30 part-time businesses you can start for peanuts
Think earning extra dosh whenever it suits you sounds too good to be true? Think again.
Hey - want to start a business? SmartaStart2013 takes you through the process
in 7 simple steps. Go there
1. Trade on eBay
pulse to see what's hot in the marketplace. Then invest in
setting up a professional-looking eBay shop, from £14.99 a month.
Read our blog on
tips on the design of your shop.
2. Sell stock photography
Sell good quality digital photos to sites like istock.com,
shutterpoint.com and fotolia.com. But be warned: this is quite the
slow-burner. Lots of advice here.
3. Personal chef
Invest in a good cookery course (like the ones listed here), then start offering your services to
friends of friends in need of dinner party assistance.
4. Become a cookery writer
As above - then publish your own cookery book through blurb.com. Sales
will come in from the site, and you can sell yourself to new
prospective clients by saying you're also a cookery author.
5. Antiques trader
Do some serious homework on cheaper pieces - invest in an
encyclopaedia and read mags like this
one. Buy a few items to hedge your bets, then sell to antiques
dealers and shops.
6. Virtual assistant
Sign up to a site like virtualassistants.co.uk (£2.95 to post a
listing for 12 months). Invest in a secretarial or touch typing
course to give you an edge over other candidates. More advice here.
7. Personal trainer
Proper training courses are several hundred pounds at least
(recommended ones here), but if you're a marathon old-hand or a
gym-bod you could entice some clients without. Pick up part-time
work in a gym to find clients.
8. Snack stall
You can buy a stall for around £100 - £150 (from somewhere like
this). Make sure you comply with all health and safety regulations and get a license
from your local council if you're selling alcohol, hot food between
11pm and 5am or food from a stall or van on the street.
9. Late-night alcohol delivery
Supply the midnight masses and charge a premium on booze and
snacks delivered after pub closing time. You'll need a personal
license to sell alcohol, which costs £37 - get it online from your
10. Cleaning company
Start this business with no overheads by using clients' cleaning
products. Pay for criminal record checks (CRB
checks, £26 each) for yourself and any other members of staff
to reassure new customers once you get some money coming in.
*Resources from our partners*
11. Focus group organiser
Target small businesses at networking events and with flyers to
user-test their new products or websites. Then place free ads on
Gumtree to find participants and skim a fee off their hourly pay.
More info here on conducting focus groups.
12. Flyering agency
Call around all local business and clubs and say you'll find
them someone to hand out flyers for a £3 charge (on top of their
hourly rate). Then find students in need of work on Gumtree.
13. Pop-up restaurant
Decorate your living room, stick some posters in your front
window and start a restaurant in your house. Technically you're
meant to get a load of health and safety checks done for this, but
there's a whole crop of people doing it on the sly. Check out our
guest blog from Horton Jupiter to find out how
14. Treasure hunt business
You can start this business for next to nothing. Do some
research on your local area and plant clues for family fun days and
cheap office outings. Take a look at how Hunt
Fun and Treasure Days are doing it.
15. Sell pot plants, herbs and home-grown veg
The whole of the middle class is into organic and home-grown veg
these days, and with packets of hundreds of seeds coming in at
around 60p, you can sell your own produce for a whopping profit. Or
just take clippings of plants and herbs you already have, grow out
into separate pots and sell to neighbours and friends.
16. Gardening and landscaping assistant
Got green fingers? Put them to use by offering your services to
people in your area. Show them sketches of how you think the garden
could be improved and you become a landscape gardener to boot
(though you'll need to do careful research on what grows well in
which places and at what times of year).
17. Meal delivery service
Capitalise on people too busy or too lazy to cook by offering to
deliver delicious dishes of their liking, home-cooked by you. Check
out our interview with the
founder of The Pure Package for inspiration.
18. Walking and bike tours
Armed with nothing more than a map and a book on local history,
you can guide tours around your local commons, hills or towns and
share insight into the history of your area for a small charge.
19. Clothes repairs
Basic needlework is astonishingly straightforward. Offer to darn
friends of friends' clothes for a nominal fee and take in too-big
shirts and skirts.
20. Gift baskets
Knocking up ribbon-adorned wicker baskets brimming with Bon
Maman jams, freshly-baked muffins and fruit is relatively cheap,
but you can charge a premium.
21. Dog training
Easy if you know how. Getting a formal qualification will
improve your chances of doing business with people you don't know.
Check out the Association of Pet Dog Trainers for more
22. Pet sitting and walking
Most pet owners prefer one-on-one TLC for their animals than
putting them into kennels. Keep your rates competitive and
incentivise clients to refer a friend.
23. Event and party planning
Perfect if you've got a natural knack for organisation.
Establishing cut-price deals with catering companies, florists,
wine suppliers and the like will ensure you offer a competitive
24. Car boot sales
Have a proper clear-out of your junk to get started, then
reinvest profits into buying stuff from any charity shop you have
time to scour. Offer to take friends' junk off their hands to cut
25. Social media assistant
More and more small businesses are latching onto the fact social
media can help them, so offer to maintain accounts for them for a
small fee - you can keep business ticking over while still doing
your day job. Tools like Tweetdeck will help hugely. More advice here.
There are gutters to clean, tiles to be scrubbed, lawns to be
raked and paths to be laid all around the country. Post friendly
notes through letterboxes advertising a cheap hourly rate.
27. Home tutor
If you've got a degree, or good A-level results, you can offer
to help out schoolkids with their homework and exams. Get a
certification to make it more official if you struggle to find
work. The BBC has some good info on that.
28. Computer skills mentor
There are still millions of people out there who feel utterly
confounded by computers and the internet. If you're a spreadsheet
whiz or an Outlook old-hand, you can charge them for lessons.
29. CV consultant
If you've made it through the rat race and come out the other
side older and wiser, you can help newbies tidy up their CV's.
Advertise on Gumtree and ask friends, and keep fees low.
30. Second-hand clothes stall
Get yourself down to a retro clothes market in a university
town, armed with piles of 70s, 80s and 90s clothes from charity
shops, and you'll find you can charge anything from £5 to £50 an
item. Ask the local council about renting a stall.
*Resources from our partners*
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