A couple of months back, I wrote a post about what could a person do if they diverted their 401K savings into some other investment source, specifically some kind of side gig. I used a rental property as an example, but that’s not for everyone.
So today, I’ll explore some other ideas with low/medium start up costs. In my little dream, this is a little side gig that a person starts when they are getting closer to retirement and want to invest in something that will give them some pocket money, provided they are in good health. My criteria is that the side gig has to be able to make more money than you’d get being a Walmart Greeter or the like.
Most of these ideas will require some kind of sales and/or advertising that needs to be done to spread the word, but you have to start somewhere right?
For The Handyman
Unfortunately, a lot of the handymen, carpenters and contractors I know are horrible at budgeting. I had one guy who used my down payment money for my bathrooms (to buy the tub, fixtures, etc) at Foxwoods Casino. He blew it all, but his credit cards were already maxed so he had to work other jobs to earn back the money to finish my job. It took months of nagging and threatening to get the work finished and it was a disaster. Besides nasty tenants, hiring contractors remotely while not being able to babysit them was also a nightmare.
I’m convinced that if you want to be a handyman or handy woman and you do nothing more than charge a fair price, return phone calls and show up every day to the job, you’ll beat out 99% of the doofus’s out there.
- Buy a Pickup Truck – use it to haul trash, move things, etc.
- If you live in a snow belt, you could Buy a plow – For an investment of $1000-$5000, you can start plowing on the side. I think the per hour rate ends up being pretty good because you can plow out someone’s driveway in 10 minutes and it’s usually like $20 minimum around here.
- Get a Tile-Saw. For $200 you can have a tile saw and tile people’s bathrooms on the weekend. It’s a relatively easy thing to learn and if you’ve done a few rooms in your house you should be good to go. Most people quote by the job and the per hour rate really depends on how much practice you have. It took me 4 weekends to tile my bathroom, but it was my first tile job. Each job, you should get a little faster and eventually you can make good money at it. Having just tiled my mom’s bathroom floor this weekend, I’ll say this isn’t something that will be so easy to do once you’re nearing retirement. Man, did my knees and back hurt after 1/2 day on the floor.
For the Chef
- Pick a product and rent space in a commercial kitchen. Make it and sell it at farmer’s markets, go around to the local supermarkets and pitch it. It’s how a lot of people start..if you’re making great local ice cream like the folks at Maple Valley, you bring some for people to try. Don’t be afraid, most people like eating free food.
For the Gardener
- Build a little greenhouse and start seedlings in flats. Sell them on craigslist or at a flea market.
- Pot some of your extra perennials and sell them.
- Barter your veggies for other things you need. If you’re on a busy road you can always build a little veggie stand out side of your house.
- Grow, Dry and Sell Herbs and Teas. (they last longer than fresh veggies).
For the Artist and/or Computer Person
- Buy and Learn Photoshop.
- Make Art and Sell on Etsy
- Build People’s Blogs and/or Websites.
- Monetize a Blog.
- Distribute someone’s product.
- There are literally hundreds of things you can try with just the investment of a computer.
For the Person with a big hunk of land
- Plant a christmas tree farm
- Buy some bees, make honey
- Rent out your space to some animals to graze
- Build a Kennel.
- Thin out your forest and sell some wood.
- Get Chickens
For the Jack of All Trades
- Buy Vending Machines and grow as you start making more money.
- Buy a Limo and drive people to the airport. (A lot of retirees do this around my parts.)
- Take a course on fixing computers and become a computer repair person.
- Clean People’s Houses.
- If you live near a rich neighborhood, you can become a caretaker or personal shopper. We have a lot of second homes in this area. I can totally see a service where someone calls you up and you stock their fridge for them so that things are all set when they arrive in from the city.
- If you don’t want to do the leg work, buy someone else’s business from a site like this one or just browse through it for more ideas.
For the outdoorsy person
Another one of my friends had a variety of little side businesses. She had a health food store, a bike shop and I forget what else. She said her bike rental business was actually very profitable (I do live in an area that sees a lot of NYC tourists in the summer).
- Rent Sporting Equipment. You’d actually need a little shop to do this though.
- Be a Tour Guide. Take people cross country skiing or hiking or fishing. Turn your hobby into a business.
- Get Yoga or Physical Trainer Certified.
These are just a few ideas that don’t require a ton of capital to start up. I would love to hear what other ideas I may have missed. I really don’t know what I’d like to do in my golden years. My problem is that I want to try them all.