Ramit Sethi.
Courtesy of Ramit Sethi
  • Ramit Sethi, the author and founder of the website I
    Will Teach You To Be Rich, has helped thousands of people start
    their own businesses.
  • He’s noticed that the entrepreneurs whose businesses
    are successful have companies that solve a problem that people
  • That means there’s an opportunity for anyone looking
    for a business idea: What skills do you have that other people
    don’t? What can other people pay you to teach them or do for

When we think about
earning money on the side
, one of the first barriers that pop
into our head is: How do I pick an idea?

Right off the bat we overwhelm ourselves by thinking about how we
need to come up with the next billion-dollar tech idea like

But I want to help you think about your idea in a different way.
This is something that those who’ve successfully built a
profitable business have in common: They were good at something
that helped solve someone else’s problem.

Yes, your business idea is simply a skill or knowledge that
solves a person’s problem and that they want to pay you
money for.

It sounds like a no-brainer when I tell it to you this way, but
you’d be surprised by how many people get lost in the weeds of
their business idea when it’s been staring at them all this time.
Through my website GrowthLab
and my flagship course, Zero to
, I’ve helped thousands of people start their own
businesses over the past 10-plus years. (Plus, I started my own!)

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So believe me when I tell you that the skills you have can be
worth thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. And yes,
you can start an online business around it.

To show you that no idea is off limits, here are a few real
business ideas:

  • Teaching others to make electronic dance music.
  • Helping college students ace their organic chemistry classes.
  • Becoming better equestrians. (No joke!)
  • Getting back into shape after pregnancy.

These are just a
few successful business ideas
. If you look around,
inspiration is everywhere!

My message to you is simple: Don’t take your skill set and
passions for granted – they could be worth a lot more
than you think.

To get you started, I highly recommend you read my post on

how to start your own business

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to be a world-class
academic or the best or most knowledgeable to make money
using a skill. You simply have to know more than the
person you’re helping.

The truth is that we all have skills we can use to
make more money on the side
. If you’re working a day job, you
are already being paid for a skill. Plus, you have
outside skills and interests that other people want. Think about
all the people who have come to you for your skills and

Has a friend ever asked you for style advice?

Have you helped your neighbor with their computer?

Did you set up your mom’s Facebook page?

We tend to ignore our own skills because they seem so simple to

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It’s called the “curse of knowledge” – we automatically take our
skills and knowledge for granted and assume that everyone knows
what we know.

But other people don’t know – and they’re willing to pay to

To learn more about making money on the side, check out
Sethi’s detailed guide to

finding a business idea »

Ramit Sethi is the author of the New York Times bestseller
Will Teach You To Be Rich
” and writes for more than 1 million
readers on his websites, I Will Teach You To Be
and GrowthLab. His
work on
personal finance
have been featured in The New York Times,
The Wall Street Journal, and Business Insider.



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