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LISTS HOME BUSINESS

Top 10: Earn Extra Cash... Today

 Whether you're starting a business on the side while still employed elsewhere, a student or homemaker looking for extra income, or unemployed and trying to figure out what to do, there are plenty of opportunities for you to start up a side business inexpensively. It's unlikely any of these will make you a living in the first few months, but they all have the potential to grow into full-time businesses. We'll take a look at 10 such opportunities:

 

Webpreneur

It's what everyone who's ever surfed the Web dreams of-just stick a web site up there and watch the cash roll in! Well, that just doesn't happen overnight, but the fact of the matter is it's really not very hard to do. To do it right, start by picking a subject matter you know a lot about. Then get a domain and create a web site. It doesn't even matter what technology you use-just be totally anal-retentive about it looking good and provide plenty of original content. Now find some appropriate affiliate programs-that's where your revenues are going to come from. Next, learn everything you can about search engine marketing and promote the heck out of your site. Last of all, set aside time every week to put new content on the site, delete dead links, and other maintenance. Now do this three or four times, and you've chosen your topics well, you might actually have some decent income from it.

 

Consultant

Getting into consulting is relatively simple. All you have to do is know how to do something better than most people do, and be able to either teach people how to do it or be willing to do it for them. Networking is the key to success in this business, so start by making a list of everyone you know and giving them all a call.

 

Petsitter/Housesitter

People feel an increased need for security, and housesitting gives them some reassurance while they're out of town. This one's great because it basically requires no particular skills, just trustworthiness and reliability. Be sure to have personal references available, and you'll also need reliable transportation. If you're an animal lover, petsitting is an easy add-on.

 

Professional Organizer

 People these days are simply overwhelmed by their "stuff". While there is an ever-growing trend of people wanting to simplify their lives, most of us haven't done it yet. It's not that people really have no clue how to get organized, it just keeps moving to the bottom of the stack, both figuratively and literally. There's a prime opportunity for people to come in at a reasonable rate and get houses organized. And while there is a National Association of Professional Organizers that you can join when you're ready, mostly it takes common sense, organizational skills, and a familiarity with what can be had at your local office supply and The Container Store.

 

Avon Independent Sales Rep

 Cosmetics is a virtually recession-proof business, because it's an inexpensive way for people to feel good about themselves. Avon is the largest consumer direct sales company in the world, with annual sales of nearly $6 billion. In business for well over 100 years, they have both a highly reputable product line and one of the few highly reputable multi-level marketing structures (in fact, they invented it). They also offer fashion and wellness products in addition to their beauty products. And while they bill themselves as "The Company for Women", a fairly substantial number of men have actually been very successful as Avon reps. The secret to making a living at it rather than just a little extra spending money? Build your downline-just like with any other network marketing or direct selling business.

 

Personal Services - Shopping & Errands

This is a great one going into the holiday season. Believe it or not, there are people who wouldn't be caught dead going anywhere near a mall, but they're not comfortable with buying certain items online, either. Again, trustworthiness and dependability are the key traits for this. If your car's not reliable, pick something else. Also, you won't need cash, but you'll need available credit on your credit cards, since you really can't use theirs. Consider an American Express or a Diner's Club that don't have preset spending limits. Or use a card that gives cash back reward or frequent flyer miles, and you'll make a nice little bonus for yourself.

 

Desktop Publishing

It's amazing how many people have a computer and still don't know how to make a decent flyer! If you've got a good design sense, are extremely familiar with your word processor, and already have a laser or high-quality inkjet printer, you can get into desktop publishing. Create a really great-looking portfolio for yourself and go door-to-door.

 

Tutoring

With the growing dissatisfaction with our education system and the huge growth in homeschooling, there's an unprecedented need for tutors these days for kids of all ages-even adults! If you've got a topic you can tutor in, contact the local schools, particularly private ones, and local homeschool groups, and offer your services. Don't be concerned if your topic is highly specialized-even those are in demand.

 

eBay/Online Auction Store

Yes, there really are people who make a decent living buying things at garage sales and flea markets and selling them on eBay. The big secrets? Stick to products you know (or learn before you start) extremely well, package your goods carefully, and provide impeccable customer service. It helps to have a digital camera or a scanner, but it's not required.

 

Office Administrator - Typing / Transcription / Proofreading

Many small businesses and individuals have a need for these services, but not enough need to hire a temp through an agency. Assuming you've got a computer, a printer, and e-mail (and the necessary skills), you're all set. Be prepared to charge by the job, not by the hour.

 

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