There’s more than one way to start a small business, and consumer markets continually evolve, presenting new opportunities, every day. Among the many distinct paths to entrepreneurial success, turning a side “hustle” into a full-scale business venture is one viable route to self-employment.

The economic meltdown occurring a decade ago had dramatic impacts on the world economy, including shifts in the way people earn a living. Traditional full-time employment grew scarce following the financial shakeup, so many workers turned to part-time alternatives and “gigs” to stay afloat. In other cases, individuals fortunate enough to have full-time jobs began taking on side work, to prop up their finances. The net result of these trends is an adapted marketplace, now accustomed and dependent upon part-time, niche contributors. Ambitious entrepreneurs can use the new paradigm to their advantage, striking-out slowly, before turning side hustles into bonafide small business opportunities.

If you’re prepared to devote your “free” time to a self-inspired side-hustle start up, consider the following prospects, which may provide fertile ground for growing a small business.

Sell Services

Countless service providers fulfill diverse needs, dispatching employees to care for their customers. Why not eliminate the middlemen, delivering paid services on your own? Though you’ll still trade time for money, just like your day job, selling services allows you to choose projects and control your own work flow.

  • Participate in Focus Groups – Feedback is everything to modern marketers, so firms furnish substantial compensation for focus group participants. Websites such as offer opportunities to participate in market research. After signing up, you’ll be sent surveys to complete at home. Based upon your survey responses, focus group researchers may then invite you to in-person focus groups, online studies, or phone interviews. Not only are you compensated for your time, but you’ll also get to sample food and test new products, before they are released to the general public. Launching your own focus group business turns this side-hustle into a larger enterprise, or you may choose to apply focus group principles to another marketing business, of your own design.
  • Furnish Sitting Services – House-sitting and pet-sitting services are in demand. The flexible side hustles appeal to animal lovers and those with evening and weekend availability. The concept is easy to promote through word of mouth, and the popularity of websites such as and illustrate the potential for turning this part-time opportunity into a full-time business.
  • Do Whatever’s Needed – People need help with various tasks – particularly aging members of society, unable to keep up with daily life. You can draw the line wherever you want, helping with things like errands, household handyman services, deliveries, administrative tasks, food preparation, and other duties. Expand your team of providers, and this simple startup idea transitions to a small business.

Use Technology

Sprout Funding logoTechnology typically makes new things possible, including spawning fresh opportunities to make money. With a small amount of tech savvy and dedication to learning and earning, you can generate side income or lay the groundwork for a full-time tech-inspired venture.

  • Earn With Apps – Multiple apps offer earning potential, paying users to complete tasks ranging from scanning receipts to rating products. Online opportunities are widespread, easily accessed with a quick search for apps that pay. Swagbucks, iPoll, and Shopkick are only a few examples of platforms providing compensation for self-starters.
  • Launch Product Sales – Brick and mortar retail requires substantial investment, once preventing many would-be sellers from realizing their entrepreneurial dreams. Technology has changed the playing field, now enabling individuals to sell products without warehousing inventory or maintaining physical storefronts. Marketing goods online enables you to start slow, using profits to build a bigger business, if desired. And if you haven’t developed a unique product, widespread opportunities are available selling existing product lines.

Tap Your Talent

Your personal skills, talent, and abilities have value, which may translate to part-time profits or a full-time business venture. Consider your skill set, before offering creative services such as these.

  • Freelance Opportunities – The modern workforce still supplies conventional full-time employees, but organizations also rely on independent freelancers to provide various services. In addition to online writing opportunities, freelancers also make money selling images, designing websites, keeping books, and serving any number of consulting specialties. Freelancing tests the waters, as you earn money, allowing you to scale your freelance business at your own pace.
  • Coaching Services – From students transitioning into higher education to individuals struggling with career issues, people from all walks of life benefit from coaching and counselling services. Your unique work history and experience provide a base of knowledge and insight you may be able to market to others. Specializing in college prep, you can earn money offering test preparation and inside information about the application process. As a life coach, your focus may include helping clients overcome challenges and providing career guidance for a fee.
  • Teaching – Selling teaching and tutoring services can help you put money in the bank, as you explore the potential for full-time earnings. Local substitute teaching positions may be available, schedule permitting, or you can provide after school tutoring sessions, generating worthwhile side income. Equipped with experience and exposure to the educational system, you may choose to expand your part-time teaching role into a business that supports educators.

The burgeoning “gig” economy provides opportunities for side work, which may grow into full-time businesses. Consider these and other possibilities when you’re looking for an income boost with self-employment potential.

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