Striking out on your own while a recession is taking place? These 10 opportunities may ignite or rekindle your self-employed hopes and help you discover what opportunities are out there.

Yes, businesses are closing, jobs are being cut, capital is drying up, and the market is becoming more unstable. We’re finding ourselves sitting at the cusp of a long-anticipated recession here in the US, as many now find themselves out of work – and with ample extra time to become newly self-employed entrepreneurs. If your financial situation is stable and you have the right skills, you may be surprised to know that it can be advantageous to start a business during this difficult economic time — if it’s the right type of business.

The undeniable truth is that recessions create problems – and an entirely new set of consumer needs. Being insightful enough to accurately sense a changing market and new customer needs is where entrepreneurs thrive. Although risky, many of the greatest businesses were born out of recessions. Disney was launched during America’s Great Depression, as people needed encouragement and escapism. Microsoft was launched days after the 1975 recession ended, and Facebook became profitable following the Great Financial Crisis of 2009.

If you’ve toyed with the idea of starting your own business, whether out of fun or necessity, Invoice2go is here to support you with a suite of articles, advice, and resources to help you get there. Here are 10 business ideas that have significant potential in our current climate – with low overheads.

1. Virtual Assistance

Almost unknown just a few short years ago, virtual assistants are now providing numerous services to a variety of businesses. This can include things like social media management, scheduling, general administration and even running errands. Becoming a virtual assistant can be ideal during a recession — especially if you secure clients who aren’t strongly affected by the current economic climate. Seek out companies that have been around for years and have survived previous economic downturns. Also, smaller, single-person businesses, like law firms, may welcome having someone like you who has the availability and skills to handle the multitude of small tasks that they currently have been putting off.  

Starting a virtual assistant business is easy. There is little overhead and plenty of opportunity for growth. You may even be able to start a virtual assistant agency and offer additional services beyond your original scope. It is a great area to be creative.

2. Online Coaching and Consulting

More businesses are turning to online platforms as their customers are forced to remain home due to the global pandemic. Many traditional in-person instructors and consultants are shifting their formats to be entirely online – and it’s working. For example, exercise and yoga instructors have shifted to providing online classes to their members who are stuck at home and miss their workouts.  Evolving into an online classroom can apply to just about any traditionally in-person, group session.

Beyond groups, professional one-to-one consultants are also discovering the many benefits of moving their practices online. Everyone from nutritionists to music teachers and financial consultants are now offering regular appointments entirely online. And by promoting their new online services through social media channels like LinkedIn and Instagram, they are finding an entirely new group of clients who may prefer online consultations.

So, if you can do this, now is the perfect time to introduce others to your services – while not requiring them to leave the comfort of their own homes.

3. Tutoring

Education for children and adults alike is a necessary industry which is never put on hold – even when a recession hits the economy. Whether helping grade school, high school, college students, or even adults learning english as a second language, starting a tutoring business will provide a constant flow of income that will rarely be disrupted. Plus, becoming a tutor has very little start-up cost – you can work with your students entirely online. All you need is your knowledge of the subject and an ample internet connection to host video conference sessions with your new pupils.

As you start, consider contacting local school districts or organizations to share your services. Parents often ask teachers for recommendations for outside tutoring for their children, and local organizations (hint: search for them in Facebook Groups) will be a great conduit linking you to the people who need your help.

4. Accounting

No matter what the economy looks like, people will still need to manage their taxes and companies will need to balance their books. Many businesses view accountants as essential members of their team. They turn to them for advice during difficult financial periods, especially during recessions. With today’s technology, most accounting consultations can be made via a video call and invoices conveniently sent using the Invoice2go app. If you have a degree and experience in accounting, this may be an ideal time to help both individuals and businesses. Remain independent and take on as many clients as you’d like.

Also, investigate liability insurance to protect yourself from business risk. There is specific coverage just for accountants that protects from financial losses resulting in claims of negligence, errors, or missions while you are performing your role.

5. Resume Writing

Too often, recessions result in cutbacks and job losses. This means that more people are seeking employment during recessions. It’s hard for one person’s resume to gain attention amongst the clutter of other applicants. Being a professional resume writer helps meet this current and growing need. Your expertise can ensure that candidates are using the necessary keywords and showcasing their skills and experiences. This provides them with the best chances to be noticed and considered for a job. 

Having excellent writing skills and studying the best practices for resume and cover letter writing puts you in an excellent position to become a skilled resume writer. You can easily work from home and arrange calls over Skype or Zoom. Promote your business on professional social media sites like LinkedIn. Of course, do your homework and find out what other professional resume writers are charging. You’ll find that they have several different rates depending on the level of detail and length a person needs. This type of writing is not only needed in our current economic market but can be highly rewarding as you may help someone get back on their feet.

6. Online Discount Stores

During recessions, people become increasingly frugal with their money. Therefore, discount stores become even more popular as people seek the everyday items they need – and even the little luxuries they want – without spending a lot.

You can begin your business entirely online with apps like Etsy or Shopify – without the demands and expenses of a traditional brick-and-mortar location. Also, this approach allows you to start as small as you’d like and increase what you offer as your business grows.

7. Bulk Food Stores with Delivery Services

During times of uncertainty and economic downturn, many people stock up. And they sometimes do this to an extreme level. This is when it pays to own a bulk food store — especially one that provides home delivery. Most often, these are not high-end luxury items that people can live without. Individuals turn to bulk stores for very basic personal household items such as toilet paper, diapers, paper towels, toiletries, and cleaning products. They also look for basic food items like rice, milk, sugar, fruit, and bread.

Keep in mind that overhead for bulk food stores won’t be low. So, it may be a good idea to start with a limited number of basic items and expand your offerings as you grow. Use apps like Shopify and places like Facebook to help develop your initial go-to-market and digital strategies – and to determine when you’re ready to expand.

8. Home Health Care Services

Age and illness know no demographics or borders. Therefore, jobs in health care will always be needed. You don’t need to have attended medical school to help those in need.    

Basing your business out of the home, you can visit your patients in the comfort of their residences and assist them where your qualification fits. Of course, a standard background check and specific licensing are needed for this role but can easily be sourced online. During times of pandemic, this will require special training, but it isn’t an unachievable task.

Starting a home healthcare business is a wonderful way to avoid the large overhead that comes with opening a traditional healthcare practice. All you need are the right qualifications, a safe and reliable vehicle, your supplies, and customers.

9. Auto-Repair Shops

During a recession, luxuries like new cars are less sought after. Most people are on tighter budgets and more inclined to repair what they have instead of replacing with something brand new. This is especially true of items that are relied upon for everyday use, like our cars and delivery vehicles.

So, instead of buying new, individuals seek out reliable mechanics to help with the routine maintenance and occasional repairs that all vehicles require. If you are experienced and skilled in auto repair, any time – even during a recession – is a good time to start a business as a mechanic. Of course, do your planning and homework ahead of time. A lot of your initial expenses will be in tools and supplies. Also, as with any new start-up, consult with an accountant to help you with bookwork and an attorney to cover any liability issues down the road.

10.  Debt Collection Agencies

As more and more people are unable to afford to pay off their debts or credit cards, debt collection will increase in demand during a global recession. To save on overhead, you can run your debt collection business from your home.

You’ll need to complete specific courses to become a professional debt collector. But they aren’t extensive and once done you’re ready to go. While debt collection can be a hard job, it does help those individuals and businesses who are owed money so they can stay in business – especially during times of recession.

Starting a business never comes easily. But if you’re passionate about what you do and your business meets a current and everyday need, your work will be a labor of love and you should put your heart and hard work into it. And remember, a new small business can be created with a very lean team. If you have the desire to become self-employed, it’s important to search for positive opportunities – even during a recession.

The sky’s the limit when starting a new business — even during times of economic downturn. And at Invoice2go, we believe in you – and are here for you.