15 Great Businesses You Can Start While Keeping Your Day Job

Starting a business while keeping your day job can be just the strategy you need to turn your dream into reality. As an example, web development and web design are two high demand fields, that will be easy for you to access if you have the required skills. You can do the work at your own pace with all of these opportunities and build a new career while maintaining your present job. 

Amazon Reselling

Amazon Reselling as a part-time business
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Amazon offers the opportunity to work in Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). Working as an Amazon FBA Seller has many benefits. Your sole job is to find inventory that can be re-sold. You can easily shop for bargains during your off time after work. From there, you send your items to Amazon and they store them. The company ships them, as well, after a sale has been made. They provide customer support on your items, too. You collect the remaining profits. 

Freelance Writer

Young person working part-time as a freelance writer
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Not only can you start sourcing freelance writing gigs on the side from sites like Upwork, Cloudpeeps, and Flexjobs while holding onto your day job, but once you've built up your client base, it's a business you'll be able to run remotely from anywhere in the world. All you need is a laptop, an internet connection, and a solid list of regular employers.

Getting your first set of clients can be a challenge, but once you build up your freelance portfolio and perfect your style of pitching, you'll be well on your way to breaking out into your self-employed writing career.

Web Development

Girl working as a freelance web developer
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Web developers are in very high demand, especially contract developers. There's a need for talented web developers to help integrate new features, upgrade functionalities, and fix bugs. 

Once you build out your skills in working with HTML, CSS, Ruby, or Javascript, you can start bringing on clients and gradually launch into your own freelance web development business while still keeping your day job.

Online education platforms like CreativeLive, Treehouse, and CodeAcademy are ideal places to start picking up the essential skills to becoming a web developer.

Web Design

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In today's competitive marketplace, both tech startups and recognizable brands need to differentiate themselves by creating flawless experiences for their users. That's where web designers come in.

By creating an experience for a website or app that leads to increased engagement, a higher purchase rate, or a bump in sign-up rates, your services will be in high demand.

General Assembly and Skillcrush both have online programs that can quickly teach you the essentials of web design, and provide you with a foundation for launching your own web design business around your hours at the day job.

Graphic Design

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Right now, there are thousands of jobs available online for freelance graphic designers. From sites like Upwork to Behance, you'll be able to find gigs with skills that translate into high-quality design work.

Don't worry about the lack of a trained background in graphic design. With the emergence of increasingly easy-to-use tools like Canva, Visme, and even a more intuitive Adobe Creative Suite, it's possible to teach yourself the foundations of graphic design in time with relative ease.

App Developer

Building a smartphone app as a part-time business
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With the introduction of easy-to-use app development software that requires zero coding, building, and selling an app has become a relatively easy business to enter. Don't be fooled into thinking any old app will be an instant success just because you think the idea will be a hit. Building engaging apps is both an art and a science.

To make things even easier, tons of templates are available for creating apps, and there are numerous ways to monetize your free app with in-app purchases, external sponsorships, and advertisements. 

Online Course Educator

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Proficiency in your field—an expert with a specific tool or topic—there's most certainly an online audience that would be willing to pay for access to your expertise.

If spending a few hundred dollars on an online course translates into accelerating a person's learning curve in a lucrative industry or brings that person closer to launching her own business, the investment pales in comparison to how much time it can take to learn a new skill. 

There's even a free online course from Teachable that helps people choose your profitable course idea, and it gives you a framework for having a successful launch to your new online course business.

SAT Tutor

University Tutor
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Performing well on standardized tests while attending high school offers expertise to eager parents looking to prepare their children quickly. Tutoring can be a profit-making side business for you.

It's possible to make well over $60 per hour for SAT and ACT tutoring services. Parents very quickly see the value in test prep tutoring, since you're upping their kid's chances of getting into a better college or university. 

To charge even higher rates, broaden your standardized testing knowledge beyond just the SAT and ACT, and dive into more specialized fields. GMAT and GRE tutors can command exorbitant hourly rates with such specialized knowledge.


man typing on a laptop blogging as a freelancer
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Do you have good writing skills and the ability to build a reputation for yourself within a specific industry? Then launching a blog could be an ideal side business for you. Once you have a regular audience of readers, you'll have countless options about how to monetize your site with ad support, your e-books, online courses, and personalized consulting services.

Whatever you do, make sure the content you're creating for your audience is useful to them. That's the only way you'll be able to build a meaningful relationship and hope to monetize your audience eventually.

Pro tip: Choose a well-established niche topic to create content about regularly, and you'll have a much easier time building your reputation and growing the size of your audience.

Remote English Teacher

A Remote Teacher Getting Ready to Record a Class
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It may seem an unlikely career, but taking command of your native language and offering personalized instruction to those seeking to learn English in other countries can be quite lucrative. Not surprisingly, it can also open up doors for you to travel the world and take more in-depth gigs once you're ready to leap self-employment. 

This opportunity requires getting full English as a Second Language (ESL) accreditation. Start exploring Indeed and Learn4Good, and you'll quickly see that people in Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, and elsewhere are willing to pay more than $25 per hour for personalized English lessons over Skype.

Travel Consultant

part-time work as a travel advisor
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Being well-traveled or living in an area with a high volume of tourists presents the opportunity for travel consulting services. Plansify recently launched a platform for experienced travelers to connect with people looking for advice and recommendations on places to go while they're abroad.

Podcast Host

Two Men recording a Podcasting
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Starting a podcast and building authority within your specific niche is an exciting way to grow a personal audience of listeners who regularly engage with your content. Because Apple's podcast store has a built-in audience and ranking system, you may be able to launch your podcast with a high volume of listeners. If that's the case, you'll rise to the top of the rankings and gain a huge amount of exposure.

Once you have a regular audience (ideally in the thousands), you'll start to develop a lot of value to potential advertisers. Let's say your podcast frequently talks about life as an outdoor photographer. A natural fit would be to reach out to relevant magazines, gear companies, and camera brands to see if they'd be interested in advertising on your podcast of targeted listeners: the more niche your podcast topic, the better for future sponsorship opportunities.

Portrait Photography

man uploading photos to a laptop as a freelance photographer
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Just by owning a DSLR camera or having access to renting one that's affordable, you can charge friends and local professionals for new headshots, which can be a very effective side business. Many successful photographers started by shooting on the side and building up their portfolio of work, thereby establishing a local reputation enabling a launch of their own photography business.

Etsy Store Owner

Woman on laptop taking care of online Etsy business
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Etsy has quickly become a powerful marketplace for buying and selling handmade goods. With a robust backend system for optimizing your product listings, running internal advertisements, and getting organic exposure for your products, Etsy is the best place to test out the validity of a new product business.

If the products you're thinking of making are handmade by nature and appeal more to women, you'll have a much better chance of success on the Etsy platform.

Personal Fitness Trainer

Woman working with personal fitness trainer.
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Love working out and staying physically fit? Turn your passion into a side business and help others get into shape by using your techniques. This is one of the most physically and financially rewarding career paths once you build up a reputation and client base for your business.

Taking the Next Step

The next challenge becomes one of taking action and finally turning your business idea into something tangible that can bring in a source of income—so that you can eventually quit your day job and launch into the world of self-employment.