15 Home Business Ideas that Thrive During Tough Times

July 20, 2012 | By | 4 Replies More

15 Home Business Ideas that Thrive During Tough Times

Many people are fearful of starting a business during a recession. Times are tough, and people are curbing their spending, which makes the idea of starting a business in a downturn economy even more daunting.

However, for many families and individuals affected by the recession (whether they lost their homes or their jobs), finding more ways to make a living or supplement income streams is a crucial need right now. Even for those still employed, many are thinking of putting in place a backup plan in case they are laid off from their jobs. Then there are those who have recently graduated from college or about to graduate and are finding it to be quite a challenge to find a job.

As such, starting a home business is a viable option for many. Home-based businesses are great during recession because of little to no overhead costs.

Even during these tough economic times, there are great income opportunities for those who are willing to take the risk. After all, the right time to start a business is when you have a great idea where your product or service benefits customers, recession or not. The right business idea can help you beat the odds and succeed even in a recession.

Here are some business ideas that thrive during an economic downturns and present opportunities for home-based entrepreneurs:

1. Food business

Food is one business that remains strong during a recession. People still need to eat and drink no matter how bad the economy, though many are cutting on dining out and instead are staying at home and cook! People still line up in groceries to get their fresh bread supplies. Brides still need their wedding cakes, and so do children celebrating birthdays. The key is to customize your products to fit in your buyers’ shrinking budget. Sales of chocolates are also up as consumers treat themselves to smaller (and cheaper) indulgences that they can do from the comforts of their homes.

business ideasHowever, do check out your county’s laws regarding cooking and preparing food for commercial purposes from your home kitchen. Food is one of the most regulated businesses and there are restrictions to preparing food for public sale consumption.

For more information on starting a food business, read the following:

2. Financial advisor home business

In times of confusion and fear — shrinking retirement funds, increasing debt, downhill investments, etc — there’s a huge number of people who need guidance on the steps they need to take. Small business owners are looking for advice on how to deal with unexpected financial constraints. Families and individuals may be looking for advice on how to manage their finances given their new budget reality. Investors, particularly retirees, need help in protecting their nest eggs and finding any opportunities in a down market.

3. Home staging

With the real estate hardest hit by the recession, home sellers need all the help they can get to increase the appeal of their properties and find buyers. The real estate market has increasingly turned to home staging experts, who prepares the property for showing from furniture arrangement, landscaping, even removing funky smells in the house. Banks handling foreclosures and real estate agents are in need of home stagers to get their properties sold more quickly. This is one recession resistant home business that interior-decorating aficionados and those with a keen eye for design can seriously consider.

4. Auto Repair and Maintenance

People tend to forego buying new cars when money becomes hard to come by and cheap credit is not as easy to get. Instead, they’re more likely to keep their cars, which entail spending money on car maintenance. As such, there is a big opportunity for this business when the market goes down. An auto repair business has a lot of opportunities in a recession. You can opt to go with an automobile franchise, or find a troubled shop with potential to buy at a bargain price.

5. “Green” Home Businesses

Every industry is turning green, from manufacturing to fashion designing. Helping the environment is starting to seep into the mindset of the consumers, as more and more are turning to products and services that protect the environment. There are huge opportunities in a “green” home business, such as business opportunities offering environment-friendly gardening practices through organic products. Business waste consulting is also a growing field where home based entrepreneurs can advice businesses on how to efficiently deal with waste disposal, trim down their waste disposal costs and realize extraordinary savings.

6. Virtual Assistant

The virtual assistant industry is growing as businesses reduce their costs and outsource some basic functions. A virtual assistant, or VA, is a highly skilled professional who in more ways than one, serve as administrative assistant except the communication and work are all done online or via email. VAs provides administrative support and other specialized services to businesses, entrepreneurs, executives, and others who are unable to hire a full-time employee but need support. This can be a low-cost and recession resistant home business.

7. Eldercare

One reality we all face is that whether the economy is going up or down, we are all going to go old. Services such as adult daycare facilities are still going to be needed. However, if you are targeting the baby boomers market, most of which relies only their retirement funds (that may be shrinking) as their main source of income, this may be the group that will be tightening their belts even more. So niche travel for the active boomers may be hard hit during tough economic times.

8. Online video production

Watching videos on the Web have become much more commonplace. As household budgets shrink, online videos are an excellent source of entertainment for the family, without the cost of going to the movies and eating out. As a result, more Internet users are going to video sharing sites to watch videos of their favorite shows or videos shared by other users. The popularity of online videos is not only good for those who likes to have a good laugh or be informed. Videos now offer moneymaking opportunities to those who love to create them. There are a number of ad-based programs offered by video websites such as Youtube where the video producer can either be paid per view or per click on the ads. There are also sites that pay for the download of the videos. There are also opportunities to get paid to create videos on a commission basis.

9. Cosmetics and little indulgences

Guess what, demand for cosmetics remain strong even when times are tough! Demand for cosmetics seem recession proof as women continue to indulge themselves by buying lipsticks and powders. Ask any woman on the street if they will forego wearing a lipstick and you might get dagger stares everywhere. There’s even an economic indicator for it: the lipstick index.

10. Trading Assistant

In a recession, more and more people are looking to sell some of their unused and unwanted items at home to get some extra cash to pay bills. While many have heard of online auctions such as eBay and classified ad sites as Craigslist, there are those who do not have the time or the knowledge to sell their things online. eBay has a program called eBay Trading Assistant that allows other users to sell items of other people on eBay. Trading assistants photograph the items, write the descriptions, and create the listing on eBay or Craigslist as well as handle all aspects of the sale. They earn a commission based on the sale price of the items they sell.

Read the following articles:

15 Home Business Ideas that Thrive During Tough Times

11. Bargain hunting and coupon websites and blogs

These are businesses that are most needed during a recession, yet will still generate strong demand even when times get better. An example of this type of business is bargain hunting, helping people find deals, coupons and discounts. Whether good times or bad, people want to save and get the best deals, but more so when everything is tight. These sites are typically monetized through advertising.

12. Blogs monetized by ads

One low-cost way of earning money from home is by starting a blog and monetizing it via advertising. Blogs, or web blogs, are commentaries, opinions or information that uses a dated log format. The key to a successful blog is to write about topics where advertisers abound, and those are usually topics that bring in visitors looking for ways to spend money. Instead of writing about personal musings, the commercially successful blogs are those that are able to generate a wide audience, and depending on the advertising programs implemented, with users that are responsive to ads. Read How to Make Money from Blogs

13. Buy into a home-based franchise

There are a number of franchises that are recession resistant and can be started at home. It is significantly riskier to start an unproven business from scratch as compared to starting a well-known franchise. As the economy tightens, more and more families require a dual income, which means there’s a greater need for childcare and education services. Environmentally friendly franchises are also big businesses. Check out our Directory of Home-Based Franchises

14. Direct sales

The direct-sales businesses have seen their sales force increase as recession depends and unemployment soars. Direct selling have become a great money making alternative for those who have lost their jobs, found their nest eggs dwindle and who want the opportunity to work from home. Home-based representatives are much in-demand to sell anything from vitamins to cosmetics from Mary Kay or Avon. Other independent contractors sell goods or services primarily through parties, demonstrations in someone’s home and one-on-one interactions

15. Home-Based Tutoring Business

Even with a recession, education and learning are still high on the priorities of parents everywhere. Regardless of their financial situation, parents want their children to learn and succeed in school and will be willing to hire a tutor if necessary. There is also huge demand for learning other skills as well targeting the adult market. As the job market tightens and unemployment rises, more and more are going back to school, whether taking online classes or seeking specialized training in various fields. There are opportunities for education-based businesses.

Recommended Books on Home Business Ideas:


Isabel Isidro

Isabel Isidro is the co-founder of PowerHomeBiz.com. A mom of three boys, avid vintage postcard collector, frustrated scrapbooker, she also manages Women Home Business, Starting Up Tips and Learning from Big Boys. Connect with her in Google +.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Susan Bowman says:

    I like the variety of the businesses you spoke about. Doing what you love and even better have some experience in would be very beneficial. It’s nice to have the links provided for the different ideas.

  2. Tony Wittock says:

    Very good advice! I have been involved in home base business for 4 years…I don’t understand why more people are not involve….it is totally worth it…these small investments in downtimes can be HUGE for your family down the road…

    Tony W

  3. Tammi says:

    Incredible points. Outstanding arguments. Keep up the great work.

  4. Michelle Forness says:

    I am impressed by the quality of information on this website. There are a lot of good resources here. I am sure I will visit this place again soon.

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