13 Part-Time Biz Ideas

Who says you can't make money doing what you love? Here are 13 creative startup ideas for your part-time biz.

Editor's note: Excerpted from Keep Your Paycheck,Live Your Passion. Copyright (c) 2005. All rights reserved. Usedby permission of Adams Media.

If you lie awake at night racking your brain for a fall-backplan or second-income generator, find a movement, trend orsomething that works in a big way, and then drum up a way to tweakit for a specialized audience. The key to turning a unique idea,skill or talent into a steady side gig is to pay attention inlife--ideas are all around you.

For example, more women are looking for ways to get out of thehouse. Hosting book club, wine-tasting, jewelry or lingerie partiesare just a few fun activities with moneymaking potential.

Or how about teaching a new, high-tech, or specific skill?Almost everyone has a piece of knowledge that they can sell tosomeone else. Community continuing education centers are greatoutlets for you to market your expertise.

Here are some more ideas for where to look as you try to findthe niche that suits you best:

Personal services. Can you save someone else time?Running errands for seniors, preparing someone's tax returns orwalking your neighbors' dogs are examples of valuable servicesto offer.

Gardening and landscaping. Consider the growing gardentrade. Homeowners who lack the time or desire to plant and prunestill recognize the importance of curb appeal today. Landscapedesign, maintenance and retail gardening businesses are hot now. Ifyou enjoy working in nice weather around nature, the field ofhorticulture covers a wide range of professional specialties. Youcan be an arborist, look after commercial greenhouses, and care forgolf courses or large private estates. With a formal education,you'll learn about jet stream patterns and their effect onwhich plants grow best in certain regions.

Outdoor recreation work. For some folks, there's noseparation between work and play. Such types are reluctant to puncha clock or limit themselves to an indoor office cubicle to earntheir living. If you're a wilderness buff, perhaps you'reready to strike out on your own and take Mother Nature on as abusiness partner. Business ideas include kayaking/white-waterrafting outfitter; guided mountain biking, photo trekking,backpacking, or rock climbing tour operator; or opportunitieswithin the state park system.

Pet services. Could your business be going to the dogs?Upscale pet-related services and merchandise are bringing home thebacon--to the tune of $30 billion a year in the United Statestoday, according to a recent research study from Unity Marketing.Pet foods, doggie daycare, shampoos and even "petpampering" spas and hotels are just a few of the products andservices that make up the industry. If you have a knack for doghandling, dog obedience is another hot extra-income generator.

Workplace design. You could be a creator of the workplaceof the future. As industries evolve, tomorrow's offices willentice us through hip, ergonomically correct furnishings, the useof color, and innovative lighting. The need for experts who canimplement ergonomically correct conditions is rising. Areas ofspecialization include industrial workplaces, occupational safety,furniture design, computer hardware, human-computer interaction,product liability, consumer products and virtual environments.

Feng shui consulting. Interest in feng shui has risen inrecent years as more people seek greater levels of satisfaction andproductivity in their careers, businesses and lifestyles. Thisancient art promotes spiritual and material well being by devisingthe best way to lay out your house or office. Certified experts arehired to do "readings" for both residential andcommercial space. Consultants can charge between $235 and $1,000for a two-hour consultation, depending on the size of a property.Some businesses will pay upwards of $25,000 for large-scaleprojects. Field certification costs upwards of $3,500 and includesclass time, mentoring and field training.

Alternative health services. As our health-care systembecomes more prevention-oriented, Americans are increasingly moreaccepting of alternative, holistic health, and wellness practices.Healing arts such as massage therapy, reflexology, acupuncture andyoga are in demand by private and corporate clientele. Food itemsor eateries offering organic edibles free of processed ingredients,preservatives and sugars are sought after by thehealth-conscious.

Grooming services. Thanks to the popularity of TV shoessuch as Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, men are becomingmore upfront about wanting to look and feel good about themselves.For these so-called metrosexuals, a new wave of relaxation havensspecially designated for men are cropping up. Today's hottestservices include facial bronzing, stone massage, organic facials,reflexology and seaweed wraps.

Spiritual work. Spiritually minded people make humanitytheir life's work. Today, there are plenty of creative jobpaths you can pursue if you feel inspiring others is your lifemission. For example, religious craftspeople and artists (think ofall the Judaic and Catholic supply shops, candleholders, jewelrycharms, trinket boxes, decorative nativity art and collectiblesthere are); church camp/counselor/director; religious writers andauthors (even for religious greeting cards); and spiritual retreatleaders. These last folks lead trips to destinations withbiblical/historical significance.

Senior-focused services. Don't forget the lucrativeaging baby boomers. The fifty-plus population is an intelligent,active group. They need products, services and informationproviders to meet their entertainment, education and lifestyleneeds. Today, there are senior-focused book authors; websitedevelopers; travel, insurance and real-estate companies; andcomputer-training firms reaping profits from the older Americansthey serve.

Business writing and services. If your skill is puttingit in writing, hire yourself out as a business plan writer. Toomany businesses lose out on new contracts, funding or clientsbecause they don't know how to communicate their message onpaper. Businesses today have a need for marketing, strategy,lobbying and proposal writing services. Also, the demand forfreelance writers with specialties in grant writing, bio met, IT,economic development and general business is high. Project workincludes requests for proposals (RFPs), corporate training guides,computer documentation, white papers, government licensingapplications, legislative memos and executive bios. Fees typicallystart at $100 per hour, or between $30,000 and $60,000 a year.

Home design and services. These days, home is where theart is. Thanks to baby boomers with discretionary income and anationwide "cocooning" trend, interior decorating anddesign services are in demand. From guesthouses to second homes,vacation retreats to master bathrooms, those cashing in on thethriving home-fixings craze include architects, interior designers,landscape architects and pool builders. Other jobs include projectmanagement professionals for furniture companies or corporatefacilities, and designers of hotels, healthcare institutions,retirement communities and nursing homes.

Culinary services. By the same token, staying in is thenew going out and people are entertaining in their homes more thanever. Dinner parties have made a big comeback. If you have culinaryskills, you're in demand. Aside from catering, you may decideto give one-on-one cooking lessons, help prepare menus or conductdemonstrations in your own home. For the many people trying to eatwell, both for health and epicurean reasons, you can hire yourselfout as a personal chef or nutritionist.

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