Whether you're a business owner, a regular freelancer or a student, earning some extra cash can come in really handy. It can help pay off debt, elevate your lifestyle or save for something like launching a business or buying a house.
According to Self magazine, around 45 percent of Americans currently have a side hustle, with many more planning to start one in the future. They are particularly common in the creative fields since many people are looking for ways to pursue their skills and passions in business.
If you have creative or artistic skills and a willingness to market yourself to pursue your goals, then starting a business in the summer can be a great time to finally do it. We chatted with some entrepreneurs about the best summer business ideas for creatives looking for more financial freedom and how they can use their skills to start a side hustle.
8 Summer Business Ideas
No matter where your creative skills or passions lie, here are eight summer business ideas to get your own side hustle off the ground.
1. Renting Holiday Properties
One of the most appealing summer business ideas is earning money by renting holiday homes to travelers and vacation seekers. Summer is the most popular time for families and young people looking to enjoy the warmer weather and explore somewhere new. “If you reside in a city where people frequently vacation or near a beach, you may start a house rental business,” says Lattice Hudson, founder of Lattice & Co.
There are a couple of different ways you could approach renting vacation properties. The first and most obvious is renting out your own home. Although, this may not work for everyone if you don’t have somewhere else to reside in the meantime. However, if you frequently go away during summer yourself, this can be a great way to subsidize some of your own travels.
A second option is renting out other people’s properties and taking a commission for your work. “If you are assisting people in renting out their properties, you must settle on a commission that is reasonable for you,” suggests Hudson. Depending on how much organizing and communication you need to do, you can come to an agreed commission while helping travelers find their perfect holiday home.
2. Healthy Meal Services
Summer is also a time when people are looking to stay in shape and eat better. With the sun shining and warmer days ahead, people are generally more likely to be motivated to live a healthier lifestyle. If you are someone who is an enthusiastic cook and enjoys sharing your healthy meals with others, you can start a meal service or healthy food business.
“You may start a healthy packed lunch or smoothie company to motivate others to live their best lifestyles,” suggests Hudson. Whatever your speciality is in the kitchen, you could monetize it as a convenient and healthy alternative for people who live busy lives.
If you utilize social media, then Hudson says, “You may even go so far as to provide your followers with frequent low fat or low cholesterol suggestions, while urging them to eat your delicious meals.” In order to reach the right audience, engaging with online followers and communities would be key.
3. Artist of Caricatures or Portraits
If you’re an artist, then there are some fun opportunities for summer business ideas for under $500. Those with incredibly talented portrait or caricature skills can certainly market themselves for summer events, which Hudson suggests could include “children’s birthday parties, local fairs, summer carnivals or music festivals.” However, you’d have to be confident in your artistry and comfortable talking with people to do this regularly.
Another option is to offer portrait art as an online business. If you have digital art skills, then you could offer to draw portraits or caricatures of people as a gift in which you send a digital form of the artwork. This is something you can easily do in your own time and from anywhere, which may better suit your summer plans. According to a recent survey by Self magazine, selling crafts and designs accounts for nearly 8 percent of side hustle work.
Blogging is one of the most popular side hustles for creatives. Blogging is a business and can be quite lucrative if you work hard at it. It can be a fun and rewarding way to pursue many different passions and skills, including writing, photography, graphic design or illustrating.
“There are many methods for making money through blogging, such as affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, ads, etc.,” explains Tara Reid, an entrepreneur and freelance marketer. However, it can take time and you may not see results by the end of the summer. According to the same survey by Self, the most common amount of time people spend on their side hustles was 5-10 hours per week, but this will likely be much more for bloggers.
You must build a dedicated readership and following by posting regularly, and aim to rank high on Google with search engine optimization at the same time. While it can be a labor of love, if you stick to it, blogging can be a great side hustle to earn passive income from and pursue your creative talents.
5. Develop and Sell an Online Course
“While it’s true that school’s out for the summer, many corporate workers and even students crave learning experiences in areas outside their regular field,” says Brian Nagele, CEO of Restaurant Clicks. The summer months can be a great time for people looking to get ahead of the curve or build on new skills, which means there is an opening for experts in their field to offer educational resources.
“Many of the course seekers are looking for your expertise to start their own side businesses in copywriting, graphic design, content creation and the like,” says Nagele. You can easily create paid online courses either through your own platform or popular ones like Udemy or Coursera. Once you create the course, it can then become a source of passive income with only occasional updating required. This is perfect if you love sharing your experience and expertise in a particular field or niche.
6. Coaching and Mentoring
Along the same lines as developing an online course, you can also offer coaching and mentoring services to professionals or students looking to grow in their field. As mentioned, summer offers people time to invest in their skills and improve their confidence before returning from vacation and hitting the ground running.
However, to build a reputation as a valuable coach or mentor, you must be known as being an expert in your field. “Positioning yourself as an authority in your niche now will build the momentum and trust factor needed to attract leads and convert them into paying clients or students by summer,” says Nagele.
It’s imperative that you have plenty of experience under your belt, which allows you to help and guide others through an area or field you know well. It might take time to gain a good reputation as a coach or mentor, but the long-term benefits can be huge if you regularly find people coming to you for advice.
7. Social Media Manager
While social media management is a largely in-demand profession all year round, many brands and businesses ramp up marketing campaigns during the summer months. If you consider yourself adept at the various platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and Facebook and are passionate about putting together content, you can offer a range of services to businesses over the summer.
This might include running marketing campaigns, social media ads and posting on their social media pages. However, you’ll likely need to demonstrate a track record of improving social media stats and engagement rates to show your value to brands, but this could be as simple as using your own accounts as examples.
If you’re especially good at creating content but not necessarily a social media whizz, then you can still offer social media content to businesses. You could capture photo or video content for social channels or even create pins for Pinterest or templates to be used for blogs or websites. The social media world has plenty of opportunities for creatives.
8. Freelance in Your Creative Niche
While a very generalized summer business idea, freelancing does open doors to monetize almost any skill or passion. It’s particularly popular in the creative industries because many of the skills are required by businesses for just short-term or per-project basis. This means that you can offer almost any creative service or skill that businesses might need for a particular project or operation.
Some of the popular freelance professions are:
Social media manager
While being an expert or professional in your niche can help, it’s not a requirement. According to surveys done by Side Hustle Nation, freelancing is the second most popular side hustle. Many freelancers or self-employed creatives don’t have qualifications in their fields but have simply developed their skills along the way. As long as you’re competent at marketing yourself and willing to get in front of businesses, you can grow a freelancing side hustle.
Which Summer Business Ideas Should You Pick?
If you’re a creative person looking for more financial freedom, starting a small business or side gig can be an attractive option, and you can find plenty more ideas for starting a side hustle. Summer presents a great opportunity to put yourself out there and pursue your passions and talents in various ways. Whether you start a blog, develop an online course or rent out holiday properties in your hometown, it will all depend on what skills you have and what you love doing the most.
While you might be motivated by the financial rewards initially, you’ll also want to enjoy putting in all the hard work to get your business off the ground over the summer. If you play to your strengths and market yourself well, any of these summer business ideas could work for you. Incfile can help you launch your business, whether it's a side hustle, full-time freelancing or establishing an LLC for $0 + state fee.
Jenna Scatena is a writer and content strategist with a love for stories that have never been told before. More than a decade of working with prominent magazines and brands informs her approach to impactful storytelling. Her stories have reached more than 30 million readers, won multiple awards and been anthologized in books. Jenna's work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, Vogue, Marie Claire, The San Francisco, BBC and The Atlantic. She's the founder of the editorial consultancy, Lede Studio.