The following is a guest post by Kimberly Palmer based on her new book The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life.
Launching a side-business has never been easier to do. That’s because almost all of the infrastructure you need to get started, from a way of collecting money to reaching out to new customers, already exists. You just need to tap into it.
The first step is to decide just what kind of side-business is right for you. Here are five general options – and the e-commerce websites that match them.
1. Make something.
If you love dabbling in beading, or crocheting, then the handmade world of Etsy is made for you. Etsy entrepreneurs create everything from digital calendars to framed artwork to hand-carved furniture. You pay 20 cents to list your products on the site and then a 3.5 percent transaction fee on each item sold. That means most of the cash generated stays in your pocket, and you get the benefit of a beautifully-designed website, plus built-in customers who are regularly perusing the website for good finds. As an Etsy seller and buyer myself, I’m a full believer in the power of this site to generate solid earnings, not to mention the satisfaction that comes from knowing that people are enjoying your creations.
2. Offer a service.
If career coaching is your thing, or perhaps making silly cartoon voices, then Fiverr.com is for you. You can get started on the site by selling brief services for $5 a pop, and then as you earn positive customer feedback and a solid track record, you can increase your fees, all the way up to $500. The $5 premise sounds quirky, but the site has a lot of loyal customers and sellers. Sellers keep $4 out of every $5 service sold.
3. Stay local.
If the kind of service you like to provide involves an in-person transaction, such as babysitting, lawn care, photography or beauty services, then Craigslist.org could be your haven. While it might earn snickers because of the adult services headlines it’s made in the past, Craigslist is home to many wholesome entrepreneurs who earn good money sharing their skills with the local (paying) community. Rates are totally up to you and most postings are free.
4. Use your tech skills.
Thousands of small businesses and even corporations are looking to hire freelancers to handle their tech work on a regular basis, and many of them increasingly turn to Freelancer.com and similar websites to outsource the work. If you have specific software skills, especially for popular programs like Java or Flash, or you know how to design websites, then you will find many eager clients on these websites. (Freelancer charges a fee, which is typically 10 percent of the total project cost.)
5. Sell your professional skills.
Whatever you do in your day job, chances are it involves a marketable skill. So why not take that skill and use it to pick up extra work on the evenings and weekends to bring home more cash? Elance.com makes this easy to do by connecting you with clients. Some of their most popular categories include IT and programming (like app development), writing and marketing. The site typically charges an 8.75 percent fee on projects.
Given the ease of launching a new side-business through one of these websites, you can start earning more money this weekend. Join the movement!