Like many people, you may have seen that you want or need to increase your income in the second half of life. Here are 115 businesses to start later in life to give you lots of ideas.
None of these business ideas need much capital to get started. Many require no capital at all, and many of these business ideas require less than $500 of capital.
You may have seen my related article How to Get More Income from Investments. All of those income ideas require significant investment capital, unlike the no to low capital business ideas here. You can click here to read that article if you’re interested in income from investments.
Starting a Business Later in Life Is Doable!
You’ll see an * indicating the business ideas my husband or I have implemented on our journey to completely replace his career income with diversified income streams over the past decade. I include this so you’ll know that, while some of these business ideas may sound complicated, if we can do it, you can do it, too.
We are not, by nature, tech savvy. You’ll see that many of the small business ideas below evolve around technology. The reality is that even small businesses that are not primarily online will benefit from having a website or a blog. Setting up a website has become much easier than it was when we began due to all of the easy tools available now to build an online business.
Also, much of the work of having a website can be outsourced more easily now. We found that once we saw what technology could do for us (and our income!), we began to embrace it rather than resist it.
Having said that (or, rather, typed that:), if you are determined to avoid having a website, a word of mouth local small business can still work.
Benefits of Small Businesses Later in Life
We began creating diversified investing and small business income streams in my late 40’s (and Larry’s 50’s) well ahead of retirement. This led us to an early retirement, and our work now revolves around managing income streams from online businesses and investing from our home offices.
We discovered some of the benefits of starting small businesses later in life are:
- Age with more confidence
- Increase talents and skills
- Remain marketable so returning to employment is an option
- Fund desired lifestyles
- Build wealth
- Retire more comfortably
The building wealth benefit doesn’t just come from having more income. It may come in the form of a capital gain later. (A capital gain occurs when you sell an asset.)
For example, we started our options trading education website with an intention of generating income from Larry’s teaching after decades of trading for a living. A couple of years ago, we realized that it has become an asset that we can sell.
Think of creating small businesses as both an income generator and a potential marketable asset. There are certain steps you can take, and certain types of businesses that are more marketable.
I put our 9 favorite ways to get both income and create a marketable asset in an eBook. Click here to get it while it’s free if you want it:)
Why Have Small Business Income Streams?
While having investment capital for significant dividend income is an excellent source of passive income, many retirees and near-retirees want to create income streams that aren’t tied to the next bear market or the amount of money they have saved.
Not only this, but having income sources outside of stocks and bonds allows you to not be dependent on stock dividend and bond interest income. If you must have this investment income to live, then you have to be invested in stocks and bonds, regardless of the risk, which increases based on economic cycles. (You can read my article Ways to Reduce Investment Risk by clicking here.)
Also, with longer life spans, many people are seeking retirement income opportunities that allow them to further their personal development.
Begin with What You Want
As you read, make a list of the income ideas that call out to you based on your own situation. Consider your skills, amount of business capital and lifestyle. Ask yourself what you want. Repeat: Ask yourself what you want.
The reality is that after years of conditioning, we make choices based on what we “need” to do. This is especially true when it comes to your finances because we make fear-based decisions instead of higher conscious decisions.
What you need to do is important, but when you marry what you want to do with what you need to do, you lay the foundation for success.
Diversified Income Streams
You may want to create more than one income stream related to your small business. Once established, many alternative income streams can be leveraged through outsourcing a lot of the work and management. This allows you to focus on another small business opportunity, usually related in some way.
This related but diversified strategy has allowed us to diversify among several different types of income streams from small businesses.
Income from investments tends to be almost completely passive income, while small business income allows you to create passive income and more active income. When you can combine passive income with active income, you can catapult your income by leveraging your time and efforts.
Click here to read my article Is Your Retirement Income Goal Impossible?
Types of Small Businesses
The list below is divided between income streams that are based online and income streams that are more local. Online businesses will require a little more capital, but not much. I hired a student to build my first website over eleven years ago.
And I built this website myself for several reasons, although I have delegated the building of our other websites. Again, if we can do it in our 50’s, you can do it.
Online Small Businesses for Later in Life
Online small businesses still offer an incredibly low cost way to reach a global market at almost no cost. Click here to read my article Is It Too Late to Start an Online Business?
Below are many different ways to start a small online business that are ideal for later in life.
Create an Information Product from Your Expertise*
This alternative income stream is one of my favorites due to its low cost to test and ability to serve a global market.
Almost everyone has an information product in them. Now it’s simple to create and sell information products online. Smartphones or PC’s record the videos. You can house your product on your website or one of the many education platforms. You can get paid from a multitude of options.
♦ Income Stream Tip – No one can legally duplicate your own program because it is based on your own experience.
Provide Writing Services*
If you like writing, you can outsource your writing services. I used to think that this skill competed with a global market. This meant the huge supply of global writers lowered the pay scale. While this may be a factor, living in the same country as the company hiring you can be a huge asset since there is naturally a good fit culturally. You can sell your writing services on Upwork or ProBlogger. When you specialize in the fields that require a deeper level of expertise, such as finance and technology, your income will be higher from this work.
You can even scale this business by hiring and managing other writers.
I was taught by high-level executive mentors in an entrepreneurial program that content doesn’t sell. Good (and increasingly rare) online content provides valuable information. Good information draws readers, and this draws advertising and sponsor revenue, along with a host of other residual income opportunities.
This makes good content high value. You can outsource your writing, or you can serve others directly with it enhancing your business.
♦ Income Stream Tip – Most business models can be scaled or leveraged in some way.
Become an Online Writer*
If you like to write, you can create your own blog around a topic of expertise. As explained more below, this income method works best now with niche topics which are so small that large companies are not trying to dominate them online.
Build a Publishing Website
Instead of doing all the writing yourself, you can publish other people’s content on your own website. This type of website is ideal for those who love networking, or already have a lot of connections in an industry. It naturally leverages your expertise and time. The opportunities are the same as most of the other online business models here and include information products, sponsors, ads and affiliate income. When you’ve succeeded with this model, you have an asset that you can sell.
♦ Income Streams Tip – If wealth building is your goal, tailor your income stream model to be an asset that you can sell.
Create A Side Business with Your Knowledge*
This alternative income stream is like the local side business, but it is online. Creating an online presence can be an excellent way to expand your local business.
An example of a side business would be a videographer that creates a blog about videography equipment.
Create A Consulting Business in Any Area You Know*
Again, this income stream is about consulting clients finding you online through social media and virtual networking. Your website or social media profile is the way you connect vs a business card at local networking events. Your potential market is millions of people vs the few in attendance at the local event.
♦ Income Streams Tip – Clarify and focus on selling the results you can help others achieve from working with you.
If you had told me ten years ago that we would be developing and selling our own software, I would have thought you were crazy. (Again, if we can do it, you can do it.) As a result of listening to our customers, we sell software depicting probability of trends in the financial markets. Again, if we can do this, so can you. After over three decades trading the financial securities markets, Larry developed his own technical trading software. I hired a coder to build it for us. Viola.
Create a Membership*
Memberships provide a great way for your customers to get access to you without having to pay your individual consulting rate. It provides a business owner a way to leverage their time while serving a broader market at a lower cost to their customers. Memberships provide small business owners, coaches and consultants a steady income stream, usually monthly.
While many online business promoters suggest memberships generate passive income, they don’t. While it’s true much of the work can be outsourced, it takes time, effort and leadership to serve your customers. Having said that, we love our members and view it as a privilege to serve them.
Once you are in business for yourself, whether online or locally, you open the door for partnerships that serve the same or similar customers. Pick and choose opportunities wisely based on your goals and mission.
Outsource Your Skills Globally
In the same way that you can outsource your skills locally, you can outsource anything that can be done digitally on sites such as upwork.com and guru.com. I have hired attorneys, bookkeepers, virtual assistants, graphic designers, writers, engineers, website builders, video editors, programmers, marketers, social media managers, and software developers on Upwork and Guru over the years. This means you can sell any of those services, and more, there.
You can create an account and start selling your skills there immediately by applying to jobs. The key starting out is to get a few clients at a low cost and get awesome reviews.
Buy Closeout Merchandise & Resell It Online*
Over a decade ago, I tested out this income stream with some copper solar lights I bought from a closeout business owned by a friend. I checked my eBay account and one guy had bought all the lights within a few days of listing them for sale. This is when I saw the value of reaching a global market through the internet, at almost no cost. I also experienced the power of leverage.
Closeout items sell for a tiny fraction of retail value, leaving a wide margin for anyone willing to play in this field. Read more about other ways to apply this model below under retail arbitrage.
Review Products with Affiliate Links*
If you have products that you have researched, used and like, you can tell others about them. If you have an affiliate link you get paid when someone clicks your link and purchases the product which you authentically recommend.
Note that while a lot of people promote this model as being a lucrative income stream, the amount of money you make from affiliate links will be minimal until you get a lot of website traffic. The beauty of this model is that if you are patient and persistent, you can end up with a marketable asset that generates an almost completely passive income.
Start A Blog and Run Ads
Have you noticed how Facebook and Google are making more and more money? A large part of their revenue is from businesses running ads on their platforms. If you have your own website (platform) you can get paid by advertisers based on the number of visitors to your website.
Note that the amount of money you make will be very small until you get a lot of visitors to your website. 40,000 page views a month will begin to generate a little income while 100,000 page views a month will generate significantly more.
With this income stream model, like many of the online business models, you’re building a marketable asset.
♦ Income Stream Tip – Own your own platform that gets paid for ads.
Build a YouTube Channel*
You can generate several alternative income streams stemming from your YouTube channel. While YouTube pays the channel creator for ads that run ahead of your videos, the amount is very small unless you have a huge number of views.
You can, however, recommend products you like with an affiliate link and get paid a small commission for this. Additionally, you can send visitors to your website from your YouTube channel, which supports several of the other income stream methods presented here.
This means that there are several potential alternative income streams that are a result of a YouTube channel. One of our most lucrative income streams comes from a financial education business that was built rapidly and, initially, completely from YouTube traffic.
If you like making videos vs writing articles, or if you enjoy both, a YouTube channel can be an excellent way to grow your business. There are several factors to consider. If you’re interested in this topic, ask your questions in the Comments section under this article.
♦ Income Stream Tip – Take advantage of platforms that provide multiple opportunities.
Improve Your Linkedin Profile and Get Job Offers*
Several years ago, after spending an hour tweaking my Linkedin profile, I got a very solid invitation to apply for a job with a Fortune 500 company. The high level of the position pleasantly surprised me, to be honest. If you want your income to come from businesses, improve your Linkedin profile. Be sure to sprinkle keywords into your profile for the type of work you desire.
♦ Income Stream Tip – Present yourself well where your opportunities already exist.
Sell Services on Fiverr.Com
While the jobs, which are called gigs, on Fiverr.com begin at $5 per job, the upsells can increase the pay up to $100 or more. Fiverr.com is the place to sell creative type services. Examples are photo and video editing, dog portraits, PowerPoint productions, and voice-overs. I even hired an actress to be in a video I put together to promote one of my Amazon products a few years ago.
Sell Creative Products on Etsy
If you sell creative products, Etsy may be a good platform for you. Jewelry, clothing items, graphic designs, artwork, and woodwork are all examples of products sold on Esty. Unless you have an item that is a high price point, or you can somehow scale your production, Esty will be limited on income opportunities.
Set Up an Online Physical Products Company*
You can sell physical products that you manufacture, import, invent or flip in various ways online. The most obvious way is to sell products from your own website where you have the most control and can build an asset. The task, then, becomes getting traffic to your website through either paid ads or free social media. One huge advantage is that products with a social aspect or creative element to them can attract an audience more easily for free from social media outlets.
Open an Amazon Store*
If you want to sell products to an enormous market with their wallets already open, an Amazon store may be the ideal alternative income stream for you. Pros are instant access to Amazon’s enormous platform of eager shoppers, and their handling of your customer service and fulfillment. Cons are the Amazon fulfillment fees, now high storage fees, and competitiveness.
I have run an Amazon store selling imported products since 2014. It generates mostly passive income each month. From this huge learning experience, I discovered that I prefer creating information products because it aligns more with my passion and skills.
One exciting element of creating multiple income streams if that everyone gets to discover what they enjoy the most.
Learn to Code
A dancer that I know learned to code by taking a coding course and she is getting paid very well for it while supporting her dancing career. There are many residual income opportunities for coders, as well as the chance for ongoing full or part-time work. Most of this work can be done remotely making it a great work from home career.
This in-demand income stream opportunity takes advantage of the trend in app development.
Host Webinars and Offer Your Services*
You can host a free (or paid) webinar and reach a global market with it. In the webinar, you can offer your products or services for attendees who wish to know more or to work with you. This alternative income method has been very lucrative for us.
Drop Ship Products
Selling physical products that are drop shipped has become a popular alternative to Amazon stores. I have not done this yet, but it appears to have good potential as an income stream with the potential to be sold as a wealth builder.
Create a Brand*
You can find popular products to get manufactured, and sell them at multiple places. You can sell one product, or several products, but it’s bast to stick to the same niche, such as kitchen items, or home decor. Begin with a very narrow niche. Creating your own brand and getting products manufactured sounds extremely hard, but it’s very doable. I branded three products, got them manufactured and imported.
While the products aren’t the income, selling them generates the income.
Sell Courses on Udemy
Selling courses on Udemy is a way to reach a global market who are already seeking to learn what you teach.
Offer Consulting Services Globally
While offering your consulting products from your own website can result in the best model over time, sites such as Sparehire.com and Clarity.fm will allow you to offer your consulting services to an audience already seeking consultants. This can be ideal when getting started as a consultant.
Build A Niche Website*
As mentioned above, there are still niche areas where you can become the go to the expert website for that niche. Again, this is a very low-cost way to reach a global market already seeking what you already offer, on your very own website. This is my favorite online strategy based on the success we have had with this model over the past eight years. It still works.
Build Websites for Others*
Building websites can be a lucrative service. The residual income potential is huge. While you are competing with a global market of tech-savvy website builders, there is something to be said for providing this service in your own country. I tend to hire U.S. outsourcers for building websites now, however, I built this website myself.
Should you decide to build websites for others, you can outsource much of the work since there is a plentiful global market for web developers.
♦ Income Stream Tip – Selling your services to successful business vs individuals provides a more lucrative market.
If you’re tech-savvy, consider website maintenance as an alternative income stream. It is little work to maintain a website, but most people don’t know this, and they don’t want to hassle with it. With the cybersecurity trend, this has become an easier sell. Not only this, but most of this work to maintain websites can be outsourced. There is also huge potential for residual income opportunities.
♦ Income Streams Tip – Choose service based income models that involve work which can be outsourced easily.
Conduct Virtual Workshops for Businesses*
After publishing my book several years ago, I was hired to conduct virtual financial education workshops for financial advisors. While this may sound intimidating, with all the available platforms, it is simple nowadays to host virtual websites. All types of technical, financial, management, and marketing training are ideal for virtual workshops, but almost anything can be taught virtually.
Start an Online Marketing Agency
Over the past few years, I have seen many people quickly learn online marketing and launch a marketing agency due to the high demand and newness of this field. If you love marketing and technology, this could be a good fit. The pay is lucrative, and much of the work can be outsourced.
Sell Your Creations on Your Own Property
I have followed this artist who followed her dream by leaving corporate and began oil painting in her Vermont barn. You can get inspired at Deann’s website here.
Develop a Personal Brand
Think Chip and JoAnne Gaines and the Pioneer Woman. Both of these household names began with a simple blog writing about their personal life. WordPress and social media make this a very doable model for anyone willing to put in the time and effort with very little money.
♦ Income Stream Tip – In choosing your brand, consider that a personal brand will be much harder to sell than a brand not tied to your name.
Arbitrage usually involves buying and selling securities at different places and capitalizing on the price differences at the different market places. Similar price inefficiencies occur with retail products every day, and many entrepreneurs make money off of them as a result of the internet.
Here is a small scale example of retail arbitrage. My niece used to buy clothes at Goodwill and sell them at at high end consignment store.
On a large scale example, a friend of mine owned a closeout business that sold products that didn’t sell at Walmart and other retailers for various reasons. He eventually sold this business for several million dollars.
Many online entrepreneurs are buying merchandise online and reselling at Amazon. What makes this model lucrative is the huge volume since it makes a very small amount on each product. This is called the profit margin. In this example, the profit margin may be only 5% or 10%.
Offline or Local Small Businesses for Later in Life
Work Part-Time for A Company*
Working part-time for a company is a slightly alternative income stream, in only that most people think of employment as all or none. Working part-time can be ideal for many retirees or people who want to do work they enjoy with reduced hours and less pressure.
Importantly, working part-time can also be a huge solution for high health insurance costs for those who have not yet reached Medicare age.
Think of it like this: Let’s say you’re working part-time and making $2500 a month. Plus, your employer has agreed to throw in health insurance coverage that would cost you $1800 a month. In this case, it’s like you’re making $4300 a month.
If you would otherwise be paying for your health care insurance without any tax benefits and are thus paying with “after-tax” dollars, it’s like you have an extra $2,250 a month if you’re at the tax (state and federal) rate of 20%. (Many people have Health Savings Plans which comes with tax benefits, but many people do not.) In this example, from a cash flow standpoint considering both income and expenses, you’re getting an extra $4,750 a month.
Let’s apply the retirement withdrawal strategy of 4% given at the bottom of this article. In this case, an extra $4,750 a month would be like saving another (prepare yourself!) $1,425,000! (Take $4,750 times 12 months and divide that by 4% to equate this to a simple annual 4% withdrawal.) Holy cow is all I can say. Maybe I’ll start looking for part-time employment with insurance coverage.
♦ Income Stream Tip – Expense savings through job benefits are as good as income for required expenses.
Invent A Product and Patent It
Do you hate it when you have an idea for a product, and then you see it on Shark Tank? If Sara Blakely hadn’t insisted on inventing Spanx® she wouldn’t have reached billionaire status and gotten in the Forbes 400® (and millions of women would have issues with their pants!) From cut off pantyhose she created an empire after many, many rejections from factories to manufacture Spanx® for her and failing the LSAT exam for lawyers twice.
The thing to love about owning a patent is that competition is severely limited. The thing to not love about patents is the expense and lengthy development time.
Inventing a product may be perfect for you. I have it on my bucket list.
♦ Income Stream Tip – Build a business around a product that cannot be easily copied, such as a patented product.
Offer Side Services to Your Existing Clients*
Do you already have a business? Explore what you can add to that business for additional income streams. For example, a private coaching session can be added at a discount to my Don’t Run Out of Money course when someone buys the course. This add-on came about naturally as a way to reduce the cost of my financial coaching via my program while also providing a little extra help.
Your customers will show you exactly what they need to improve your service while also creating new income streams for you.
Here are other examples of responding to your customer’s needs. My holistic dentist now provides teeth whitening and even oxygen treatments. My holistic doctor sells high-quality supplements. Movie theaters now sell high margin alcoholic drinks and meals for the convenience of their customers. The list of ways businesses can enhance their customer experience is endless.
If you are already in business, pay attention to what else your customers need to have better results. Then give it to them.
♦Income Stream Tip – Surveys are a great way to discern what your existing customers need so you can serve them better.
Create A Side Business with Your Expertise* (Specific Ideas Below)
There are a million ways to create a side business. A few of them are suggested below. I throw this in as a broad category because I first want to plant it as a possibility that is never even considered by many people seeking extra income.
People tend to discredit what they know. They assume everybody knows what they know, or at least a lot of what they know. We have found this to be true in our financial coaching and programs.
Once you get a few local clients to test out your small business idea, you can expand online by adding a blog that attracts more local customers. For many of the income stream ideas below, you can offer your services nationally or globally from your blog.
The other residual income option is to add affiliate income by reviewing the products you recommend. You can also puts ads on your site once you get the traffic.
And, while your at it, you may as well film your favorite tips on a few YouTube videos with your phone camera as you are working. These videos are easy to do and will go a long way toward helping others while growing your small business.
♦ Income Stream Tip – If this sounds far fetched, we did this in our 50’s (and still do) and knew nothing about it (zero) only a few years prior.
Our appliance guy is the best, and we pay him for it because he cheaper than buying a new appliance. Jerry is about $200 an hour. He runs his appliance repair business expertly and efficiently. He literally runs to and from his truck to keep his time down while at your home.
Create A Consulting Business in Any Area*
Creating a consulting business is the easiest, cheapest and fastest way to begin generating extra income. Decide how you can serve others, get business cards, network locally (or globally online), and offer your services. You have started a consulting business.
Outsource Your Skills Locally*
You can outsource your skills via networking, Craig’s list or nextdoor.org. Offer yourself as a contractor providing services needed in your area. I have hired and paid local bookkeepers, landscapers, video editors, home maintenance people and personal assistants from Craig’s list. Nextdoor.org is another great resource for services.
Become A Consultant for Your Employer*
This strategy has worked for a couple of my financial coaching clients that were working full time. It’s a great way to make more money while easing into self-employment and maybe even getting some tax benefits.
My clients were able to move from employee to independent contractor status. One client was able to keep her health insurance and work part-time. She charged her consulting rate and worked fewer hours while still getting the job done. She was able to add more clients and became fully booked, allowing her to raise her fees.
Another client had a similar structure, but she was covered on her husband’s insurance. She consulted for her previous employer at a higher rate. Usually consulting can be done more efficiently than working as an employee making it a win for both former employee and employer.
Income from a Small Business Partnership
You may find the perfect partner for a small business. For example, you may have the time or skills while your partner may have the funding that’s needed.
Get A Certification and Get Paid for Related Work*
There are endless certificates and accreditations that you can obtain to enhance your existing skills. Adding a certification immediately increases credibility. With greater credibility, you can charge higher fees.
Help Others with Cyber Security
This high demand field is ideal for techie types who want to help others protect themselves from online theft. Most people are lacking the most basic skills, making this an area where it will be easy to immediately increase their security.
Learn Social Media Marketing and Get Paid for It*
Social media marketing services make sense for people who are drawn to social media because they probably already know how to use it. There are Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter experts. This field is currently trending upward and is high demand.
Providing this service to local businesses can be very rewarding as well as lucrative, especially when specialized in an area of interest, such as churches, holistic wellness, or therapists.
Establish Yourself as An Expert by Writing A Book*
While book revenue doesn’t necessarily generate much income, it can immediately establish you as an expert in your field. This makes it easier to get clients or sell your services, and at a higher premium. While writing a book may seem like a huge project, this can be done in as little as a month. You can even hire a ghostwriter who can turn what you say into a book. Alternatively, you can write an eBook in an afternoon, although I don’t think it holds the prestige of a physical book.
Sell Your Creative Products
Selling creative products at local weekend fairs and markets can be a great way to generate income. Personally, I prefer income streams that can be leveraged or scaled in some way, which is difficult with this model. Selling locally, however, can be an excellent way to test a product you plan to patent or scale since you can get instant customer feedback on your products.
Tutor A Student
Specialized tutors can make up to $100 an hour. If your market or expertise doesn’t support this rate, you can tutor a small group of students at one time. This will allow you to leverage your time by doubling, tripling or quadrupling your rate.
Teaching art can be a great way to engage in something you already enjoy. My art teacher provides courses at the museum. He also sells paintings at his home studio. Again, teaching art has many residual income options.
Train Hunting Dogs
I know someone who gets paid $12, 000 for a labrador who is hunting trained.
Be a Fishing Guide
If you love to fish, know the best tackle to use, and have found all the great fishing holes, why not take others fishing. I read about a woman in Llano, Texas who has an inn that includes fly fishing lessons with your stay. Another guy takes locals and tourists fly fishing for trout in Utah. Such ventures can also be sold to businesses for corporate or client meetings.
If you live in or near a popular area for visitors, as I do, a tour service can be a flexible way to get extra income. There are several small businesses (individuals) that provide tours, for example, to the biannual antique market in Round Top, Texas, outside of Austin. Most of the tours include transportation, airport pickup, cocktails, and a picnic lunch. Another example is wine tours, complete with similar amenities.
Become A Personal Chef
I knew a mom from my sons’ school who dropped the kids off and headed to the grocery store to shop for her personal chef business. She was able to scale by having several clients and offering the same few meals each week.
Given the need to cater to special dietary needs, such as gluten or dairy free, this service is more lucrative than ever. The trend in special diets makes this an in-demand service.
Customers can be small businesses or families.
Become A Personal Shopper
If you like to shop, being a personal shopper can turn an expensive habit into a profitable one. This can work especially well when leveraged by shopping for several clients at one store visit. Catering to busy executives can up the pay scale here.
There was an article in the Austin newspaper a few years ago about a dog walker who made $46000 a year. (I have an uncanny knack for number retrieval.) Think of the many residual income options that you could offer here. Dog training and dog transportation to the groomer or play yard comes to mind. Over irrational exuberance for dogs is growing every day. Capitalizing on obsessions can be very profitable.
♦Income Streams Tip – Leverage your time whenever you can to generate more income.
Be A Concierge for Busy Executives
Recently I met a concierge level personal assistant. This woman handled everything from financial transactions involving over a million dollars to delicate family issues. She was that invaluable person that managed her wealthy client’s lives with perfection and grace. For her high net worth clients, getting something done right and confidentially was more important than the cost of getting it done right and confidentially.
Be a Life Coach
This income stream capitalizes on another hot trend. People want help deciding what to do in many areas of their lives. I have seen life coaches go from hourly work to building online businesses with a value of well over a million dollars.
Design Tee Shirts
If you have an eye for design, and you design and sell your own tee shirt line without having to deal with inventory or shipping hassle. Check out teespring.com.
Manage Estate Sales
An estate sale manager can be invaluable when a loved one is lost. Sales also occur when home dwellers are just ready to downsize. When my mother passed away, we used an estate sales person to manage the sale, and donated a portion of the proceeds to my mom’s church. Since you need an estate sales manager when you need them, somewhat desperately, this can be a highly in demand income stream with lots of flexibility. You can also provide invaluable support to the grieving family just by doing your job.
Be A Copywriter
If you tend to have good sales pitches, and like to write, copywriting pays well. You can take an online course to increase your overall marketing skills if needed, and start getting clients. I have seen top copy writers make $200 an hour. This is because good copy can immediately pay for itself.
This is a trend play related to the staggering increase in online businesses. This income stream can easily expand online.
Capitalizing on another huge trend, home owners need systems installed for internet, sound and automation. Be sure to obtain the necessary licenses to perform this legally and safely in your area.
Rent Out A Truck
You can rent out your pick up or other truck and get fairly good money for it. Check out fluidmarket.com for this very alternative income stream. If, like us, you have or are thinking of buying a pickup as an extra vehicle anyway, why not let it pay for itself, and possibly (ask your CPA) even get a tax benefit? (1.)
Start a Catering Business
A catering business can be ideal if you love to entertain. A very stylish and extroverted friend of mine did this for small business entertaining and she had all the clients she could handle. You can control your own schedule, and the entry cost is almost nothing.
Become A Photographer for Weddings
Being a wedding photographer can be an excellent alternative income stream for anyone skilled with a camera. The learning curve is not huge here, making it an option for anyone with an interest in wedding photography. Like many of these models, you can start small with a handful of clients at a low fee to test the idea, get client feedback, and adapt as needed.
Be an Executive Coach
While the lines are blurred, I would say an executive coach is like a business consultant, only more focused on helping a specific individual within an organization overcome blocks. The executive coach often works with C level executives, so this can be a very lucrative income stream.
Create Video Content for Business Social Media*
Video is the new content delivery method making it an in-demand field for those able to provide needed services. Business owners are typically not videographers, but having video online enhances their businesses.
Filming and editing video content for local businesses can pay well for a fun and flexible service. There are many add-on services here, as well.
Be a Personal Trainer
If you love fitness, this may be the income stream for you. One woman I know provides her personal training services to people in our neighborhood. Another woman I know is fully booked with her training services. An added bonus is that you can stay fit while working out with your clients. There are many residual income possibilities here, as well as online expansion, although the space is very competitive online.
Give Music Lessons
If you have a talent for a certain instrument, teaching others to play it may be a good income stream for you. With many instruments, you can leverage your time with group lessons.
While you may think this service could not be offered online, I know of a hugely successful guitar teacher who sells digital guitar courses from his website.
Be a Nutritionist
This is another hot trend with the increasing awareness of how food affects our health. Plus, so many people have identified food intolerance’s. When altering your diet, or your family’s diet, it’s hard to now where or how to eat.
Rent with Airbnb
This small business idea is on both my list of income streams that require capital and those that do not. This is because it takes capital to buy a home, but it’s likely that you already have a home. Plus, it can be perfect for people over 50 who have an extra wing in their home where their children lived.
Rent Out Dwelling on Your Property
Are you without room to rent but have an extra yard? Consider adding a tiny house or Air stream trailer to your property. Not only can you lease it out, it can serve as guest quarters occasionally.
My niece has done an excellent job renting a small guest house in their back yard near down town Austin. A friend of hers has done this successfully with three small units in their back yard.
Therefore, I can vouch that this small business venture can definitely work for mostly passive income.
You can set up a small studio in your home or other rented space. Churches often provide space for yoga classes at little or no rent. Residual income opportunities could come from affiliate sales and ads on your related blog, which would also be a local traffic driver.
Set Up A Home Recording Studio
If you are already set up to record video for your business, you may want to consider offering your studio to a few other businesses. As someone with a home recording studio set up for our businesses, I can vouch that this is a needed service that others will pay for after seeing that the prices are very expensive for local recording studios.
Rent Your Home on VRBO
You may want to rent your home if you are away from home often. This strategy works well in areas with special events, such as during the SXSW event in Austin when rents soar. Some people leave town to just collect the rental income.
Again, this small business income idea is in both of my articles since it may or may not require capital, depending on whether you own your home or not.
Lease Your Land
If you have extra land on your property you can get creative by starting a small business venture on your land. For example, you could start a farm, board horses, sell eggs or even open a skeet shooting business (with incredible insurance!).
Provide Head Shots for Local Business People
Providing head shots can be a lucrative alternative income stream for those skilled with a camera. Offering mobile services to the place of business is an excellent add-on. A mobile service also be the entire model if you lack studio space.
Paint Dog Portraits
Again, painting dog portraits is a play on the over irrational exuberance that our society has with their dogs right now. Remember, the narrower your niche, the more valuable your service. Become the go-to dog portrait artist in your area. While this model is hard to scale, portrait painting can be done nationwide when clients send you a digital photo as a model. Painting pooches can also be very enjoyable, and the pay quite lucrative. There could also be licensing opportunities related to this income stream.
Take A Lifestyle Job from A Site Seeking Retirees
This website, caretaker.org, has interesting job postings that are ideal for retirees. Typical postings are ranch or B and B managers in beautiful places. Housing is included.
License Your Artwork
If you are a skilled graphic designer or artist, you can license your artwork and get paid for it every time it is used.
Train Dogs (As High As $185+ An Hour!)
The last dog trainer I hired for Blanco, my Labrador, was a former executive turned dog trainer. He decided in late midlife to do what he had always wanted to do since childhood: train dogs. His fee was $185 an hour. Interestingly, I got a lot more accomplished with a one-hour session with him than I did with lengthy (and more expensive) packages that previous dog trainers had sold me. He had an assistant who managed all his appointments and payments, so he could focus on doing what he loved and did best: dog training.
♦Income Streams Tip – Delegate tasks that cost you less than 25% to 50% of your hourly rate.
Pet sitting can be an excellent alternative income stream that gives you the freedom to go about your normal work or other days for many jobs. This work involves staying at the pet owner’s home. As a gauge, I have been paying $75 per night for a college student in vet school to stay with Blanco. That’s pretty good money for sleeping at my house and walking my dog.
Become A Handy Person
Recently I spoke with a handyman that charges $125 an hour. Even at $60 an hour, if you work 20 billable hours a week, that equates to about $1200 a week, or almost $5000 a month.
Be A Stager for Homes That Are About to Be Sold
Put your decorating and de-cluttering skills to work and become a home stager.
Live in Empty Homes That Are on The Market
Some people get so popular doing this that they always have a free place to live. There’s not a lot of difference between making $2500 a month and saving $2500 a month. Plus, there’s little work involved. This is another situation where you can go about your pay for doing work or other activities if you always leave the place ready to show.
Record Videos for Businesses
Capitalizing on the video trend, you can make good money recording videos for businesses.
Capitalize on the video trend by editing videos for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Video editing software is inexpensive and the learning curve is not huge.
Create Video Trailers for Businesses
As video becomes a much larger communication tool for all businesses, they’ll need someone to brand their videos for online publication. While this sounds complicated, I have done it for our brands, so you know it’s not hard!
Be A Landscaping or Gardening Consultant
Do you love gardening? Or maybe you are a master gardener or have another area of expertise. Do you have a great eye for landscaping? If so, being a landscaping or gardening consultant could be the perfect alternative income stream for you.
You can narrow in on a niche and be the go-to expert in your area. In Austin, for example, there are oak tree experts that can charge what they want; if your 75-year-old oak tree is dying, you’re going to call the oak tree expert to save it, regardless of the cost.
I know this one is crazy, but I recently found the local snake removal expert easily online after Blanco encountered a huge rattlesnake in our yard.
Remember, the narrower your niche, the more you can charge. Plus, if you’re the snack removal expert in Central Texas, it’s easy to get found online by anyone with poisonous snake issues. You don’t look for clients, clients seek out and call you.
You can even narrow this niche more. I just got the number for the local expert who teaches dogs to avoid snakes. He’s the guy I want to hire, right?
Were you the kid who loved snakes? If so, snake removal may be the perfect income stream for you. The market is small, making this perfect for part time work in retirement.
Pet Sit in Your Own Home
Are you a dog lover? Depending on where you live, you can make up to $60 or more an hour keeping pets in your own home through DogVacay. If you built up a clientele and kept one dog twenty nights a month, that equates to $1200 a month extra income.
Increase Income by Going the Extra Mile
Do you offer a service that you can provide at a home or business? Videography, photography, massage, beauty treatments, pet groomers, vets, and even professional services like CPA’s can all offer a unique service by catering to their customers in this way with an upcharge.
Provide Musical Talents
Are you an excellent pianist or harpist? Or have you longed to be a D.J. for your entire life? If so, you probably welcome the opportunity to perform. Why not get paid for it? (Get inspired by watching Shirley MacLaine as a later life DJ in the uplifting movie The Last Word.)
♦Income Stream Tip – Prioritize between the amount of money you need or want to make and the desire to do what you love.
Provide Software Training
If you are having used a particular software extensively, teaching others how to use it can be a marketable skill. Customers could include corporations, small businesses, or individuals. If the software company’s own tutorials seem lacking, teaching others how to use the software online is also an option, as covered in the online business section.
Paid speakers can make $2,500 to 25,000 and more per speech. This can result in multiple income streams from one effort since speaking is also an excellent opportunity to reach your ideal clients while getting paid for it. Participation in the National Speaker’s Association is an asset for this income source since NSA certified speakers tend to receive higher speaking fees.
♦Income Streams Tip – Factor travel time into the income equation when speaking since you’ll probably have to travel a lot.
Set Up Computer Hardware for Others
Companies and individuals pay tech-savvy individuals to come to their home or office and set up their software. Cybersecurity, training and consulting are residual income opportunities here.
Graphic designers can get work local or online doing a multitude of tasks. You may create designs for brochures, business cards, products, logos, advertisements and books.
Computer Hardware or Software Consulting
Buying the wrong software can be expensive. Not only this, but it’s almost impossible for business owners to stay current in this ever-changing field. For this reason, if you have a vast knowledge of hardware or software you can get paid to advise others on what to buy. There are many residual income opportunities for this work.
Be a Therapist
A friend retired from a major brokerage firm at 65 and became a therapist. Think of all the life experience he had that could help his clients. While there is a good amount of education involved, this can be rewarding and flexible work. Plus, you can leverage your time with group programs.
Open a B&B
Over the years we have enjoyed staying at small bed and breakfasts that have a few guest rooms open in their homes. A B&B can be ideal for empty nesters.
Local tours and dining can provide residual income options.
Work on Computers at Night for Businesses
We hired a local computer geek to come to our home offices (for our businesses) and work on our computers at night. He had many clients, including local businesses. This business works well for the night owl and introvert personalities. Plus, you can do other work or play golf during the day.
♦Income Stream Tip – Create income based on your natural sleep rhythm once you break free of the 8 to 5 requirement.
When we lived overseas, we hired a part time grandmother type to provide day care. She worked for several families, so she could leverage her time by taking several of the children to the play ground at once.
This work can be rewarding and flexible. I considered Cecilia priceless, especially with no family nearby and a newborn. This is the best situation you want to be in when providing your service.
There are two potential cash flow benefits here. One is that you can get paid for doing this, especially if you throw in a few services. The second benefit is that if you line up a few long-term high net worth clients who own two homes, you may be able to get by without any housing expenses by always house sitting.
Rental Property Maintenance Services
If you tend to be handy with home maintenance issues, rental property owners will pay you to manage or maintain their properties. Since this model is business related, owners of real estate are usually eager to pay more than they will for home maintenance. This alternative income stream is a play on the trend on the many investors using rental property for investment income. Plus, the expense for your services probably has a tax benefit for the owner.
♦Income Stream Tip – Provide services to businesses that can gain tax benefits from the expense of hiring you.
Work Abroad in your Career Field*
Working abroad can be both a lucrative and exciting income stream. Larry’s career took us abroad for over a decade. Many of the expenses of living abroad are paid for when hired professionally as an expat.
Teach English Abroad
You can get paid to teach others to speak English in other countries while traveling the world.
♦ Income Stream Tip – Decide how you want to live, then create income streams based on that lifestyle.
Sell Products at Annual Holiday Shows
Every time I go to the Austin Jr League Holiday Bazaar, I am absolutely amazed at the sheer volume of money being spent. Many of the small businesses selling at these types of events sell only through shows during the year. Products sold can be anything from your own inventions or creations to manufactured imported products. Annual shows are also a great way to test a market on a bigger scale or get discovered by retailers who want to carry your line.
Be A Temp
A few of my friends have done this with success. Being a temp can lead to ongoing part-time work should you choose. This can be ideal since you already know what you’re getting into before you officially begin the job. Plus, being a temp is a great way to tiptoe back into the job market.
Be a Certified Financial Planner
Think of the financial and investing experience someone over 55 has over someone who is 35. Financial advising is an in demand field nowadays. If you like investing, managing wealth for others can be a very lucrative business that can be scaled on many levels.
Become an Accredited Financial Counselor
If you like personal finance or investing, but don’t want to manage other people’s wealth, you may want to consider getting another financial certification. After taking many of the AFP® courses, I decided I really wanted to create diversified income streams instead of focusing full time in one industry so I got my AFC® accreditation.
Wedding planning can be an ideal income stream for anyone who loves the bridal experience. It has schedule flexibility and the freedom to create and manage others. This income model can have many options for residual income, including flowers, food, music, equipment, and photography. The add on services can be provided by you or your team, or you can get referral fees.
If you love organizing, then this could be the perfect extra income stream for you. I have seen several women do this successfully.
Be A Wardrobe Style/Consultant
You know how your closet can be full of clothes, but you have nothing to wear? This is when a wardrobe consultant is a life (and money) saver. If you have an eye for putting outfits together, this may be your calling.
Host Workshops for Employers*
This alternative income stream can be ideal for those in the second half of life. First, you likely have connections at companies related to your area of expertise. Second, you probably know at least one area well enough to conduct workshops on it. Third, you likely have at least informally taught others how to do certain processes or tasks. Fourth, companies, especially larger profitable ones, pay well. Like many opportunities here, the residual income potential is excellent since this work can lead to programs and consulting for those you train in the workshops.
Make Money From Your Services While Speaking*
This income strategy doesn’t include getting paid for speaking. Instead, you speak for free, usually locally, while naturally informing others about your products and services through your speaking. You can offer a free consultation or other product such as a book or eBook at the end of your speech for those who want to learn more. This income strategy is perfect for early in your new career or just testing the waters. You’ll get instant feedback.
♦Income Stream Tip – Don’t think of offering your services as selling; think of your services as helping anyone who would like your help.
Be an Event Planner
Event planning is big business. Events are expensive, and small businesses usually lack the staff to pull off a big event once or twice a year. Therefore, event planning is a B to B (business to business) service that is high demand.
Starting Small Businesses Later in Life
If you’re like me, you may have so many interests and ideas that it’s hard to choose where to focus first on starting your first small business.
In this case, go with the first small business idea that meets your immediate financial goals. For example, if you don’t need extra income right now, you can focus on an small business that will result in extra income streams later, or even a wealth building capital gain down the road.
On the other hand, if you need extra income now to live comfortably, even after pruning your expenses, start a small business that will generate extra income fast.
Get our favorite 9 Income streams that also build wealth in our free eBook. Click here to get the tool now.
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1. Thanks for fellow financial blogger Jeff Rose for this idea. https://www.goodfinancialcents.com/passive-income-ideas/
Disclaimer: Make sure you get the required licenses to perform any work mentioned here safely and legally. Nothing here is meant to be personal financial advice.