30 Great Side Hustle Business Ideas for 2016

Find the Right Side Hustle for You in 2016

As 2015 draws to a close and we prepare for a fresh new year, it’s a good idea to look back and critique your entrepreneurial efforts. At the same time, you should be thinking about new side ventures that will have a good chance of thriving in 2016. Here are a few potentially lucrative side business options to get the creative juices flowing.

Services for Busy Families

Active families that are busy often don’t have the time to run errands that singles and childless couples consider an afterthought. This includes grocery shopping, house cleaning and transportation to name just a few. You can make a lot of money by cooking them ready-to-go meal platters and providing them with personal shopping services. Figure out what busy families need and deliver it.

College & Career Planning for Teens

While young people may have a lot of energy and drive, they tend to be lacking in experience and need guidance as they analyze college and career choices. A wise individual who has been around the block is the perfect sounding board for both educational and career advice. The great thing about consulting is that you can mentor anyone in the world via Skype.

Organize Sporting/Game Tournaments

Sports balls isolated on white background with reflection

It goes without saying that the real high earners in any athletic field are the ones that own teams and run leagues. Fortunately, you don’t need to launch an NFL competitor to rake in the green. Organizing golf, amateur pond hockey, bowling, basketball or softball tournaments can be quite profitable if you work out the logistics and charge reasonable entry fees. Another alternative is to create a Chess or card game tournament.

A Subscription Newsletter Service

One timeless classic that never goes out of style is the subscription newsletter. The business model can be applied to any niche and can make a fortune as long as you are an authority in your field. Best of all, an email newsletter can be launched with nothing more than an Aweber account and a flair for solid writing.

A Social Entrepreneurial Business

Making money while solving society’s most pressing problems is a great way to help make this world a better place. Consumers will be eager to support your business if the goal is a social good like providing food or necessities to developing countries or building community infrastructure.  Effect social change with your side hustle.

An Information Security Business

Digital security is incredibly important in today’s economy as the world becomes increasingly paperless. You can make a bundle by solving information security problems for small businesses. For instance, you might want to sell encrypted USB drives that can store files or log-in credentials. You could also offer server monitoring or penetration testing for publicly accessible corporate websites.

Low-Tech Wearables

More and more, moderately advanced circuitry and sensors are being incorporated into clothing for utility purposes. The good news is that low-tech wearables is an easy industry to jump into thanks to the wide availability of cheap computing hardware and peripherals. You could do something as simple as sewing an MP3 player into a wool cap for skiers.

Educational Software for K-12 Students

Creating educational programs for primary and secondary school students doesn’t have to be an expensive or time-consuming process. Building mobile apps for iOS or Android devices can be accomplished in mere days using freelance coders or services like Mobincube. Frameworks like AngularJS, CakePHP and Django allow even inexperienced developers to build interactive educational apps that are surprisingly powerful.

Organic Beauty Products

The cosmetics industry is one business that rarely suffers even during the worst economic downturns. The organic beauty products niche in particular has seen explosive growth as of late. You can find tons of recipes for organic cosmetics online and experiment with them at home. Once you’ve perfected a formula, it’s simply a matter of marketing it online and in your community.

Personal Fitness Training

Every year, millions of people around the country make a New Year’s resolution to get in shape. Taking advantage of a trend like Zumba or CrossFit is a logical way to attract tons of business in a short period of time. If you have an organic health drink sideline, you can greatly increase profits by cross-promoting both enterprises.

Health Drinks and Snacks

Energy bars - snack for healthy still life

Continuing with the fitness theme, creating healthy food products doesn’t require much know-how or capital. For instance, smoothies and energy drinks can be cranked out in bulk using a relatively simple food processor. Baking energy bars featuring ingredients like oatmeal, berries and nuts isn’t rocket science. Try to differentiate yourself from the crowd by using local ingredients.

Write & Publish Cooking E-Books

You don’t necessarily have to produce food yourself to profit handsomely from the healthy eating movement. Creating e-book compendiums of healthy recipes and selling them via platforms like Kindle Direct Publishing or iTunes is easy if you’re willing to do some research. Take special care to avoid infringing on copyrights when finalizing your recipes for publication.

Local Organic Farming

As society becomes more aware of the dangers associated with factory farming, organic produce continues to grow in popularity. An organic farmer can produce up to 6,000 pounds of vegetables and fruit in less than a quarter of an acre with a little planning. Focus on crops with high profit margins such as hops or butternut squash.

Retirement Consulting

Members of the Baby Boomer generation are retiring in droves and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Helping them to prepare for retirement can be a lucrative sideline if you have experience in the financial planning arena. If not, you can assist soon-to-be retirees in transitioning from being an employee to an independent entrepreneur.

A Specialty Tea Business

assortment of dry tea in ceramic bowls, close-up

In the United States alone, the tea industry is valued at more than $10 billion annually. Grabbing a slice of that pie is pretty easy if you can differentiate yourself from Twinings, Tazo and Celestial Seasonings. You could easily import tea leaves in bulk from overseas, mix up your own custom blends and sell them at a significant markup.

A Home Insulation Enterprise

Nowadays, home and business owners are increasingly focused on reducing energy consumption. Quality insulation makes a huge difference when it comes to cutting back on HVAC expenditures. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, installing installation in crawlspaces and attics isn’t difficult. Team up with a drywall professional so that you can offer wall insulation services as well.

Personalized Gifts for Children

Parents and grandparents are always looking for birthday or holiday presents that will hold special meaning for their beloved youngsters. You could try quilting or sewing custom hats, gloves and sweaters with kids’ names embroidered on them for a start. Personalized sporting goods like baseball gloves or jerseys is another great way to profit from the youth gift market.

Local Tourist Travel Packages

While most travel agents continue to see their business dwindle, organizers of travel packages are doing better than ever. Vacationers are particularly fond of tours with a specific theme. A tour of every vineyard or brewery in a specific area is a guaranteed money maker. Likewise, ATV and overland 4×4 tours are popular in rugged rural areas.

Elderly Companion Services

Busy adults rarely have space in their schedules for spending quality time with elderly relatives. If you’re patient, caring person with excellent conversational skills, you can make some extra money by hanging out with seniors. Use nursing homes and community organizations to canvas for clients while building a sterling reputation as a phenomenal companion for the elderly.

Short-Term Web Freelancing

The great thing about Internet freelancing is that your relationships with clients can be as short or as long as you wish. Everyone has skills that can be used to make money online. If you fancy yourself a wordsmith, you can write copy for site developers. If you’re good with Photoshop, you can design graphics for a variety of projects.

Creating Innovative Board Games

Despite the omnipresence of mobile computing devices, many consumers like to unplug once in awhile and enjoy the simple pleasures of board games with friends. If you can come up with a unique recreational idea such as a Uno-like card game or a strategy game like Risk, there’s the potential to make millions given the right marketing.

Selling Merchandise via Amazon FBA

If you’ve always wanted to run an eBay business but don’t want the hassle of storing or shipping merchandise, Fulfillment by Amazon is the way to go. All you have to do is find great deals on popular new and used gear in your area or online, mail it to Amazon and they’ll do the rest. Another option is creating your own physical product and selling it through Amazon FBA.

Green Cleaning Products

In recent times, it’s become obvious to consumers of all stripes that caustic chemicals aren’t required to keep a home or business clean. Companies like Seventh Generation have proven that people are willing to pay extra for green cleaning products. Play around with citrus or vinegar-based cleansers to nail down a unique formula and market it to the masses.

Online Educational Courses

You don’t have to create sophisticated apps to profit from the online education industry. Creating educational or how-to videos and putting them on the web can also rake in the cash. Start out by publishing your videos on a site like YouTube and use ads and affiliate links to generate revenue. You can charge for your clips later when you gain notoriety.

Custom 3D Printing for Makers

Detail of a 3D printer printing with a yellow ABS filament

Without a doubt, the “Maker Movement” has been huge in the last few years. Small-time entrepreneurs and even DIY hobbyists are playing around with Arduino and Raspberry Pi applications like never before. If you buy a decent 3D printer, you can create plastic components and make a mint by providing custom hardware to tinkerers.

Downloadable Patterns & Logos

Many consumers like to create their own bumper stickers, posters and t-shirts using graphics they find online. Sites like Etsy and Gumroad make it easy for entrepreneurs with an eye for design to sell their graphics in a downloadable PDF format. Customers can create physical merchandise for a variety of purposes using those designs as a template.

Niche Pet-Related Services

Making money in a crowded market like dog walking can take a lot of time and effort. It’s easier to profit from the pet services sector by coming up with a unique angle. For instance, you could offer massage sessions for older dogs with joint problems or provide training for pets with issues like a fear of lightning.

Viral Apparel of a Topical Nature

Casual wear like t-shirts and hoodies are always a big draw with consumers from all walks of life. Adding a local or topical slant to clothing is a great way to spark viral sales bonanzas. Political issues in a specific region or state always attract loads of attention and can be used as the focus for apparel.

Scouting Real Estate for Investors

Regardless of the state of the economy, investors with deep pockets are always looking for real estate opportunities. You could make loads of money by acting as their eyes on the ground when it comes to ferreting out diamonds in the rough. An in-depth knowledge of the local market is a must for this to work.

Custom Woodworking on Demand

close up of a carpenter screwed a hinge on a wooden plank

Many, many consumers appreciate the beauty and warmth of bespoke wooden furniture. Slapping together tables, bookcases and cabinets isn’t difficult if you have some workshop space, a few saws and a cheap router. Rather than mass-producing the gear, work with clients on a one-on-one basis to create the perfect furniture for their situations.

There Are No Bad Ideas in a Brainstorm

This should give you at least a few solid leads while you’re coming up with the perfect side business to launch in 2016. Naturally, not every idea in the preceding list will be a good match for you. However, there’s a little something for everyone regardless of your skills, background and funding.

Click here to instantly download our Free Brainstorming Side Business Idea Worksheet

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