A lot of people would love nothing better than starting their own business — but the idea of taking the leap of faith into full-time self-employment is more than a bit intimidating. But in truth, there’s no need to have a business on a full-time basis. You can start your business part-time, then build up until you reach the point where you will be confident enough to take it to full-time.
For many would-be entrepreneurs, the biggest obstacle is deciding what kind of business to go into. To make it a bit easier, we’re going to help you get ideas for starting a part-time business.
But before getting started, any part-time business venture should work within the following parameters:
- It should not conflict with your full-time job (i.e., it won’t cause you to be fired)
- It shouldn’t require a lot of capital to get started
- It should be within the realm of your skills, abilities and interests
- You should have at least some knowledge of the profession or industry (if not, get some before you start)
- It needs to be doable on a part-time basis — not all businesses are
Now, back to those ideas for starting your part-time business…
Start With What You Know
In the search for “the perfect business”, people often overlook the most obvious choice; taking what they already know and converting it to a business model. You should start here before considering anything else. Specifically, look into these categories:
What you do for a living. Does the work you do on your job lend itself to some form of self-employment? Perhaps you could offer consulting services, sell a related product line, or act as a placement agent to help others find work in your industry.
What you know about but don’t do on your job. What hobbies and interests do you have, apart from your job? Are you a computer expert (or close to one)? Do you love to work on cars? Are you an ace when it comes to home repairs? Any interests or skills that you have can represent a business idea, and a natural one for you at that.
What you’d like to do. Is there some type of work that you would like to do, but don’t get a chance to — either on your job or in your personal life? You might think of that as your “dream career”, but it may be a valid starting point for a new business. Your best chance of success in business is often closely tied to what you are most passionate about.
Consider these three categories, make a list of any ideas that you come up with as a result and then narrow it down to your top two or three choices.
If you can’t come up with part-time business ideas from what you know, try some of these suggestions.
This actually relates — or can relate — to what you do already do at your day job. If you are in a certain industry where you have a lot of contacts, you have a successful history of landing jobs and you like to talk to people, becoming a recruiter for your industry could be a natural business for you.
Fitness Instructor/Personal Trainer
In the gym that I belong to, there’s about one fitness instructor/personal trainer for every five people working out in the gym! If you are in good shape, love to work out and take physical fitness seriously, you might be able to become instructor or trainer.
I know someone who started doing this, and now she owns her own gym! Qualifications are a lot less formal than most people think, and you can offer your services to one or more gyms in your area.
Buying and Selling Used Goods
This is something I do on a very part-time basis. If you have an eye for bargains, such as at garage sales, swap meets or thrift stores, you may be able to resell what you buy at a substantial profit.
Buying and selling used goods is more art than science, but the first time you sell an item you paid $5 for at a garage sale — for $50 (on Craigslist or eBay) — you’ll be hooked! Patience and an eye for a bargain are the basic skills you need.
Writing a Newsletter
If you are an expert in a field that has widespread interest, you could come up with your own internet newsletter. You can offer it as a paid subscription or give it away for free as a way to sell other informational products that you can offer.
There are all kinds possibilities here — investments, income tax strategies, entrepreneurial coaching or just about any discipline you can imagine.
Now that just about everyone has a blog, many of them are now interested in doing videos, either to go along with their blogs or for some other marketing or money making idea.
If you have good audio/visual skills, have a thorough understanding of a popular video software package and a good handle on YouTube and other Internet video capabilities, this may be the business for you.
Subbing Out Your Expertise
Also known as consulting — with the skills and expertise you have, you may be able to help other businesses, particularly small ones. While we’re recommending that any business you start should be within your realm of expertise, not nearly everyone follows that advice.
You can act as a paid consultant to people who are plunging into entirely new business ventures. By helping them create success for themselves, you’ll be creating a steady clientele for yourself as well.
Tutoring in Any Subject or Field You’re Strong In
You can tutor high school and college students in any subject areas where you are particularly strong. Math and science are typically in high demand.
But you don’t have to limit a tutoring business to students. You can offer tutoring services in computer skills or even English as a second language to the millions of people in the country who are struggling with the language.
If you have a pretty good idea of what it takes to manage a rental property — and to deal with tenants — property management can be a perfect part-time business.
Your target market will be small income and commercial–properties. You can act as the operational manager for an absentee landlord, collecting rents, paying bills and completing any necessary repairs.
These are just some suggestions to help you get started. Again, take a close look at what it is you’re already doing for a living, any other skills you have, or career you have a burning desire to get into, and you should be able to come up with viable part-time business ideas.
And part-time businesses are much lower risk than the full-time variety, so plunge forward and don‘t look back!
Are there other part-time business ideas that you can suggest — or would like to try yourself?