Good News for Home-Based Entrepreneurs
By Christopher J. Bachler
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects tremendous growth for many U.S. industries in its list of 50 fast-growing industries. Between the years 2008 and 2018, the Bureau projects growth rates ranging from 20 percent to 83 percent for these industries. The good news for home-based entrepreneurs is that many of these growth industries are businesses that can be operated from home.
(See “Top 50 Fastest-Growing Industries” at http://www.careerinfonet.org for more details).
Following are a list of 21 fast-growth industries that might appeal to home business operators. Included is the projected growth rate expected by the year 2018.
1. MANAGEMENT, SCIENTIFIC, & TECHNICAL CONSULTING SERVICES 83%
Those with such specialized knowledge should be in high demand for at least the coming decade! Lots of businesses need help with financial planning, management, marketing, recordkeeping, office planning, human resources, administrative improvements, and more. Examine the needs of your target market and see what provable expertise you have that will fill that void. You’ll need a solid, up-to-date understanding of one or more business disciplines that are in demand, credentials to prove your expertise, and a clear plan that shows your clients specifically how you will help them. They’re not just paying for ideas — they need results that pay off!
2. SERVICES FOR ELDERLY AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES 74%
The assisted living industry is as hot as healthcare. Catering to elderly or disabled persons who want to remain in their homes, these services are often subsidized by states that would rather subsidize economical home care than costly institutional care. Well-to-do elderly or disabled folks may also personally pay reliable assistants. Hours may be flexible, and pay will depend on skill levels and client needs. Determine training and credentials requirements through relevant state and county agencies. The best way to learn about the nature of this work, professional certifications and laws, would be by temporarily working for a home care service agency.
3. DATA PROCESSING, HOSTING, AND RELATED SERVICES 53%
Every business needs the Internet these days. With so many people using the Net to research, shop and do financial transactions, any business operation would be hobbled without easy access. But few businesspeople are technology enthusiasts; nor do they want to spend time managing a website while they have a business to run. Those who can provide such services for reasonable rates will be warmly embraced by their clientele. You’ll need good website management skills, an understanding of the client’s target market, and a talent for making the site both pleasant and easy to navigate.
4. HOME HEALTH CARE SERVICES 46%
Though similar to homecare services in some ways, home healthcare services require higher qualifications for those who will treat sick or even terminally ill patients. But not all workers may need to be nurses, physical therapists, dieticians, or social workers since there’s also room for some assistants with lesser skills. The best way to break in would be by gaining experience and necessary credentials while working for established healthcare providers in this field. Home-based entrepreneurs might also do well by working in conjunction with appropriate agencies, or by providing products or services that cater to these agencies or their clients.
5. SPECIALIZED DESIGN SERVICES 46%
This promising category includes such services as interior or industrial designers, graphic designers, and related “artsy” fields. Interior and industrial designers clients not only need skilled help in improving the ambiance of their homes or businesses, but they may also need help in creating more spacious, economical and practical environments for their needs. Designers need solid background in these professions, and up-to-date knowledge of building codes and other pertinent laws. On the plus side, overhead need not be very high. I have known interior and graphic designers who operated quite economically and comfortably from their homes.
6. COMPUTER SYSTEMS DESIGN / RELATED SERVICES 45%
This field requires technical skills pertaining to such things as computer programming, networking, systems design, repairs, user training, and ongoing support services. Most potential customers may not even know what hardware and software are best suited for their needs. What they play with at home won’t necessarily help them at the office. Few computer users can master so much, let alone keep up with the constant changes in information technology. Technically proficient computer professionals who stay ahead of the information curve and deliver timely and reasonably-priced service will find plenty of grateful clients.
7. LESSORS of NONFINANCIAL INTANGIBLE ASSETS 34%
Definitely a business that requires special knowledge, and maybe even a legal background, this is a business that still might be operated from home. Included in this category are persons or organizations that assign rights to utilize such assets as trademarks, patents, brand names, franchise, or licensing agreements. Participants in this industry are typically owners of the assets that are leased or sold. But shrewd home-based operators might plug into this field by providing useful business services to these lessors. Learn more by reviewing the legal and business basics involved with the commercial exchanges and uses of such assets.
8. PERSONAL CARE SERVICES 32%
Barbers, beauty salons, nail salons, and diet and weight reducing centers are covered here. But don’t these services require dedicated shops in specially zoned locations? Not necessarily. Many communities permit these and similar personal care services to operate out of homes. Just as many doctors, dentists, and funeral directors have business offices attached to their homes, personal care providers might do the same. You’ll need to consult your community to find out what zoning regulations apply. You’ll also need to consider such important details as adequate parking, waste disposal, accommodations for delivery services, and the cost of home modifications.
9. FACILITIES SUPPORT SERVICES 31%
Wherever there’s a business establishment, there’s an opportunity to provide such essential facilities support services as cleaning or maintenance work, security assistance, trash disposal, laundry services, and much more. Some businesses handle these needs themselves. But tremendous numbers either farm them out or count on building management companies to provide them. Turnover of these services, however, is not infrequent since business managers or their employees are often unhappy with the support services they get. Here’s where an ambitious home-based entrepreneur with a lean overhead can find his or her opportunity to move in.
10. OTHER INFORMATION SERVICES 31%
This listing includes news syndicates, libraries and archives, and other information services. While the first two categories can be ruled out for home businesspeople, the third is wide open. In this “Information Age,” what do people need more than information? Notice the number of research services that are in business and the multitude of websites that offer inducements in exchange for information. With a good computer, a talent for searching the Internet, and knowledge of where to find the things that people want to know, you can run a successful information retrieval service from a small room in your home!
11. SOFTWARE PUBLISHERS 30%
Those who can identify needs for new software products and have the skills to create it may find tremendous markets for their innovations. Bill Gates launched his software empire from home. And countless specialized software products, created in homes, fill the marketplace. I knew a man who created a software product for ambulance companies from his home in 1989, and sold the product for years. He got the idea while working for an ambulance company, taught himself to write software, and turned his innovation into a successful, low-overhead home-based business. Search online to see what specialized software is already available.
12. PLUMBING, HEATING, / AIR-CONDITIONING CONTRACTORS 29%
Demand for these skills continues to grow due to a growing population and a never-ending appetite for central air, garbage disposals, storage freezers, dehumidifiers, sprinkler systems, and more. Along with this growing demand, independent operators who can answer calls on a flexible basis and undercut the competition will enjoy a big advantage. Can you work from home? Many do. (Of course, that depends on local codes). But plumbing licenses are required. A thorough understanding of local building codes and health regulations is also necessary. You’ll also need a van or truck, and adequate storage space for equipment.
13. INDEPENDENT ARTISTS, WRITERS, and PERFORMERS 29%
If you can write, draw, design, or perform, there’s a growing demand for you. None of these services require much overhead, or even much home workspace. Ad agencies and publishers, for instance, have been farming out editorial and graphics assignments for a long time, often to home-based professionals. Can businesses replace these creative types with computer technology? Even the most sophisticated software is no better than the person who works with it. Besides, creative work requires a creative human mind. Information about markets and more can be found in reference books at most major bookstores.
14. LANDSCAPING SERVICES 27%
Look around and you’ll notice that almost everyone is using landscapers these days, even for the simplest gardening work. One reason is because so many people have less time to work on the house, and must spend more time earning the money to pay for these things. A popular demand for quality landscaping for both residences and businesses is another reason. That’s why there are now so many of these small trailer-pulling landscaper’s trucks on the road. Equipment is relatively inexpensive, help is fairly cheap and abundant, and it’s an easy business to run from home.
15. WHOLESALE ELECTRONIC MARKETS, AGENTS / BROKERS 27%
I knew a guy who independently sold wholesale electronic equipment as a sideline while he was still in high school! Of course, he operated out of his home and automobile. Today’s agents and brokers enjoy an even greater advantage since there’s so much more electronic stuff available, and — thanks to cheap imports — prices are also relatively low. Add to that the never-ending wave of neat new gadgets that come along, and it’s easy to see why this is a boom industry. But in today’s market, the dealer should be ready and willing to do lots of business via the Internet.
16. VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION SERVICES 25%
Providing career guidance or job training to the unemployed — or even helping them find work — doesn’t necessarily require a separate “bricks and mortar” business location. Much depends on your clientele, your scale of operations, and the services you offer. You might, for instance, work in conjunction with larger established vocational rehabilitation services. You might also contract work with any number of “community services” organizations through which you can help many different people at the same time. As long as people need to work, there will be a huge demand for people who can help them get on the right path.
17. SECURITY SYSTEMS SERVICES 24%
Hidden cameras, alarms, automatic lights, password or magnetic card-protected access systems, and other security devices seem to be almost everywhere, even in private homes. Add to that the security systems designed to prevent fires, gas leaks, or even plumbing or electrical malfunctions, and you’ll see why the demand for people who can sell, install, maintain, and monitor these products is so great. Home-based entrepreneurs who can maintain low overhead and pass those cost advantages on to their customers enjoy a special advantage. While a broad knowledge of this very broad field is desirable, many might do well by specializing in one particular area.
18. ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS / WIRING INSTALLATION CONTRACTORS 23%
Given the number of electronic devices that we use today, is it surprising that the demand for electrical and wiring installation contractors continues to grow? Included in this classification are contractors who will install, add, alter, maintain, or repair electrical equipment. The current lull in new construction is a setback, of course. But government projections still indicate a sharp upturn in this field in the coming years, largely because of the vast amount of electrical devices and infrastructure that already exists. In addition, a fresh upturn in construction is likely to begin long before 2018. Here’s another business that can be run from home.
19. WASTE COLLECTION 22%
There’s plenty of waste, including the bio-medical kind, solid, chemical, or other unsanitary stuff. Everyone wants to get rid of it; few want to deal with it. That’s why this can be a promising business for the right kind of entrepreneur. Much is already handled by large companies. But some, such as hauling junk or other waste, can be a ripe field for any home operator. Study your market, and know how and where to properly dispose of stuff. You can serve customers directly, or work with larger hauling or disposal services that need extra help every now and then.
20. ACCOUNTING, TAX PREPARATION, & BOOKKEEPING/PAYROLL SERVICES 21%
Consider how many people hate tracking minute details and working with figures. Besides boring, it’s over the heads of lots of businesspeople who would rather do what they do best. But accounting, bookkeeping, tax preparations, and payroll services need to be done. That’s why experienced professionals can look forward to a healthy market for years to come. But when it comes to prices, home-based services should have a considerable advantage over competitors who have to maintain offices and staff. Given the importance of this work, however, this is only suited for fully accredited and experienced professionals.
21. OFFICE ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES 20%
Temporary service providers have done well because they provide high demand help as needed for a relatively low cost. And one of their staple services is office workers! There’s always a need somewhere. But those needs don’t always justify full-time employees. That’s why office administrative services are projected to grow 20 percent in the next few years. Included in this group is just about every type of service, from recordkeeping to billing, physical distribution, and so on. Many of these services can be done from your home. If not, you can arrange to go to your client’s office as needed. HBM
Christopher J. Bachler is a 20+-year veteran business writer and editor, based in Drexel Hill, PA.