Here’s a sampling of part-time business suggestions that will jump start your brainstorming and get ideas flowing for a business you can run while also keeping your nine to five. Oh, and do be sure to keep your business activities separate from your job, meaning, don’t tell your boss and co-workers what you’re up to.
First, decide if you’re a bread baker or a pastry chef: will it be baguettes and croissants, or cupcakes and pies? You can sell your wares at neighborhood street fairs and farmer’s markets. Do some market research and take a tour of local venues, to see what sells in which marketplace, at what prices and to which customers. Check the licensing requirements of your state and city health departments and also find a commercial kitchen to give yourself the capacity for high-volume baking.
Those with experience in corporate finance departments, payroll departments or accounts payable/receivable are the best candidates to set themselves up in a tidy little part-time bookkeeping business. Brush up on your QuickBooks skills and promote yourself to Freelancers, churches and small businesses. Join your neighborhood business association to meet potential clients.
Are you a fabulous cook who knows how to serve and present food elegantly and efficiently? Does the prospect of preparing Christmas dinner for 12 or a buffet Easter brunch for 50 fill you with excitement and make your organizational skills shine? If that is the case, then catering on the side may be an ideal money-making and creative outlet for you. Hone your chops by taking over the preparations for a few large family events. Graduate to getting hired for dinner or cocktail parties held by friends of friends. Consider renting commercial kitchen space to make cooking for large events easier.
If you’ve always known how to compose a pretty bouquet, upgrade and refine your natural abilities by taking a flower arranging course at an adult learning center or community college. Next, identify good flower market and floral supply wholesalers, so you can provide a wide selection of fresh and exotic blooms arranged in the loveliest vases and still earn a good profit margin. Promote your services to those celebrating anniversaries, births, christenings, graduations or other special occasions. Form a strategic partnership with a (part-time) caterer who needs to decorate a party.
Do you have a green thumb? Do you know people who have no time for yard work? There is money in mowing lawns, trimming hedges, tending window boxes, weeding and coaxing roses to bloom. My mother’s uncle started a part-time gardening business which he ran for at least 20 years. My father worked with him on many spring and summer evenings throughout my childhood. The more artistically inclined can create a niche in landscape design for residential clients and neighborhood merchants. Remember to include Christmas decorating in your list of services.
So maybe you were a hairdressing school dropout? Pick up those scissors again and revive your skills, so you can offer wash, cut, blow-out and maybe even color and straightening services at your kitchen sink or the client’s. Friends and friends of friends who need makeovers, or maybe just maintenance, will appreciate both your talent and at-home discount prices.
If you’re a clever shutterbug, invest in a good digital camera, become a Photoshop expert and pull together a portfolio of your work to show to prospective clients. You may even want to specialize in a niche, like weddings or family reunions. Form a strategic partnership with a web designer who creates sites for Freelancers and make money taking the all-important website photo.
Are you a good teacher? What is your area of expertise—golf, tennis, algebra or languages? Open an account at Craig’s List, to advertise your services. Those who teach an academic subject should also contact local parent’s groups, neighborhood blogs and local schools. My brother’s wife has taught piano for several years and she’s quite busy. She is a full-time wife and mother of four.
Thanks for reading,