Learning a niche skill for fun and profit

What simple skills can be acquired to create a side stream of income?

I remember several years ago there were people who would “mod” an Xbox for $50. Other basic examples:

  1. Tax preparation
  2. Phone screen repair
  3. Art framing/matting

Fred Garvin?

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Window screen repair.

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locksmithing / picking / drilling out locks. They go from hard to easy in that order, and are an easy way to make some serious money. The downside is you never know if / when you will get a call.

Chair caning!


Mobile Notary

Depending on state, this is more or less complex.

Complex in Louisiana, but they can charge more for it. Thought about trying it.

Computer repair / service work. There are a number of companies that use contractors as needed. If one is motivated and has free time, you can pick up a decent amount of side work. Generally, it is easy work.

I did this for a number of years but it has been a few years for me. There still seems to be good opportunities out there.

Any big names? Or are you better off calling around to local shops to see if they have any overflow business?

Local shops is one option. Putting an ad out locally is another.

There are also a number of contractor networks. The one I am familiar with and feel comfortable recommending is called OnForce (onforce.com). They were bought at least once but still operate the same as far as I know.

Good luck!

If you’re mechanically inclined, bike repair can be fairly profitable as long as you have the tools. I did small engine repair years and years ago (started in my teens). Now, people seem to just throw things out and get new ones (at least in my neck of the woods), but it can be pretty satisfying - again, if you like hands-on work.

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Personal Finance Coach