13 Ways to Feed Your Entrepreneurial Spirit (Without Having to Quit Your Job — Yet)

What is a home-based business that employees can start on the side easily in 2015?

Home-based business
photo credit: Daniel Foster

The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Consulting

If you’re good at something, people typically will be willing to pay. There are great sites out there that are willing to pay for any online skill. Fiverr, oDesk, Freelancer and Elance are all great places to list your skills and get paid for work. Dip your foot in the water, start earning money and supplemental income. When the time is right, jump!

John Rampton, JohnRampton.com

2. Build an E-Commerce Startup

The costs of manufacturing small custom batches are plummeting, and plug-and-play platforms and shopping carts are rapidly approaching free. Especially if you work in marketing, you already understand enough of the fundamentals to get a small business up and running. It may require time, but it’s a valuable hobby to invest time in and hone your skills — while also making money on the side!

Brian Honigman, BrianHonigman.com

3. Programming

I recently read an article that said something like, “If you are not the one developing the program, you’ll be replaced by the program.” Obviously this is a stretch in most cases, but if I could recommend a home-based side business, that would be it. Since the demand for it will be ever-growing, it only seems logical.

Ryan Shank, Mhelpdesk

4. Teach Online Courses

The barrier to good education gets smaller everyday. You’re likely an expert in something, whether it’s universally useful (business 101) or very niche (how to train your dog to tap dance). Share your talent with the world in an online course. What’s nice about websites like Udemy is you merely create the content once and it is like any other investment that will produce returns over time.

Adam Stillman, SparkReel

5. Bookkeeping

Almost all small businesses need to manage their books, but it costs an average $36K/year for a full-time bookkeeper. It’s relatively inexpensive to start a lifestyle bookkeeping practice that you can run from home: 1) Get certified in an accounting software, 2) Become a pro, 3) Join a partner network, and 4) Sign up clients. You can also choose to extend your practice to tax preparation.

Vishal Shah, NoPaperForms

6. Start a Cleaning Company

My first business was a cleaning company — it’s not glamorous, but it will help you generate cash flow. Then you can fund your next idea! There’s little cost to start, you need: cleaning supplies, a mop, vacuum and a vehicle. Businesses and homes always need cleaning. My company succeeded through the great recession, so 2015 is even better. Only schedule clients around your work, which is easy to do.

Kyle Clayton, Better Creative

7. Create Community-Based Interest Groups

Do you like crafting, baking or gardening in your free time? Sell the fruits of your labor on sites like Etsy or at local farmers’ markets. Or perhaps you’re into biking, rock climbing or underwater basket weaving? Create community-based interest groups with membership fees to engage in fun activities locally and maybe even internationally!

Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep

Working from home

8. Affiliate Marketing

I got my start through affiliate marketing and it’s pretty dead easy for anyone to do on the side. All you need is a website or blog and a willingness to write content. Share your content through social media, SEO and PPC. Apply for membership to affiliate networks like Commission Junction, LinkShare, or eBay Enterprises. Join the programs of your favorite merchants and place ads on your site.

Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com

9. Drive for Uber or Lyft

If you are outgoing and enjoy meeting new people, you can drive for Uber on busy nights and weekends and do pretty well for yourself — I personally drove for Uber on New Year’s Eve. I had a great time and made some decent money.

James Avery, Adzerk

10. Freelance Writing

Our Internet marketing company receives frequent inquiries from freelance writers willing to write for our clients. Many of the writers we talk to are employed and do freelance to improve their writing skills while earning a little extra change. It’s not a bad gig, and if you decide to write, we might be interested in working with you as your first client.

Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

11. Start a Toy Company

Using 3D printers, the better designers out there can affordably and quickly start a small line of toys, phone accessories, or home decor products. It has never been easier (or cheaper) for those with talent to be able to advertise their abilities online and start a business.

Brennan White, Cortex

12. Resell Things You No Longer Need

Go through your closets and drawers for items you no longer need, such as old college textbooks, digital cameras, navigation devices and smartphones. Open an account on eBay or Amazon, list your items using precise descriptions and be sure to ship orders in secure packaging to cut down on refunds and returns.

Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

13. Build Awesome Things

There are some great marketplaces out there for selling handmade items, such as Etsy, DaWanda, Bonanza, Zibbet and iCraft. You can use your creativity and time to make things that people want and then sell them to the large audiences of these marketplaces. You don’t have to be a professional artisan to start generating sales, but you do need time and creativity. If you have these, go for it!

Miles Jennings, Recruiter.com