Nathan Barry on bootstrapping ConvertKit: I’m a huge proponent of ConvertKit (and now an affiliate and compensated advisor). It’s user friendly, powerful, and an all-around great product. But one cherry on top is its origin story, in which Nathan Barry took it upon himself to create ConvertKit without any venture funding or any upfront capital. It’s fascinating and awesome!
Find focus groups in your area. Focus groups are comprised of people that can provide a company, organization, or individual with feedback on a product, design, idea, etc. Monitor local postings or search a site like FindFocusGroups.com to find some in your area that you are eligible to participate in. Some of these sites promote online-only tasks, such as serving as an “e-juror” for lawyers working on a case. The pay for these tasks can be relatively good, and can be disbursed quickly.
Some people just seem to intuitively know more than others – they don’t get involved in destructive relationships or suffer from loss of self-knowledge. If you can relate to that description and feel your relationships have been fairly happy and stable, then maybe you’re one of them. You’ll need to invest in relevant workshops and books, get knowledgeable and certified before you can start coaching others, but it’s a fascinating business idea that will reward you both financially and morally.
If you have an idea worth pursuing, crowdfunding can be a helpful way to find the money you need to get your idea off and running. For example, you can run a Kickstarter campaign. On SPI 223, I covered this with John Lee Dumas who launched a super successful campaign. Besides John, I know a lot of companies who have started on Kickstarter. I’ve been a backer of dozens of different projects, and a lot of those projects were just ideas when the campaign started. There are ways to get paid for your ideas up front. Using Kickstarter, you can validate those ideas and start to build community at the same time, which is a great way to get a boost at the beginning stages of your online business, especially if what you’re creating takes some money to get started.
If you’ve got some free time and don’t live in the middle of nowhere, becoming a Lyft driver can be a very lucrative side hustle that allows you make money fast. And right now, they’ve got a promotion going on where any new driver will instantly get a $300 bonus after completing their 100th ride. If you start now and hustle hard on the weekends, you can probably unlock that bonus within a few weeks of driving (and that’s in addition to your normal earnings).
If cooking is one of your personal passions, there are dozens of opportunities to turn it into a decent business venture. You can start by setting up a catering website, experimenting with pop-up food stalls and local food markets, or joining platforms like MenuNextDoor that encourage cooking enthusiasts to squeeze some money out of their passion. And if you’re not camera-shy, you can teach people how to cook special meals by selling online classes.
You can charge up to $995 for a service, but many if not most gigs still start at just $5 (of which you make $4), so the key to making money on Fiverr is either working in volume or offering custom add-on services. But it’s free, easy, and quick to get started, and payment happens fairly quickly, so if you’re able to whip up a logo or business card design without much effort, it’s not a bad way to cash in on your creative skills.
The vacation rental business is booming. While the mere mention of it might make you think about billion-dollar titans like AirBnB or HomeAway, there are niche businesses like Michael Joseph's InvitedHome and Joe Poulin's Luxury Retreats and many others being carved out across a variety of markets. When it comes to vacation rental homes and vacation rental management, companies are earning anywhere between 10 percent and 40 percent on the gross rental rate depending on the location and the management level.
Getting a raise is harder than getting a promotion. Think about it from your boss’s perspective, would you rather a) pay more money for the same service, or b) pay more money for additional responsibilities. Regardless, sometimes a raise is in order, especially if you have worked for several years without one. Check out Ramit Sethi’s guide on asking for a raise.
Starting an online business is a tempting prospect – but that’s the easy part! The real challenge is to find out which opportunities are specific to your area of expertise or knowledge. To make your decision making a bit easier, we have created a list of online business ideas which shows you some specific examples of independent career paths suitable for various skill sets.
For example, if you are an affiliate marketer for Musician's Friend, an online musical instrument retailer, you can advertise their products on your site. If a person visits your site, and clicks on the link that takes them to the Musician's Friend website, and they purchase an instrument within a certain amount of time (24 hours or more, typically), you get a commission on the sale.
Companies like Uber and Lyft offer a great opportunity to make some quick cash. You'll need a clean driving record, a fairly new car and the authorization to work wherever it is that you live. If you have all of those things, you can work when it's feasible for you, whether that's in the middle of the day during rush hour, or in the wee hours of the night on a weekend. The choice is yours.