9 Affordable Part-Time Home Business Ideas You Can Start Now

Grow Your Dream Business While You Keep Your Day Job

Whether your goal is to make extra income on the side or to retain job security by moonlighting before working at home full-time, a part-time business can allow you to achieve both. However, not all home businesses are flexible enough to be done around a job and other obligations. Below, you'll find nine ideas that can be started fairly quickly and affordably, and built around a job. Further, they can grow into a full-time career or be maintained at a part-time level depending on your goals.

Updated November 2017 by Leslie Truex

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Teen Working as a tutor with a young child
South_agency / Getty Images

There was a time when tutoring required in-person visits either at the student or tutor's home. While that can still be done, technology now allows tutoring to be done online via video conferencing. Tutoring over the Internet offers more flexibility than traditional methods because there's no commuting to clients' homes, which can save time and travel expenses. Further, you can work with people across time zones, which allows reaching to more people.

There are many types of tutoring, such as computer tutoring, academic tutoring for all ages from elementary to college students, SAT tutoring, and even language tutoring, whereby you help foreign business people learn English.

You can grow the business by recruiting and managing other tutors, plus you can add additional income streams to a tutoring business by creating online courses or writing books.

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Photographer photographing mountain biker in forest
Manuel Sulzer / Getty Images

Getting paid to take pictures is a great way to turn a photography hobby into a home business. If allowed by the zoning laws in your area, you can run a portrait studio from your home, taking pictures of families, grads, and even pets. 

Or consider photographing events, such as weddings. A wedding photographer can make approximately $2,600 for a $20,000 wedding. And, because weddings are almost exclusively held on the weekends, this is a home business you can start part-time while you build your portfolio.

Finally, you can sell your photographs online through sites like "Shutterstock.com" and​ "iStockphoto.com." 

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eBay Logo
Sean Gallup / Getty Images

eBay is one of the few businesses that you can start with no financial investment and get paid within a week. You can get started by selling the unused and unwanted items around your house, and use those profits to invest in inventory based on what you learn sells well. 

Or, if you're already successful as an eBay seller, you can help others sell their items for a profit as an eBay Trading Assistant. As an eBay Trading Assistant, you'll usually have to go to client's homes or businesses to photograph and pick up items, and then list and sell them for a percentage of the sale. 

Don't feel you're limited to eBay. There are many other places you can sell used items online such as books, clothes, electronics, jewelry, and more. 

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Information Products

Teach Others through Information Products
Credit: akinbostanci | Getty Images

Everyone has knowledge about something others would pay to know. If you can compile that information into a product, you can sell it. Information products come in many forms such as books and courses and can be delivered in either tangible (i.e., print book) or digital formats (i.e., ebook).

Information products offer several great advantages, including it's extremely flexible, it's affordable and easy to start, and it generates passive income. Further, information products are easy to do alongside a job or to add as an additional income stream to an existing business.

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Affiliate Marketing

Laptop with boxes representing Online shopping, delivery, and Affiliate Marketing
William_Potter / Getty Images

If the idea of creating a product or service is daunting, affiliate marketing could be the solution for you. In affiliate marketing, you make money online by selling other businesses' products and services. Affiliate marketing combines word-of-mouth marketing with commission sales. 

Affiliate marketing isn't only flexible enough to do part-time around a job, but also, it's flexible on how you can promote your products. Most successful affiliate marketers use a blog, but some entrepreneurs have a single squeeze page website where they build an email list and market to subscribers.

Affiliate marketing is an income stream that can be added to other home businesses as well. For example, as a tutor, you might recommend your clients get a specific book or educational materials using an affiliate link to direct them to buy it. If you make YouTube videos or information products, you can include affiliate links in them. 

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Freelance writer Typing On Laptop
AndreyPopov / Getty Images

One of the great advantages of writing, aside from its complete flexibility, is that there are so many types of writing you can do. You can become a:

  • Blogger
  • Copywriter or content writer
  • Resume writer
  • Author or ghostwriter

You can focus on one type of writing, or you can do several. For example, you can have your blog plus offer freelance writing services. 

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Women creating jewelry in home workshop
pixelfit / Getty Images

Are you creative? Why not turn your artistic talent into part-time income? If youmake crafty items, you can sell them on Etsy or through craft fairs and bazaars on the weekends.

Other creative and artistic endeavors you can consider include jewelry, faux painting, interior design, and home staging or cleaning for realtors.

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Social Media Manager

Social Media Apps on a phone screen
Jason Howie

Do you enjoy tweeting, sharing, and posting on Instagram? Can you reach and engage people on a range of social networks? If so, you might be a good candidate for a social media manager. Social media managers develop social media plans, and then they create and schedule social media campaigns for businesses and entrepreneurs. 

Along with creating social media posts, a social media manager might also be in charge of moderating social media profiles to provide customer service, encourage interaction with the company's market, and screen out trolls, as well as working to build followers.

To be successful, you need to know how to use social media for marketing without annoying or offending the businesses' markets. It can also help to know how to create shareable graphics as they attract more response than plain text posts. 

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Direct Sales

Businessmen shaking hands after meeting in a cafe
Kritchanut / Getty Images

There's a lot of misinformation about direct sales or network marketing, but if you do your research and pick a company with a product/service and marketing plan you can get behind, direct sales is a fast, affordable, and flexible way to start a home business. The advantages of direct sales over starting a business from scratch include:

  • Ready-made product or service
  • Existing marketing plan
  • Mentorship and training through a sponsor
  • Affordable to start (many can be started for under $100 or less)

It is important to do your research when choosing a direct sales company to avoid scams and duds. But if you find a product and company you like and treat direct sales as the business it is, you can have success.

Building Part-Time Income

You're not limited to these nine home business ideas. The truth is, many home businesses offer flexibility to be built part-time. One of the great advantages of home business is that you're the boss, so you work how much or how little you want. With that said, building a livable income on a part-time business can be a challenge without planning and prioritizing.