Back to Business Ideas Categories

16 Side Business Ideas

Written by:

Edited by:

Reviewed by: Daniel Javor

Updated on January 26, 2023

16 Side Business Ideas

Disclaimer: Step by Step Business’ content is for informational and educational purposes only. It’s not intended to be a substitute for professional legal or tax advice. All of our articles are thoroughly reviewed and fact-checked by our editorial team. Read our editorial guidelines for more details.

Some of our articles include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

16 Side Business Ideas

Are you looking for ways to make some extra money? If so, there are numerous side businesses you can set up. More than 100 million other Americans are already engaged in a side business while 60 million others intend to start a side hustle. 

You can start an online resale business, sell items on Etsy, offer dog walking services, rent out an idle apartment on Airbnb, or become an Uber driver. Take inspiration from our list of side business ideas below.

1. Professional Organizing

How to start a professional organizing business

All of us could use a bit of Marie Kondo now and then, which is why the US home organization market has doubled in the past 15 years to $12 billion and is still seeing steady growth. If you have a knack for organization, you should know that right now is an excellent time to start your own organizing business. You could work from home for a minimal investment and make good money while helping people go from chaos to calm.

Some professional organizers focus on closets, others on garages and storage spaces, while still others focus on at-home workspaces. Some organizers even go corporate and help businesses organize their desk set-up, filing systems and office supplies. It’s important to establish the services you’ll offer before you begin your marketing efforts. Once you know which type of organizing you’d like to do, you could start offering your services on a platform like Angie’s List and start helping people simplify their lives. Ahhh, I feel less stressed already.

2. Online Resale

Online Resale

Want to talk about a booming industry? In the coming years, apparel resale is expected to grow 11 times faster than the overall clothing industry, with most of that growth happening online. One reason is that Gen Z’ers and Millennials prefer sustainability, thrifting and throwback trends. Another is that the resale industry sources its goods domestically and as a result is not facing the same supply chain issues as major retailers. 

The big question is how you’ll go about reselling your goods. One option is to rely on major online marketplaces like Etsy and eBay. Another is to partner with resale-focused sites like ThredUp. A third is to create your own resale website. The advantage of this option is you’ll be able to express your own sense of style and build your own brand, while the downside is the added expense. 

Whichever route you choose, as long as you have reliable access to quality goods for resale and continue to provide strong service, you’re likely to keep that cash register ringing.

3. Independent Contractor

How to start a general contracting business

Did you know that the US remodeling industry is worth more than $220 billion and has grown by more than 50% in the past decade? People like to keep their homes looking good and up-to-date with the latest styles, especially when they might be facing another lockdown soon. You could help meet that demand, make a good living and give people more dynamic homes by starting your own contractor business.  

You’ll need to be good with your hands and have some experience redoing kitchens and bathrooms, building out basements and constructing balconies. You’ll need to have the right tools and equipment, as well as a reliable truck for transporting it to your jobs. Lastly, you’ll need to get your contractor’s license, which in most states requires a certain level of experience. Once that’s done, you’ll just need to list your services on online platforms like Angie’s List, launch a marketing campaign in your area and across social media, and those first clients should soon be reaching out.

4. Etsy Shop

Etsy Business
Ivan Marc / Shutterstock.com

Ever since the pandemic forced everybody to stay at home, millions of people have tapped into their arts and crafts skills, driving a massive boom in handmade goods. The online marketplace Etsy has been the main beneficiary: its revenue doubled in 2020 alone, to more than $1.72 billion. 

If you have a hobby or craft skill — such as sewing, crochet, vinyl cutting, jewelry-making, woodworking, or screen printing — you could start your own Etsy business and give people fun products while doing what you love and making good money! What’s wrong with that? 

You’ll also be able to work from home, and work the hours you choose. One good way to get started is to visit Etsy and review the product offerings looking for a market gap in your area of expertise. Once you’ve found your niche, you’ll be on the online highway to success!

5. Uber Driver

Uber

If you have a car and know your way around your city, you could easily start an Uber business. Uber is a popular and growing ride-sharing service that can be a great way to make money. It earned more than $17 billion in 2021 and has nearly 4 million drivers worldwide. The broader ride-sharing market is projected to grow substantially through 2025. In the US, about a fourth of the population uses a ride-sharing service at least once a month. 

To set up your Uber business, the first thing you need to do is to register with Uber. Uber only allows drivers with their own cars, so you should get one if you don’t have one yet. You will be asked to submit the required documents, prepare for a background check, and download the app. For background check, Uber looks into an applicant’s driving record and criminal history, if any. Once you pass the screening, you can just wait for customers.

6. Airbnb

How to start a airbnb business

If you’ve stayed in an Airbnb, you probably know how easy it can be. It’s like having a home away from home! Which is why the homestay segment of the hotel and lodgings market has seen explosive growth in recent years, with Airbnb leading the way. Renting out your home as an Airbnb is an easy and flexible way to earn income, whether you’re looking for a little extra money or hoping to build a serious business. 

The crucial first step is to make sure your home or apartment can be rented out for short-term stays. In many areas today, there are laws either banning Airbnb rentals or limiting them to a certain share of local units. If your place clears that hurdle, and is in an area with some tourist appeal, you’re already halfway there. If your home or apartment fails to meet one of these requirements, you might want to look into purchasing a home or apartment in an appealing destination, which you could then develop into a popular Airbnb. 

Whichever approach you choose, the most important step is delivering fantastic service to your guests. If you can achieve Superhost status, you’ll be well on your way to Airbnb success.

7. Dog Walking

How to start a dog walking business

Would you believe that dog walking is a billion-dollar industry in the US? It’s true, and the pandemic deserves some of the credit, because so many people stuck at home for months on end needed company and decided to get themselves a dog. All those dogs, of course, need to be walked, which means demand for dog walking services is strong and on the rise. If you love dogs, you could start your own dog walk business and help people care for their pets while making a good living, getting some exercise and enjoying yourself! It’s a win-win-win. 

Of course, it’s not as easy as giving a dog a bone. You will most likely need to register with your local health department and get insurance, to help you in the event of any accidents or incidents. But beyond that, you’ll just need to offer your services on social media and online platforms like Rover.com and deliver excellent dog walking services to your first few clients. Once you establish a brand and start getting referrals, you might find yourself with too many dogs, and too little time!

8. Daycare Center

How to start a daycare business

Do you love spending time with young children? If so, a daycare business could be the perfect venture for you. Busy parents often need childcare services while at work, so you would be providing a crucial service while spending your day with toddlers.   

You’ll need to acquire daycare certification, which usually entails a relevant or at least two years caring for children. You’ll also need to find a good-sized space, preferably in a residential area with minimal competition. And you should outfit it with lots of toys, drawing materials, high chairs, cribs, and more, and get yourself some good insurance, because little kids tend to find trouble. 

Once all that’s done, you’ll just need an appealing website and a decent marketing campaign, and you’ll be off and running. 

9. Tutoring

How to start a tutoring business

Do you have an area of academic expertise? Maybe you’re great at math, deeply familiar with science, or obsessed with language and literature. Even if you’re not a subject expert, but simply good with children, now’s a great time to consider starting a tutoring business. 

The industry took a hit during the pandemic, but today many tutors are embracing virtual instruction and tutoring is expected to see steady growth in the years ahead. As a result, you’re now able to run a tutoring business almost entirely from home, all while helping children to learn and excel and making a good living.  

Starting a tutoring business is not terribly complicated. If you have teaching experience or some proof of your expertise, you mainly need a good computer and you can start offering your services on a variety of online platforms, like ClubZ or eTutorWorld. With a bit of marketing on social media, you should be able to attract a few clients and start building your tutoring empire.

10. Business Coaching

Coaching Business

Not long ago, there were only a handful of coaching firms in the United States. Today there are more than 2,200 and the coaching industry is worth more than $11 billion and still seeing strong growth. Americans have learned to appreciate the value of good insight and planning, particularly when it comes to major decisions involving their finances, career and personal matters. 

If you have expertise in any of these areas, you could start your own coaching business and help people lead more fulfilling lives while grabbing a slice of this fast-growing market. It’s easy to get started. You just need a reliable computer, some relevant experience and a strong marketing campaign, highlighting your skills on social media and beyond. 

The challenge will be attracting and maintaining clients, so you’ll need to find a way to stand out from the coaching crowd and prove your worth. A great website will surely help.

11. Translation Service

How to start a translation agency

Demand for translation services is expected to grow as more companies seek to capture or increase their share of the global market. In the US, more than 10,000 new jobs for interpreters and translators are expected each year through 2030. They translate documents, localize websites, and interpret speech from one language to another, including sign language. If you’re thinking about starting a translation business, you’re not alone. But if you have the skills and the right talents and tools, you could edge out the competition. 

In this internet age, finding translators who can work remotely across the globe has become easier. Promoting diversity among your staff could also be good for your business because you’ll be able to offer translation services for more languages. Do the paperwork to register your business, keep yourself updated with the latest technologies, promote your services, and you should be able to gain traction as soon as you start operating.

12. Copywriting

How to start a copywriting business

Can you whip up a compelling article under time constraints? If so, you may want to consider starting a copywriting business. Copywriting can be a lucrative and rewarding career, and it’s an ideal business for entrepreneurs who are creative and have a strong command of the English language. Demand for copywriters is high as their services are considered essential in marketing and advertising. More than 15,000 job openings for writers, including copywriters, are expected each year through 2030 in the US. 

The biggest barrier to entry is finding clients, but it shouldn’t be difficult. Consider building your personal brand on social media by using captivating headers with great text and visuals, regularly sharing content, and keeping your posts positive and engaging. If you want to work with more than one client at a time, start by building your client list and your portfolio before taking on new projects. With a lot of creativity, you’re ready to begin your copywriting business.

13. Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping

You probably think that bookkeepers and accountants do largely the same work, and in some minor areas their work does overlap. But for the most part, bookkeepers perform the minute recording of day-to-day financial transactions, while accountants use bookkeepers’ data to create financial statements and review a company’s financial standing. The work of bookkeepers is, in fact, crucial to financial stability, which is why the US is home to 1.5 million bookkeepers and a growing $55 billion industry. 

If you’re hard working and good with numbers, you could start your own bookkeeping business and grab a share of that market while helping countless companies keep better track of their financials. What’s more, you could work from home to start, and market your services to clients around the world. 

Keep in mind that you will need to become a certified bookkeeper, which requires a good deal of training and experience. But once you’ve cleared that hurdle and begun building a reputation through great service, you’ll be well on your way to success.

14. Wedding Planning

How to start a wedding planning business

Who doesn’t love a big wonderful wedding? Of course, everything has to be absolutely perfect, which is why so many Americans choose to hire a wedding planner. Wedding planning is a nearly $900 million industry in the US, and poised to do well as many couples are finally able to put their long-delayed nuptials on the calendar. If you’re well organized and enjoy making grand plans, you could start your own wedding planning business and create magical memories for countless couples and their loved ones while grabbing a share of this major market. 

The first decision is to choose what type of wedding planning you’d like to offer: full-service, partial service, or event coordination. Full-service planners take care of absolutely everything, from the flowers to the table placements and even the weather (they wish!). Partial service planners provide assistance with key aspects of the wedding, such as outfits or location, and event coordinators just keep an eye on the details for couples who’ve done most of their own planning. You might want to offer all three services, and optimize your chance of success!

15. Doula Business

Doula Business

As more states expand health care access to doula services, demand for doulas and industry revenues in the US are expected to increase through 2024. If you’re a certified doula or are training to become one, you might want to consider starting your own doula business. Earnings of midwives and doulas have steadily increased in the last five years, reaching $3.5 billion in 2022. 

A doula is a trained professional who provides support to women during pregnancy, labor and childbirth. They may also provide postpartum care, assist the mother with breastfeeding, and take care of the infant through six weeks of age. 

To set up your doula business, you need to be a certified doula or hire one. Requirements for certification differ from state to state, so you will need to check your state’s regulations. Before you start, find out what services are available in your area and decide what services you want to offer. To find clients, you will need to promote your business and build your network. With hard work, you can create a successful doula business that meets the needs of birthing women everywhere.

16. Virtual Assistant

How to start a virtual assistant business

The job didn’t even exist 20 years ago, but now, thanks to new technologies and the sharp increase in remote work during the pandemic, the virtual assistant industry is booming. After years of strong growth, the market is expected to be worth more than $4 billion by 2025. That means now is a fantastic time to start your own virtual assistant business. 

To be clear, we’re talking about a human, not a digital or AI-powered, assistant, who provides administrative, technical, and creative services to clients remotely, via the internet. If you have a strong business skillset, you can get started with a minimal investment and run the company out of your own home while serving clients anywhere in the world. You could also add more skills over time, increasing your revenue streams and the rates you’re able to charge. 

With hard work and a bit of luck, you’ll soon be helping businesses run more smoothly and efficiently while making good money for yourself.