In these times where job security is not what it once was, and the recession looks like it is here to stay, more and more Americans are looking to turn their free time into a profitable time.

SEE: Start Your Own Small Business

It used to be considered risky to start a business, but in the age of the Internet, start-up costs are at an all-time low. If you have been thinking about starting your own evening or weekend business, then maybe these ideas can set you on the road to entrepreneurship.
Do you have a hobby for antiques collection or knowledge of a certain type of collectible? If so, you could turn this into a business and make money from your hobby. Sites like eBay have made it easier than ever for people to reach their target markets from the comfort of their homes. Trading cards, video games, stamps, books – all of these things can be turned around for a profit if you know what you are looking for.

Do you have a passion for a topic or a detailed knowledge of a specific area? If so, you really could make money from a blog. You will need to be providing information on a topic that people are searching the Internet for, or are interested in. You can set up a blog for free and learn how to optimize your site for the search engines with a search of the Internet or using free books from the library. Once you are getting visitors, you can sell advertising space to the large search engines, approach businesses that would be interested in the demographic you're attracting or sell other people's products as an affiliate.

In today's busy world, many people will pay you to take the household chores off their hands. You could offer cleaning or ironing and work as many hours as you wanted. If you don't want to promote your own services around the neighborhood, consider joining a house-cleaning company and go on its books for the back-up of an established name and company.

Virtual Assistant
Do you have office or personal assistant (PA) skills that you could sell in an evening? If so, there is an increasing demand for the services of virtual assistants. You help executives or small businesses in a whole range of tasks a PA might do, but you do it from your own home on your own time. There are many online companies that will list your services to their clients.

Got Spare Space?
Do you have spare room or a garage space you could rent out? If you don't like the idea of having a permanent lodger in your home, consider renting the space to exchange students or overseas visitors to local colleges. This way you will have periods of peace. If you live in a popular city where parking is at a premium, you can rent out a parking space or garage space.

Like Animals?
If you like dogs and a good walk, consider becoming a dog-walker in your spare time. You can charge per dog you walk. If you can drum up business, you could walk two or more dogs at a time. Doing this could double or triple your earnings. Offer pet-minding as well and you could make a whole business out of it. You should check out liability insurance in case something happens with a dog and a member of the public.

The Bottom Line
Many American's are turning to their evenings and weekends to earn alternative incomes, whether or not their plans are to eventually leave their day jobs. It is crucial that your side business doesn't jeopardize your current job. Only you know what your company's policies are, but be sure to assess your present situation. Do you need to be upfront with your boss about your evening business? Of course, you cannot let your business interfere with your work. "Business" emails and phone calls during your working day should never occur.

If you want to run a business and also work full time, you need to be prepared to be focused, disciplined and not have too much down time. If financial freedom and doing what you love is your motivation, you should go for it. It's easier than you think.

SEE: Top-Paying Part-Time Jobs

Photo Courtesy of A6U571N

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