So how do you escape the 9 to 5?
Do you just wake up one day and quit? Rarely
It starts with a desire.
A desire to build and own. To be in control of your schedule, to feel intellectually stimulated, and to create something bigger than yourself in the process.
It starts with small steps.
A blog on something you’re passionate about, a casual sale to a friend, a client you land while thinking out loud.
Starting small nurtures you.
It builds the foundation to learn, fall back, bounce harder, and achieve bigger things. It teaches you that you need to start with a vision of what you want to give to the world.
And here I categorically present 14 small business ideas to start as part-time gigs to discover your inner entrepreneur and learn the tricks of the trade before you launch the next big thing!
Web or Mobile Apps
Below are some ideas in the Software as a Service (SaaS) category. You may learn coding languages such as Java or Kotlin for the below or even hire a developer. The use of no-code apps is also picking up the pace to create web/mobile apps.
The age of pandemic is a boon for E-learning platforms. With people using their spare time to pick up new skills, an intelligent idea would be to create an aggregator of E-learning platforms based on the courses they offer.
Similar to companies such as Trivago which provides the best price to book travel-related offerings, your E-learning aggregator could guide people wishing to upskill in discovering and comparing the quality/price/duration of different courses available online.
Selective news updates
It is well known that news-related apps perform well due to their overarching reach. However, some people especially millennials are giving up on news altogether because of its focus on covering only buzz-worthy, disturbing news.
How about a safe space for people who want to be aware but not want triggering information? Create an app where people can select the heads they wish to receive news for such as economy, finance, and not have to deal with news on crime, politics, etc.
Phone notifications manager
Just as E-mails became so abundant and fragmented that people stopped monitoring them actively, so is going to be the case with phone notifications. A phone notifications manager app provides people the option to how they wish to be abreast with their notifications.
Users could be given the option to receive a summary of the notifications they have received every 8 hours for example, with the choice to mark some notifications such as Outlook as important which appears on their phone screen in blazing red so they know where to pay attention. This could be a boon for busy working professionals, parents to be able to manage their time and attention effectively.
A lot of people feel awkward going on dates through online dating apps with the fear of being put in the spot and holding an entire conversation with a new person alone. The experience of meeting new people while with your friend group seems casual and more fun.
How about an app for a group of friends (or couple) looking for another group of friends to hang out with? Provide discounts at restaurants, group games in-app with the ability to talk individually to a person on the group messenger if something romantic were to brew.
They say the best products are those that you can sell to the government. Taxation is often a complex issue for the government and taxpayers alike, and disruption is sought for a long time.
Since the record of virtually every transaction an individual makes is with the government, why not create a web crawler dashboard calculating the tax that every individual has due to the government? The government then has to just release the numbers, receive an acknowledgment of accuracy from the taxpayers and ensure the tax is paid. The barrier to entry may be high, and the app may have to start small, but it is definitely an idea worth exploring.
A lot of people wish to have pets but know their schedule and lifestyle won’t allow them to permanently manage one. On the contrary, people who do have pets and wish to travel always face the constant struggle of finding a temporary home for their furry one.
How about an app that matches the two? Match people who want a pet but can’t take care of it over the weekdays and owners who need a place for their pets while they are away. It is important to have an on-call advisor to answer dog questions too/helper who takes care of the pet as well.
Automated business lingo
While many millennials and Gen Z are joining the workforce, they are finding it cumbersome to replace conversational language with formal etiquette.
A Natural Language Processing (NLP)/AI platform which allows users to type in conversational sentences such as ‘What’s up?” to “I hope this mail finds you well” could save a lot of time and effort for our young generation.
Job board for influencers
In the age of social media, the most successful people on the planet are influencers in some way or the other. They have a heavy workload in terms of managing inquiries, seeking collaborations, editing, and creating videos let alone keeping up with their personal brand.
Currently, these influencers have no formal channel to search for permanent employees whom they can hire and build their gigs into actual businesses. Creating a job board where influencers can discover the right talent is much needed in the age of social media.
Online or Offline Products
The next set of ideas require less technical prowess than the ones above and are more product-focused than software-oriented.
Help busy hustlers create online courses
Most individuals who have achieved something worthwhile are tending to focus on giving back and help others who could benefit from getting insights on their journey and what they learned in the process. (Tweet)
Oftentimes, these individuals are busy and may only have the bandwidth to only holding the strings of the big picture together, while someone else works on the technical, marketing, and other details. A great opportunity to partner with Teachable, Udemy, etc, and create such courses with busy people.
Pick a hobby that you spend a lot of time and energy on to stay up to date. Start writing what you find interesting and build a newsletter through Substack. Market the newsletter among interested folks at Reddit/Twitter/Quora/Facebook.
Slowly when you tie in readers, start charging for premium content. Get sponsors on board. You are no more paying or spending time just on your passion, you have created a business. The Ferrari Market Letter has 5k subscribers and does $2m+ in revenue with a team of 2.
Garage sale as a service
Everyone at some point has to get rid of stuff, which is when a garage sale comes in handy. But what about when people are moving houses, starting a new chapter of life, and already have too much on their plate?
Help then declutter, market, and bill for a garage sale. Take a percentage cut of the revenue for your services and build a business around it.
Do you think an influencer’s job is only to create videos and post photos with little to no monetization opportunities? That’s not true.
Aim to build an audience on a public platform, building a niche on 2–3 topics you’re passionate about. Then, deepen that relationship with E-mail updates. Build a podcast to add depth. Create a course to sell to your most engaged fans. Provide one-on-one coaching and consulting services for those who think they can truly value from a close relationship.
Manage Airbnb operations
The wealthy folks of our time are also often incredibly busy. They may have vacation homes, but not the inclination to give their time to marketing and maintaining the property.
Step in Airbnb managers. You not only list the property with catchy images on the platform but also manage inquiries and reservations.
Welcoming the guest, housekeeping, and refreshing amenities are also in your repertoire. You earn a commission on the revenue you generate for the property owner.
Master a new skill/tool
While hobbies and passions always have your back, mastering a new skill in an upcoming industry can also be fruitful in kickstarting a business.
With the rise of no-code application platforms, there are plenty of people who have mastered such individual platforms as Bubble and provide courses and individual consulting services to adopters, which the platform may not provide directly. Such a business of being a subject matter expert in a new skill could be very rewarding.
In my opinion, everyone should build something independently, no matter how small. My goal from this article is to help you find that one thing, that nudge that can get you kickstarted to achieve greater things. I wish this article contributes to your journey to create and own.