As technology continues to disrupt our daily lives, workspaces and homes, it can feel as if the world is constantly in flux. This change can sometimes be traumatizing and disruptive – entire industries find themselves replaced by new services and methods – but most people find ways to adapt, improve and move on with life.
As the 21st century continues to hum along at full steam, many people are looking for employment and business opportunities that will insulate them from these trends. After all, nobody wants to see their business model collapse or their job replaced by a machine. As such, learning new skills and spotting emerging opportunities is crucial in securing your financial freedom and stability for the long-term.
As technology and society both continue to interact with one another and disrupt the status quo, just as many new opportunities are being born as are being extinguished. Those with a keen eye for spotting these trends can take advantage of them and cultivate successful businesses and careers alike in these niche markets.
Urban areas in particular are ripe with these changes – especially if you are an entrepreneur. To guide strivers in the right direction, let’s examine 9 niches in particular that are hot in virtually every city right now and where entrepreneurship can generate great results.
1. Food Service
Densely populated areas are ripe for entrepreneurship – and what better way to take advantage of throngs of crowds than by operating a mobile business? In many major metropolitan areas, population growth is leading to an increased need for even the most basic of services, and that includes on-the-go meals.
The food service sector is arguably one of the easiest industries to break into – so long as you approach it from a perspective of food carts and trucks – due to its low cost and universal need. As more and more people live busy, on-the-go lives, the demand for quick meals is increasing in urban areas.
The end result is that opening a mobile food service business is substantially cheaper than operating in a static venue and the mobility allows you to experiment with various corners and neighborhoods to find the right venue(s) for maximum business.
Some of the most common areas in cities for food trucks and carts to operate include outside major workplaces, near nightclubs and bars, close to parks and around any areas where people tend to congregate in large numbers. All you need is the proper permits in order to begin serving customers wherever they happen to be.
2. Tutoring Programs
With the battle to get into the best colleges and universities becoming stricter every year – not to mention the rising cost of quality education – the need to perform well is greater than ever. Parents and students alike understand that their futures hinge largely on the quality of education children receive, which affects everything from personal development to career options.
A burgeoning opportunity exists for entrepreneurs with backgrounds in education and/or a substantial understanding of select curriculum in urban areas. Everything from in-person tutoring for math and science to online reading programs is in demand in cities all across the country. Now more than ever, entrepreneurs can easily put their skills and knowledge to use and generate a profitable endeavor for themselves.
Tutoring enterprises can be developed either as sole proprietorship or as larger firms with multiple employees. As individuals, tutors can easily earn in excess of $30 per hour for their services – and in the case of advanced or expert-level courses, substantially more. Many people move to the city in order to look for new career opportunities, but those who are entrepreneurial in nature can show up on day one with their educational skills and use them to generate full-time incomes (and ultimately, sound business models).
3. Pet Sitting/Dog Walking
Due to the constraints of most urban areas, it’s hard to give your cats, dogs and other similar pets the space and exercise that they need. Due to high housing and land costs, congested areas and dangerous vehicles everywhere, city dwellers must provide their pets with an indoor place in which to live. As a result, finding business opportunities that relate to this need is easier than some might think.
Dog walkers and pet sitters are making a killing in many cities throughout the country, due to a high concentration of pet owners and a near universal need for these services. Most people simply do not have the time to spend an hour or more each day giving their pets exercise – and many more who want to ensure their pets are taken care of while away do not want to spend large sums of money on kennels.
One of the best things about this business model is the ability to service multiple clients at once. Many dog walkers will juggle multiple dogs simultaneously, while various pet sitters will look after several pets at the same time. While certain precautions must be taken to ensure each and every pet is taken care of and safe, this is a generally low-cost entrepreneurial idea that can easily be started.
4. Running Errands
In a busy city, there truly is a need for everything. Despite shorter commute times and more amenities, stores and facilities within close proximity to residences, life in the city is simply busier for most. The end result is that many people do not have the time to run various errands – or at minimum, are able and willing to pay others to do it for them.
As such, running errands via a service could be your ticket to financial freedom. Countless individuals need help with everything from picking up groceries and dropping kids off at school to picking up documents and delivering appliances. If you are resourceful and willing to work for clients, then starting an errand service could be just the ticket to a full-time job on your own terms.
There are already a variety of dedicated errand service websites online where entrepreneurs can meet prospective clients, sign up for tasks, and ultimately get paid. Over the long-term, many errand runners build a sizable repository of clients that they can rely upon for income due to their daily, weekly or monthly needs.
Capturing every special moment in life is easier than ever, thanks in large part to the prevalence of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. Whether you want to livestream a special event or capture a candid photo on a crowded street, mobile devices have made it possible to snag individual memories and be reminded of them on a permanent basis.
However, most people lack the precise skills that are required to capture truly professional photography – and many have an innate desire to capture memories in their purest and best formats. This is why so many photographers are finding success in cities by advertising their services online and in-person.
Photographers are able to work in a mobile setting, with many not even maintaining physical offices. This helps keep costs down, but the reality is that professional photographers can earn a substantial amount of money. Between those who hire by the hour and those who sell their prints on an individual basis, even a semi-competent photographer can earn more money annually than the average American.
Since people want to commemorate their weddings, graduations and other celebrations with the utmost clarity, this is one profession that likely isn’t going anywhere – especially in urban areas.
6. Property Management
While there are many advantages to living in an urban area, most people will tell you that one of the biggest problems is the cost of housing. For those who are on truly fixed incomes, finding affordable quality housing options that are in good neighborhoods and close to basic needs can be difficult to impossible. Due to limited space, the price of housing tends to increase at a more rapid rate than in other areas.
Despite this being a challenge for many, those with credit and/or capital can take advantage of the situation by delving into property management. Even just one or two properties purchased and rented to tenants can generate meaningful income, with the profits being rolled into a larger effort to continue acquiring new properties.
Given the aforementioned rapid rise in housing and rent costs, those who take on the responsibility of being landlords can quickly see their monthly incomes grow in relation to mortgage costs. While purchasing one or more properties outright is ideal, even those who can afford to take on a mortgage can quickly begin to earn substantial profit in property management when done properly.
7. Food Delivery
There are few things more universal and necessary to human existence than the need for food. In urban areas specifically, the combined cost of food and transportation can add up quickly. Many restaurants charge exorbitant rates for delivery, due to the sheer amount of time and fuel it can take to get food from the restaurant to the customer.
Some have found opportunity in this struggle, and have begun deploying food delivery businesses in urban areas. Simply put, most food delivery services revolve around a basic premise: offer meals that would otherwise be found at a variety of restaurants and deliver them to customers. Rather than paying even more for delivery from the restaurant itself, customers often enjoy discounted delivery prices by ordering through a food delivery service. The key in many situations is that the delivery service and restaurants work out a deal to ensure the delivery service can make money and the restaurant gets extra customers.
8. Flea Marketer
While the name may imply something completely different, those who have a bit of capital and who are willing to take some risks can make a heaping amount of profit in most urban areas. In today’s world of technology – coupled with traditional venues for buying and selling used goods – those who know how to spot a deal, hold onto it and flip it for a profit can make a full-time career out of flea markets and online garage sales.
Given the highly transient nature of most cities, people are constantly moving in and out of the area. For those who have the finances and resources, swooping in and offering quick cash to those who cannot, or will not, be taking select items with them can net some pretty great deals on appliances, furniture and other items.
Likewise, scouring local flea markets, garage sales and even online local marketplaces can uncover a variety of goods as well. Of course, these entrepreneurs must know their target audiences and which deals are actually worth securing, but once that is figured out, a theoretically endless supply of used goods that can be sold elsewhere at a profit is just waiting to be grabbed.
9. Airbnb Host
As already mentioned above, many people are in desperate need of affordable housing. However, there are many who merely are visiting the city and who need a place to stay for a few nights. These individuals have historically faced even worse situations: either stay with a family member or sketchy friend-of-a-friend, or pay outrageous hotel prices.
In recent years, property owners in cities have discovered that they can rent out rooms in their existing apartments and houses to willing travelers for a price that leaves both sides happy. Through services such as Airbnb, hosts can charge anywhere from $50 to $200 per night for accommodations, depending on the exact area and amenities. In practically every market, the per night rate adds up to much more than the rent for the entire property itself would cost.
This is becoming so popular that housing and rent prices at-large are being impacted by these entrepreneurs. As more and more people look to turn their previous long-term rental properties into temporary lodging accommodations, more people are having trouble finding reasonable permanent rental situations. Nevertheless, this simply indicates how much money there is to be made by hosting travelers in cities for a few nights at a time.
Cities are ripe with opportunity for entrepreneurs who are willing to work for it. Regardless of your exact interests, finding one or more niches in which to make money can easily be done in urban areas. It’s no wonder so many people are choosing to move to cities: there’s so much to do (and so much money to make)!