This month, Tyler Tervooren did a great two-part series for us on some of the basic principles of starting a successful side hustle.
Today, I want to round out those posts by offering a list of concrete side hustle ideas for guys who need more specific inspiration on what kind of u201Cmicrobusinessu201D to create. Remember, as Tyler explained, a lot of men never get started with their side hustle because they think their idea has to be unique and ground-breaking. It doesn't. You just need a customer who's willing and able to pay for your services and a strong work ethic to make your business a success.
You might think, u201CI'd like to start X business, but I can't because so many people are already doing the same thing.u201D Well, I've seen half a dozen guys try to start a business with the exact same idea, but only one succeeded, because only one was willing to really hustle. Within any current niche, there is another niche waiting for you to dominate: the super responsive, super enthusiastic, non-flaky, on-time, quality producer. Seriously, how many flaky graphic designers and computer programmers are out there? Tons. And people who use their services are frustrated. By making yourself the super responsive, super enthusiastic, non-flaky, on-time computer programmer, you can put yourself head and shoulders above your competitors, and easily rack up referrals and dominate your niche.
Here's an example: I had a dead tree in my front yard that I needed cut down and removed. I called a couple of places. No one answered the phone, so I left a message. A couple of days went by, no response. So I sent an email to another guy. He showed up at my front door within the hour and gave me an estimate. I hired him and he came the next day with his men to do the work.
The same principles apply to side hustles. And if you want to turn it into your real job? Then treat it like one. Take blogging, for instance. People think they can start a blog, spend an hour each day writing down their musings about the world, and crap out golden eggs. Yet after a year they still have two subscribers: their girlfriend and their mom. I am often asked how I made AoM a success. Well, Kate and I each worked on it 30-60 hours a week…even when I was in law school and even when I had a full-time corporate job. Early mornings, late nights. We treated it like a job…until it became our job.
In trying to come up with a side business idea, the two richest veins are 1) hobbies you already do for free, and 2) stuff people are unable or unwilling to do themselves. That latter category keeps on growing, as people are increasingly u201Coutsourcingu201D their lives and becoming averse to doing little unpleasant tasks and chores themselves. However you feel about this trend, the market is definitely there for more and more outsourcing niches.
The ideas below generally fall into these two categories. Most will allow you to stick with Tyler's suggested $100 budget and can be started right away. Maybe one will pique your interest, or will give you another idea. Certainly don't limit yourself to this list.
37 Side Hustle Ideas
Crafter of ____. The Industrial Revolution dealt craftsmen a terrible blow. But small, independent artisans have been making a comeback these days. Because of sites like etsy.com, it's never been easier to set up a u201Cshop,u201D and get your wares out there in front of people. What should you make? Whatever your imagination, skills, and tools can dream up. There are guys making simple lamps, shaving brushes and keepsake boxes, leather notebook covers, knives — you name it.
Editor/proofreader. Got an English degree? It's good for more than a job at McDonald's! (I kid, I kid). You can start freelance editing when you're still in school — friends and classmates often need their papers and graduate school application essays edited. Once you've gotten some experience under your belt, branch out to other things. How do you find clients? Editor Jeremy Anderberg, left this helpful comment on one of the previous side hustle posts:
“Believe it or not, all my clients have come from three sources:
-Twitter search for people needing an editor -Craigslists postings in the Writing / Editing Jobs -Independent/Indie author's forums
I found where the authors are, and went to them! It's worked great so far.”
Graphic designer. It seems like everyone and their mom is a graphic designer these days, but the number of professional, reliable, and affordable graphic designers is few and far between. If you have a goal of becoming a full-time graphic designer who can charge giant corporations a million dollars to come up with a new logo, start off by doing projects for smaller businesses. I know many folks who find clients by offering to do a small project for a business or website they frequent and enjoy. Once the business owner sees how awesome the work is, they end up hiring the designer for other projects. The one thing you can do to set yourself apart in this niche is to be super-reliable and responsive.
Personal chef/meal delivery. Personal chefs used to be the exclusive privilege of the rich and famous, but are now a service people of more modest means are signing up for. You can go into someone's home to cook for them a few times a week, or make meals in your own kitchen that you deliver weekly or daily. The latter option is often done for those who are on a diet and want someone to prepare fresh, calorie-controlled meals for them. One thing to note about this, and any other side business that involves making food in your own kitchen, is that your state or city may have laws requiring commercially-sold food to be made in a commercially-certified kitchen. Getting that certification can be pricey. One way around this is that some cities offer a community commercial kitchen where you can rent a slot.
Dog poop picker-upper. Yup, this is really a job. Some people's full-time job, actually. All dogs poop, and some people don't want to crisscross their yard every week searching for Fido's droppings. I actually heard of a guy here in town, Jon Wood, who started his own dog poop scooping business –Poop 911 — while he was getting his biology degree from the University of Tulsa. He intended to go to medical school, but his side business became so successful that his previous plan was soon put on hold, and now he's looking to franchise.
Soap maker. There seems to be a bunch of soaps available at the grocery store, but they're really all about the same. That leaves a lot of special niches to be filled — folks looking for super natural fragrance-free soap, guys who want a unique and manly scent, and those who'd like their soap to come in a fun shape (like, say, guns or bacon and eggs) to name a few. Making your own soap isn't as difficult as you might think. Let Bryan Schatz show you how.
Poem/letter writer. Not everyone's got a way with words. If you do, start a letter/poem writing service where the client tells you what they're trying to convey, and you bring it to life for them.
Computer troubleshooter. Some people (read: older people) find their computer to be entirely inscrutable, and do not know how to fix their machines when issues come up. They may know how to turn it off and on, but that's often about it. Become a one-man Geek Squad for these folks.
Website/blog creator. In this day and age every business needs to have a sharp-looking, easy-to-use website or blog. But surprisingly, a lot of business websites still look like they're stuck in 1999. Plus, ordinary people often want to start a personal blog, but don't know where to begin. In addition to your site creation service, you can also offer help on making the site easier to find in search engines and getting connected to potential readers and customers with social media.
To find clients, consider combining your website-building know-how with a special area of expertise. For example, during law school I noticed that a lot of law firms in town had pretty terrible looking websites. While I never had time to execute it, I thought about offering these firms my services, as I could help them both build their site and offer the legal know-how to create content for their blog.
Dog walker/pet sitter. If people work long hours, they need someone to come walk their dogs during the day, and if they go on vacation, they need someone to both walk and feed their pets. There are people in NYC making six figures a year doing this. Six figures for walking dogs!
Pet taxi. People use a pet taxi when they don't have a car or work long hours, but need someone to take their kitty or pooch to the vet, the groomer, or to and from the airport. Pet taxis pick up animals from their homes, and take them to and from appointments.
Pet baths. While all-out pet grooming requires training, you could specialize in giving people's four-legged friends a bath. Many people really don't like doing this chore themselves.