There are a lot of opportunities for new businesses to start during that time. What are the best businesses to start during a recession?
Economic downturns around the world happen from time to time. When that happens, markets restructure and fix mistakes from prior malinvestments. When a recession hits, some businesses do well, while others do poorly.
In this article, I’ll go over some businesses that you can do during difficult economic times. As well as explaining some historical context, I’ll recommend which path to take.
UPDATED: SEPTEMBER 6, 2023
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- Delivery Services
- Home Repair Services
- Health Care Services
- Cleaning Services
- Lawn Maintenance & Snow Removal
- Bookkeeping & Accounting
- How To Determine Which One Is Best To Start?
- My Top Recommendation
- Final Words
Businesses that started during a recession
It’s good to keep in mind that some of the most successful businesses started during recessions. The last two recessions still saw new businesses get started.
During the Great Recession between 2007-2009, companies such as Airbnb and Uber came about. Both of them are now household names and have become popular services over the last decade.
Other companies came up during that recession as well.
I bring these points up because no matter how the global economy is doing, there will always be opportunities to start new businesses. Despite bad economic times, challenges can always lead to success.
The rise of delivery services has grown over the years. It’s amazing to think that you can get anything delivered to your home these days.
As consumers shopped online and went contactless throughout 2020, delivery services increased. So it presented a lot of opportunities for people to shop for others who wanted to stay home.
Even if you’re not able to start your own service, there are places you can work as a delivery driver. You can deliver for UberEats, GrubHub, DoorDash, or similar services as well.
For grocery delivery, you have names such as Instacart and Shipt, where you can set your own hours. It’s nice to be flexible with your schedule when you work as a delivery driver.
Home repair services
Regardless, there will always be a need for things to be fixed at home. Many stuff breaks in houses, and homeowners may prefer someone else to handle it instead.
For instance, if you happen to be employed as a plumber, you start your own plumbing business. By that, I mean you can do consulting part-time at night or on weekends.
It may be on the side, but it’s a great way to start a plumbing business if you don’t want to work for an employer. The same thing applies if you’re an HVAC technician or a carpenter.
Health care services
Health care is another area where there will always be needs. If you happen to work as a doctor or a certified nursing assistant (CNA), it’s possible to do some consulting work on your own.
For example, you can do home health care services if people prefer to get care at their house. It’s very common for chronically ill patients, or for the elderly.
In addition, some people prefer to receive care at home or via virtual care. It’s not cheap going to the doctor’s office to get care, so there are other alternatives to look into as well.
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Tutoring will always be in demand, as many students want to get help with their homework. If you enjoy teaching and helping others, being a tutor can be a very rewarding experience.
It’s easier today than ever to do tutoring, as most of it is online. It’s why places such as Zoom have been a great resource to do virtual sessions.
Some people prefer to have their houses cleaned by professionals. Especially if they live in a big house (or have a big family to take care of), it can be a lot to juggle.
If you don’t mind deep cleaning (i.e. cleaning toilets, washing floors, dusting), then it may be a good idea to start your own cleaning business. That may be something a lot of people hate doing; however, if you don’t mind doing it, consider that another business opportunity as well.
Lawn maintenance & snow removal
If you love working outdoors, mowing people’s lawns can be another option for work. Some people may not want to mow their lawn, so they’ll opt for someone else to do it.
In spite of the fact that it is seasonal work, you can still earn a lot of money from spring to fall. Depending on how many clients you have, it can be a great business to operate.
Also the same applies to shoveling snow. You can shovel or snow blow people’s driveways during the wintertime.
My neighbor’s business
Among my parents’ neighbors, there is a family whose children mow lawns professionally. Over the last few years, their children mow other people’s lawns in the subdivision.
They started their own lawn-mowing business as teenagers, and they’ve done very well. What I like about that is it teaches them how to manage business and finances, which I think that’s so important to learn at a young age.
Not only that, but they’ve been able to provide valuable services. Their neighbors’ lawns look nice after they mow them, yet they charge much less than a professional lawn-mowing service.
Bookkeeping and accounting
There will always be a need for accounting services. Especially when it comes to filing taxes, people will need help filing that paperwork.
If you love working with numbers and managing books, that’s another area to look into as well. Even if you’re a certified public accountant (CPA), you can do some consulting work on the side.
Similar to the lawn-mowing business, you can charge people a lot less than if they were to go to a professional accounting service. You can help them by providing your own expertise when it comes to filing taxes.
If you want to work on a variety of projects, going down the freelancing route may be a good option. The nice part about freelancing is you get to use your own specialized skills to provide for others.
So if you’re a graphic designer, that’s a profession that’s in high demand and can pay you very well. Doing it as a freelancer can pay you very well while doing it on your own schedule.
Or even if it’s other projects, such as writing articles or editing videos, those are common freelance work options. There are a lot of freelance writers out there or those who can make professional-looking videos.
Depending on how many clients you have, it’s possible to turn freelancing into a full-scale business. Freelancing isn’t just something that can be done part-time, as many people make it their primary source of income.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s basically selling your own merchandise online. You can make customized t-shirts or coffee mugs, and post them on an eCommerce website.
There are other places you can sell your items if you don’t want to have your own online store. Among the most popular sites where print items can be sold are Amazon, eBay, and Etsy.
There are many directions you can go into print-on-demand. I won’t discuss too much in this post, but it’s one option where I know many people have done very well.
Blogging (i.e. Writing reviews)
Believe it or not, blogging is still an excellent option to start an online business. Some people may think blogging is a thing of the past.
For example, some people may say “Blogging is dead. It worked well back in 2005, but not in 2020.” However, it is still effective when done appropriately today.
By starting a blog, you can choose to write about any topic that interests you. You write informational posts about that topic, along with writing review posts on a product or service.
Earning income can be done through affiliate marketing or sponsorships. In the long run, you can make much money if you choose the right path.
The best part about blogging is you don’t need to be a professional writer. In fact, writing is a skill that can come naturally as you practice more of it.
So don’t doubt yourself when it comes to whether you’re a good writer or not.
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Vlogging (i.e. Youtube videos)
Video content has grown exponentially over the years. When it comes to learning about a product or service, or any other topic, more and more people prefer watching videos.
That’s where vlogging comes in, and the best place to make videos is YouTube. It’s by far the largest video-sharing platform in the world, and the best source to find videos on any topic.
So if you’re that person who likes getting on camera (or you prefer talking over writing), vlogging can be a great starting point.
It doesn’t take a lot of equipment to begin making videos – just a few basics and you’re ready to go. With a smartphone and an inexpensive lapel microphone, you can start making videos today.
Similar to blogging, you can make videos doing something that interests you, or breaking down a product or service. Even if you don’t have a camera, it’s to make faceless videos that can convert well.
Whatever you do, learning video editing is a skill that takes time and effort to master well. But if you’re willing to take that initiative, those skills can pay off later down the road.
How to determine which one is best to start?
When it comes to deciding which one is better to start out with, there are some things to consider. They include the following:
- Is it something that will always be needed (or in demand)?
- Is it something that can do well in good and bad economic times?
- Is it something that can do well all year long? (i.e. evergreen topics)
- Is it something that can pay off dividends in the long run (i.e. It will keep making income in the years to come)
What I think is more important when choosing is thinking about the long-term implications. Can the business do well even in the years to follow?
When people start a business, they often think about short-term outcomes. But in fact, it’s more about the long-term picture that should be looked into as well.
My top recommendation
Of all the options that were discussed earlier, I prefer going the online business route. So it’s a tie between blogging and making videos.
With a blog (niche website) or YouTube channel, there’s a lot of potentials to scale it into a full-time business. Sure, it may take time and effort to see the desired results, but the long-term outcome can look promising.
Share your knowledge as a trustful expert
Not only that, but it’s something that can remain relevant regardless of the times we live in. Even if you’re a CPA, you can start a blog or YouTube channel educating people on accounting and taxes.
For example, some of your content ideas can be:
- 5 Things To Look Out For When Choosing An Accounting Service
- How Tax Service Companies Charge You More Than Usual
- Top 10 Lessons I’ve Learned As A Certified Public Accountant
Let’s go back to the example of mowing lawns. If you’re someone who’s willing to share your knowledge in that area, some content ideas can include:
- Why You Shouldn’t Mow Your Lawn Every Week?
- What Is The 1/3 Rule In Lawn Mowing?
- How Short Should I Cut My Grass The First Time?
So even if you don’t do your own consulting services, you can still go the informational route of building a business. Provide useful content your audience will appreciate, and you’ll build trust and credibility.
Doing it online can present many opportunities ahead. If you do it the right way, it can be very rewarding and lucrative over time.
The businesses laid out earlier are all excellent choices. Even if we’re living in difficult economic times, these businesses will always have a need in the marketplace.
Whichever one you choose, it’s possible to have a business that can do very well during a recession.
But overall, I recommend going the online route of business. There’s far much more potential for business growth and making income, as you can reach more people around the world.
Interested in learning more about the path I’m taking?
If you want to learn more about going down that path, I’m happy to show you how I’m doing it. The way I currently grow my business is my favorite approach.
Sign up today to try out your free starter account. From there, the ball is in your hands whether to move forward with it.
Your Turn: Which business do you prefer to start during a recession?
I would like to get your thoughts on this topic. What do you think about the list that we discussed earlier?
Which business are you interested in starting? Are you currently doing one of these ideas?
If so, how are you doing? Have you had success, or are you struggling right now? What can be improved about what you’re working on?
Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below. I look forward to reading your responses, and I’ll gladly respond promptly.
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Eric is the owner and chief editor of notimekillers.com. He takes great pride in helping people manage their time and grow their businesses. Eric is a firm believer in financial and time freedom, as he believes in financial independence and taking ownership of your time. “Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He enjoys going for long walks outdoors while doing in-home workout videos every week. You can also connect with Eric via LinkedIn.