Author Topic: Profitable side business/side work?  (Read 2794 times)

Offline christulsa

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Profitable side business/side work?
« on: January 29, 2020, 03:45:24 PM »
What are some profitable, smart ways for a working guy to supplement his income?   Side businesses, side work?  Let’s say your minimum goal is an extra supplemental $20k a year not working long term many hours beyond your regular job schedule, maybe at first more hours and training.   One idea I’m researching for myself is a website teaching physical therapy continuing education courses, marketing to those states each year where therapists need to finish their bi-annual CEU requirements, but with much higher quality that typical CEUs and at a lower price.  Even uploading a few webinars on most currently relevant clinical topics, and sending out mailers a few times a year would likely be profitable. 

What ideas do you have?   Successes with side businesses or side work? 
« Last Edit: January 29, 2020, 03:57:13 PM by christulsa »
 

Offline Heinrich

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Re: Profitable side business/side work?
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2020, 06:27:29 PM »
One of my favorite former posters, RBJ "Colt 45," taught English online. I believe one can make anywhere from 20 - 30 dollars an hour.
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Offline dellery

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Re: Profitable side business/side work?
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2020, 06:41:44 PM »
Personally, I like rental properties, but they can be a bit of work if you're not a slum-lord. You manage the people and their needs moreso than the property itself.

Try looking into buying a Little Debbie, Hostess, etc. route. There's good money there too. Pepperidge Farm and other bread companies have routes for sale as well but they aren't as profitable, at least in my neck of the woods.
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Profitable side business/side work?
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2020, 06:45:23 PM »
Wish I knew. I don't even have a job.

I think some people have had success driving for Uber. Some do it full-time, from what I hear. But I don't know... it probably depends on where you live. (I take it your auto-insurance would probably go up by a lot too. And you need to pay for gas, and the mileage on your car. I think it could backfire.)


One thing that does NOT work (at least it didn't work when I tried it) is audio transcription. It's a legitimate job (not a scam), but it's way too time-consuming. (After calculating my pay per hour of work, I found that it was well below minimum wage. Unless your hearing and memory are very good, and you type very fast... and even then, it's still probably less than minimum wage. Medical transcription pays slightly higher, but I doubt it's much better. And you need to be familiar with medical terms and drug names and stuff.)

Another thing that I've tried, that does NOT work, is doing crowdsourced work collecting data for market research. (You go around to stores and use your smartphone to discreetly take photographs of the shelves and what's on the shelves, and sometimes get the UPCs or other information, being careful that nobody sees you.) Problem is, I think if you use a car to drive from place to place then it probably costs more in gas than you're getting paid. On top of that, I question whether it's even legal... these stores are private property, after all. Seems like trespassing, to enter the store and inspect the items, without having any intention of buying anything. (A number of times the management caught me doing it and told me to stop... sometimes they even asked me to leave the store... one shop owner got very upset and told me he was calling the cops. And I completely understand. For all the store manager knows, I might be planning a robbery or something.) It can also be time-consuming depending on what photos/info the client wants you to collect.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2020, 06:50:22 PM by Daniel »
 
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Offline dellery

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Re: Profitable side business/side work?
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2020, 06:56:57 PM »
Wish I knew. I don't even have a job.

I think some people have had success driving for Uber. Some do it full-time, from what I hear. But I don't know... it probably depends on where you live. (I take it your auto-insurance would probably go up by a lot too. And you need to pay for gas, and the mileage on your car. I think it could backfire.)


One thing that does NOT work (at least it didn't work when I tried it) is audio transcription. It's a legitimate job (not a scam), but it's way too time-consuming. (After calculating my pay per hour of work, I found that it was well below minimum wage. Unless your hearing and memory are very good, and you type very fast... and even then, it's still probably less than minimum wage. Medical transcription pays slightly higher, but I doubt it's much better. And you need to be familiar with medical terms and drug names and stuff.)

Another thing that I've tried, that does NOT work, is doing crowdsourced work collecting data for market research. (You go around to stores and use your smartphone to discreetly take photographs of the shelves and what's on the shelves, and sometimes get the UPCs or other information, being careful that nobody sees you.) Problem is, I think if you use a car to drive from place to place then it probably costs more in gas than you're getting paid. On top of that, I question whether it's even legal... these stores are private property, after all. Seems like trespassing, to enter the store and inspect the items, without having any intention of buying anything. (A number of times the management caught me doing it and told me to stop... sometimes they even asked me to leave the store... one shop owner got very upset and told me he was calling the cops. And I completely understand. For all the store manager knows, I might be planning a robbery or something.) It can also be time-consuming depending on what photos/info the client wants you to collect.

Uber and Lyft are decent ways to make some extra income, and don't recall my insurance premiums ever going up because of it.
It's good "bored" work for when you don't have anything else going on, and it's a good way to meet new people as long as they aren't drunks with a history of DUI's --fairly common.
Talking to the drivers, when I use rideshare, doesn't sound like it would be a good full-time job unless you're a retiree or something.

Daniel, if you live in a populated enough are go put an application in with the Laborers or Operating Engineer unions, or look into a driving job with the Teamsters. Most unions charge a refundable $20-$25 application fee.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2020, 07:01:03 PM by dellery »
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Offline christulsa

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Re: Profitable side business/side work?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2020, 12:55:48 AM »
Daniel, you can treat looking for full time work/your career track AS your full time job!  Structure your day to put in at least 8 hours 1) applying, 2) sending out resumes, 3) networking, 4) researching, 5) polishing your resume/interview skills.  If you want to go for IT, anything IT related until you go back to school for that.  In the mean time at least get a regular PT job to save $, pay bills, take girls out.  :thumbsup:
 

Offline moneil

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Re: Profitable side business/side work?
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2020, 09:39:18 AM »
Daniel, you can treat looking for full time work/your career track AS your full time job!  Structure your day to put in at least 8 hours 1) applying, 2) sending out resumes, 3) networking, 4) researching, 5) polishing your resume/interview skills.  If you want to go for IT, anything IT related until you go back to school for that.  In the mean time at least get a regular PT job to save $, pay bills, take girls out.  :thumbsup:

Christula gives very good advice.  Back in the 1980’s (pre personal computer and internet for most) there was a recession in the industrial and financial sectors on the east coast.  The west coast wasn’t affected much but those who wanted to move couldn’t sell their homes back east.

I recall an article about a gentleman in his late 50’s / early 60’s who lost his high paying job on Wall Street.  The family did have some advantages in that there were no children still at home, their house payment was modest by today’s standards, and the wife was able to get a job (secretary, store clerk, classroom aid, I don’t remember) that covered their grocery and utility expenses.  After a few months of puttering around the house working on odd projects, having coffee with his unemployed or forced into early retirement buddies, and otherwise feeling depressed he decided he needed to act or he’d turn into a mental case or an alcoholic.

So, every morning he’d shower, shave, put on his suite, and pack his briefcase.  His wife would drop him off at the commuter train station on her way to work and he would go into the city to the New York Public Library and take his place at a desk.  There he would look at the employment offerings, meager as they were at the time, and research companies and business sectors.  He would also brush up on some general business skills that he hadn’t studied since university, such as basic accounting or marketing.  The library had tools such as typewriters and copy machines (today they have internet, computers, and printers).  He would pack his homemade lunch in the briefcase, I think a downtown church opened its parish hall for people to go eat at, perhaps with coffee and soup available.  His few “splurges” were his weekday train trips, keeping his suites dry cleaned as needed (while wool is best in my opinion today there are good wash and wear suite options), and getting a decent haircut as needed.

The particulars will change depending on one’s background and the type of job they are looking for or qualify for but the main point is that approaching job hunting as a job in itself and applying the same dedication to that job as one would to an actual job will yield benefits for one’s mental and emotional health and give one an advantage in a tight job market over those who aren’t so dedicated.
 
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Offline moneil

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Re: Profitable side business/side work?
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2020, 11:05:29 AM »
Christula, almost three years ago I “retired” earlier than planned from dairy herd management as I needed to move closer to help my mother, who will be 98 on Monday February 3rd.  I currently have two part time jobs in the gig economy.  One is as a funeral home assistant (removals of the deceased and assisting with visitations and services ~ being a licensed funeral director was a onetime career consideration), and for the past year I am also a part time on call Health and Safety instructor for the American Red Cross.  The latter may be of interest to you.

I hadn’t realized that MANY people are required to have CPR/AED certification for their work.  Actually I was also for my job at a Land Grant University’s research dairy farm but nobody told me nor checked up on that, they just made sure my animal welfare certifications and sexual harassment training was always up to date LOL.  After leaving that job I certified in NOLS Wilderness First Aid (which does not include CPR so I picked that cert up from the Red Cross) for my own reasons.  CPR/AED certificates need to be renewed every two years and providing the training is a big business.  The American Red Cross is a major provider of this training and the income from their Health and Safety Training and Bio-Med (blood donations) divisions provide the financial resources for their Disaster Preparedness and Relief division, Service to the Armed Forces, and support of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva Switzerland.

The American Red Cross Health and Safety Division has full time and part time with benefits instructor positions, but the majority (over 70% I believe) of instructors are part time on call (PTOC) and the Red Cross is always looking for candidates in many markets.  As a PTOC I am certified to teach both adult and pediatric First Aid / CPR / AED, Basic Life Support (advanced CPR for health care providers), and Blood Borne Pathogens.  Depending on the market there are other courses one can certify to be an instructor for, such as Babysitter’s Training, Wilderness and Remote First Aid, Aquatics, and others.  This past year I averaged 12.6 hours per week at $18.90 per hour but that may pick up I hope (fortunately when the Red Cross schedule was slow the funeral home schedule seemed to pick up).  The Red Cross provides me with all the needed training and A/V equipment and materials and they pay me mileage to the training sites.

Both the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association also certify instructors to provide their curriculums as independent contractors, with class participants receiving official ARC or AHA CPR/AED certifications, but then the contract instructor needs to also provide the required equipment and materials.

I’ve really enjoyed doing this.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2020, 11:24:43 AM by moneil »
 

Offline Heinrich

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Re: Profitable side business/side work?
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2020, 03:26:05 PM »
So, did the guy ever get a job, Moneil?
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Offline moneil

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Re: Profitable side business/side work?
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2020, 03:41:52 PM »
So, did the guy ever get a job, Moneil?

I read the article in the newspaper (probable the Seattle Times Sunday edition, which had a good job hunting advice column every week) sometime in the early 1980's, so awhile ago.  I don't really recall but I'm guessing the article was written during the guy's job search and was about how best to approach the job hunting task.
 
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Offline christulsa

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Re: Profitable side business/side work?
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2020, 07:40:01 PM »
Thanks Moneil for the info and feedback.   When I renewed my semi-annual BLS CPR last month, I thought about how that could be a good side business, but even better if it’s your own business and you can draw in large evening/weekend classes if done right.  As for myself, I’m able to make the most supplemental $ per hour employed doing prn therapy, especially home health.  But in addition to that, I’d like a small side business.  For more $, and/or so I don’t have to work OT prn.   Work hard for a while to establish it, but then spend minimal time weekly on it.  I’ve thought of rental properties, the online CEU business I mentioned in the OP.   My wife still makes vestments/does vestment fundraisers it, so the plan there is her to not work but do that on the side, me still helping w the business side.  But at this point I’m thinking my best bet at side $ long term is the online CEU business. But all this is good food for thought.
 

Offline Gerard

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Re: Profitable side business/side work?
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2021, 01:09:16 AM »
Saw this guy do a few interesting interviews for anyone who might still be interested in this thread. 

His premise was coming up with ideas for businesses that have minimal time and money investments in order to keep your independence and to see if you can get an idea for business to grow. 

The concept example was, you become an Uber driver and then you start to teach people how to become Uber drivers after you've learned enough.   Sort of like a piano player giving private lessons at home instead of at a conservatory.  Some ideas will work better than others, some won't do anything, some will give modest rewards and some might grow into substantial businesses that could replace your job, but the idea is you don't have to gamble your whole life on quick ideas.   

https://www.amazon.com/Side-Hustle-Idea-Income-Days/dp/1524758841
 
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Profitable side business/side work?
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2021, 08:55:25 AM »
and then you start to teach people [. . .] after you've learned enough.

I can't comment on the book, but this particular example sounds like a horrible idea. Because if you don't see the evil, you're not cynical enough. Here's how the scam works: You begin by befriending a large number of suckers, usually by starting a blog or a YouTube channel or a Facebook group. (Probably pay for some advertising to speed things up.) You then use your blog/channel/group to make yourself appear as a sort of big shot or an expert in your field. Your suckers begin to admire you and look up to you as a sort of guru figure. You constantly reassure them that you're just a fellow enthusiast, not much different from themselves. And so they come to believe that you have no ulterior motives, but are passionate about your field, and are genuinely interested in their success. So then when you say to them, "I have a little piece of knowledge which might help you out", they don't suspect a thing. They are all ears at that point, and more than willing to subscribe to your Patreon or purchase your latest how-to book. The money begins rolling in. (Not to mention any ad revenue you might also be generating in the meantime.) And once things start taking off, you are free to make far grosser exaggerations, using click-baity titles and such. Afterall, (they say,) you're on their side. You would never deceive them!

This is different than, say, a person who actually has a fair amount of know-how, who genuinely wants to help people out. The scammer is in it for the money, and so he makes money. The latter, not so much. Even if he charges a reasonable fee for his services (which he's certainly entitled to), he's not going to be bringing in a ton of money. Because he isn't playing people for fools. (I suppose some people try to reconcile the two, or go some middle route. But I don't see how that's possible. Either you're taking advantage of people or you're not. End of story.)

I'd say the difficulty lies not so much in making money, or even in coming up with ideas for ways to make money. The difficulty is in doing this in such a way that is good and holy.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2021, 09:04:44 AM by Daniel »
 

Offline Gerard

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Re: Profitable side business/side work?
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2021, 12:39:19 PM »
and then you start to teach people [. . .] after you've learned enough.

I can't comment on the book, but this particular example sounds like a horrible idea. Because if you don't see the evil, you're not cynical enough. Here's how the scam works: You begin by befriending a large number of suckers, usually by starting a blog or a YouTube channel or a Facebook group. (Probably pay for some advertising to speed things up.) You then use your blog/channel/group to make yourself appear as a sort of big shot or an expert in your field. Your suckers begin to admire you and look up to you as a sort of guru figure. You constantly reassure them that you're just a fellow enthusiast, not much different from themselves. And so they come to believe that you have no ulterior motives, but are passionate about your field, and are genuinely interested in their success. So then when you say to them, "I have a little piece of knowledge which might help you out", they don't suspect a thing. They are all ears at that point, and more than willing to subscribe to your Patreon or purchase your latest how-to book. The money begins rolling in. (Not to mention any ad revenue you might also be generating in the meantime.) And once things start taking off, you are free to make far grosser exaggerations, using click-baity titles and such. Afterall, (they say,) you're on their side. You would never deceive them!

This is different than, say, a person who actually has a fair amount of know-how, who genuinely wants to help people out. The scammer is in it for the money, and so he makes money. The latter, not so much. Even if he charges a reasonable fee for his services (which he's certainly entitled to), he's not going to be bringing in a ton of money. Because he isn't playing people for fools. (I suppose some people try to reconcile the two, or go some middle route. But I don't see how that's possible. Either you're taking advantage of people or you're not. End of story.)

I'd say the difficulty lies not so much in making money, or even in coming up with ideas for ways to make money. The difficulty is in doing this in such a way that is good and holy.


A con artist is going to con people.  If you're not a con artist, you don't have to worry.  If you offer a service or a good at a fair price and deliver what was promised, there is no problem.  If you genuinely teach someone how to do something that they want to learn. You provide the service.  What they do with it is up to them. 

Take the example of the Uber driver teacher.  You get a job as an Uber driver and run around for a year doing it.  You decide that you really don't like carting people around or having strangers in your car, but you were good at it and you learned a lot of lessons along the way.  You also are good at teaching. Why not take that experience and prepare people who are also interested in that work?  They will have a faster learning curve and by knowing what to expect, they will hold the job longer because they didn't go in blind.  They like the job better because it's easier, Uber gets more drivers who persevere, customers get better service and you get paid and you don't have to cart people around anymore. 

You've simply done what Scott Adams calls using your "talent stack" and coordinated it and put it into use to fill a niche that people weren't even aware was valuable. 
 

The point is, it's about building your own business model on your own ideas with your own skills in an efficient and inexpensive way.  It's the counter to trying to sell "Amway" on the side or invest heavily in a business you don't even know if you'll like.  If you are taking a class in school and trying to learn German.  You need some outside tutoring and you can pay some friend of a friend as a tutor who happens to be a native speaker of the language even though they don't have a degree in German and they can really sit down with you and give you quality tutoring for 3 hours a week, that's a good side hustle. 


You can take a course to become a piano tuner and if you take the course and learn to tune and regulate, but you don't go out there and offer your services, the person who taught you made money legitimately.  It's not their fault if you don't use what they bought from you.  An author can write a book and make money. If you buy it and don't read it, the author hasn't conned you. 

What if you don't want to be a full-time tree service guy and compete against a largish company but you've got experience and skill and a stump grinder?  You sell your service as a stump grinder for less than the full service and basically follow up on their work, called by people that are trying to cut costs. 

 

Offline Christina_S

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Re: Profitable side business/side work?
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2021, 12:45:40 PM »
I've run across a few people who make a fair chunk of change selling items on Facebook marketplace or Kijiji. One fellow that we bought a bookshelf from last fall runs a minor business out of his garage. He buys furniture or picks it up from the dump, refurbishes it (paints it, upholstery work, whatever it needs) and then resells it. If you've got a vehicle, the skills/some tools, and a way to advertise it, I can see this being a good option. Plus, you can use the time that you're working on furniture to listen to podcasts or sermons.
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