As someone who's been immersed in a number of online industries for quite some time, I know a thing or two about what it takes to succeed in this arena. However, just like you, I started at ground zero with little knowledge, but a great deal of passion. What I learned along the way were some invaluable lessons from failure that hurt at the time, but helped immensely in the grand scheme of things.
Find a profitable niche: We’ve talked about this a lot. But, where are you most comfortable. What niche do your skills, values, and interests intersect? Do you have 10 years of experience as a technical writer? Do you have long-standing PR relationships that’ll be invaluable in helping startups launch a successful crowdfunding campaign? Determine what makes your value unique, and lean heavily on showcasing that strength to your potential clients.
As of 2012, estimates suggest that over fifty million U.S. workers (about 40% of the working population) could work from home at least part of the time, but in 2008 only 2.5 million employees, excluding the self-employed, considered their home to be their primary place of business. The number of employees reported to have worked from their home "on their primary job" in 2010 has been reported as 9.4 million (6.6% of the workforce), though, this number might include the self-employed. As of 2017, roughly 3.7 million employees—2.8% of the workforce—work from home at least half the time, Global Analytics Workplace reports. Very few companies employ large numbers of home-based full-time staff. The call center industry is one notable exception: several U.S. call centers employ thousands of home-based workers. For many employees, the option to work from home is available as an employee benefit but most participants only do so a fraction of the time. Top paid among work-from-home sectors are home-based physicians and radiologists in which it is suspected that they earn near the $1,975 median weekly income of physicians, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, making it a six-figure job. Studies show that at-home workers are willing to earn up to 30% less and experience heightened productivity. 
Nothing beats playing your favorite game. But getting paid for coaching a sports team and staying close to the action is the next best thing. Not only will you learn new skills, you’ll earn money getting your team into shape with this side business idea. The median pay for sports coaches clocks in at $30,400 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Expect to have only a slice of that if you’re signing up for part-time coaching as a side business idea only.
If you have a background in marketing and a passion for a particular niche, then organizing a virtual event may be just up your street. A virtual event could span across a day or longer. Individual live sessions would be run by experts in the field. And conference features would include live question and answer sessions, forums, and plenty of free giveaways. Visitors to the virtual event would pay to attend, so the more effective your promotion of the event the more money you would make.
It’s a common answer when you ask people why they like to work from home. Most will respond that their flexible work environment relieves the amount of stress in their lives and gives them a healthier work-life balance. Today, our offices are constantly on, it isn't the same as it was decades ago, when you left the office and work actually ended. Today, most of us can work at any hour wherever we are located, so it makes sense that the line is starting to blur between work and life. But it stands to reason that working from home can help redefine—or at the very least, rebalance—that line.
For the musically gifted, offering lessons to others who want to learn an instrument can be a great source of extra income. Unless you're teaching piano, students can bring their own instruments to your home for hour-long lessons. Stock up on sheet music or songbooks in varying genres and aimed at various skill levels so you can offer a wide selection for your potential clients. Voice lessons can also bring in a lot of money if you market yourself to local high school and community theater groups.
Motivator-hygiene theory differentiates between motivating factors (motivators) and dissatisfying factors (hygienes). Factors that are motivators such as recognition and career advancement may be lessened with telework. When teleworkers are not physically present, they may be “out of sight, out of mind” to other workers in the office. Additionally, telework may not always be seen positively by management due to fear of loss of managerial control. A 2008 study found that more time spent telecommuting decreased the perception of productivity of the teleworker in the eyes of management. Hygiene factors, such as work conditions, may improve when teleworking such that teleworkers have the flexibility to work in a variety of locations. Thus, telework has different work motivating factors and dissatisfying factors than office work.
If you’re serious about making money selling things online, it’s pretty much impossible to not recommend Shopify. The platform gives you everything you need to get your online store up and running in less than a day including a custom domain, beautiful templates (so you don’t need design skills), secure payment options, and they can even take care of marketing and shipping for you. Whether you’re promoting your own products, designs, or curating other products for people in your niche, Shopify is the best option for powering your online store.
If you have an eye for design and some experience of creating websites, then you could offer your services as a freelance web designer. You will need to create your own stylish website and have a few other projects that you can show potential clients to demonstrate your skills. You will also need to initially spend time emailing businesses to promote your services and find work.
If you’re a skilled worker in a specific niche, like marketing, design, or software development, there are specialty marketplaces that cater just to you. These are amazing places to make money online as you know that the people visiting them are looking specifically for the skills you have. Check out places like 99Designs or Dribbble for designers, Cloudpeeps for marketing and SEO professionals, and TopTal, Crew, or Gigster for high-level software developers. Once you've built up your development skills, you can begin building a brand for yourself as a higher-value consultant and start charging brands for larger projects like implementing an entire WordPress security overhaul or migrating a website from http to https.
One way to get started might be to focus on children’s parities, which can be a bit simpler and less stressful to plan than adult get-togethers. Go further into specialization by following kid trends and offering superhero or Frozen parties. Remember that you’ll be competing not just with other party planners but with local restaurants and facilities, so excellent networking skills and a personal touch to your services will be important.
Managers may view the teleworker as experiencing a drop in productivity during the first few months. This drop occurs as "the employee, his peers, and the manager adjust to the new work regimen". The drop could also be due to inadequate office setup. Additionally, a 1999 study claimed that "70 minutes of each day in a regular office are wasted by interruptions, yakking around the photocopier, and other distractions". Over the long term, though, surveys found that productivity of the teleworker will climb; over two-thirds of employers report increased productivity among telecommuters, according to a 2008 survey. Traditional line managers are accustomed to managing by observation and not necessarily by results. This causes a serious obstacle in organizations attempting to adopt telecommuting. Liability and workers' compensation can become serious issues as well. Weaker relationships between job dimensions and job outcomes, such as job performance and absenteeism, may explain why the results regarding performance and telework are conflicting. Some studies have found that telework increases productivity in workers and leads to higher supervisor ratings of performance and higher performance appraisals. However, another study found that professional isolation in teleworkers led to a decrease in job performance, especially for those who spent more time teleworking and engaged in fewer face-to-face interactions. Thus, similar to job attitudes, the amount of time spent teleworking may also influence the relationship between telework and job performance.
Do you have a way with words? Freelance copywriting is a good way to make money working from home. Companies large and small will pay someone handsomely to take basic information and add a bit of flair. If a smooth turn of phrase has been known to come forth from your pen, freelance copywriting might just be for you. It takes networking, but once you have a portfolio to show your worth, you'll be able to prove to clients that you're exactly the writer they need. And, as a bonus, if you're naturally inquisitive and love storytelling, you might be able to spin your copywriting gig into a career as a freelance journalist.
If you already have a website that's driving in targeted traffic, a great way to make passive income from the content you're already creating as an easy side business idea, is through affiliate marketing. ShareASale, Rakuten, Clickbank, and Skimlinks are a few of the best affiliate networks and tools that can help you make money from the content you already produce, thus amplifying your side business idea income. Check out this extensive list by Justine Grey, covering the 59 Best Affiliate Programs for Business Bloggers to get some inspiration on how other bloggers are growing affiliate blogs from side business idea to full-time company.