The Best Business Opportunities for 2018

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We’re creeping up on New Year’s resolutions, which means it’s time to set your personal and professional bars for 2018. While we all have some version of the standard run more, watch less TV, and eat more broccoli resolutions, the truly driven are looking for something more.

To that end, here’s a list of the best business opportunities for individuals in 2018. These are all businesses that you can start without breaking your neck or obtaining a PhD.

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For each business opportunity, I’ve given it marks out of five (one being least, five being most) for education/experience required, demand in 2018, and growth potential.

If you’re looking for something new in the new year, these five options have great potential for a lifetime of earnings and stability.

Restaurant owner

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Americans love eating out. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend $3,095 per year on restaurant dining . For a comparison point: we spend just $4,101 on groceries. That means we’re spending 43% of our total food budget on burgers, fries, and foie gras.

Opening a restaurant is the easiest way to tap into this market and its rising demand. The explosion of new and innovative food offerings over the past few years means you might not even need to leave home to make this work. At the very least, you could open a food truck (rough cost: $50,000).

If you’ve always loved cooking, this probably seems like a great option. Don’t forget that being a good chef doesn’t automatically make you a great business leader. The most successful restaurants bring business experts in early on to keep costs in check and ensure profits aren’t washed down the drain.

Check out Capterra’s restaurant management software directory for resources to get you up and running.

Home healthcare provider

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Currently, the average American is just under the age of 40, with close to 20% of the population over the age of 60. Declining U.S. birth rates mean we’re living in a society where seniors make up an increasingly larger percentage of the population.

As the good folks at Bplans point out, there are a few ways to tap into the market created by the country’s aging population. When starting a home healthcare businesses, you can opt to provide either skilled or non-medical support.

Non-medical support—food prep, chores, daily living assistance—requires less education and a love for working with and for people. Skilled assistants usually partner with hospitals and doctors to provide varying levels of in-home medical care.

If you’re providing medical care, make sure you’re accredited by Medicare, which allows your clients to bill their charges and smooths your path to business stability. Your real goal is to create a steady stream of clients, not build an empire.

Home repair

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Right before the housing bubble burst in 2008, there were about nine houses on the market for every house that was sold. We’re now sitting closer to five houses on the market for every house sold—historically, a much more sustainable rate.

In a normal, sustainable housing market, people fix up their existing homes. Since selling a house typically doesn’t bring in a huge payday like it does during a bubble, people are more likely to spend smaller sums on repairing what they’ve already got instead of trading up.

As such, the employment outlooks for plumbers, electricians, and lawn care workers are all in line with or above the national average.

Starting a home repair business is fairly straightforward. While you’ll need to acquire insurance, you shouldn’t have a huge outlay on tools or space. You can even start a business out of your own shed.

The key to a successful home repair business is building trust with your customers. That means knowing what you’re doing or subcontracting to people who do. Experience required can vary and depend on the amount of subcontracting you want to do.

If you’re considering the subcontracting route, check out Capterra’s piece on managing contract workers in field service.

Financial planner

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This one is near and dear to my heart, as I spent a few years over at The Motley Fool. A good financial planner can help people retire earlier, travel more, and save cash for their kids. Real, honest financial planning is one of the few jobs in the finance industry that won’t make you any enemies by default.

Financial planners do need to go through an accreditation process, which can be tricky if you’re not into math. The payoff is huge; financial planners make $89,000 per year on average and rock a two percent unemployment rate.

You need experience, people skills, a calm demeanor, and sales techniques to pull it off, but it’s a great career. With more folks pushing retirement age, there’s a growing demand for planners and advisers.

There’s a decent bit of scaling you can do here, as well. While a single-person shop can oversee a decent number of clients, financial planners that pool their resources can shift some of the selling and daily paperwork to support staff.

Digital marketing

Experience required: undefined
Demand in 2018: undefined
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If you’ve ever wondered, “How can I get paid to be on Facebook and Twitter all day?” this is the job for you. Digital marketing is going through a huge growth phase, with new discoveries, tactics, and challenges popping up everyday.

We—the collective American “we”—now spend more on advertising online than we do on TV advertising. In 2016, the industry spent $72.5 billion on mobile phone and desktop advertising.

As a business opportunity, this is a strong play. You can get into content marketing, social media management, or lead generation. Each niche has a different set of tools, challenges, and markets, giving the nascent marketer plenty of opportunities for experimentation.

This business also the lowest barrier to entry out of the options on this list. While there’s room for expansion into a team and a well-known digital marketing brand, you don’t need much to get up and running. Experience is worth its weight in gold, but demand is so high you can almost always find a gig.

Capterra has a whole blog on marketing for B2B businesses; check it out to get a feel for the general trends in the market.

Other great business options on your radar

Are you taking the leap into business ownership in the new year? Drop a line in the comments to let the world know what you’re up to, and what you’re hoping to achieve.

Happy (almost) new year!

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Andrew Marder

Andrew Marder is a former Capterra analyst.

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