“Don’t quit your day job” is the kind of advice given to aspiring musicians and other creative types—do what you love, but also do something that helps pay the bills.
It’s also word to the wise to those who want to start their own businesses. You need the day job because your business might not generate sufficient cash to pay a salary, and because it might not be around in a few years.
Of course, your day job might not be around either, but the odds for small startups are more daunting—according to the Small Business Administration, only about half of new businesses last more than five years, and only about a third of those survive longer than a decade.
Then again, certain ventures are only intended to be part-time, a way to:
- Supplement your income
- Put talents to work that you aren’t using or developing at your day job
- Help “test out” a new career change and decide if you really want to transition to it full-time
- Have fun doing something you like without worrying about making money
Of course, there are also those whose full-time occupation is running multiple part-time ventures because they like the variety and the security—profits from one operation can offset a slow cycle at another. It’s just more fun to be doing different things, and there’s no everyday routine of focusing on the same thing to grow bored of.
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If you’re considering starting a part-time business, you need to first decide why exactly you are doing it. Bloomberg Business notes the importance of setting goals. Setting goals for your part-time business helps you determine:
- What skills are needed (and where you might need help supplementing your own skills)
- How much cash-flow you’ll need to start the business and maintain it
- What networks and resources you need to market your company
Whatever your motivations—extra money, creative stimulation, possible career change, or all of the above—here are some business ideas that are well-suited to the part-time model.
Related Article: Too Legit to Quit: Is It Time To Take Your Side Gig Full-Time?
Many an office worker likes to do something more with their hands than type on their computers. If your idea of a fun-filled weekend is putting up drywall or building a deck, doing small projects for someone else and getting paid for it could be ideal.
There are some pitfalls, however. Some localities require a contractor’s license, and you need to have sufficient insurance coverage.
“Starting a handyman business turned out to be one of the best things I've ever done. If you like doing all types of work around the house, maybe it's the business for you too," writes Patrick Cash in The Natural Handyman.
Tech and Professional Support Services
It could also be the case that what you do for a large corporation might fulfill a need for small businesses that can’t staff a full-time tech support team, accountant, trainer or other such professional position.
The drawback here might be that you are doing the same kind of work you do normally and the small business probably can’t pay you as much as your employer. On the other hand, you get the satisfaction of using your expertise to help someone else out, and you do make extra money. Plus, establishing a reputation with one or two small clients could lead to additional contacts and, eventually, the opportunity to be your own boss.
Love animals? Could you love other people’s animals just as much?
While it may not seem like a “professional” business, the fact is that pet walking and pet sitting is a potentially lucrative opportunity for those who like to spend time with four-legged customers.
According to Billfold, a dog walker and pet sitter with 45 canine clients at $25 to $35 per walk can make $120,000 a year. That’s nothing to bark up a tree about.
Like to work out? Maybe you can help others exercise as well. As Business Daily points out, you’ll need to obtain (and pay for) certification, but that will give you the credibility to work at local gyms, sort of like being a doctor with hospital privileges.
You can even work with clients at their home gyms. You could also consider opening your own fitness center, either as a franchise for such clubs as Gold’s Gym and Cross-Fit or your own facility.
However, buying a franchise involves substantial costs and time commitments that might not figure into your idea of a part-time job. The flip side is that a franchise provides an immediately recognizable brand identity, and you could hire a full-time manager to run it.
Whether you are interested in these or some other idea for a part-time business, keep these words of wisdom from Emmanuel Setyawan in mind:
Business is a vehicle for you to achieve your dream. It is a long and hard road to give you financial freedom, all the time you want with your family and even your hobby. It’s a vehicle to allow you to give more to the community without having to worry about meeting your own needs. But all this can only be achieved through perseverance and hard work.