Small businesses have never been more popular. There are over 29 million businesses in the U.S., and 99 percent of those are small businesses — altogether, they account for more than half of America’s economic success. The economy never stands still, and changes in consumer trends, technological advances and new marketplaces mean there are always plenty of exciting opportunities.
Here, we thought it would be useful to look back on 2018 and the types of businesses people were starting. We’ll also look forward at some popular business ideas for 2019 and why they could be great businesses to start this year.
Popular Business Sectors in 2018
People like you start thousands of businesses through Incfile every year, and we like to gather data on major sectors and industries. Here are the top 10 types of businesses that entrepreneurs created through Incfile in 2018.
What’s interesting is the fairly even mix of traditional and digital businesses in this top 10 — with real estate, construction, medical, food, trucking and trades on one side, and consultants, e-commerce, web services and entertainment on the other. Even with technological disruption and innovation, it’s clear that traditional businesses remain a vital part of the products and services that consumers demand. New entrepreneurs have never had more choices for pursuing an online dream or getting their hands dirty.
Good Business Ideas, Trends, and Predictions for 2019
So what does this information from 2018 tell us about possible trends in 2019? We’ve used our independent research and analysis to share what we believe will be the most promising business ideas in 2019.
Real Estate Businesses Across Multiple Disciplines
We believe that real estate entrepreneurs will continue to be a major part of the small business economy for the foreseeable future. Real estate doesn’t exclusively mean “realtor” anymore; there are many ways business owners can get involved with property:
- Property development by constructing property from the ground up, or updating and modernizing existing property
- Property management for taking care of property on behalf of owners and landlords
- Property rental for long-term occupation, relocation, vacation homes, Airbnb rentals and more
- Commercial and industrial property leasing and rental for other businesses
Real estate businesses can take advantage of Series LLCs if they’re available in your state. A Series LLC allows you to manage each property as a separate business but without the overhead and costs of each one being a separate formal business entity.
For more information on starting a real estate business, check out our guide.
Digital Nomad Businesses as Entrepreneurs Seek Location Independence
Flexibility and location independence are becoming increasingly important for many entrepreneurs, especially millennials. These digital nomad businesses are especially well-suited to knowledge work like freelancing and consulting. New technology tools — including productivity apps, collaboration software and communications channels — makes it possible to provide knowledge services from almost anywhere as the world moves away from office jobs.
There are several types of business ideally suited for digital nomads:
- Providing a freelance service like coding and development, writing, graphic design, marketing or most other types of knowledge work
- Consulting and providing tailored expertise and advice in areas where you have a deep level of experience and insight
- Starting a website or blog and making money through affiliate marketing or advertising
- Creating and selling a knowledge product like a specialized course or an ebook
- Providing services through an established platform like Fiverr, Lyft, TaskRabbit, Upwork or Toptal
For more inspiration and to find out where to start, check out our guide to digital nomad businesses.
Blockchain Businesses for Entrepreneurs With Deep Coding and Development Expertise
Although cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are the most well-known of blockchain technology use, the field for blockchain is continuing to grow. More and more businesses are looking for blockchain developers and freelance blockchain experts as they explore using the technology in their own operations.
Don’t let the volatile nature of cryptocurrency scare you off — there are still plenty of opportunities for the less glamorous (more useful) aspects of blockchain as a good application platform. As there are more proven use cases for an open, verifiable, distributed blockchain ledger, organizations will continue to seek out coders who can bring their ideas to life.
Contractors and Tradesmen for Practical Skills and Hands-on Expertise
There’s a huge need for vocational workers, contractors and tradesmen — both within the construction industry and by individuals and businesses who need to hire builders, plumbers, electricians, carpenters or landscapers. With the big push toward academic degrees recently, fewer people are going into these more traditional trades, meaning that self-employed contractors or small business owners are in high demand. There are other advantages too: most vocational education results in less student debt, and there are lower barriers to entry for becoming self-employed.
Ecommerce and Internet Businesses in Specific Niches
Online businesses that sell products and services have been popular for the last few years, and that’s not going away anytime soon. This explosion in online retail and software companies means there’s a huge amount of competition, so finding a specialized niche is essential. Whether you’re selling products yourself or through a third-party marketplace like Amazon, eBay or Etsy, you’ll need great products with unique benefits and a compelling story. There are also some good opportunities for dropshipping businesses and software-as-a-service companies, depending on where your talents lie.
- Find out how to sell on Amazon and start up a business as a third-party marketplace seller
- Learn if selling your crafts through Etsy could be a good choice
Whatever you choose to do, the time to start your business is now. Turn your great idea into a real business, and you can put your skills to the test. With careful planning, a good marketplace fit, the right niche, quality products and services and a little luck, you can join those 29 million other businesses and define success for yourself.