With more of us working fewer hours and with a resulting earnings gap to close, there’s arguably never been a better time to set up a business you can run in your spare time from home. Whether it’s to help make ends meet, or to follow your passion, or maybe even both, we’ve asked the experts to come up with 50 practical and cheap ways to make some extra cash.
Our list may not be exhaustive, nor may it put you on the path to riches and early retirement, but hopefully it will get you thinking. And if you have any better ideas, let us know by emailing .
1 Antiques/collectibles dealing Know your stuff when it comes to certain kinds of collectibles? If so this can be a great way to make money from a hobby. Trading sites such as eBay make it easier than ever to reach your target market, according to Trent Hamm, author of US money-saving blog thesimpledollar.com. “I had some success with this myself in the past, trading cards and video games,” he says.
2 Babysitting If you can spare a few evenings and know any parents desperate to get out, there are few simpler ways to make a few extra pounds.
3 Bed and breakfast Got a spare room? Live near somewhere of interest to tourists, or close to a student area? Note you’ll almost certainly need planning, mortgage lender and health and safety approvals first.
4 Biscuit/sweet making Homemade biscuits and confectionery can be a great seller, says Hamm. “Bake and package them well, and try reselling through a local gift shop. People in your social network may buy batches for special occasions.
5 Cake making/decorating If you enjoy baking and have an artistic touch, making and decorating cakes can be a really satisfying way of earning extra money. “One of my mother’s old friends does this and makes quite a bit on the side,” says Hamm.
6 Car boot sales This is a part-time occupation that increases earnings and broadens horizons as you make sales and get to travel, says Emma Jones, author of Working 5 to 9: How to Start a Successful Business in your Spare Time, and founder of the website enterprisenation.com. “Consider selling specialist items and building a reputation for being the go-to person; offering your knowledge and expertise with the product can increase the price you’re paid,” she suggests.
7 Car cleaning/valeting Have a meticulous eye for detail and love to get things spotless? This could be a perfect side business for you. “Many people are quite happy to pay well for this service,” points out Hamm.
8 Catering Formal qualifications are not strictly required for catering, which is more about producing and delivering good food. However, the organisational aspects may be easier after some instruction, such as a City & Guilds certificate (NVQ or other) in hospitality and catering.
9 Census distributor Every 10 years a census is held in England and Wales. The next one is in 2011, but you can register now to be considered for a range of related roles in your area, including collection and delivery. See censusjobs.co.uk.
10 Childcare There’s great potential to earn extra money from looking after kids, but you’ll need to adore children (not just your own), have boundless energy and patience and in many cases must satisfy Ofsted criteria.
Any adult who looks after another person’s child for more than two hours on any one day in a location other than the child’s home (so excluding most babysitters and nannies) needs to register with Ofsted – it’s not a particularly complicated process but does include medical, criminal and domestic safety checks. Nannies can look after the children of up to two sets of parents, in one of their home environments, without being Ofsted-registered.
Failing to meet the criteria can land you in court, so check here for the full list of Ofsted restrictions.
This is just 10 out of 50 researched ideas that was done in the United Kingdom, you can customize to your own local area and find what works best and any legal conditions that has to be fulfilled.