I was telling a good friend about the ideas behind starting this blog. As usual I was buzzing with excitement, sure that she would feel the same way. “It’s great!” I said, “I get to try out loads of little businesses while helping people to step out of their comfort zone and earn money for themselves”.

She wasn’t impressed.

But I persisted. “Why don’t we start a small business together? We could create a niche site, or try housesitting, or go abroad for plastic surgery, or recruit coaches for schools or start a hobby that will save us both time and money!”

Here was her reply:

“But all of them require time to organise. So house sitting – you tend to need to go through an agency unless you know someone and you need references and stuff – and it’s not a replacement for your own home because it’s only short term. I’m just being critical because a lot of stuff already exists online on how to do this stuff but it’s not really possible for the average person”

Obviously my first reaction was an eye roll. But then I thought about it and I can kind of see her point. This is one of the biggest misconceptions that people have about starting their own business. Not only do you not need to quit your job, spend a fortune and dive in full time – but for most people that would be a really silly thing to do. I have tried it and it is just not worth the risk and stress.

Start slowly in your spare time, reach profitability quickly and grow organically.

Here are 10 businesses that you can do from home, part time and don’t cost a fortune. These aren’t get rich quick schemes but are legitimate business that if you dedicate a regular decent amount of your spare time to, will become profitable.

Don’t be daunted if they sound complicated or difficult. Over the next few months I will explore each business and either do it myself, help a friend to do it or interview a bunch of people who have already done it. I will talk through all the steps in detail so be sure to subscribe to be the first to find out how we get on.

1- Become an Amazon Arber.

amazon arbing
Remember when everyone was making a fortune on eBay? Well Amazon is the new eBay and they have made it easier than ever to make a very good income. What is an Amazon Arber? Simply someone who buys stuff cheaply, either through wholesalers or from searching discount isles, and sells it for a higher profit on Amazon. Even better is that Amazon handles all of the storage, order fulfilment, returns and customer service.

Plan of Attack

  • Sign up to an Amazon Seller account and Fulfilment by Amazon
  • Download the app Profit Bandit
  • Go to your local large shopping centres or wholesale stores
  • Scan the bar-codes of their discounted clearance stock to see if you can sell it for more on Amazon after taking into account Amazon’s commission, shipping costs and product popularity
  • If it is profitable, buy a lot and post it off to Amazon
  • Earn money and repeat

2 – Sell products to your friends

Amazon selling

If you start a blog or a business you will need to build an audience from scratch. But most people already have an audience who listen and care about what they have to say. If you have 500+ friends on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest you can make money from them through affiliate links.

Plan of Attack:

  • Sign up to the Amazon Associates program
  • Post any good book, films, products you think your friends or acquaintances would be interested in. You will get 5-9% of everything they spend. You can do the same with iPhone apps
  • Spend time posting or participating in conversations to increase the number of people who see your posts and are interested in what you have to say
  • Proactively make friends. Either by meeting people in real life or by adding people as friend who you have links with.

3- Freelance on the web

elance arbing
Freelancing is a very easy way to start earning money from home. It doesn’t take much setup time and you can almost immediately start earning money. There are loads of skills that people are willing to pay money for. Some of the more typical ones would be: graphical design, translation, editing and programming.

Plan of Attack:

  • Choose a skill to specialise in
  • Sign up to ODesk and/or Elance
  • In order to create a scalable business set your account up as a ‘company’. Once you have built up a reputation you can hire other people to work for you
  • Bid on contracts. Compare your prices to other people in your working demographic. If you’re a software developer from England then don’t try and outbid someone from India. Instead focus on the advantages of paying more for you – (for instance native English speaking, easily recognisable qualifications, less cultural differences)

4- Start your own brand

OEM means you can put your own brand on it

Requires a large amount of work before you can expect to make money, but having said that it is also easier than most people think. I don’t mean just start a t-shirt brand – every man and his dog has done that. You can start a brand selling almost anything.

Plan of Attack:

  • Decide what you want to sell and get a bunch of samples from factories selling similar items. How do you find a factory? The easiest way is through Alibaba
  • Come up with a good brand
  • Design what the products will look like. You can outsource this to 99Designs. Work with the factory and get some prototypes made
  • Run the numbers to check that you will still make money after the logistic fees
  • Organise a freight forwarder for managing the shipment and a fulfilment centre for managing logistics
  • Start an online store with Shopify or Amazon
  • Market!

5- Start matched betting

free bet collage
Not really a business but it is an easy, quick way to make money and it can evolve into something very profitable. I started in matched betting and was earning enough to not need to get a job while still having plenty of time to work and fund other projects.

Plan of Attack:

  • Do a bunch of research, starting with this article
  • Do a bunch more
  • Start matched betting and earn some easy $

6- Start a niche site.

arbing niche

Takes a fair amount of work but is also a good opportunity to make strong passive income. Each site is different but you need to occupy a space people are interested in and that doesn’t have much competition, then you need find a way to monetise it.

Plan of attack:

  • Find a niche that you know something about. Such as exams you have recently done, any special qualifications you have, any hobby you have a lot of experience with
  • Start an educational site using Bluehost and Wordpress
  • Write a load of educational stuff
  • Monetise it either through selling an info product, using Google Adsense or something more creative
  • Market it by reaching out to people in the niche

7- Start a YouTube channel

makeup arbing
YouTube isn’t just the get rich quick lottery that most people think it is. Yes you have the small chance to make a fortune from uploading a cat video and it going viral. But you can also create a channel that adds value to people and build up a committed following through hard work and persistence that will bring in some income. The more you build it the more income you will make.

Plan of Attack:

  • Come up with a concept
  • Create videos people will watch either because they add value or are entertaining
  • Do lots of them
  • Monetise either through YouTube’s Partner Program or something more creative

8- Start a blog


Ever heard someone say something along the lines of: “the internet is littered with the graves of millions of blogs”? Well that’s certainly true but it is not a good reason to not start a blog. The reason there are so many failed blogs is because it is so easy to start blogging. It is free and you can be up and running in 15 minutes! Give yourself a decent timeframe to make it work, say six months of working each day on the blog – not just creating content but also on marketing and growing your following. Provided you can write and have something interesting to say then you will grow. Remember that even if you aren’t making money now, every viewer has a value that you will be able to monetise at some point.

There are a lot of profitable blogs out there. And the best are those. Check out Skint Dad, a very successful blog with articles such as win competitions.

Plan of Attack

  • Find something you’re passionate about but that also adds value to other people’s lives
  • Create a blog on Bluehost using WordPress and choose a template you like
  • Start writing
  • Market – a lot
    • Get all your friends to read it
    • Reach out to people in your niche
  • Don’t give up

9- Create hand-made unique products

arbing chopping board
If you have a skill such as carpentry, model building or painting then you could make money selling your home-made products. If you don’t have those skills then why not learn and improve yourself while making money?

Plan of Attack:

  • Check out what people are buying and selling on Etsy and choose a product to make that sells for a good price and isn’t too difficult or time consuming
  • Create an account on ETSY and post your finished products
  • Once you know which of your products sells well, consider outsourcing the creation process to scale up the business
  • Market, try using Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest to help build a following

10 – Become a local distributor for a product that is popular abroad.

arbing reesers
Despite the world getting smaller there are still lots of good products that you can only get in certain parts of the world. If you can bring these products to your local area then a lot of money can be made.

Plan of Attack:

  • Find a product that is being sold abroad that people want here. China is a good place to look at because you can buy products very cheaply or the USA is also good because our culture often follows theirs. (Stuck for ideas? Try googling: “products not available in UK” as a good place to start)
  • Contact the company behind the product and request to become an official retailer
  • Organise a freight forwarder for managing the shipment and a fulfilment centre for managing logistics
  • Run the numbers to check that you will still make money after the logistic fees
  • Start an online store – use Shopify or Amazon
  • Start marketing! A good place to start is any forums where people are moaning that they can’t get the product in your area