Side hustles are a great way to bring in a little extra money and give yourself some added security.
But for most part-time business ideas, success doesn’t happen overnight. It can take a lot of planning, preparation, and networking to get it off the ground, and many people will give up before they see any real income.
We’ve outlined the best part-time business ideas that are worth the time and effort:
How to find a part-time business idea
The best part-time business ideas are flexible and allow you to fit in a few hours working from home per day to secure a bit of extra income. They shouldn’t require lots of preparation and admin that takes over.
To start a business from home, it’s a good idea to consider what skills, hobbies, or interests you have and how you could turn these into a freelance business. Ideally, your part-time business needs to be something you’re passionate about so that you’re motivated to put the hours into it while you’re working full time as well.
And, if you’re hoping that your side hustle will take off and eventually become a full-time career, consider how scalable your part-time business idea is. For example, if you’re making items by hand to sell, then there are only so many you can produce on your own. But if you start out as an online tutor and develop your teaching into an online course, you can have hundreds of students taking the lessons at a time.
The best part-time business ideas
Sharing your expertise with others through tutoring is one of the best part-time business ideas in the UK that’s flexible and can easily fit around your full-time job. You don’t necessarily need a teaching qualification, although some sort of training might help you to get started. Having a degree in a certain subject will indicate that you have the knowledge to teach others though.
To get started as a tutor, decide what topics you want to tutor, and what area; whether it’s GCSE, A-Level, or even teaching English as a second language. There’s always a demand for tutors that can teach key subjects like maths, sciences, or literature. It’s a good idea to pick one or two subjects or qualifications so that you can specialise and really get to know the requirements of that curriculum.
Next, decide whether you’re going to tutor online or in-person — online can be more flexible but you usually charge less. Private tutors can usually charge between £30-£40 per hour, but that can increase as you get more experience and can demonstrate your success.
Put together your CV with an overview of your skills and experiences that you can then use to advertise your tutoring service. The best places to start are local Facebook groups, noticeboards in your area, putting flyers through doors, sites like Gumtree, or a freelancer site such as Fiverr.
Photography is another flexible part-time business idea that offers a lot of potential to grow into a steady income. If you’ve got a camera and an interest in photography then there’s a lot of potential for a profitable side hustle. There are lots of different types of photographers, but events and weddings are often amongst the highest-paid and most in-demand.
You’ll need to be prepared to practice and learn — not just how to take a good photograph, but also how to edit your images using photo editing software.
You can start by putting together an extensive portfolio. Offer to take pictures at events for friends and family, or stage events so you can practice getting the right shots and angles. Then set yourself up with a website where you can showcase your work.
Start a blog
While there are millions of blogs already out there, that doesn’t mean that it’s not still a great part-time business idea. There’s still potential to make money from blogging and establish a second source of income — if you’re prepared to be in it for the long haul.
To start a successful blogging business you do need a certain level of writing skills (although apps like Grammarly can help a lot with spelling and grammar) and the determination to keep persisting with it, because it’s not going to be a big money-maker overnight. But most importantly you need something interesting, engaging, and unique to write about — you need to find your niche.
Focus on something you are passionate about or you have a lot of expertise in, and then find an angle that allows you to provide something different from other similar blogs.
Once you’ve decided on the focus of your blog, the next step is to get your blogging website up and running. If you don’t have the technical skills to build a website from scratch, don’t worry. Use a platform like WordPress with premade templates that you can personalise; as your blog grows you can always redesign and update it.
With your site ready to go, you need to research the audience you want to reach with your blog and scope out your competitors. This will give you a good idea of topics for your posts and the writing style that engages your audience. Once you start writing and publishing posts, share them across social media, and set up a mailing list so that you can start to build a community for your blog.
If you’re producing interesting content that connects with your audience, you’ll be able to slowly grow your audience. And then, as traffic to your blog starts to increase, you’ll be able to monetise it through sponsored posts, affiliate links, guest posts, and advertising.
If you’re a confident writer with some good experience but you don’t want to start your own blog, then freelance copywriting is one of the best part-time, self-employed job ideas.
There’s a high demand for writers that can write high-quality copy quickly. Businesses and organisations are always looking for all sorts of written content — from website copy, articles, and whitepapers, to blog posts, emails, and social media posts.
To start with, it’s a good idea to have a portfolio of your published writing to demonstrate what you can do. If you don’t have any published work then put together some samples of writing, and try to find websites and blogs that you can contribute to.
You can find opportunities as a copywriter on sites like Upwork, as well as setting up your own website, which can outline some writing samples and the copywriting services that you offer. In most cases, you’ll have to apply or pitch yourself for each freelance job, but as you gain more experience and establish a reputation you’ll be able to establish a base of clients.
Ecommerce as an industry is booming — so why not get in on the action and start a side hustle selling online?
If you’ve got some creative ideas for products you can make at home, then why not sell them on Etsy? Or if you’re well overdue a clear-out of your wardrobe, it’s a great way to kickstart a part time business idea selling vintage clothes on eBay and Depop.
If you don’t have any ideas for products to sell, that doesn’t mean you can’t. It’s still one of the best part time, self employed job ideas — there are plenty of opportunities to make money buying items in bulk and selling them individually for a profit. Start with one or two smaller products to test the waters, and when you start to make some money you can invest it into increasing your product range.
Alternatively, if you don’t have the space to store stock or the cash to spend on inventory, consider dropshipping. You can find a supplier who’ll send items directly to the customer once they’ve placed an order with your store, which takes a lot of the legwork away from you.
To get started selling online, pick your products and pick your sales channels. Marketplaces and third-party platforms like eBay and Amazon have a lot of traffic, but they also have a lot of limitations and it’s hard to establish your own brand.
On the other hand, launching your own ecommerce website can be a lot of hard work — from setting up to search optimising your copy — but the rewards are often a lot higher in the long term. Plus, it’s a lot easier to build a brand and establish a base of repeat customers with your own ecommerce site.
Once you’ve chosen a sales channel you need to organise your packaging and shipping, and then start marketing your business through your website, paid ads, social media and email.
Are you highly organised and able to turn your hand to a wide range of different tasks? Then a good part time business idea in the UK could be setting yourself up as a virtual assistant.
It’s one of the most flexible and lucrative part time self employed job ideas that can be done from anywhere. Once you’ve got some experience, you can earn a pretty good income as a virtual assistant. It also offers a lot of variety and provides you with lots of valuable and transferable skills.
You might be required to do anything such as arranging meetings, managing diaries, data entry, general admin, proofreading, or answering emails. Previous office admin experience is a good starting point for becoming a virtual assistant. But most importantly, you need to be flexible, organised, and confident using a computer, as well as able to use cloud platforms like Microsoft 365 or G Suite.
There are plenty of courses and articles available that will set you up with the basics of how to get started as a Virtual Assistant. But the best way to get your part time business ideas off the ground and get your first clients is through your existing network. Reach out to people you know, tell them what you’re doing, and ask them to refer you if they know of any opportunities. Networking and word of mouth referrals are key to establishing a virtual assistant side hustle.
These are just a few of the best part-time, self-employed business ideas. The key to finding the right side hustle for you is choosing something that matches your skills and interests so that you’re happy to invest your free time into developing and growing the business.