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May 23rd, 2010
03:15 AM ET

Ten "Recession-Proof" Job and Business Opportunities

From CNN financial analyst Clyde Anderson:

I’ve been asked many times "what is a recession-proof business?" Well, we all know there are no absolutes, but it’s pretty clear that there are some businesses that appear to be more favorable than others when it comes to needs versus wants. When people are watching their dollars and trying to stretch them to the limit, buying decisions seem to change when it comes to certain things.

Debt Collection: It goes without saying that in tough economic times bills start to pile up and often go unpaid. While debt collection is not an especially pleasant business, it's one that generally does well during economic downturns. As an added bonus, you have the option of working out of your home as an independent contractor or working for a debt collection agency.

Healthcare Products: An aging population whose health is declining is going to purchase healthcare products and services —recession or no recession. And, with more health related products and services available than ever before, this is a business that is sure to thrive.

Mediator: In tough economic times, many people turn to mediators rather than attorneys to settle disputes simply because they are less expensive. If you're skilled at negotiating, this may be the business opportunity for you.

Computer Repair: Computers are a fact of life and so is computer repair. The good news is that a computer repair business doesn't depend on whether the economy is good or bad. If you are the go-to person when a friend's computer goes bust, then the computer repair business might be a good fit. It's also possible to join a franchise operation like Geeks on Call.

Internet Marketer: Many people jump on the website bandwagon without really understanding internet marketing. After all, what good is a website if no one sees it? Internet marketing is becoming more and more important as people comparison shop and purchase items online. That's just one of the reasons why it's a good business when the economy goes south.

Pawn Broker: Ok, not everyone is cut out to be a pawn broker, but pawn shops are typically businesses that do well during recessions. A pawn broker takes merchandise as collateral on a loan, albeit a loan with exorbitant interest rates.

Cosmetics Sales: This may seem like an odd business to start in a sluggish economy, but the truth is that cosmetics are an inexpensive way to let us feel good when times are not so good. After all, who doesn't want to look terrific?

Green Businesses: That could mean eco-friendly retail items, organic food or socially responsible coffee.

Thrift and Consignment Stores: Same philosophy as eBay – low-cost items are likely to sell well in a sluggish economy.

Car-repair shops: With gas prices high and the economy weak, people are liable to hang onto their cars, rather than trading them in for a new model every three or four years, creating lots of opportunity for automotive repair.

Virtual Assistant: Growing fast and becoming popular for those who want to run their own home business to get started – usually by doing the things they have done well in the past for prior employers.

Look for Clyde Anderson's Home School segments Saturday mornings in the 7 o'clock hour of CNN Newsroom with TJ Holmes.

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Paul

    Liquor Store...I own one. People drink when their happy and when they are sad...

    May 23, 2010 at 8:53 am |
  2. Dan F.

    Great piece! All the jobs listed are definitely considered recession proof by the "experts".

    Someone mentioned the liquor store business – as much as I'd hate to disagree with that, the liquor store keeps on doing business during a recession. Maybe even thrives, as people might not eat out, but will grab a bottle to eat-in.

    Which brings me to my recession proof job/business – Funeral business. As with the liquor store, if you just work there you could be in danger of losing your job due to downsizing, but if you own either business, you should be in pretty good shape.

    May 23, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
  3. John Tyler Erie, Pa

    I would think that the tax collector and undertaker would be the two top professions in good times and bad.

    May 24, 2010 at 8:18 am |