I had been working at a company as a desk jockey and it wasn’t going anywhere.

Fortunately for me, I had free time (and the boss’s blessing) to learn new skills through online training sites so I could bring something new to the company.

I took full advantage of the situation. I learned anything and everything about the nature of business.

Before long I was getting a grip on building websites, e-commerce, content development, and marketing. It was something I found to be the basis of any business that’s online.

If you know the foundation then you can apply it to any idea.

You’ll probably fail a thousand times before something sticks. If you develop a system, apply the fundamentals with a new idea, and commit then eventually something will stick.

Mine eventually took off because I used what I knew from work (and my general interests) and combined it with the education on business.

Stick with me and I’ll share three that worked for me which I think could work for you. These are three you could try as a moonlighting experiment.

1. Affiliate Marketing

I found the best success in this because I poured endless hours doing affiliate marketing training. I read every blog post I could find. Watched every video. Joined discussions.

Here’s what you’d do:

  1. Find something that interests you and you’re knowledgeable about
  2. Research the market to identify size, competition, and consumers
  3. Browse the popular products or services
  4. Sign up for an affiliate program (one such is Amazon)
  5. Create a site, start making content, use social to promote, and encourage discussions
  6. Track and improve on what works

Repeat this process with new ideas. It’ll cost you less than $50 once you get it down pat.

2. Tutoring/Consulting

I had some moderate success because I had experience in a niche field. I would help small business owners understand how to develop better product photos for their e-commerce sites along with creating instructions and manuals.

You can get a start with tutoring or consulting in several ways:

  • Develop a portfolio website and offer the services over Skype
  • Apply to one of the many tutoring websites like Tutor.com, Chegg, or Skooli
  • Create marketing materials and distribute them locally offering services
  • Critique a business and send your findings to them with an offer to hear more

Outside of some marketing material the only thing you need is experience.

This is a great high-paying side gig that could turn into a full-time business with the right amount of clientele that keeps returning (and referring business).

3. Community Management

Lastly, part of my work found me managing social media accounts, forums, and site comments. This was an easy gig because it was mainly pushing content to the social feeds and moderating discussions. It didn’t pay the best but it was something.

Try this to give it a whirl:

  1. Find a neglected small business site
  2. Put together a report about the missed business opportunities and how to fix them
  3. Call the business owner and tell them you’ve found a flaw and would happily send your findings to their email
  4. Do a follow-up call and hear what they have to say (but push the angle that they’re losing business because they’re neglecting their community and online customer service)
  5. It’s a 50/50 but they may give you the thumbs up – so negotiate a monthly rate and viola! You’re in business and all it took was a bit of time

You’re already on social media and using social platforms. You probably know 100x more about it than some other small business owner. Make it work for you.