Saturday, December 22, 2012

In Case You Need To Start A Business: 5 Undervalued Industries To Watch In 2013 (Updated)

Jack of all Trades image via the blog Merlin's World

With a fragile economy upon us and constant talk of cost-cutting, it is prudent to explore alternative means of earning income, even in one's spare time. What follows are five industries that to my mind will only grow. For some of them, I envision them going in a certain direction (e.g. more integrated) but one can certainly explore opportunities as they exist right now. Usually some seal of approval from a third party - licensing, certification, etc. - is recommended or required.  (Of course if you are already employed, especially by the federal government, you will want to make sure to comply with ethics rules before undertaking any part-time work.)
Good luck!

1. Coaching
According to a 2004 article from Harvard Business Review, coaching is a $1 billion per year industry (more statistics here)
This is therapy by another name, and pretty much everyone needs it in one form or another. Due to the stigma associated with reaching out for mental health counseling, and the ability of people to provide advice without obtaining a license, expect the field to prosper. It should grow particularly among the rich - who have time and money to pay for personal services, and who may prefer not to have their status or their privacy compromised with a "diagnosis" and records kept by an insurance company.

2. Personal Assistants
According to one article, rates for personal assistants: $35-50.
With knowledge workers expected to invest more and more time into their jobs, there is a corresponding need for support personnel who can take care of life's issues. This is particularly so for women, who still carry more responsibility when it comes to home and childcare. Expect this field to boom, and eventually for the virtual assistance realm to go mainstream.

3. Wellness Consulting
According to one article, the average cost of a personal physical fitness training session is $56, but most trainers sell packages. One estimate has the wellness industry worth $1 trillion by 2010 (accuracy unknown). Here's an article on how to become a health and wellness consultant.

In the past there were people who could help you lose weight by tracking your diet with you. And there were other people who trained you in the gym. Still others may have provided meditation spaces, spa services, for relaxation and relief from life's stresses. And additional professionals promise nutritional healing for physical diseases so as to avoid the side effects of pharmaceuticals. Going forward, expect an industry to coalesce around the idea of one-on-one personal health trainers to help prevent early aging and recover from disease.

4. Family Centers
According to one estimate, American families visit family entertainment centers 3-5 times per year and pay $22 on average per visit. Another estimate says that the monthly cost of child care in a center is about $972 on average. Another third says that home health care for the elderly costs $16-23 per hour. If you combine elements of all these they would create a "third space" called the "family center."

When I was a kid my mother dropped me off at family home daycare. After work she came home and took care of me. But she did not have to help care for my grandparents, may they rest in peace, till I grew up and left home, and then my aunts and uncles were there to help. Times have changed a lot in a few years and it seems like everybody is either working, looking for work, or going to school. In this environment there is a tremendous need for safe, well-regulated and supervised spaces for family care - of children, the elderly, the disabled, the recovering. These centers would operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and include beds for people who need a temporary place to stay, for whatever reason. The old assumption that "a man's home is his castle" does not hold true anymore nowadays - life is lived together, in more public spaces, and there is an opportunity to create public spaces that are not explicitly commercial (e.g. Starbucks, the mall), yet are paid for and welcoming.
5. Security Guards
According to one fact sheet the average wage for a security guard is $12.42 an hour.
We live in an increasingly networked world, a world where people are increasingly alienated from the ways of the past, and where it is increasingly easy to track people and also to obtain weapons with which to hurt them. In this environment security guards provide not only visual peace of mind but an actual increase in protection.