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Sell Your Skills & Expertise

“Where your talents and the needs of the world cross,
there lies your vocation.” — Aristotle

Are you looking to make extra money? Or want to find ways to live without a regular job so that you will have more time for your family and interests? Consider selling your skills and/or expertise.

Work Skills

What are your marketable skills and how much are they worth? Can you contract these skills out or offer them on a part-time basis?


  • computer skills (website design, troubleshooting, temp with MS Office skills)
  • writing skills (write for local paper or magazines, do flyers and brochures for small companies, copywriting, editorial services)
  • organizational skills (assist others with time management or space clearance)
  • management skills (lead programs or groups)

Can you continue to work part-time or on a consulting basis for your former employer? Many people do this after leaving their full-time jobs – whether it’s to help out in peak periods, to work on a project basis or as a regular part-time employee. Or, depending on the type of business you are in, as a self-employed person you may be able to work for some of your former clients on a contractual basis.

You can also use your skills and experience elsewhere. For example, an insurance benefits counselor at a large corporation left to start a freelance career and gain more flexibility in her life. She now offers her services to several small companies and works one day a week at each company.

See the value of the skills you now have and then consider the different ways you can offer them for money. Think outside the box!

Interest Skills & Expertise

Do you have an area of knowledge or expertise that people will pay you for? For example:

  • financial planning
  • how to grow your own herbs
  • play the piano
  • teach a language
  • become a travel guide
  • dance (can tutor or teach; offer line dancing or square dancing to the public)

Often our interest and knowledge in a certain area
can blossom into a money-making venture
as others turn to us for information and advice:

  • Sandra Phillips, a veteran of bargain shopping, is now a “consumer consultant.” Her breadth of knowledge led to a weekly newspaper column, a successful book called Smart Shopping Montreal (now in its 19th edition) and requests for appearances on TV as well as on phone-in radio shows.
  • Leila Peltosaari was a stay-at-home mother with a fondness for sewing and costume design. She became a successful self-publisher of easy-to-read sewing books (over 200,000 copies sold). Her latest bestseller is Easy Halloween Costumes for Kids. To read how she did it, go to or go to her website at

What have you become good at?
Know a lot about?

Many adult education courses are given by people who have experience in the field but do not necessarily have teaching credentials.

For example, my local community college has a Lifestyles Program that offers the following classes: Cake Decorating for Beginners, Home Decorating and Design, Boat Model Building, Organic Gardening, Chinese Painting & Calligraphy, Dog Grooming Workshop, How to Look Beautiful.. At Any Age, Golf for Women, The Joy of Public Speaking, Business Writing That Works, Discover Your Psychic Abilities, Beyond Positive Thinking and many more.


  • sell written info (print books, magazine articles, e-books sold on the Net)
  • give workshops or individual coaching
  • lecture
  • lead teleclasses (register with

For help and support in developing your own income streams using your skills and expertise, see Create Your Own Income Streams –Coaching Program.

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Your Hidden Resources

It is wise to have at least one source of “passive” income in your multiple income streams. This means money coming in on a regular basis that requires the minimum time or effort on your part.

  1. Do you have any valuable resources that you can sell access to? For example:
    • rent out a room in your home to a boarder or foreign student
    • you can also rent a room to tourists in the summer and offer info on local sights
    • if you have a lot of extra space, you can offer conference or workshop facilities
    • if you have land, offer others a place for stabling horses or space for organic gardening
    • rent garage space
  2. Do you have anything to sell that you don’t need? For example:
    • antique or unused furniture
    • used books (sell them to bookstores or on or ebay)
    • equipment (from appliances to tractors)
  3. Other sources of “passive” income:
    • income from rental property
    • an annuity
    • government support (including family allowance)
    • child support
    • your savings and investments
    • a pension and/or retirement savings
    • an inheritance or gift
    • royalties
  4. Simplify your life and SAVE money!

    The whole idea is to live well on less money. Seriously look at where you can cut corners (maybe you can eat out less often or cut your trips to the hairdresser in half). Also re-consider larger ticket items that may not be truly necessary.

    Recommended reading: Simplify Your Life by Elaine St. James and Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin.

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Turn Passions Into Profits

“You are never given a dream
without also being given the power to make it true.
You may have to work for it, however.”
— Richard Bach

  1. Don’t Have Any Passions?

    If you don’t know what you want to do, you are not alone. Many people are still searching for answers, usually in the wrong places. Deep down you KNOW what would make you happy, including what kind of work. However you need to see past the limitations of your own FEARS and other people’s expectations.

    For help in this important process of getting to know yourself and discover what you love, go to Your Life Compass™.

  2. Discover a New Interest

    You may be one of the fortunate people who know, from a young age, what they love to do. Do not assume that this is ALL – there may very well be OTHER areas to explore that will bring you great satisfaction.

    Certainly this was my case. I knew I loved to write and started producing and selling stories and articles in my twenties. This expanded to writing in the personal growth field. What I discovered later – in my late forties – was that I also had the ability to motivate and inspire others by my words, both written and spoken. And that I had a real passion for helping others to see themselves and live their potential.

  3. Follow Your Energy

    As we allow ourselves to expand in the work we do, we often feel drawn in certain directions. Follow your energy – and trust that you are led this way for a reason.

    Begin by finding out more about what you are attracted to and taking your first steps. A strategy for making money in this area can come LATER.

    For example, when I considered giving workshops in personal growth, I was immediately drawn to websites with message boards filled by people still searching for their answers. For a couple of months I read their posts with fascination. I then realized the usefulness of all the exercises I had been doing for my own self-development and began to put them together for others to use.

  4. A single passion can generate other income streams that are inter-related.

    For example:

    A pianist can earn money tutoring others, playing at public events and working as an organist.

    Ann Kullberg was a stay-at-home mother of two when her marriage ended. Since one of her children was autistic, she was determined to come up with creative ways of earning money from her art (she was very good at coloured pencil drawing). Now she successfully promotes her books, workshops and e-magazine through her website at

  5. Making Money
    • Test market your product or service!
      It is essential to take this step before going any further.

      FIRST you need to see the value of your work to others. Get feedback from family and friends (if you can trust them to be objective).

      THEN take your work to a larger audience – such as selling crafts at a small arts & craft show or giving your workshop to a group of people you know.

      This is the time to ask for comments
      and finetune your product.
      I test market my Life Coaching materials through my Dream Achievers Program. Feedback from this small, intensely focused group tells me what exercises work and are ready to be promoted to the world at large.

      Once you see how much people appreciate and need what you have to offer, you will feel much more confident in offering it for sale.
    • Make Your First $100
      Here is a useful guideline for knowing whether it’s time to quit or move forward with your project. After earning the first $100 with your idea or product, assess the time and energy involved in making that money and how satisfying it is for you.
    • What About Long-term Projects?
      Some income streams take longer to develop, especially if you are learning a new skill or need to do a lot of research. If this project is something that you really want to do, set up your other sources of revenue so that you can continue to pay your bills while you are in the development stage.For development work, it is usually best
      to focus on one project at a time.
      Get your project to the next level (i.e. make it profitable) and then assess its viability.

  6. Support Your Passion

    It is important to give yourself the support you need to work in a given area, especially if this is a new field for you. Network with others who are already active in this field and find mentors who can share their own experience and help you with next steps. Let yourself get absorbed in this interest of yours! Read books and articles and visit websites where others share your passion; also see what customers are looking for. There are specialty magazines and websites for everything from Cats to Kayaking to Zen.

    Join associations. For example, if you do arts & crafts, check out the National Craft Association at

    Also inform yourself about GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS (local or federal) and nonprofit COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS. If you qualify as a “small business” you should be able to obtain help with set up as well as with funding.

  7. Get Inspired!

    You will also find inspiration reading about others who dared to follow their passions and created one or more income streams.

    Ann Benson is a novelist, bead artist and needlecraft designer. All these income streams are promoted on her website at

    David Loria – turned his hobby as a photographer into a successful 2nd career. After he left his social service job in Washington, D.C., he took pictures around the capital and asked if anyone would pay. Soon his work started appearing in D.C. magazines and guide books. Later a postcard company bought scenic photos of the city. His photographs now appear on over 80 postcards, tourist guides and calendars in the Washington area.

    Later he combined his expertise with a camera with his passion for languages. He now runs Washington Photo Safari, a multi-lingual trolley tour of Washington where he gives lessons on the best way to photograph city’s landmarks. See

    Gayle Lawrence – was a dental hygienist who combined her love of nature, travel and spiritual growth. She launched a travel company for women seeking deeper meaning in their lives called Journeys of Discovery. Gayle customizes exotic trips for women that allow them to swim with dolphins in the Bahamas, get close to Caribbean Humpback Whales or African wildlife or visit ancient sacred sites in Peru. Go to

  8. Create the Life You Love with Multiple Income Streams

    Be creative in coming up with different ways to make a living as you follow your dreams. Many people develop multiple income streams while they are still working a regular job, whether full-time or part-time.
    • A part-time social worker works as a jazz musician on weekends and makes extra money doing gardening for seniors.
    • A therapist who works with dyslexic children also holds workshops in personal growth where she sells CDs and tapes.
    • A writer of feature articles and humour pieces also sells second-hand books through and works in a bookstore 2 days a week.
    • A website designer also creates business logos and stationery for clients.
  • Still not sure what you’d love to do? See Your Life Compass™, a package to help you find your overall Life Direction.

  • Once you know your direction, you can also test your ideas out on the bulletin board at Barbara Sher’s website at There you will find a worldwide community of creative people who are very supportive in sharing ideas and helping each other. (In particular see forums “Wishes and Obstacles” and “Jobs and Income Streams.”)

  • Do you know what you want to do but FEEL STUCK? Afraid to move ahead? For help, go to Kick-start Your Dreams (Coaching Program).

  • For personal guidance and support in setting up one or more income streams of your own, go to Create Your Own Income Instreams (Coaching Program).
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190 Businesses to Start on a Shoestring

Are you interested in having a small home-based business but can‘t handle large start-up costs? Don‘t worry. All of the businesses listed below demand minimal capital to begin. What you contribute is your skill, knowledge and experience!

But remember…

your business is more likely to succeed
if this is something you truly enjoy
and not just a way of making money.

You will need to consider who your customers are and how to reach them. Also check out your competition to determine appropriate rates and how you can make your business unique. Start small, with people you know. After you gather valuable feedback on your own services, you can grow from a solid foundation. For more information, go to Turn Passions into Profits, in particular section 5.

Good luck!

  1. Aerobic instructor
  2. Aquarium service
  3. Astrology
  4. Auctioneer
  5. Auto dealer
  6. Baker – cakes or cookies
  7. Balloon design and delivery
  8. Bed and breakfast reservation service
  9. Bicycle repair and sales
  10. Bicycle touring
  11. Blinds cleaning
  12. Boat maintenance
  13. Burglar alarm sales and installation
  14. Business plan writing
  15. Cabinet maker
  16. Calligraphy
  17. Car alarm installer
  18. Car wash
  19. Care of disabled
  20. Care of elderly
  21. Career Counselor
  22. Caricaturist
  23. Carpet Cleaning
  24. Cartoonist
  25. Catering
  26. Ceiling Cleaning
  27. Childcare
  28. Child-care referral
  29. Chimney sweep
  30. Chinese food take-out service
  31. Christmas tree lot
  32. Cleaning service – for houses
  33. Cleaning service – garage & attic
    (you haul away junk)
  34. Clown
  35. Coach – Personal or Business
  36. Coffee shop owner
  37. Coin dealer
  38. Collection agency
  39. Columnist
  40. Comedian (stand-up)
  41. Companion to elderly or disabled
  42. Computer animator
  43. Consultant – (according to expertise e.g. business, computer, or publishing)
  44. Cooking classes
  45. Costume rentals or sales
  46. Courier service (bike)
  47. Crafts businesses
  48. Crafts instructor
  49. Craft supplies catalogue
  50. Dance instructor
  51. Dating service
  52. Daycare (for adults or children)
  53. Desktop publishing
  54. Disc jockey (mobile)
  55. Disk duplication
  56. Dog grooming or training
  57. Drapery cleaning
  58. Dry waller
  59. eBay Seller (buy items at garage sales & flea markets, sell on eBay)
  60. Editing and proofreading service
  61. Errand service
  62. Etiquette training
  63. Event planning
  64. Executive recruiter
  65. Financial planning services
  66. First aid instructor
  67. Flea market sales
  68. Flower stands
  69. Foreign language instructor
  70. Formal wear rental service (male or female)
  71. Freelance writing
  72. Fundraiser
  73. Furniture refinishing & repair
  74. Gardening consultant
  75. Garage sale organizer
  76. Gift basket maker
  77. Glass tinters
  78. Grant writing consultant
  79. Graphic design services
  80. Greeting card service
  81. Gutter cleaning
  82. Hairdresser (mobile)
  83. Handyman services
  84. Healthcare consultant
  85. Herb farming
  86. Home inspection service
  87. Home repair
  88. House cleaning
  89. Housekeeper
  90. House painting
  91. Housesitting
  92. Ice cream truck
  93. Image consultant
  94. Import products
  95. Human resources consultant
  96. Information and research service
  97. Interior decorating
  98. Janitorial services
  99. Jewelry design or repair
  100. Juggler
  101. Knife sharpening
  102. Knitting
  103. Landscaping
  104. Laundry service
  105. Lawn care
  106. Letter writing service
  107. Limo service
  108. Literary agent
  109. Loan consultant
  110. Locksmith
  111. Macramé
  112. Mail order
  113. Magician
  114. Marketing consultant
  115. Massage therapist
  116. Meal delivery
  117. Meeting planner
  118. Message answering service
  119. Mime
  120. Multilevel marketing
  121. Music instructor
  122. Musician
  123. Nail salon
  124. Nanny placement service
  125. Newsletters
  126. Novelty shop
  127. Organizational consultant
  128. Packaging and shipping
  129. Painting service (interior or exterior)
  130. Party planner (children or adults)
  131. Personal fitness trainer
  132. Personal services – shopping & errands
  133. Personal services – for the elderly
  134. Pest removal
  135. Pet grooming or sitting
  136. Photographer
  137. Piano tuner
  138. Picture framing services
  139. Plant maintenance
  140. Plant nursery (grow & sell plants)
  141. Plasterer
  142. Pool service
  143. Portrait artist
  144. Posters
  145. Pottery
  146. Private investigating
  147. Publicist/agent
  148. Public speaker
  149. Puppeteer
  150. Recycling service
  151. Relocation service
  152. Rental finding service
  153. Restaurant delivery service
  154. Resumé writing
  155. Reunion planning
  156. Roof restoration
  157. Sandwich stands
  158. Screen printing
  159. Seminar services
  160. Sewing school
  161. Shoe repair
  162. Shopping service
  163. Sightseeing tours
  164. Small business consultant
  165. Snow removal
  166. Stamps
  167. Tax preparation service
  168. Teaching English as second language
  169. Technical writing
  170. Telemarketing service
  171. Television and appliance repair
  172. Temporary help service
  173. Thrift store
  174. Tour guide (walking, hiking, cycling, car)
  175. Training consultant
  176. Translator
  177. Tutoring
  178. Upholstery cleaning or repair
  179. Used bookstore owner
  180. Used clothing sales
  181. Vending machine service
  182. Videotaping service
  183. Web designer
  184. Website hosting
  185. Wedding planner
  186. Wallpaper hanging
  187. Window cleaning
  188. Windshield repair service
  189. Word processing service
  190. Yoga instructor