Recycling pickup: Most homeowners have pick-up bins for standard recyclables like paper, glass and plastic, but they often don't make the effort to properly recycle electronics and batteries, which can be extremely harmful to the environment when left in landfills. Offer to pick up all the e-waste that's been collecting in their garages — old televisions, broken laptops, defunct cellphones — and bring them to your local electronic recycling facility. Charge per item, by weight, or a flat fee plus travel to and from the location.
Software trainer: If you're proficient in a highly specialized software, you can get paid to pass your knowledge on to amateurs and professionals looking to expand their skill sets. Technical manuals are available for programs like QuickBooks and Final Cut Pro, but these are often expensive and difficult for the average user to get through. Schedule small group workshops or private sessions, and charge by the hour for a full tutorial of the program. The best part about this gig is that it can be done part time.
Healthcare Consulting: The combination of aging baby boomers and the upcoming changes of the Affordable Care Act means that the healthcare industry will rapidly continue to expand. As an independent healthcare consultant, you can offer management and data analysis for organizations like hospitals, labs and therapist offices to help implement solutions to improve efficiency and/or save money. This is a great opportunity to put that marketing or economics degree to use.
Food Truck: We included this on our list of business ideas for foodies, and for good reason: a December 2012 study by Intuit and Emergent Research predicted that revenue from the food truck industry will reach $2.7 billion by 2017. A truck is a much less expensive investment than a brick-and-mortar restaurant and, according to Mobi Munch founder Josh Tang, the failure rate for food trucks is just 10 to 20 percent (as opposed to 60 to 90 percent for restaurants). With the right equipment and some great recipes, you can have your mobile eatery up and running in no time.
Freelancing: Companies are increasingly turning to freelance and contract workers to fill the skill gaps in their staff. It's not hard to imagine that you could build a whole company around providing freelance services of one sort or another. According to Freelancer.com, which lists more than a million freelance projects on its site, the most in-demand freelance services are: data entry, academic writing, Excel projects, data processing, Web search and Facebook-based jobs. Hourly rates start at $30 an hour and stretch into the hundreds.
Mobile consulting: It's been said before, but it bears repeating: mobile is now a non-negotiable for almost any business. Finding ways to go mobile is a challenge for many business owners. If your company can provide affordable mobile solutions to businesses that need them you'll find mobile consulting a rich business opportunity.
According to Jamie Turner, founder of a company called "The 60-Second Marketer," there will be ongoing need for mobile assistance.
"Research from the 60-Second Marketer indicates that there are more people on the planet who own a mobile device than who own a toothbrush," said Turner, who co-authored the new book "Go Mobile" (Wiley, January 2012) with Jeanne Hopkins. "So it's safe to say that your prospects are using mobile. If you're in business, it's your job to be where your prospects are. Your prospects are in mobile right now."
Translator: There's no denying the global marketplace is growing and reaching beyond the borders of China and Mexico. All that cross-cultural communication is creating a growing need for translators, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition. It predicts a greater demand for interpreters and translators resulting from the broadening of international ties and growth in the number of non-English speakers in the United States will result in a projected 22 percent increase in the number individuals employed in this profession.
This translates into a big business opportunity for entrepreneurs who can bring foreign-language speakers together with businesses in need.
Welcome To The...