Ever dream of running a part-time business while keeping your day job? Want to operate a sideline business along with your current business? Or are you simply curious about entrepreneurship, and want to test the waters before you commit to the world of commerce? Whatever your reason, here are 25 sure-fire ways to get started today with your own part-time business.
Make new money from old treasures and have fun doing it! Scout garage sales, estate auctions and flea markets for great buys on antique furniture, toys, clothing and other treasures from the past. Rent space at antique cooperatives, or set up booths at weekend fairs to sell your antiques.
Whether you're an expert at Windows or Linux, desktop publishing or Web research, HTML or word processing, you can help anyone enhance their computer skills. Start promoting your computer-training services by teaching classes through organizations in your community which offer adult education courses.
Custom Jewelry and Accessories
Put your creative talents to work designing custom jewelry and accessories. Whether you work with sterling silver or recycled metals, clay or papier-mâché, there's a market for your custom earrings, pins, bracelets, necklaces and belt buckles at art shows, crafts fairs and holiday boutiques.
Brew up profits day after day! Specialty coffee drinks generate gross profits of 55.1 to 61.5 percent per cup, says the Specialty Coffee Association of America. So brush up on your coffee drinks, buy or rent an espresso cart, and head for sporting events, concerts and farmers' markets in your community.
Garage and Attic Cleaning/Hauling Service
Nobody likes to spend a weekend cleaning out the garage, attic or garden shed--it's dirty and time-consuming, and when it's done, there's still the task of hauling off all that discarded junk. But if you don't mind putting in the physical labor, a cleaning and hauling service can be a lot of fun. You can usually find a few treasures among the trash which most people are delighted to give away, and you can add to your income by recycling bottles, newspapers and metal castoffs. You'll need a pick-up truck or other vehicle capable of carrying everything from cast-iron sinks to old timbers.
If it's broke, you can fix it. Your phone will ring off the hook with calls from homeowners, senior citizens and others who don't want to fix it themselves. Advertise in shopper publications and on bulletin boards, and drop off fliers at real estate offices. Then start repairing everything from leaky faucets to broken windows.
Buyers need not beware when they hire a home inspector to conduct a complete physical checkup on their dream home. You'll inspect the house for structural problems and refer your clients to the contractors or handymen who can make the repairs. Knowledge of construction and your local building codes will get your business off the ground.
Work as an important member of a medical team without leaving your homebased office. There's big demand by hospitals, doctors, dentists, chiropractors and veterinarians who need outside help transcribing patient medical records. Training in medical terminology and linguistic skills will keep your business healthy.
Mobile Home-Entertainment Service
When it's dirty, disconnected or in need of repair, you'll save the day for homeowners who want their stereo, compact-disc player or videocassette recorder in working order. Brush up on your electrical and wiring know-how. Door-to-door fliers and calls to retail-store managers about your services will get your business off to a great start.
Mobile Window Tint
With some training and basic equipment, you'll be seeing plenty of green with your mobile window-tinting business. For best results, have a pager and van ready to help car, van and truck owners prevent heat damage to their vehicles' interiors. Other hot markets: homes, high-rise condominiums and office buildings.
Office and Home Organizer
Attention all neatniks: Help packrats, overworked executives, and other organizationally challenged individuals clean out messy closets, straighten files, and throw out the excess clutter. Putting your knack for neatness to part-time business use is bound to arrange some tidy profits for you.
What's for dinner, honey? Great home-cooked meals for working parents and busy professionals who hire you as a personal chef. There's plenty of demand for this specialized service. So plan your menu, make out your shopping list, and go to work to satisfy your hungry clientele.
Pumping iron; pumping profits. Americans of all ages, sizes and shapes want to keep fit, trim and healthy, and they're willing to hire their own personal coach to exercise correctly. Spread the word about your physical-fitness expertise at health spas, running, swimming and biking clubs, and other athletic outlets.
Get in the frame with a picture framing service. You can work with gallery owners, artists, portrait photographers and individuals who've purchased a print, painting or fine photo. If you aren't already a framing expert, read up, take classes at a local college or community center, then assemble your tools--including clamps, saws, miter boxes, glue, and a pneumatic or hand stapler. Establish relationships with local artists' groups, galleries, photographers and print shops that can give you their business or refer their customers to you.
Plant Leasing And Maintenance
Got a green thumb and a delivery van? You're all set to service corporations, home builders, health clubs and other businesses who want fresh greenery. Develop a steady clientele with a regular watering, pruning and fertilizing program and a full replacement guarantee.
Using specialized databases, you'll search public records on your computer to help your clients find lost loves, check out questionable suitors, track down debtors, verify a contractor's track record, or dig up facts on a business opportunity. Clients include attorneys, businessowners and individuals.
Whether it's macaroni and cheese or a five-course gourmet meal, at-home meal replacement is fast becoming the newest way to dine. When customers want their restaurant orders "to go," you'll be "on the go" with your restaurant delivery service. A great way to make your late afternoons and weekends extra-profitable!
If you're an artist in search of a medium, why not make T-shirts your canvas? Paint, draw, bead or appliqué your designs on plain T-shirts, and spend your weekends showcasing your art-to-wear at farmers' markets and crafts fairs.
Help residential and commercial clients turn drab walls into works of art with your wallpaper-hanging skills. Build a growing business with great referrals and repeat customers. Drop off fliers at paint and wallpaper stores; also, advertise in shopper publications, in homeowner-association newsletters, and on bulletin boards at local supermarkets and malls.
Yoga and Tai Chi Instructor
In today's hectic, fast-paced world, parents, business owners and students alike can benefit from the deep-breathing, relaxation and centering techniques you can teach them. Get started by offering classes at health clubs, through your city's recreation and parks department, or on your own.
Carla Goodman is a freelance business writer.