15 Side Income Ideas you can start this weekend

Most folks these days seem to need a second income stream, if not to pay the rent then to save for that new car or overseas holiday. If you’re smart, this second source of funds will be derived from ‘passive income’— cash flow generated on a regular basis, requiring little or no effort by the recipient to maintain it. Here are a few ideas on how to start generating that ‘side income’—without much (if any) capital outlay, and with or without (too much) skill.

  1. Domestic services:
    • This could be anything from catering for dinner parties (what fun to be a personal chef in someone else’s kitchen!) and baking (there’s a market for birthday cakes, novelty cupcakes and gluten-free specialties); to clothing alterations (put your fliers out at Weigh-Less meetings?) and carpentry (friend of mine specialized in customized picture frames—made some money).
  2. Part-time lecturing, online teaching/tutoring:
    • Colleges and training institutions are always looking for part-timers to supplement their full-time faculty, especially for ESL teaching and tutoring; there are lots of opportunities for online ESL tutoring in China these days.
  3. Blogging, ghost-writing, self-published eBooks, proofreading:
    • The list of writing-related work is endless. Check out any freelancing website.  
  4. Bookkeeping and related activities in accounting and tax:
    • Filing tax returns has never been anyone’s favourite activity—they’d much rather pay someone else to do it.
  5. Caregiving and childcare:
    • Give vent to your mothering instincts—and it pays well.
  6. Assistant teaching:
    • All pre-and primary schools could use a helping hand in the classroom for guided reading and play activities. While you’re there, offer to teach modern dance, hip-hop or ballet (for the kids), and Pilates or Yoga (for the Moms). If you always wanted to teach but didn’t have the qualifications or time, this is for you. Also, offer your services as a sports coach in the afternoons, and to umpire/referee games—you only need a minimum of sporting talent and a maximum of enthusiasm.
  7. IT support, maintenance and tutoring:
    • Especially for small businesses who can’t commit to a full-time IT support person.
  8. Resume and cover letter writing, thesis proofreading:
    • Students at all levels and in all subject areas need help with crafting their essays, projects, theses and dissertations—and then writing a convincing job application to sell their skills.
  9. Housesitting/pet-sitting—free accommodation!
    • Families going on holiday often prefer to leave their home with some lights on in the evening, and their pets in the care of a warm body instead of in the local kennels.
  10. Vending machines:
    • A popular source of passive income, vending machines require a minimal outlay and even less maintenance. From gumballs to bottled water, follow the model of others who continue to stock schools, workplaces and malls with a variety of products.
  11. Event/party planning:
    • Use your organizational skills to put together the caterers, the florist, the photographer/videographer, the DJ, and—of course—the venue to create an unforgettable event.
  12. Freelancing:
    • Whatever your skill set, there will be someone out there willing to pay for your experience and time. Register—for free—on a site like Upwork for literally thousands of opportunities to work for yourself.
  13. Household maintenance:
    • If you’re a competent handyman with a bit of plumbing and electrical experience, there’s loads of work for you if you price your services right. Throw in a pool cleaning service, and you’ve got a substantial part-time business.
  14. Mini-mover, garden service:
    • If you own a small pickup truck or utility vehicle, use it on the weekends for mini-removals and collection of garden refuse. Hire a couple of helping hands to do the heavy lifting.
  15. Tour guide, guided hikes, history tours, travel agent:
    • If you know and love your local environment—urban or rural—enjoy meeting people and are reasonably mobile, put together a well-researched tour of your area. Create a theme—people and places of interest—and register with your local tourist association as a tour guide and travel agent.


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