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Business, Entrepreneurship, Organization, Productivity, Technology, Work at Home

13 of the Most Scalable Side Business Ideas

Aspiring entrepreneurs often wonder whether they have a good idea. Will that creative startup concept ever evolve into a full-fledged company? Unfortunately, the fact is that not every spark of inspiration will lead to success.

Some people decide to start side businesses to test out the feasibility of their idea, and when their efforts start to gain traction, they invest more time and resources into it. Others pursue side businesses for the sole purpose of generating supplemental income to create more flexibility in their lifestyle. For either scenario, entrepreneurs should consider these scalable business ideas when pursuing a part-time venture.

  1. Public speaking

There is an audience for just about any field of expertise or interest, making public speaking a viable option for almost anyone who wants to share their thoughts. Plus, the commitment can be as much as the speaker wishes, whether it’s one engagement a year or one every month. Local civic groups, clubs, alumni associations, and other organizations are a great place to start practicing and building a reputation.

  1. Podcasting

Similar to public speaking, creating a podcast allows entrepreneurs to reach an audience who shares their same interests. Podcasts are also versatile in that they can succeed with varying volumes of output—whether it’s one podcast per week or one per month. The best podcasts focus on niche subjects; if the discussion topics are too broad or general, it can be hard to find listeners. Once you’ve built an audience, you can start selling advertising space.


  1. Adjunct teaching

Another outlet for sharing knowledge and expertise is in the classroom at a community college, adult education center, any business that provides lessons, or via an online forum. Some positions may require a graduate degree, but instructors are also needed to teach classes on specific skills.

  1. Tutoring

For those interested in working with adults or kids on an individual basis, tutoring is a great way to share knowledge, earn side money, and gain satisfaction. Students of all ages need tutors to help them master any number of subjects and skills, whether it’s playing the piano, preparing for a standardized test, or speaking a foreign language.

  1. Producing stock photos

Amateur photographers looking to take the step into the professional realm might consider stock photos as their entry point. Snap shots at your leisure and then upload them to sites like iStock or ShutterStock. You’ll begin to establish a passive income stream as people pay to use your photos.

stock photo

  1. Catering

Starting a small catering business is another viable option with a low entry barrier. In contrast with opening a restaurant, catering allows for greater flexibility and the ability to keep your day job. In addition, the industry is growing; it’s valued at $70 billion.

  1. Event planning

A side business related to catering is planning parties and events. These typically take place outside of standard office hours, which makes it a great option for part-time work. If you have exceptional organization skills, know the best venues in your town, and are skilled at getting good deals with vendors, you might excel at event planning.

  1. Seasonal decorating

Seasonal decorating is a growing industry, as many people want their homes to look festive for the holidays, but lack the time to take care of the details. Seasonal decorating might include stringing lights, purchasing and trimming the tree, and hanging garlands. If you have craft skills, you might also find success creating handmade holiday decorations like ornaments and wreaths.

winter decoration

  1. Interior decorating

Entrepreneurs with an eye for color, texture, and shape may also want to try their hand at interior decorating. Keeping up with the latest trends in home décor, furniture, and fixtures can put you in high demand among people looking for a beautifully appointed home.

  1. Tailoring

While it may seem like a lost art, the skill of mending and altering clothing is one valued by many people. People often need tailors to make their suits and formal dresses fit properly, as well as simply to hem pants or adjust a sleeve. Those interested in tailoring should own a sewing machine, however. Skilled tailors can also earn money by offering sewing or mending classes.

  1. Landscaping

Entrepreneurs with a knack for gardening and a love of being outdoors might think about going into landscaping on the side. It’s possible to simply focus on mowing lawns, raking leaves, and watering plants to begin with, and then scale up from there by offering more advanced services.

lawn care

  1. App developing

The app market is one of the most saturated out there, yet developers continually find ways to introduce something new. Entrepreneurs with tech skills should consider developing an app as a side project.

  1. Website building

The ability to design websites with quality content and attractive layouts that drive traffic is a high-demand skill. Aspiring web design entrepreneurs can start out small and develop their skills in their free time by creating sites for friends or local organizations. With a portfolio showcasing your work, you can then begin charging for your services.