Honestly, however, this may not be very realistic for a lot of people. I wouldn’t count on this if you’re trying to make your rent, and you’re putting all of your eggs in one basket. First, someone has to look at your location and listing photos and say, “Sure, I’d like to stay there,” and that may or may not happen within a month. It may never happen.
Many business owners either do not understand the intricacies of using social media to build a brand and cultivate a loyal online following, or don’t even know how to use social media at all. By offering your skills as a social media consultant, you can either help businesses craft a social media game plan, or take control of their social accounts directly and post updates to various platforms.

It’s important to consider all of this before starting. In a way, you’d be working backwards from your end goal (to create a successful business) to before you even start. By doing so, you’re making sure all your bases are covered so you don’t have a surprise like I did with my WordPress plugins. And, perhaps most importantly, by doing this, you’ll soon realize if your business idea is something that truly aligns with what you’re actually trying to do in your life. If it’s not, you at least have the knowledge to make adjustments or try something else.


When I started to work from home, I missed talking to people. A lot. But I soon found a friend. Every day, I would hear the UPS guy gunning his motor as he drove down my long driveway to deliver my packages. As soon as I would spot him, I’d fly out of the house and chat him up. And now he leaves the packages by the curb. Sure, the one big bonus of working from home is that it gets you away from the petty office politics and never-ending gossip.
For a deeper look into this idea, I recommend checking out the case study in Will It Fly? on Noah Kagan, who is really detailed and transparent about starting his business. He validated a beef jerky subscription company (yum!), which proved to be a unique and inspiring example of determining the costs of items before starting a business. He didn’t pay for anything up front; he was just smart about asking: how much does this cost, and how much money do I need to reach my goal? His goal was to validate his idea by making $1,000 profit in twenty-four hours, and that’s exactly what he was able to do.

Who can resist the dinging sound of a new email? You, that’s who, especially if you want to stay on task. And forget about signing in to Facebook “just for a minute.” It’s easy to get distracted when you telecommute—unlikely distractions that just don’t exist at work abound at home. At the office, for example, you might visit the company kitchen once in the morning and once in the afternoon for a cup of joe (because that’s what’s appropriate), but at home, you’re hitting the fridge every hour on the hour. Or more.


Larger companies can hire an agency or full-time staff member to run their Facebook and Twitter accounts, but small businesses often have to handle their own social media marketing. With so many responsibilities, business owners are often too busy, overwhelmed or undereducated about the importance of social media to spend time developing and implementing a great social media strategy. As a consultant, you can help them determine the best tactics, posting schedules and content for their target audience. As their follower count grows, so will your business.
Earnest (refinance your student loans): Same idea as above but on your student loans. There is $1.4 trillion in student loan debt outstanding. When you have student loan debt, it can make it hard to get ahead, invest, or to buy a home. If this sounds familiar, refinancing the debt can not only help you pay it off more quickly, but it can save you money on interest too.
Do you enjoy fast food or going into retail shops? Many companies hire mystery shoppers to test the customer service of their stores. A common one is Subway, which hires mystery shoppers to ensure that "Sandwich Artists" are following all the franchise guidelines. If you have time and can travel to different places, this could be a good side hustle.
If you have an old smartphone and you need money today, check out ecoATM. Type in your ZIP code, and with any luck, you’ll find one of their ATMs in your area. If you do, you simply find the kiosk and place the old cell phone in the ecoATM’s test station, where the machine will examine your phone — noting the model number and condition, among other features. It then automatically scans the resale market for similar phones and offers you a price based on its value — if you agree to the price, you’ll get the money on the spot (hence the ATM in the name). They also accept MP3 players and tablets.
This may sound like a dumb idea, frankly, but a lot of banks these days are offering $200 to $300 signup bonuses to customers who open up a new checking account. The catch, though, is that you generally have to really open these accounts. You need to be willing to set up a direct deposit and put money in the account, and you often don’t receive the bonus for at least a month, sometimes even longer. On the other hand, if you were thinking of going to a new bank, anyway, it’s an easy way to make some extra cash.

It wasn’t until 2010, two full years after my initial small investments, when I spent a bit more money for one of the best investments you can make in your business: building an email list. The Email Service Provider (ESP) I used at  the time was Aweber, which cost me $194 per year to start (that’s only about $16 per month). Once my email list grew though, the costs increased based on the number of subscribers I had: 26,000 subscribers cost me $181 per month. Aside from the costs, which actually are pretty standard, Aweber didn’t have some of the features I wanted, so I moved on.
Tutors are in high demand whether it’s online or offline. Therefore, if you’ve got a brain and like helping others use theirs, become an e-teacher to earn an extra income in your spare time. The only thing you require is to be proficient in your area of expertise and be willing to give up a few hours each week to help someone else. Sites like Tutor.com and TutorVista are places you can sign up with and build a good reputation over time as a coach. If you’re really good, you can conduct lectures, seminars, or webinars that are transmitted online. University and college students are always willing to pay money to gain access into highly-respected online webinars.
Blogging is a great side hustle because you can do it at your own pace anywhere you want. It's not a quick and easy way to make money, but there are a lot of ways to make money side hustling while blogging. You can sell advertising, become an affiliate for other people's products, sell your own online product, and more. It does take time to build up an audience to be able to make a decent amount of money, but once you have a large following, you could earn over $15,000 per month or more (we do).
What It Is: Think Mary Kay (cosmetics), Pampered Chef (kitchenware), or Rodan + Fields (skincare)—over time, you build a base of clients to whom you sell a company's wares. "There are several reasons why I decided to become a consultant," says Rodan + Fields independent consultant Debbie Royer. "I had seen how much of a blessing the business had been to a friend of mine and my sister-in-law. Plus, everything can be done from my phone, and being a mom to a preschooler and an infant I don't have a lot of extra time to be sitting at a computer."
A thing that needs to be ironed out for your online business is your billing service. While there are businesses that may bill their clients directly after a contract has been agreed upon and signed and these bills are paid for through checks that are deposited into the service provider's bank account, there are some clients who require a certain online billing system for them to pay for the services they have contracted. You may need to register with a billing system like PayPal for your online business to make billing and payment easier and less of a hassle to you and your clients.
In 2010, I made one of the biggest mistakes of my entrepreneurial journey. I had paid a developer a large sum of money to develop a couple of WordPress plugins I had ideas for. I had seen others successfully create and sell WordPress plugins, and I wanted in on it. But the problem was that I rushed into it. I made the mistake of chasing the money, and didn’t actually validate the idea, or consider who the plugin was for. The result? Nobody wanted them. I didn’t even sell one. I spent $15,000 to get the plugins developed, and they didn’t go anywhere.
– Project Payday is one of those sites that has testimonials of people who have earned thousands of dollars by getting paid to get trial offers. I’m not saying you’ll earn thousands, but it is legit and you can earn some extra cash. They assume that by paying you to do a free trial, you’ll either like the product and purchase it, or forget to cancel the trial and get charged for it. If you can keep track and cancel before you get charged (if you don’t want the product), then this is a great site for making some money.
The internet is the great equalizer. In business specifically, it has leveled the playing field. Anyone can start a money-making online business—anyone with a computer, that is. But here’s the thing: no technical experience is needed. You don’t have to know how to build websites—no programming knowledge is required at all. You can also live anywhere you want, set your own schedule, and work as little or as much as you want, depending on how fast or big you want your business to grow. No business or marketing experience is needed either.
For many of us, to work from home is the ultimate indication of freedom. It means that you own both your time and your space, that your life is firmly within your control. Yet not every job can be done from afar. Some jobs, like being a pilot or a flight attendant, must be done from a certain place at a certain time, while others, like being a security consultant or a software developer, are extremely remote-friendly.
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