You work 9 to 5 during weekdays; and so does your spouse. Yet, both of your paychecks are not enough to cover all your financial obligations and needs. You need to pay your rent, utilities, credit cards, car loans, mortgage, kid’s school needs, groceries, and so on and so forth. There’s just too many expenses to pay!
If you are finding it hard to make ends meet, you may want to narrow that “gap” and augment your income by running a low-cost business from home during weekends and your spare time. The part-time weekend business will provide the needed additional cash flow for your household.
Moreover, it gives you the ability to see if you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur. If you’re lucky and the business takes off, you can even make it a full-time venture and quit the 9 to 5 grind.
There are hundreds of businesses that you can run from home that would require less than 20 hours per week. Dan Ramsey, in his book 101 Best Weekend Businesses offers 101 proven businesses that you can operate in your spare time without jeopardizing your full-time job.
The book is an excellent resource for those looking for ideas for businesses that can be started on a part-time basis. However, the book does not provide detailed information on each of the businesses that it covers, although it provides a starting point to six of the most common questions of any would-be entrepreneur:
- What will I be doing?
- What will I need to start?
- Who will my customers be?
- How much should I charge?
- How much will I make?
- How can I get started?
Below are 10 of the business ideas that Ramsey considered could easily be done on weekends and other spare time without a lot of start-up cash:
1. Personal Fitness Training Business
Pilates, yoga, Zumba, tae-bo are but a few of the ever-growing fitness craze. If you love working out and want to help others get fit, consider becoming a personal fitness trainer. A personal trainer is to help clients set and achieve fitness goals, including diet and overall lifestyle.
Trainers often price services by the length and number of sessions or by the goal. The usual hourly rate is from $35 to $75 per hour, although established trainers catering to celebrities get as much as ten times that rate.
Read the success story of “Alissa Harakal: How to Succeed in the Personal Fitness Training Business.”
Books on starting a personal fitness training business:
- How To Start Your Personal Training Business: Step by Step Business Plan and Forms. Get a Fitness and Personal Training Certification and Become a Certified Personal Trainer
- Start Your Own Personal Training Business 3/E (Startup Series) by Entrepreneur Press, Linsenman, Ciree (2012) Paperback
- How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Personal Training Business: With Companion CD-ROM
- Start, Operate, and Grow Your Personal Training Business: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started for Low Cost as a Personal Fitness Professional
2. Cake Decorating Business
A beautifully decorated cake is often the centerpiece of special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and other special events. It is the cake decorator’s task to transform the cake into a special centerpiece of these occasions. You must therefore have the skills and artistic flair to decorate cakes, as well as the tools and equipment to help you create and design the cake.
Anyone who celebrates an occasion is your potential customer. To get started, get in touch with such as wedding coordinators, bakeries and party organizers who may be able to include your cakes in their own services. Other potential customers include brides and grooms, parents, individuals, and businesses throwing parties.
Read the article “How to Market a Cake Decorating Business”
Books on starting a cake decorating business:
- Start a Cake Business: At Home, in a Commercial Kitchen, or in a Retail Cake Shop
- How To Start A Cake Decorating Business:: Techniques and Tips For Starting A Cake Decorating Home Business
- Start A Cake Business Today
- How to Start a Cake Business (Online Class)
3. Freelance Writing
As a freelance writer, you may write articles for magazines, advertising copy for brochures, technical manuals, and other literary products on weekends. If you are a new bride, you can write articles for wedding and women magazines about the process of preparing for a wedding. If your day job is a computer programmer, you can write articles on the programs that you are using.
Some writing projects will pay you by the hour – about $20 to $75 depending on your writing and marketing skills. Most, however, will pay you by the number of words (if articles, op-eds, short stories) or by a percentage of the selling price (if a book). There are a number of resources out there listing potential markets for various kinds of writing, be it poetry, screenplays, articles, books, or the web. Start with “Writers Market” published yearly to get a list of all publishers and literary agents, and their writing requirements.
Read the article “How to Earn Money from Writing”
Books on starting a freelance writing business:
- The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Commercial Freelancer in Six Months or Less
- Freelance Writing Bootcamp: Learn How You Can Make Money From Home Freelance Writing Online
- Writer for Hire: 101 Secrets to Freelance Success
- Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer 2nd (second) edition Text Only
4. Cooking Instructor
If you are an excellent cook and love to share your love for cooking to others, consider giving cooking lessons. You can set-up shop in your own kitchen, or offer classes in other location, giving lessons on general cooking techniques or a specialized cuisine such as Italian, vegetarian, desserts, etc. You must be very knowledgeable about your cuisine specialization, and creative in food presentations.
Ramsey puts a cooking instructor’s potential income from $30 to $75 per hour. However, most instructors charge by the class, with the “fee depending on the amount of time, the cost of the classroom and ingredients, and the size of the class.”
Books on starting a cooking business:
- Cooking Up a Business: Lessons from Food Lovers Who Turned Their Passion into a Career — and How You C an, Too
- How to Start a Home-Based Catering Business, 5th (Home-Based Business Series)
- Food Blogging For Dummies
- How to Start a Home-based Personal Chef Business (Home-Based Business Series) 2nd edition by Vivaldo, Denise (2011) Paperback
- How To Start a Home-based Food Truck Business (Home-Based Business Series)
5. Fund Raising Business
If you have excellent people skills and marketing talent, consider becoming a part-time fundraiser. You can work for charities and non-profit organizations, raising funds and donations for them. The key to succeeding in this business is being able to present yourself as trustworthy, making people feel that the money they give to charities will indeed reach those charities. As a means to regulate this industry, some states require a certification or license before you can begin your fundraising work.
You can be paid at an hourly rate of $20 to $35, but most fundraisers are paid a percentage of the funds they raise. The rates can be as low as 2% to as high as 20% of the total amount raised.
Books on starting a fundraising business:
- Relationship Fundraising: A Donor Based Approach to the Business of Raising Money
- Prospect Research for Fundraisers: The Essential Handbook
- Legal Answer Book for Fund-Raisers Set, Set Contains: First and Second Legal Answer Books for Fund-RaisersÂ
- The Essential Nonprofit Fundraising Handbook: Getting the Money You Need from Government Agencies, Businesses, Foundations, and Individuals
6. Music Business
If you can sing or play a musical instrument, you can jumpstart your musical career on weekends by either playing solo or with a group. Your gigs can include parties, nightclubs, bars, and watering holes, or even weddings.
To get started, monitor the classified ad section of your local newspaper for ads asking to book musicians or to replace members. Ramsey puts the potential earnings of a new musician to about $5,000 to $15,000 a year working part-time.
Books on starting a Music Business:
- All You Need to Know About the Music Business: Eighth Edition
- Six-Figure Musician – How to Sell More Music, Get More People to Your Shows, and Make More Money in the Music Business (Music Marketing [dot] com Presents) (Volume 1)
- This Business of Music, 10th Edition
- Music Business Handbook and Career Guide
7. Tutoring Service Business.
A tutor helps students understand their school lessons and gain additional knowledge about a subject. The main requirement is that you know more about the subject than your students.
To start in this business, you can volunteer to tutor others in your primary subjects. Once you’ve built your resources (books on the subject, etc.), ask for referrals from teachers and other students. You may also distribute brochures to the parents informing them about your services. Tutorial services often earn $25 to $50 an hour, although you can also package services (e.g. flat fee of $200 for on-call tutoring).
Books on starting a tutoring business:
- Start Your Own Tutoring and Test Prep Business: Your Step-By-Step Guide to Success (StartUp Series)
- TUTORING: Complete Home Business Guide: Tutor at home, Set your own Fees, Set your own schedule, Earn more tutoring online, tutor to international people
- How to Start a Business as a Private Tutor. Set Up a Tutoring Business from Home. Learn the Secrets of Success from Years of Experience in Tuition Fro (Skills Training Course)
8. Tour Guide.
If your area is a tourist spot, consider becoming a tour guide on weekends. You can focus on groups instead of individual travelers. Tour guides can earn from $25 to $70 per hour.
As a tour guide, you will organize an itinerary that will help these travelers see and learn about your area. You can create camping tours, historic tours, nature adventure, or even a spy tour depending on the tourist attractions in your area. Once you’ve decided your area of tour specialization, it will be much easier to reach your target customers.
Read the success story of Georgette Blau: Success in the Entertainment-Themed Tour Business
Books on starting a tour guiding business:
- Start & Run a Tour Guiding Business
- Start Your Own Travel Business and More 2/E (Startup Series) by Entrepreneur Press (1-Jan-2012) Paperback
- The Business of Travel Agency and Tour Operations Management
- How to Start a Tour Guiding Business
9. Personalized Children’s Books.
Parents and grandparents often want special gifts for their children. This business will fill that demand. You will create and market children’s books that include the child’s name and related information woven in the story.
Instead of creating the book and writing the storyline yourself, you can buy illustrated books pages that you can personalize and sell. The main equipment that you will need includes a computer and printer.
Read the startup story of Virginia Ritacco: Personalizing Kids’ Stories with StickieStory
Books on writing children’s books:
- The Business of Writing for Children: An Award-Winning Author’s Tips on Writing Children’s Books and Publishing Them, or How to Write, Publish, and Promote a Book for Kids
- The Encyclopedia of Writing and Illustrating Children’s Books: From creating characters to developing stories, a step-by-step guide to making magical picture books
- Writing Children’s Books For Dummies
- How to Write a Children’s Book and Get It Published
10. Antique Restoration Service.
Restoring antiques to their former glory is a lucrative business. You will find, restore and refinish furniture, automobiles, collectibles, and other products of the past. However, it requires a variety of skills and thorough knowledge of the antique pieces. Depending on your niche market, you may be highly skilled in woodworking, varnishing, painting, and other tools, techniques and knowledge. Starting part-time on this business can allow you to gain experience on working on various pieces, and improve your skills.
Your customers will depend on the type of pieces that you restore, your experience and local opportunities. Most likely, you will work with individual collectors, antique dealers, resellers, estates, galleries, museums, and others. Antique restorers typically charge between $35 to $75 or more per hour. Some restoration services are priced on the value-added, particularly if an antique piece priced at $100 is restored into one worth $1,000.
Read the article How to Start an Antique Dealership and Collectibles Business
Books on starting an antique business:
- Restoring Antique Furniture: A Complete Guide (Dover Woodworking)
- Antiques on the Cheap: A Savvy Dealer’s Tips: Buying, Restoring, Selling
- Digital Restoration Secrets: Restore Antiques, Arcade Games,& Pinball
- Antique Furniture Restoration Service Start Up Business Plan NEW!
- How to Market a Tutoring Business
- Starting an Online Tutoring Business from Home
- Starting a Tutoring Business
- How to Market a Cake Decorating Business
- Top 10 Ways to Earn Money at Home