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5 Ways to use your talents to earn some extra money

I recently wrote about how to start a home based business. The very first step is to come up with an idea for your business. I want to delve a little more into this phase and give some suggestions.

I’ve created a list of five businesses that you could start that I’ve seen be successful. Let me define successful, though, as bringing in extra income – not as replacing the primary source of income. That’s not to say that your business can’t or won’t become your primary source of income.

My strongest suggestion when deciding what to do is to make sure that you pick something about which you are passionate.

Baked Goods

Baked goods

Of all the suggestions for home based businesses on my list today, this is the only one that is goods based. Meaning, all of the other suggestions offer an intangible service. Baked goods are a physical product. And although you may end up on a Girl Scout hit list, baking goods generally exploits using the appliances and resources already in your kitchen. You just need to buy the ingredients.

Look to create something either unique and/or that makes life easier. For example, a simple but tasty dessert can be very unique and fun. Or consider making everyday meals that families can then just freeze. That way, they can just pull it out of the freezer and heat. Thus, saving time on shopping and food preparation.

If you plan to offer your baked goods online, then recognize that shipping costs can eat up a lot of your profit (especially if it has to ship cold or frozen). So define a geographic region that you can profitably serve. Conversely, you may end up creating something with so little demand that you have to offer it online just to get enough customers.

Please make sure you research all of the required licenses such as a Food Handlers permit.

Kids at Daycare


Another service that you can offer out of your home. As long as you can tolerate several screaming children and have the space in your home, then daycare can be an excellent side income. Again, you will need to check your state’s laws and regulations to make sure that you can offer the service in your home. Also, you may be required to carry extra insurance.

One interesting regulation, at least in my state, for daycares is the adult to child ratio. Meaning, as you grow, you will have to hire additional staff since you are allowed to only watch so many kids per adult. Though, growth and needing more resources are usually good problems to have.

Face Painting

Face painting

Put that A- minus you got in your high school art class to good use. Face painting has very low overhead (meaning expenses to run the business) but you can make a lot of money on a per hour basis if you are fast.

If you offer the service at parties, then you can charge either a flat rate or a per child rate or a flat rate plus a per child rate. Though, if you are doing face painting at a fair or special event, then you will most likely pay for the space. I’m not saying to avoid doing it at fairs, but just be aware of the cost.

Another fantastic venue is outside of sporting events. Depending on your city’s ordinances, you may be able to set-up shop outside of the event for free. Every little kid walking by will want his or her face painted. And probably plenty of adults too.

If the demand is high enough, you can also get pretty cheap, temp labor from the local college or high school to help out at big events.

Ballet Lessons


Pretty generic title I know. Make a list of all your hobbies, talents and skills. I’ll bet there is something on that list that you are pretty good at and that others would like to learn as well. For example, piano lessons, dance lessons, language skills, sports, etc.

My wife and I have a lot of experience in this area. We started teaching swimming lessons several years ago. My wife swam competitively and coached for many years before we got married. So she woke up one morning and announced, “We are going to start a swim school.” Three years later, we have more clients than we can serve, multiple employees, and several locations where we coach.

So if you are passionate about something and have the right skills, then investigate whether or not others would like to learn the same skill.

House Cleaning

House cleaning services

Being business owners, we find that during our peak season we fall behind in several day-to-day tasks such as cleaning our home. So frankly, we hire a house cleaner to take care of the dishes, laundry, sweeping, etc (lame I know). But it’s a life saver for us. So house cleaning is a great service to offer other business owners.

The trade off for us is obvious. My wife can spend two hours cleaning or two hours making money (and she makes more in those two hours working than we pay a house cleaner).

My point is that when starting a business, consider who can really benefit from your product or service. Many times, you’ll find that you are servicing another business in some way. And businesses are often more willing to pay than consumers. I wouldn’t get a house keeper just because, but if it helps make me more money, then dang straight I will.

What other side businesses have you seen be successful? Follow us on Twitter for more info and articles like this one.

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