Very few entrepreneurs hit the ground running. And some of the most successful startups began as small side gigs while the founder grew the business from the security of a full-time job. From evening freelancing to spending countless weekends networking; the steady income and comparative safety of being an employee financed the efforts that turned into exciting new startup businesses.

Let’s take a look at five side gigs you can try out right away to test the entrepreneurial waters and maybe go from office drone to the CEO of your own company.

1) Start a Virtual Assistant Service

This is the future of work; corporations around the world are trying to reduce expenses by hiring independent contractors instead of full-time employees — so why not take advantage of this trend?

If you have a talent for taking notes, researching, booking, and keeping track of appointments, then this could be the side gig for you. Take a look at some virtual assistant opportunities here.

Although you’ll be a one person operation initially, as your business grows you’ll need to hire staff to handle the new workload; now you’re an agency!

2) Become a Consultant

No one says you need to leave your career behind to become a successful business owner; the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired over the years could be the ticket to self-employment.

Consultants work in a huge range of industries — from network engineering to product lifecycle management. If you have the experience and educational background that makes you a problem solver in your field, then you can offer your services through workshops, meetings and over the phone for (potentially) hundreds of dollars per hour.

3) Try Direct Sales

Amway is famous for offering anyone the opportunity to start a direct selling business backed by an internationally recognized brand. In business since 1959, the company provides millions of people the opportunity to quickly start a new income stream right away.

Don’t confuse this direct sales giant with the pyramid schemes that promise everything while draining your wallet. You can check out a thorough explanation of the Amway business model here. If you’re a people person or have a knack for selling, Amway could be ideal for you.

4) Product Photographer

Make no mistake; those beautiful pictures you see in ads for everything from sandwiches to sports cars weren’t snapped with a smartphone. If you have the skill set and the gear you can make some serious coin as product photographer. Clients will expect you to make their product look amazing using a combination of software, graphic design and photography skills. Read this great primer on the subject to learn more.

Make a name for yourself and you can eventually work your way into a new career — get enough clients and start hiring photographers to work for you.

5) Bookkeeping Service

Are you a Quickbooks wizard? Do you breeze through reconciliation and eat accounts payable figures for breakfast? Consider taking your bookkeeping skills on the road. Check out this article from The American Institute of Bookkeepers and get the facts on freelance bookkeeping.

There is a massive demand for contract bookkeeping services, and you can easily work this side gig around your current job. Establish your reputation in this field, and maybe you can become the next big name in accounting with dedicated staff and your own snazzy offices!

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Founder and chief editor of Blogger, Affiliate Marketer, Tech and SEO geek. Started this blog in 2011 to help others learn how to work from home, make money online or anything related to business and finances. You can contact me at

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