Being self-employed sounds all nice and romantic until you realise that we are the most financially vulnerable group in this pandemic situation. According to a study by INCEIF (The Global University of Islamic Finance), 71.4% of self-employed have less than one month’s worth of savings.
(Private sector employees aren’t faring much better either – 82.7% have less than 2 months’ of savings.)
The good news is the Economic Stimulus package as announced by the PH government was somewhat useful. I’m sure many of us sighed a big relief upon knowing that we can defer payments for our mortgages, car loans and others (except credit card, which you can restructure), thus freeing up our monthly financial commitments.
I get it. The economy sucks, ringgit price sucks, yada yada.
There’s nothing you can do about the sucky bits, so why complain? Complaining is boring. In the spirit of self-determination, in the spirit of ‘you are the master of your own destiny’, I want to invite you to the beautiful world of supply and demand. If done right, this can make you a lot of money.
How does it work? How will it make you money? It’s exactly four steps.
Identify an area where there is a lot of demand
Make sure there are no/very few competitors
Sell the product/service
Profit $$$ like this dude
Example of a business based on supply and demand
When I was in Standard 2, I sold mini chewing gums to my classmates. The demand was novelty sweets. The supply was foreign sweets I received as presents from someone, and not available in Malaysia.
With a little marketing and ‘free samples’, you bet I filled up my baju kurung pocket with coins real fast. I sold out in one day. My pocket money at the time was 50 cent per day, and I made around RM5 – a lot of money at that time/age!
This is an innocent example, but the principle applies. Many people who want to earn side income in Malaysia would first decide on a product/service to offer, then join an over-saturated, competitive marketplace. How to price your product/services higher if like that?
In this article, I’ve brainstormed and compiled some business ideas that *I think* might do well in Malaysia. To my knowledge, these businesses are not competitive yet, so if you have the skillsets for it, go ahead and do it. I really hope it can generate you good income.
What’s my share? Drop me a little prayer, regardless of your religion – mom’s a teacher, and she said that knowledge passed on is good for the afterlife. I need me some pahala points haha.
Side Income Ideas to Try Out in Malaysia
P/s – I call them side income here, but they can also be part-time jobs or full business ideas.
AirBnB property managers. A lot of Malaysians rent out their properties on AirBnB. Why not start a business to offer services to them? You can offer an all-in-one package for a fee: manage bookings, welcome guests, help out guests if there are problems, clean the property for the next guests, etc.
Internet tutor for adults. Help adults (and by adults here I really mean technologically-challenged people) make email accounts, create social media accounts, open blogs/Tumblr/websites, suggest best websites to visit, etc. I think many elderly people would really enjoy getting this lesson from patient youngsters.
Copywriting for Instagram shops. There is a LOT of Instagram shops (just check the #sayajual hashtag). I bet someone can make a living from offering copywriting services to these shops, so they can improve their business.
Collect and sell recyclables. This might work well for apartments/flats/condominiums because you can get a lot in one shot. Get permission to install recycling bins, then promote recycling via flyers etc. Collect and sell them. Aside from the usual recyclables, you can also collect other ‘junk’ – IT junk, home knick-knacks – and recycle/sell those online.
Be agent/reseller for products/services that can save money. A lot of people are buying smarter in 2017, so the demand for these products/services should be higher. One great example – we need more (good quality) menstrual cup sellers in Malaysia!
Malay translators/proofreaders. Please someone contact the movie industry and offer this service because our Malay subtitles for foreign movies suck.
Spas/massages specifically for Grab drivers. Many people drive Grab for the extra income. Give ’em some love – design spa/massage packages to soothe tired shoulders and over-strained eyes.
Earn commission from helping people sell their shit. Help people to sell their stuff on Mudah, Lelong, Carousell and other selling platforms. Offer pickups, photography, copywriting, listing, answer inquiries, arranging with buyers, and send deliveries. Heck, I want this service.
Be a mover. Best results for those of you with trucks. Contact individual furniture sellers on Mudah, Lelong, Carousell and other selling platforms. Many of them, especially those selling bulky furniture will say ‘self-collect only’, which will usually reduce their buyer pool and takes time to sell. If they put ‘delivery can be arranged for a fee’ or ‘inclusive of delivery’, they can charge higher for the item and/or sell them faster. That’s where you come in.
A website that people can put baju kurung/baju melayu measurements and you sew and deliver to them. They can send the fabric, or you can have some pre-selected fabric options. Related: offer on-demand alteration services at home/office. Related: Service that can create the exact same copy of a well-loved but old piece of clothing.
HALAL CHINESE FOOD. Do you have any IDEA how big the demand for halal Chinese food is in Malaysia??
Chef/Baker specialising in Pinterest/Buzzfeed/YouTube recipes. Send them the link, ask them to make it. I mean, I’ve scrolled my Facebook a few times and saw the recipes and went, ‘yum’ but have no interest in making them myself. Related: Sell frozen cookie dough that people can buy so they can make freshly baked cookies in their homes.
[Your kampung/suburb].com. Put in articles like ‘best place to eat in SS18’, ‘Plumbers in Sentul’, etc. Sell advertisement space on the website to the shops, offer coupons, upload local activities.
Offer tours in your neighbourhood. Food tours. Graffiti tours. Temple tours. Local tourism is booming and it’s fun to explore Malaysian neighbourhoods! If we have more of these, even malls would be boring 🙂
Offer KonMari services. Help people to declutter their shit. Great for natural organisers among you (you know who you are!). Even better if you can take and sell their decluttered stuff!
Bonus: Sell Money Stories book series with no upfront capital. More info here
While I had fun brainstorming, I have to admit that these ideas are mostly in my line of work (writing) and my personal interests (e-commerce, personal finance, organisation porn).
Therefore, the 15 ideas above are mere teasers, just to give you an idea of things that *may* have demand for them. I might be wrong, so take the ideas with a pinch of salt, or test them first. Also, self-employment is no picnic – here’s what I learned about self-employment, after doing it for about a year.
If you are not afraid of analysis paralysis, here are 1000 random business ideas to choose from. Don’t take too long to decide, though, because inaction won’t earn you anything. Most importantly, inaction also won’t make you learn anything.
To check some other side income ideas by Malaysians, check my RTs on Twitter (@surayaror). Do you have any other ideas for businesses, part-time jobs or side income ideas that have high demand nowadays? Please share in the comment section 🙂
Note: To quickly see my writing services and get a quotation, please click here.
Being a freelance writer was not something I planned. Yet, somehow, here I am, making ends meet with nothing more than my laptop, internet access, and some brain power.
I won’t bore you with pros and cons of being a freelancer (yes, I do get to work in my pyjamas), but I do want to talk about the income and expenses side of it. After searching online, I realised there aren’t many resources for Malaysian freelance writers. So I’m making one to share with you.
So if you are a freelance writer in Malaysia, or if you want to become one to make some side income, here are some finance-related information about incomes and expenses that you should know about.