Self Employment Ideas – How to Decide What to do with the Rest of Your Life

Self Employment Ideas – How to Decide What to do with the Rest of Your Life

You want to work. You want to be successful. But you don’t want to work for someone else until that magical “age of retirement.” Or maybe you have a unique skill and just want to make some extra income.

My desire to work for myself started simply as a need to make some side cash so I could pay back a mountain of student loans. I took surveys, participated in research groups, took on side jobs. Everything I could do to get a little extra money.

But once I paid off that debt, I took a moment to reflect on my career and realized that I really wasn’t happy with my job. I didn’t grow up saying “I want to be a Senior Financial Operational Risk Manager when I grow up!” (Don’t worry if you fell asleep while reading my former job title. Most people do.)

So what did I really want to do with the rest of my life? What do you want to do with the rest of your life? It’s a big question.
Whatever your motivation and interests, I’m sure we can find some kind of self employment that will fit your desired vocation and lifestyle. So let’s start digging through some self employment ideas.

Step One: Brainstorm by Narrowing Your Focus

I know, I know. Good job jumping right back into the corporate procedures that we are trying to escape, right? But brainstorming is a great way to get ideas down quickly. And there is a better way to brainstorm.

You don’t want to just write out any crazy money making idea that pops in your head. That’s a waste of time. The better way to brainstorm is to narrow down your brainstorming topics. So first, ask yourself some questions, such as:

  • What’s your motivation?
  • Do you just want to make a little extra cash in your free time?
  • Do you hate your job and want to quit as soon as possible?
  • Are you looking for a new, more fulfilling career?

Your motivation is going to determine the direction of your brainstorm. If you are looking for something to replace your full-time income, you aren’t going to want to spend time on things like on-line surveys or secret-shopper programs. Those are good supplements to income, but the chances of you replacing an annual salary with these are pretty slim.

What do you enjoy doing?

Do you have a hobby that you love? What skills might you have that you enjoy and that others would pay you for? Can you provide a service or product that people would pay money for? Do you see a problem that you could solve for others?

Make sure you only write down things you enjoy doing or are intrigued by. You don’t want to spend your time growing a business doing something you hate. You would have been better off just staying in your current job. So focus on things that you like.

What is your time frame?
How many hours do you want to allocate to your new cash producing efforts?

If you want to replace a full-time job, when do you want to make the transition? Now? A year from now?

Start thinking about your goals for this new endeavor now…at the beginning. If you are supporting a family of four you probably can’t just quit and hope you can create something that will take off right away. Don’t take this on recklessly. You’ll want to have a plan and a time frame.

With that said, keep in mind some ideas take longer than others to start making money. Etsy stores can take off quickly or can take some considerable effort to get going. Flipping houses can take a good deal of time and money to see a return.

Can you wait that long before getting paid? If not, either plan on keeping your day job while you start up or maybe focus on something that can make you money a little faster.

Step Two: Consider the Viability of your Options

So you’ve brainstormed a few ideas of what you may want to take on. How do you know which ones are more likely to succeed vs fail?


Really quickly, failure is definitely OK. I’ve tried making money at many things and most have failed. But I learned many lessons along the way, and actually had a good amount of fun too. Failure is how we learn. So fail and fail proudly!


You want to put effort into an idea that has demand. You may have made awesome macaroni necklaces when you were six, but unless you are crazy creative, I doubt there will be anyone on the buy side of that transaction.

Are there people out there who would pay for your collection of antique dolls? What about the Adirondack chairs you can make out of used skis? Maybe you can do something that is hard for others or that others don’t want to do.

For Example: how many cleaning services do you see out there? That’s because there is just that much demand for it. That many people are willing to pay someone to clean something so they don’t have to.

You need demand in order to make money.

Step Three: Narrow Your Ideas Down to Just a Few and Sleep on It

OK, you don’t necessarily need to sleep on in, but take some time. Especially if you are really vacillating between ideas.

Talk to your family about them. What do they see you doing? How do they see you being happy? You will be surprised by how insightful your family and friends can be when it comes to what may make you happy. So don’t be afraid to ask for their opinion.

Still Have No Idea Where to Start?

So if you just made it through the previous points and are still thinking to yourself “This is all great Katie, but I still have no clue what business I could get into.” No worries at all. Here are a few ideas to get you started. Play around with some of these and see what jumps out at you.

Earn a Little Extra Cash

  • Surveys
  • Research Groups/Studies
  • Secret Shopper
  • Garage Sales
  • “Flipping” Items such as books, clothes, furniture, etc

Sales, and MLMs 

Google Search MLM’s for more.

  • Beauty Counter
  • Essential Oils
  • Herbalife
  • Avon

Side Businesses that Could Grow

  • Etsy Stores
  • EBay Stores
  • Amazon Stores
  • Drop Shipping
  • Blogging

Side Businesses that Take a Decent Initial Outlay of Money or Additional Education

  • Food Trucks
  • Barber, Hairdresser, Esthetician, Cosmetologist, etc
  • YouTube Channel
  • Stock Trader

Side Businesses that Require Previous Experience

  • Consultant in your chosen field

What did I forget? I will be adding to this list as new ideas come to light, so if you see anything not listed, please let me know!

Pick a Place and Start Small

Each of these ideas will come with their own specific time, money, and interest requirements. This is why it is so important to think hard about where you want to invest your time, energy, and other resources.

If the whole idea sounds exciting but scary, remember that you can always start small. There are plenty of ideas that require little initial money in the beginning that can still end up making you some cash in the end.

Take me as an example. I’ve chosen to focus on blogging. I have a degree in journalism, I’m an introvert, and blogging lets me learn and write about many topics, which satisfies my short attention span’s need for new things. And it costs very little to get started.

But to be successful, I will need to invest time to learn how to manage a WordPress site, manage and create content, and somehow get myself to sit and write every day/week. … This will be interesting.

What do you want to do? What will you need to be successful? Let me know below in the comments!

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