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Popular Second-Income Ideas

In our last blog post we posed the question: How can you use your skills, talents, and knowledge to create a second income?

You can create your own small business, whether you are an aspiring artist or crafter, have a real talent with cars or repairing things, are good at organizing, or are skilled at computer programs, there is a way you can turn those talents into a revenue stream.

Just think, you—like so many others—can go from under-employed to creatively fulfilled, with the plus of additional income! Millions of people are already doing it, partly thanks to internet shopping websites, virtual assistants, referral websites, and—of course—local bulletin boards, flyers, and advertising. If you have something to offer, there is sure to be someone who wants to purchase your goods or services.

What are some of the most popular and successful second-income businesses? Here are some ideas:


  • Auto and other mechanical repair, auto detailing
  • Home repairs, landscaping, house painting, lighting installation
  • Dog walking, pet sitting, even dog poop clean-up
  • Errand services: Doing errands people don’t have the time, ability, or inclination to do themselves.
  • Sewing, tailoring, and alterations
  • Guided tour service
  • Flower arranging
  • Housecleaning, window washing
  • Computer, internet, television, cable, and Wi-Fi set-up
  • Staging homes for sale
  • Furniture repair, upholstery
  • Moving services
  • Organizing: home or office
  • Website design and/or maintenance
  • Graphic design
  • Database and Excel projects

Your creative talents: Any handmade product

  • Working with fabric: Consider creating your own small clothing line, hats, hair accessories, project kits and/or patterns, quilts, dolls, stuffed animals, scarves, handbags, electronic bags, diaper bags, pet bags, baby headbands or bibs—really, the list is limited only by your imagination!
  • Jewelry making: One of the most popular hand-crafted items to sell online, think about wire jewelry, enamel pins, gemstones, metals, beads, and today’s hot item: tassels!
  • Knitting, crocheting, weaving, and embroidery: All are very popular! Create kits or patterns, wall hangings, custom embroidery, stuffed animals, hats, scarves, and more.
  • Art: Do you have skill in painting, drawing, or photography? Turn that talented work into greeting cards, frameable prints or posters, invitations, wedding/birth/event printed materials, calendars, stickers, stationery, party supplies, gift wrap, scrapbooking pages and embellishments, planner embellishments. Also think fiber arts, glass arts, collage, and mixed media.
  • Toys: Handcrafted toys are big: Stuffed animals and dolls, wooden toys, tents and playhouses, games, costumes and more.

This list is only just a small sampling of what you can make and sell! For other ideas, take a look at the selling categories on Etsy.

Other items to sell:

  • Vintage: Do you have an eye when it comes to shopping at flea markets, thrift shops, and garage and yard sales? Put it to work and resell the treasures you find! All categories, including clothes, are popular.
  • Plants: Do you have a green thumb? Try starters of harder-to-find local plants, plantings in terrariums or pots, or even seeds that you collect yourself. These are good not just for selling online, but also at your local farmers markets.
  • Pet supplies: Pet beds, blankets, bowls, jackets, raincoats, collars and leashes, and toys.

Contract work from home:

Large and small companies often contract with people to provide certain services and to do work from home. Payment is by job, task, or by the hour. How much you make can range from about $4.00 to $15.00 an hour. You’ll need a basic office setup, internet, phone (sometimes a landline), computer, scanner, and printer.

Usually you’ll have to go through a provider or agency, but there are other services available. You can also contract directly with some companies. Be wary of any companies that ask for your Social Security number in advance, bank account number, or that charge a fee to join their service.

Jobs and tasks include:

  • Customer service: phone or live chat
  • Taking orders
  • General office duties: replying to emails, managing calendars, and entering data
  • Internet research
  • Social media
  • Surveys and polls
  • Reviews
  • Website testing

What businesses hire contract work?

  • Cable and satellite companies
  • Financial services
  • Technology companies
  • Healthcare
  • Retail
  • Automotive

Other home-based businesses:

  • Product home sales: Think Avon or Mary Kay, and newer companies like Stella & Dot jewelry, or Pampered Chef.
  • How-to videos on YouTube: Post a series of videos where you provide instruction on what your talent is, and sign up for ad placements next to your video.
  • Amazon Mechanical Turk: This website, part of Amazon, lists businesses and developers who are looking for people to perform specific single tasks, from short translations, internet research, complete a survey, to math work, and much, much, more. Do as many as you like, on your own schedule.

As you can see, there is sure to be something out there that you excel at—and we are only scratching the surface in this post!

Start thinking about ideas for your own small business (even very small). Identify your skills and talents, make space on your desk—or make a desk area—and get ready.

Our next blog post will cover marketplaces and where to sell and market your products and services.

PayDayHawaii is dedicated to helping you be successful!

This entry was posted in Second Income, Small Business and tagged , , by sandynight. Bookmark the permalink.

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