Have you been thinking about going back to work but can't balance a full-time role with family life? Perhaps you work part-time and want to supplement your salary? There are lots of ways you can generate extra income - and best of all, you can start the business from home, and, in some cases, even work from home.
Have you been thinking about going back to work but can’t balance a full-time role with family life? Perhaps you work part-time and want to supplement your salary? There are lots of ways you can generate extra income – and best of all, you can start the business from home, and, in some cases, even work from home. Even spare rooms and garages might make some extra money for you.
Have a look at our feature for ideas – everything from tutoring and tailoring to setting up a cake business or selling crafts on Etsy!
Do you love baking? You could start your own cake-making business if you fancy turning a hobby into a business. It can start small – you can make birthday cakes to order for friends and family or sell your cakes at local markets and fairs. You can even approach local cafes or restaurants to see if they would take any orders from you.
If you have a few spare evenings and know any parents that are desperate to escape the house, this is an easy way to make a few extra pounds. It’s a good idea to find out about the DBS or Disclosure and Barring Service (previously known as a CRB check) from gov.uk especially if you want to advertise your services and properly set up a business.
Childminders should be registered with Ofsted in England, CSSIW in Wales and The Care Commission in Scotland. There’s a lot of useful information about what you need to do on childcare.co.uk.
If you love hosting dinner parties and know about the latest food trends, you might want to consider starting your own catering business. You’ll have to contact your local authority to register your business, organise waste and recycling collection and apply for an environmental health licence.
Visit the Food Standards Agency to find out what you need to do before starting up your foodie empire.
You’ve probably heard of Avon, one of the world’s best known cosmetic companies. Avon representatives showcase the products in people’s homes so it’s a good one to look into if you have friends and family who live locally who can spread the word too. The start-up cost is very low, so it’s handy if you’re looking for a relatively simple way to make extra income. You can apply to be a seller on the Avon website
It may not sound like the most exciting or glamorous job but if you have any previous experience in data entry, it’s certainly a job you can do from home during your spare time. Update your CV and join a freelance website such as Trovit to find a suitable business. You can also browse through e4s.co.uk which is aimed at students but may have jobs which suit you.
Beware of scams promising that you’ll earn thousands for working a few minutes a day. Do your research and make sure it’s a reputable company before you sign up. Do not pay any fees to register for work – this should ring scam alarm bells straightaway.
Have you ever fancied making bouquets for weddings or events? This could be the perfect start-up business for you if you’re creative, patient and willing to get up early to get the freshest flowers!
You’ll need training, or at the very least some experience as a florist. Offer to volunteer part-time at a local business or take a floristry course at your local college. You can even start by volunteering for a local church to get some practice in. The website Hot Courses is a good place to start to see what courses are on offer nearby.
If you’ve got a passion and talent for art and design, making your own greeting cards is a great way to get some extra income. The list of occasions is endless from birthday, anniversary and get well soon cards to cards celebrating a new home, exam results or even welcome back from holiday. Just exercise your creative flair to make some extra money.
As well as showing friends and family, you can sell them at local markets and fairs or set up an online shop. One of the best known websites representing sellers is Phoenix Trading.
If you’re green-fingered and can handle the British weather, this is another job which you can set up from home. You’ll need some training or experience if other people are going to pay you for their services so it’s great if you can use your garden as a portfolio of what you can do. Some people might just want you to sort out flowerbeds and get things looking pretty without having to do it themselves so you don’t need full-on landscape gardening skills.
You could advertise your skills in the local newspaper and shops – start small and see your business grow. Use the website Hot Courses to find out about gardening courses in your area too.
Are you handy with a screwdriver or a paint brush? It’s worth advertising your skills in the local newspaper for odd jobs or DIY – you’ll be surprised how many people are prepared to pay for extra help for simple jobs such as putting up shelves and paintings to assembling flatpack furniture or painting skirting boards.
You can even pay to advertise your services on websites such as ratedpeople.com where you pitch your rate for advertised jobs. If you’re picked by someone to carry out the work, they’ll also review you so the more positive reviews you get, the more work may come your way. There’s currently a one-month free trial then it’s £15 per month (or £120 for 12 months which saves £60).
Cleaning may not be the most glamorous of jobs, but if you’re good, efficient and reliable, it can provide a steady and reliable income. Join an agency such as reed.co.uk or take a look at mollymaid.co.uk which provides cleaning jobs during the week (no evenings or weekends) and paid holiday too.
You can also look in local newspapers or on websites such as Gumtree for advertised cleaning jobs or ask directly at local businesses such as offices, guesthouses or restaurants.
Lots of people use their creative talents to earn a little extra income. If you’ve dabbled with the idea of making necklaces and earrings, it’s not a bad way to earn a little extra cash. You can find out about courses in your area by using Hot Courses which offer jewellery design and jewellery making courses.
When you’ve got a good selection of pieces, you can host jewellery parties – invite friends and friends of friends to your house, provide a few drinks and nibbles and let them browse (and hopefully buy) some of your creations. Make sure you know about income tax too by checking hmrc.gov.uk.
If you’ve ever tried to get a favourite item of clothing repaired, you’ll know how tricky or expensive it can be – it’s usually cheaper to just buy a replacement item. So if you’re a dab hand on the sewing machine, you could earn a nice little side income by doing alterations and minor repairs. It’s a case of word-of-mouth so spread the news a the school gate that you’re setting up and build up your business slowly.
There are courses you can do too if you want a refresher – have a look at creativeskillset.org which list courses such as Basic Sewing and Garment Construction, Home Sewing and How To Use Your Sewing Machine.
If you have any retail experience and love to shop, this can be a great way to boost your income. It helps if you live in or near a town with great shops, be it clothes, gifts, antiques or locally made foods as you can set up a freelance business where you take visitors around on a locally led personal shopping trip.
Get familiar with what shops are there, talk to local retailers about being kept up-to-date with what’s happening in their stores and any sales or special events, and even drop the local tourist board a line to say you’re setting up a niche tour. Whether you’re new or experienced, you may decide to offer your services to friends and friends of friends for little or no cost and let word-of-mouth work. It’s also worth getting business cards and a website sorted.
If you love animals, this can be a nifty way to boost your income. You don’t need formal training but experience will be key as you’ll need the confidence and knowledge to handle different breeds. It is worth considering the City & Guilds Level 2 Certificate for Dog Grooming Assistants course too.
You will need space such as a spare room or a garage where you can set up the cleaning area with dryers and other kit so there will be some upfront costs. With pet sitting, you can either have pets at your home or go to other people’s homes to look after them.
Don’t forget about the legal side such as Pet First Aid courses and Public Liability Insurance which protects you in case there is injury to third party properties due to your negligence. Make sure any insurance you take out is accredited with the Association of British Insurers.
Green-fingered growers might be able to make some extra cash by selling their surplus of organic home-grown vegetables. Friends, family and neighbours are a good place to start – there are lot of people who want to eat good-quality vegetables but don’t have the time or desire to grow them or the money to buy organic.
If you’re organised, have good WiFi internet at home and a reliable computer or laptop, becoming a virtual assistant could be a good money earner. There are lots of websites where you can register your skills such as peopleperhour.com.
If you’ve got experience as a personal assistant, secretary or similar job, you could join Time etc and assist with anything from booking flights and accommodation to sorting out expenses and receipts.
If you’re a people person who likes to organise events, becoming a wedding planner is something you can set up from home. You don’t need any formal qualifications but any experience in event organising, hospitality or catering are a good start. A calm personality will help too – remember, you’re dealing with brides! (And grooms, of course).
A smart website advertising your services will help and you should get to know local spots, from churches and other licenced premises to reception venues, florists and caterers. If you’re new to the industry, it’s worth offering your services to friends or family first to build up your experience as it’s unlikely you’d get a paid job without a portfolio.
Baking is big business in the UK with popular TV shows like The Great British Bake Off getting the nation baking. If you love baking, you could share your favourite recipes, review local bakeries and cafes and even sell baking equipment once you get going.
The more you know your subject and the more passionate you are about it, the more readers will come to your website or blog. Using the website Pinterest can work too, where you post images to favourite products and ingredients and direct back to your website.
Whatever it is you want to sell, whether it’s jewellery and trinkets you’ve picked up on holiday or crafts that you’ve made, selling them via eBay is one of the easiest ways to do it. Everything is set up for you, from payment methods to the website, so all you have to do is post your items and check regularly for enquiries and confirmed purchases so you can send out items on time.
For crafts, the website Etsy is hard to beat. You can sell handmade goods, craft supplies and vintage items (20 years or older) on there which covers clothes, food, toys, art and photography. You can also sell recycled and upcycled goods too.
There’s more information on what you can sell on their website where you create a personal ‘storefront’ and list your goods. Like eBay, Etsy will take a percentage of sales.
If you’ve got good writing skills and can write in different styles, this can be a good way to earn a side income. Everyone needs things written, whether it’s a kitchen company’s leaflets and brochures or an entire website. If you’ve got experience, contact marketing and advertising agencies with your portfolio.
It can be hard to get freelance copywriting work without experience so if you’re new to the business, it is probably worth approaching local companies directly to see if they need any copy written. It can also pay off if you take the initiative and spot things which could be better written then offer your services (tactfully!).
If, like many people, you’ve got lots of book lying around unread or that you’ll never re-read, it’s worth decluttering and making a little extra on the side at the same time. There are lots of different ways you can sell them, either at a car boot sale or on websites such as amazon.co.uk, webuybooks.co.uk and abebooks.co.uk.
If you’ve had any memorable life experiences which would make good reading, there are lots of newspapers and magazines who will pay for these stories. It can be to do with health, trauma, a life-changing experience or work – as long as it’s interesting, there’s probably a market for it.
Tabloid newspapers such as The Sun and The Mirror are always looking for juicy stories while women’s magazines are another lucrative market – have a look at Take A Break, Real People Mag and That’s Life for starters.
If you’ve got an eye for photography, there are a lot of websites where you can list your photographs and sell them for a fee. One of the newest is Picfair where you upload your photos and set your own fee. You get the full amount as well. Other websites to look at include Shutterstock and Photobox.
It sounds like a dream come true to be paid for shopping but companies often want someone to pose as a customer as they check the customer service standards in a shop or other organisation. It’s not all fun and games – you will be expected to provide good-quality feedback if you want to get more work from the same company – but it’s a great way to make extra income on the side.
A lot of people have skills they’ve forgotten they have, so if you used to be the A-grade student in the art room, it might be time to pick up your watercolours and have another go.
If you’ve created pieces that you’re happy with, you can display it at local craft fairs, especially around Christmas time, or contact websites such as artgallery.co.uk, artstreet.co.uk, artfinder.com and even eBay. Marketing yourself is the hardest part but use Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to get your work noticed too.
Becoming a telephone interviewer can be a handy way to earn some extra money as you can do it completely from home and set your own times. You don’t usually need formal qualifications but a clear speaking voice, reliability and good people skills are handy. You can look for jobs on websites such as indeed.co.uk and reed.co.uk.
If you’ve got a degree or higher education qualification in any subject, private tutoring can be quite lucrative, for both primary and secondary school pupils. Maths, science, English and languages are probably the most sought-after but other subjects will have their needs too. Check the BBC Skillswise website to check what qualifications you need.
This is another good way to make extra money from inside your own house – it’s particularly handy if you used to be a music teacher or are proficient at any instrument or singing. Even though you don’t need qualifications to teach privately, most parents would look for a teacher who does so it’s worth looking at the National Careers Service website to find out what you need.
Otherwise, word-of-mouth is the best way to go about it, with friends, family and school parents who already know your skills and feel confident sending their kids to you.
Speaking or being able to read and write another language is a massive asset today so whatever you know, from French and Spanish to Hindi and Mandarin, there is bound to be someone who needs these skills. A fantastic resource is the Institute of Translation & Interpreting website.
Translation will be easier to do from home as it is written and you would usually translate from the foreign language into your mother tongue language. You could be translating anything from children’s books to letters. If you don’t have a degree, look into the Diploma in Translation which is run by the Chartered Institute of Linguists.
If you love beauty treatments and products, this is a tempting way to start a business. It needs commitment though, and qualifications – a minimum NVQ level 3 is required in whichever speciality, be it massage or therapy.
A must-read resource is on the Start-Ups website which outlines each stage of the process. Having a simple website which outlines what you do, how much you charge and where you’re based is a great way to promote yourself as is word-of-mouth once you’re up and running.
Holistic therapy covers a whole range of treatments from aromatherapy and homeopathy to reflexology and massage. More and more people are looking for alternative ways to manage pain and other ailments, from back pain to skin conditions, so if it’s something you’re interested, it can be worth training as it is well suited to working from home.
For credibility, qualifications and courses are essential – there is a lot of information on the Federation of Holistic Therapists website with advice on courses and qualifications plus information about local support groups and events.
If you like writing, are interested in a certain subject be it parenting, children’s health, vintage fashion or food fads, there is money to be made in blogging if you have interesting things to say and can keep your readers engaged. It costs virtually nothing to start up a blog – you can create one on numerous sites.
One of the simplest is WordPress.com but also look at Weebly and WordPress.org – this is one of the best ones but if you’re not tech-savvy you may need to get someone to help you. There are hundreds of tutorials on the internet too to help you get started including ones on the blogging sites themselves.
When you get a solid readership, you can start selling space on your blog to advertisers and when people click through on those links, a certain percentage comes your way.
It might sound a little dry, but every business needs someone to manage their books and accounts so if you’re good with numbers and good on detail, this could be a flexible way to earn income. You may not need formal qualifications but experience is useful if not essential. Otherwise you can do courses with the International Association of Bookkeepers or Institute of Certified Bookkeepers to stand you in good stead.
Alternatively, if you’re proficient on Excel or other spreadsheet software, you can approach companies directly, especially if you have friends or family who require these services, and offer to do their accounts that way.
If this was what you used to do, it lends itself perfectly to working from home especially if you already have the programmes required such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Dreamweaver and InDesign to name a few. If you’re new to the industry, play around with alternatives which don’t cost as much as Gimp and Pixlr.
You can do courses in graphic design too – have a look at Hot Courses for ideas. Experiment with ideas and create a portfolio of work which you can show to prospective employers.
Hairdressing can be a great way to work from home. If you’re not already trained, there are lots of courses you can do such as City & Guilds/NVQ Level 2 – 4 qualifications which are offered at hundreds of local colleges.
Before setting up at home, you’ll need the right space in order to have clients over, such as access to a sink and the right type of chair and dresser for the client. You might also decide to go to other people’s homes instead which can be easier if you don’t have the space at home. A comprehensive resource is the startups.co.uk website.
Starting up as a personal trainer can be very rewarding for anyone who’s into fitness and health. You could be helping mums get fit while the kids are at school or helping someone lose weight post-pregnancy.
A good place to start is the National Register of Personal Trainers which offers advice on qualifications. You can do part-time courses from home although there will be some practical assessments to attend over a designated weekend and it’s usually cheaper than a full-time or residential course. Once you’re set up, you can either offer personal training at home if you have the space and equipment or hire a space at a local gym.
Feeling creative? If you’re inspired by the likes of JK Rowling, you’ll know that a good book can come from anyone but you’ll need to have a great idea to stand out and the determination to write regularly. If you like the idea but don’t think of yourself as a writer, see which courses your local college offers or take a look on Hot Courses.
Courses are a good way to build up your writing confidence and get feedback from tutors and other students. There’s also some excellent advice on the Penguin website about how to market and target your work when you reach that stage.
A great little earner if you’re a dog-lover and like getting out of the house. The better you are at it, the more dogs you can walk at any one time which means you can earn more too. Make sure you have the right insurance too – public liability insurance protects you in case anything happens to the dogs or anyone else while you’re out walking them.
A useful resource is National Association of Pet Sitters & Dog Walkers which has lots of guidance on how to run your business legally and safely so it’s really worth looking at. You can also list your services on there and membership provides various extras too.
This is one of the simpler ways to earn extra cash as all you need is a good iron, an ironing board and a smoke-free house. Simple doesn’t mean easy though – it’s not for everyone but if you don’t mind ironing additional clothes to your own, it can work out well. How you charge is up to you but many people charge per item so it’s easy to price up.
Think about things such as whether you want to wash the clothes as well, writing inventories so both you and the customer knows what’s been handed over and whether you offer collection or want them to pick up their clothes – collection and delivery are two ways to set yourself apart if you have the time.
Tell friends and family to spread the word and get some business cards printed – Vistaprint offer free business cards. You’ll also need insurance in case something happens to the clothes – make sure your insurance is accredited with the Association of British Insurers.
‘The most fun you can have in your own living room’ is how their website describes it. If you’re open-minded and up for selling the latest lingerie, sex toys and anything else, it’s a fun way to make some extra cash.
If you host or organise one party a week with sales of £1,000, you could make an extra £250 a month as you earn commission on what you sell. There’s more information at annsummers.com.
If you’ve got a spare room and a family life situation which allows you to do this, hosting foreign students can be a good way to bring in some extra money – especially handy if you or anyone in the family is learning their language. You need to be accepting of someone living in the house who isn’t family and decide which meals you will provide and it can be a great experience.