry — wedding videos, food photography, portrait and fashion content, etc., so you’re the first one on a potential client’s mind when it comes to a job. 

If your skills translate to content creation on social platforms, then that’s double the fun and the pay! While this is a more hands-on and intensive side hustle, it’s one of the more rewarding gigs with a greater chance of turning into a full-fledged business when the time is right.

Freelance Social Media Management: 

Social media is the most powerful tool in any company’s arsenal of weapons, and in the digital world of today, it’s what can make or break a brand’s identity. If you have a skill when it comes to creating the perfect online presence for a brand, from designing feeds to captioning posts, then social media management might be your calling! 

If you’re new to the industry, you can start with smaller businesses or your own feed, slowly working your way up. Freelance social media management might take consistent work showing an incremental increase, or it can boom overnight depending on the trends, timing, and the work you put in. It’s great for students and side-hustlers, and for people who plan to turn marketing and management into their full-time job!  

  1. Tutoring and Teaching:

One of the less conventional side-businesses, but one that can be pulled off easily, is tutoring and teaching. If you’re a student or professional well-versed in STEM, languages, or a subject that is currently in demand — like blockchains and crypto, in 2022 – then tutoring might be a great option for you. Tutoring might be easier for students, as many student-run education centers exist on and off-campus. However, the option is also very flexible and rewarding for working professionals.

If you’re unable to find the means to tutor, you can easily produce and record an online class, and publish it on learning platforms like Coursera, Udemy, or even YouTube. These classes can be as detailed or short as you want them to be, and you can control the information, and how it’s taught. Online classes and courses not only become a way to educate others who are interested in the subject, but also a great way to engage your mind and hobbies while still being productive. 

  1. Online Stores:

Online stores have popped up all across some of our most used social platforms, and especially seem to be booming on Instagram. These online stores are a great place for selling some hand-crafted or unique products without a lot of initial capital. They also provide an excellent starting point for building a business empire or even a profitable side hustle. 

But “online stores” in itself is far too vague to be a side business or side hustle. So, there are a few things you need to look into when you start your online store

  • What are you selling?
    The product you plan to sell is the most important part of your online store, for obvious reasons. But when you look into the product, not only do you look at quality, but also how to improve upon the product. It’s key to make your product more appealing to consumers, especially if it already exists in the market.

  • Who’s your target audience?
    You need to know to whom your products and services are being sold. The best way to do this is to create the ideal customer profile, with a specific age/age range, area, certain likes, and dislikes, and so on. This way, you can assess how you price, market, and promote the product.

  • How are you going to sell?
    While there is a certain ease of access when it comes to platforms like Instagram and Facebook marketplace, some products need a little extra curation. 

Consider investing in an eCommerce site, especially if the plan is to build this business into your full-time job. The e-commerce site should be compatible with your needs and should grow with your requirements. eBay is the best platform for collector goods, while Etsy is perfect for art and handmade pieces. Instagram works well with self-care and lifestyle brands, while larger brands like clothing and subscription boxes benefit from eCommerce sites like Shopify.

Once you know the answer to your big three questions, all that’s left is to make and sell, sell, sell! 

  1. Drop-Shipping:

You can always turn to drop-shipping if you’re looking for a side business. It is a booming retail fulfillment means by which you take care of finding customers and a third-party supplier will fulfill all the orders.

Dropshipping lets you sell products without the hassle of managing the store, storing, or shipping the inventory of all the products. All you have to do is connect with dropshipping suppliers, pick from their catalog of products and decide on what you can sell online. Potential buyers of your products can check out on your site, which you have full control over, and when they place an order it’s passed on to your dropshipping supplier who will then fulfill the order. 

Dropshipping is fairly easy to set up. You can manage the store in your downtime and automate a lot of the processes once you get the hang of it. Most popular eCommerce sites even have a dropshipping integration inbuilt to make the process easier. So all you really need to work on is marketing to the right audience! 

  1. Web Design:

If you know a thing or two about coding and have a keen sense of design and aesthetics, then picking up a side business in web design is a great option! 

The need for this service only grows over time, as corporations often outsource website design and building to consultants who specialize in WordPress, or eCommerce sites.
You can easily build on your existing skills with a few online courses, tutorials, and practice. If you hone your portfolio around a set of skills, for a specific market, then you can price your services slightly higher than the rest. For example, if you build websites for a digital marketing agency, know-how in SEO and social media management will add to your profile and you can offer additional services, resulting in more pay.

  1. Painting:

This might not be the first thought that pops into your head when thinking of easy side businesses, but starting a painting side gig is as easy as they come! That is because while painting is always in demand, it’s a widely untapped market for the business-minded. 

It’s simple to start in this business, and the capital or equipment requirements are quite nominal compared to most other businesses. The need for marketing or a social media handle is entirely optional, yet if you choose to do it, it’s quite easy. 

Starting with smaller projects, like home painting or interior paint jobs, can help you build a reputation, a good clientele, and some revenue before you segue and move up into commercial work. From homes that require an interior paint job, to exterior paint jobs for commercial complexes like office spaces and restaurants, the range and type of painting work are varied, and will keep your business busy.

If you see yourself pursuing it full time, positioning yourself the right way in this business is all you need for steady growth in your income. Partnering with Hoist will guarantee you hit certain milestones in your business. Other benefits we at Hoist offer when helping individuals start their own painting business include:
- The creativity and freedom of naming and running your own business.
- No hefty franchise fee. You can begin with as little as $8K a year.
- Coaching and training to ensure you start your business on the right foot.
- Negotiated rates with vendors and services, bringing your costs down in a way that would be difficult on your own.

If owning your painting business is something that excites you, then get started with Hoist and we’ll help you with everything you need to launch and run your business in 30 days.

It’s time to become your own boss!

The days of surviving on just a 9-5 job are long gone. With access to a few basic tools, you can start your own low-cost side gig that can set the foundation for a future, more profitable income source.

Now that you’ve got an idea or two on what your side business can be, we’re here to help if you ever want to expand. If you see yourself turning your side business into a full-time job, then check out this article, aimed to help you achieve all your self-employment goals! 

When you finally feel ready to take it on full-time, or just scale up, Hoist is here to help you kick-off. Learn how you can become in charge of your own career and charter a path to holistic success and profitability in months rather than years.

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