Start A Side Business in the Lazy Days of Summer

June 25, 2009

The summer can be a great time to start a side business because life tends to be a little more laid back. People are going on vacation and taking time off to hang out with their kids so your day job may be a little more relaxed. Plus there’s nothing on TV to distract you at night : )

Many other personal finance bloggers have written about the benefits of starting a business such as My Two Dollars and Man Vs. Debt. Although starting a business isn’t easy it can be rewarding, here are some steps to get you started.

Turn your passion or hobby into a business

You’ve already read about this a hundred times from other bloggers, but the reason we keep saying it, is because we are living proof that you can earn extra money by starting a business that you are passionate about. The reason you choose a hobby or something you love to turn into a business is because you are more likely to stick with it when you aren’t making any money from it.

For instance, if you are good at math, but you hate the subject and you are not a patient person, then you shouldn’t start tutoring high school kids on Algebra and Calculus. Here is a quick list of some good examples for side businesses to start:

  1. Math or Science Tutoring
  2. Camping/hiking trip guide
  3. Landscaping
  4. IT Consultant
  5. Musical Instrument Instructor
  6. Photographer/Videographer
  7. Personal Trainer
  8. Mail Order Baked Goods Company
  9. Specialty Arts & Crafts business
  10. Professional Organizer (yes, some people enjoy organizing stuff!)

Focus On Getting Business Before You Set Up Your Business

If your business is a skill that you have, then focus on getting clients first. So many people focus on getting business cards, a website, setting up a business bank account, start an LLC, and they don’t even have any customers yet. The truth is, you don’t have a business until you have customers or clients. Start networking with people, tell your friends and family what you’re doing, and get some commitments from paying clients first. Worry about the details later.

Bootstrap Your Business

Since most service-based businesses can be started for less than $1,000 you probably don’t need to take out a loan to get started.  Drum up some paying customers and use that money to pay for any initial expenses you may have.

It’s trickier if your business involves a product that you make since you may need to buy the raw materials.  I think the best way to do it is to create the product on demand. Don’t go out and by hundreds of dollars in materials, make a bunch of widgets, and let them sit there and collect dust.

Instead make a sample or two, target your audience, invite them to your house for a demonstration or display show, and start taking orders on demand.

Network to Market Your Business

Have a presence on Twitter and Facebook and incorporate a blog into your business website.  Be sure to connect with other small business owners through local business organizations like the chamber of commerce or a Business Network International chapter. Let all of your friends and family know about your side business, strike up a conversation about it when appropriate. 

The most important part about starting a side business is to be patient. You won’t be rolling in extra cash right away. It takes a few months to get your name out there, and you’ll get rejected a lot. Be persistent and be patient.  Who knows, someday your side business could end up turning into your full-time business.

Erik Folgate is an associate writer for Money Smart Life. He also writes about personal finance, social media, and personal life issues on


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Erik Folgate is a husband and father living in Orlando who's been writing about money online for 6 years. Digging himself out of $20k of debt after college and his former experience in the insurance industry give him some useful insights into personal finance issues.

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4 Responses to Start A Side Business in the Lazy Days of Summer

  • Bill

    Your points about not having to take out a loan to get started AND having customers first is very important – plow ALL of your revenue back into your business (i.e., don’t take any of it out) to build it. Over the course of just a little time, you will have substantial capital with which to leverage advertising and other forms of promotion.


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